Chris T: Top Albums of 2013

Allentown, PA

top ten albums

10Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong: Foreverly

Probably should be disqualified on account of being an Everly Brothers cover album, but I can hardly imagine these two artists being more bizarrely perfect for a project.

Standout Track(s): Down in the Willow Garden

09Tricky: False Idols

No, it’s not a top ten album, and Tricky has had a rough decade, both in critical acclaim terms and in other ways, but it’s worth a listen, dammit. I saw him in Philadelphia a few years back when he was touring on Knowles West Boy and it really made me reconsider the value of Blowback. “You Don’t Wanna” was excellent live. Must be something about the live experience–he only sang every other song, smoking new joints in between. My brother and I actually got to say hi to him when he was smoking out front of the venue before the show.

Another thing that made me think twice about Blowback: in 2009, I caught this Steve McQueen installation of Girls, Tricky, 2001 at the Art Institute of Chicago. I’ve tried to find a youtube or something of it since but to no avail. It was just a 15 minute super close up film of Tricky in a dark studio recording his track for “Girls” intensely. Really awesome. I think I sat there for 30 minutes. WHY DID HE THINK ANTHONY KIEDIS WOULD IMPROVE THIS!

08Laura Marling: Once I Was an Eagle

Quality folk in the American Primitive style. Lots of Indian, Gypsy, and Spanish influence here.

07Chance the Rapper: Acid Rap

I’m not in love with this album, but the second half of “Pusher Man” is really something.

06Arcade Fire: Reflektor

It’s really a testament to Arcade Fire’s style that they can incorporate such diverse new influences and still be so definitively themselves. Also, I’m really a sucker for the Orpheus myth and Kierkegaard.

05Valerie June: Pushin Against a Stone

I first caught the title track of this album on a local college radio station known for playing obscure cuts but rarely the latest releases. “What long-lost gem is this?” I thought. Loved the fuzz guitar and back-up vocals. Imagine my surprise at being able to include this album on a 2013 list. Someone get Booker T. on the phone because these two Memphians need to make an album together pronto.

04Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Push the Sky Away

Atmospheric little album from some serious veterans. Menacing but also hilarious. My favorite combination. The experience of staying up too late aimlessly pursuing curious links on Wikipedia is by now universal, and so here is its original soundtrack.

03The Roots and Elvis Costello: Wise Up Ghost

Really fun, really well put together. Elvis Costello is an old head and keeps plugging away, solidly, so I give Questlove most of the credit here for being the catalyst for the project and for proving to be such a versatile, whole musician. Still, I’m probably not going to read his book on Soul Train.

02Cate le Bon: Mug Museum

These songs would almost be sweet if le Bon’s vocals weren’t so absent-minded and the guitar jarring, practically reckless. They’re a lot less sweet than the last album, Cyrk, was. It’s proggy folk, I guess. Less Nico than last time and slightly more Moody Blues maybe. I love it.

01Kurt Vile: Wakin on a Pretty Daze

Odds are pretty good this album crowns Dave G.’s list. But it won’t just be hometown pride, and Vile’s hometown sure is proud.

similarity to overall top ten: 33.33%, 3 matches

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