Records from 2013 that are at least worth listening to and probably buying and getting really into because they’re pretty good or maybe even awesome

A quick post, because we’re 1/3 of the way through 2013 and I’ve not really written anything about new music yet this year, due to all the noughties stuff I’ve been doing.

My Bloody Valentine – MBV
This is, surprisingly, amazingly good. It sounds absolutely delicious; a warm, enveloping experience, both comforting and exhilarating.

Matthew E White – Big Inner
A soul record, basically. Of the old-fashioned, hot-buttered variety, almost. With a reedy-voiced white guy singing. He’s got a jazz background, and you can tell; it’s subtly sophisticated and the brass is delicious. Amazingly well recorded and mixed.

The Knife – Shaking The Habitual
A big, post-structuralist experiment with cybernetic hooks. Follows Tomorrow, In A Year more than it does Silent Shout, and arguably all the better for it. Again, sonically exquisite. Don’t fear the 19-minute drone.

Brandt Brauer Frick – Miami
Essentially a German jazz trio making electronic / dance music; amazingly proficient and exciting and dynamic and sophisticated, but maybe not in possession of the most obvious tunes (not that it’s difficult). Did I say the other records sounded good? This sounds outstanding.

British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy
I won’t fight BSP’s corner, but I like them well enough, and I enjoy this very much, for what it is; a mature, krauty, relaxed, musical indie rock record. It won’t shake anyone’s world apart, but you don’t always need that.

John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts
Sitting somewhere between Matthew E White and The Knife is this guy, with his pastoral confessional electronic-tinged post-country / blasted folk / whatever. The lyrics, and the melodies therefore too, are complex, rich, idiosyncratic, and affecting. The music is very good too. Sometimes he goes on a little too long, but I forgive him.

Atoms For Peace – Amok
Thom Yorke’s not-a-supergroup, making pretty much a straight post-2003 electronica / laptop / experimental / etcetera record in the vein of Caribou or Four Tet or whoever. Flea’s bass playing is amazing. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
I’ve paid them no attention since the debut, when I loved “Maps”. No idea why. This is, sadly, a rock record with mainstream pretensions and therefore sounds pretty rubbish, but it’s not as bad as most, and has a nice, loose, vaguely experimental air of freedom, too.

Phoenix – Bankrupt!
This sounds like shit. I have almost no idea if the songs are any good, because I can’t hear them.

Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory – Elements of Light
Techno bells. Lightweight (geddit?) possibly, but very, very lovely, if not as compelling as Black Noise to me, yet.

Rokia Traore – Beautiful Africa
I’ll buy anything Seb Roachford drums on, even if it makes me look like a tokenistic colonialist world-music-tourist dickhead. This is really good. I have no idea about the tradition it’s come from. You know when anyone who’s not a British or American pop/rock/blues/roots whatever appears on Jools Holland, and the sound balance always seems much better? Same here; it’s because they’re proper musicians, not indie chancers. It’s notable that a chunk of her backing band on this are jazzers, not rockers.

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3 responses to “Records from 2013 that are at least worth listening to and probably buying and getting really into because they’re pretty good or maybe even awesome

  1. Have you heard the new James Blake? Quite a big improvement over his debut, I’m actually liking it.

  2. just curious to know what you really do with those cds. do you actually play them or are they merely for decoration and supporting the artist?

    • Oh I absolutely listen to them; CDs are still my preferred medium for music, by far. I have a proper hifi set up in the living room and I like to sit down and put an album on.

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