For the rest of the year, we’ll be spotlighting our KEXP DJs Top Albums of 2013, leading up to our 2013 90.3 Top Album Countdown! Tune in on Thursday, December 19th for KEXP’s One-Day Radio Rally as we countdown the top albums of the year, as voted on by KEXP listeners.
A quick note before we dive into the self-indulgent madness that is this list: the methodology for these selections was simply A) did I find myself returning and listening to these albums over and over, B) did I think I would be revisiting and really treasure these albums years from now, C) did something in the music correspond strongly to a significant moment in my personal life, or vice versa, and instead of careful introspection I listened to the album instead to avoid any reflective self-analysis.
OK, maybe not so much the last one… Anyway, it was a great year for music so let’s get started with:
Sean’s 2013 Top Ten Albums
1. Pure X – Crawling Up the Stairs (Acéphale)
Bleak and bittersweet punctuated with moments of, er, pure ecstasy that will floor you.
2. Fear of Men – Early Fragments (Kanine)
Really good indie pop is hard to do and the Brighton, UK group have nailed it on their debut.
3. Merchandise – Totale Nite (Night-People)
My favourite rock “rawk” album of the year. The lead single “Anxiety’s Door” is seven perfect minutes of loud, dreamy, shredding energy.
4. Algebra Suicide – Feminine Squared (Dark Entries)
Fantastic reissue compilation showcasing the Chicago duo’s effortlessly kewl, skeletal New Wave about sex and undertakers and stuff. Basically right up my alley.
5. Chastity Belt – No Regerts (Help Yourself)
I played one of the songs off the Seattle band’s debut early one morning entitled “Giant Vagina” and a concerned listener e-mailed in saying “Really on the air for my kids to hear? Seems a little much.” Don’t fret, concerned parent! Your child will be a better person down the road having heard this song at an impressionable age.
6. Ducktails – The Flower Lane (Domino)
A great collection of feel-good tunes from the Real Estate guitarist, including an ace cover of The Clean’s Peter Gutteridge, so, duh.
7. Dean Blunt – The Redeemer (Hippos In Tanks)
A superb album from one of music’s most baffling and intriguing characters. A true original.
8. Grouper – The Man Who Died in His Boat (Kranky)
A forty-seven minute personal séance for the soul.
9. Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven (Warp)
Daniel Lopatin is sound-tracking our weird digital lives right, and it’s kind of freaking me out.
10. The Courtneys – The Courtneys (Hockey Dad)
Yah! Super fun house party, slacker pop vibes from the Vancouver trio. Basically a band to have a big crush on, plus they sing about Keanu Reeves a lot. Love it.
Burial – Rival Dealer
Maria Minerva – Bless
My Bloody Valentine – m b v
Space Dimension Controller – Welcome to Mikrosector-50
White Fence – Cyclops Reap
Ruby Pins – Ruby Pins
Coyote Clean Up – 2 Hot 2 Wait
Lust for Youth – Perfect View
Dirty Beaches – Drifters / Love Is the Devil
Deerhunter – Monomania
RP Boo – Legacy!
Some Ember – Asleep in the Ice Palace
Colleen – The Weighing of the Heart
Rome Fortune – Beautiful Pimp
Jon Brooks – Shapwick
Thundercat – Apocalypse
Neo Boys – Sooner Or Later
Hailu Mergia – Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument
CFCF – Music for Objects
Julia Holter – Loud City Song
Huerco S. – Colonial Patterns
Forest Swords – Engravings
King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath the Moon
Viet Cong – Viet Cong
Lonnie Holley – Keeping a Record of It
Stellar Om Source – Joy One Mile
Tim Hecker – Virgins
Dream Boys – Dream Boys
Express Rising – Express Rising
John Foxx & Jori Hulkkonen – European Splendour
Laurel Halo – Chance of Rain
Steve Arrington & Dam-Funk – Higher
The House in the Woods – Bucolica
Woo – Whichever Way You Are Going, You Are Going Wrong
Nmesh – Nu.wav Hallucinations
U.S. Girls – Free Advice Column
Raum – Event of Your Leaving
Gorgeous Children – Ice
Danny Brown – Old
Majical Cloudz – Impersonator
Cough Cool – 29
Logos – Cold Mission
18+ – Mixtap3
Noveller – No Dreams
Machinedrum – Vapor City
FKA Twigs – EP2
Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
Roger Robinson – Novella EP
Braids – Flourish // Perish
Wavves – Afraid of Heights
DJ Rashad – Rollin’
Andrew Pekler – Cover Versions
The Knife – Shaking the Habitual
Matmos – The Marriage of True Minds
William Tyler – Impossible Truth
Colleen Green – Sock It To Me
Diana – Perpetual Surrender
Ashrae Fax – Static Crash
Samps – Macrochips & Microdips
V/A – Eglo Records Vol. 1
Local Releases I Really Enjoyed
Panabrite – Cortex Meridian
Pony Time – Go Find Your Own
Cock & Swan – Secret Angles
Key Nyata – The Shadowed Diamond
Half-Breed – Practice Makes Something
Pure Bathing Culture – Moon Tides
Nacho Picasso & Avatar Darko – Vampsterdam
Braxton / Palmer – Creeper
Lusine – The Waiting Room
Big Eyes – Almost Famous
Jay Arner – Jay Arner
Hausu – Total
Porter Ray – BLK GLD
Soft Metals – Lenses
Cam the Mac – 2HUNNIDx6
Youryoungbody – Kurokabi
La Luz – It’s Alive
Shy Girls – Timeshare
Rafael Anton Irisarri – The Unintentional Sea
Eat Skull – III
Weed – Deserve
Hanssen – Programme
White Poppy – Drifter’s Gold
Parenthetical Girls – Privilege
ILLFIGHTYOU – ILLFIGHTYOU
wzrdryAV – Pacific Greyscale
JusMoni & WD4D – Queen Feel Deluxe
Heatwarmer – Dessert Menu
The Shivas – Whiteout
Hibou – Dunes
Ashley Eriksson – Colours
Wishbeard – It’s All Gonna Break
Blue Sky Black Death – Glaciers
V/A – Twitch & Gloam: Dark Sounds from the Pacific Northwest
Elvis Costello & The Roots – Wise Up Ghost (And Other Songs 2013)
OK, it’s not all peace and love on this end of year wrap up. This selection partly has to do with my historical aversion to Elvis Costello, true, but the grating and insipid vocals certainly don’t help matters. Take your hat and sunglasses off inside, d00d! Four thumbs down.
Daughter – Get Lucky (Daft Punk cover)
Yes, really. They’ve taken the outrageously fun, sexy vibe of the original, one of 2013’s best songs, and replaced it with a glum, sexless, I-want-to-take-a-quiet-nap-fully-dressed-in-the-middle-of-the-afternoon vibe.
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