Best of, Music

Best of 2013: Albums, #39-32

Our Best of 2013 coverage continues today with the next installment of the best albums of last year. What do you think about our list so far and what do you hope to see in the next three installments? Let us know in the comments below. Find #50-#40 here.

39. Baths – Obsidian: My favorite part of this record is how it contradicts Baths’ first. The first has sad undertones, while the feelings felt in Obsidian are a lot more projected. – Jake White

Listen: “Miasma Sky”- Baths

38. Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt: On Cerulean Salt, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield arises as lyrically empathetic as any artist this year. Her voice is fallible, and that imperfection becomes charming and makes focusing on her words a priority. Her sound is steeped in the 90s, coming across like a calmer version of Built to Spill on tracks like “Blue Pt. II” and the Pixies on “Peace and Quiet” while carrying the swagger of Liz Phair throughout the album’s entirety. The tracks are terse, with most clocking in beneath the three-minute mark. But in those few minutes, Crutchfield sings songs about her experiences, and like great lo-fi indie artists before her, she invites the listener to relate. Her tone conveys an emotion that appeals to the experiences of 20-somethings who might be listening: being directionless, becoming an adult, dealing with various crises brought about by measly relationships, or simply crises brought about by the existential mind. Crutchfield sums up this idea up in “You’re Damaged,” singing “in this dejection, lives a connection.” It doesn’t matter if her own experiences are similar to our own or not, because we as a generation understand them. That resonates. – Brad Taylor

Listen: “Peace and Quiet” – Waxahatchee

36. Iceage – You’re Nothing: Want loud and fast Danish punk? Listen to Iceage. You’re Nothing is an amazing follow-up to 2011’s New Brigade. You should listen to this album. I don’t have much else to say except, really, listen to it. – Ben T O Smith

Listen: “Ecstasy”- Iceage

36. The Knife – Shaking the Habitual: Listening to electronic duo The Knife’s Shaking the Habitual is an experience. The album is longer than the Ingmar Bergman film Persona, and nearly as trying. Like the film, many listens are required to fully comprehend its density, which lasts 96 minutes. Their politics drench the lyrics throughout the album, with Karin Dreijer-Andersson singing about gender norms, economic inequality, and various other societal qualms you wouldn’t want to discuss with your grandparents over Christmas dinner. These touchy topics are surrounded by truly haunting music that drones along as if time didn’t exist, with the longest song, “Old Dreams Waiting to be Realized,” clocking in at a hefty 19 minutes. Heavy drumbeats and driving bleeps and bloops sound political enough, but The Knife’s daring nature does not care for moderation. All of these factors make Shaking the Habitual a challenging listen. The album cannot be discussed in terms such as “good” or “bad” for it would be a disservice to the status quo that The Knife attempt to disrupt. It is a shaking experience, and based on the album’s title, that seems like what The Knife wished to achieve. – Brad Taylor

Listen: “A Tooth For An Eye” – The Knife

35. Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse: Youth Lagoon’s first album was shown to me by one of my best friends and I fell in love. It’s such “chill” music (even though I hate using that word). The new record brings the same type of “vibe” (another word that kind of sucks), but the progressive nature of Wondrous Bughouse shows that we have much to look forward to from Trevor Powers, who, at 24, is still just a kid. – Jake White

Listen: “Mute” – Youth Lagoon

34. Bosnian Rainbows – Bosnian Rainbows: I slept on this album for way too long. But once I saw them live at Mountain Oasis in Asheville, NC, I was captivated. The band has Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Deantoni Parks of The Mars Volta, and Nick Kasper of Kudu. I can’t describe it beyond that. After getting home from Mountain Oasis, I couldn’t stop listening to this album for about two weeks. – Ben T O Smith

Listen: “Torn Maps” – Bosnian Rainbows

33. Savages – Silence Yourself: Silence Yourself may be late to the recent post-punk revival, but Savages nevertheless emerged with one of the hardest hitting albums this year. The London rockers released their debut full-length after only one EP, but that only serves to emphasize Silence Yourself’s boldness. The music is dominated by threatening bass lines and booming drums, but the harrowing guitar work and the harsh vocals of Jehnny Beth offer the variety that defines this album. The songs have repetitive yet thought-provoking lyrics that question the normalities of music, cogitation, and life. – Ethan Copeland

Listen: “She Will” – Savages

32. Mount Kimbie – Cold Spring Fault Less Youth: Seeing Mount Kimbie live will always be one of my favorite experiences. I remember Nathan and I were very rushed to get to the Orange Peel to see the show during Mountain Oasis, yet as soon as we stepped into the venue, all stress was lost. This album is one of those records you can listen to regardless of your emotional state. It carries both complex thought and soothing beats, and not one but two features from King Krule. – Jake White

Listen: “You Took Your Time” – Mount Kimbie (feat. King Krule)


One thought on “Best of 2013: Albums, #39-32

  1. Pingback: Best of 2013: Albums, #30-21 | SMASH CUT MAGAZINE


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