Amanda Laskey’s Best of 2013

January 7th, 2014 · 2 Comments · By

When making this post I used the opposite approach as James Ford – the fewer words the better. I, as a reader, know that it is somewhat comforting and self-validating to see that other people liked the same albums as you. I read year-end lists to see similarities, not to read the text, which is why I stuck to the bare bones approach. I have been extremely fortunate to spend the majority of my year in Charlottesville where I have been able to see some awesome shows and sometimes had the pleasure of putting them together. I also had the opportunity to live in Brooklyn this summer and work at the Museum of Modern Art which enabled me to see some great concerts in New York. 2013 was a great year for both recorded and live music and here is my opinion on what I thought ruled this year. Make sure to check out everyone else’s lists and please comment to let us know what albums and shows you liked this year!

Best Albums of 2013:

1. Julian Lynch – Lines

This is the smartest album to come out all year. An enthnomusicology PhD student created the best pop album of the year, which also happened to be my favorite album of 2013.

2. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold / Tally All The Things You Broke EP

Yes, technically Light Up Gold came out last year, but no one heard it until this year so that is my excuse. Tally All The Things You Broke actually did come out this year so I am hoping that this balances out the other album. I like every single track on both of these albums. The tracks flow perfectly into one another. All my requirements for a great album have been met.

3. Jamaican Queens – Wormfood

Jamaican Queens are a “trap-pop” group out of Detroit. They sing about the common issues that nihilistic, pessimistic young adults relate to. They used a completely new style of music to express common themes without any pretense or theatricality. In addition, they distributed their album for free, expressing a desire that it was more important for people to listen to the music than for Jamaican Queens to make any money. Pretty cool.

4. Free Time – Free Time

I thought the Kurt Vile record that came out this year was terribly boring. Real Estate didn’t put out a record this year. Take the best parts of each of those bands, add in some Yo La Tengo fuzz, and you’ve got yourself Free Time. Jangly indie pop created by really talented musicians and an intelligent lyricist.

5. Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana

Sadie Dupuis wrote the best lyrics of the year, hands-down. The guitar parts on this album are so well layered over each other. I don’t like the concept of dueling guitars which is what normally happens when there are two talented guitarists in the same band, but on this album the guitars don’t duel, they work together.

6. Swearin’ – Surfing Strange

Mallory at the Tea Bazaar asked jokingly when I put on this album one night, “Has this band ever heard of the 90s?” Yeah, Swearin’ is definitely a throwback band, but I never really experienced the 90s when they happened, so I’m taking care of that decade now. In addition, Swearin’ was the loudest band I heard all year which is impressive.

7. Chris Cohen – Overgrown Path

Before I saw Chris Cohen for the first time I was told he was “so smooth” as a drummer. His live show was extremely polished and when listening to the album after the concert I acknowledged that his album was just as smooth. The album is extremely melancholic and low-key, especially considering that Chris Cohen is in Deerhoof (among many other bands). Highly recommended as a jam for a sad Sunday.

8. Mannequin Pussy – Gypsy Pervert

Only released on cassette. Average track length is 2 minutes. Mannequin Pussy is loud, aggressive, and also one of the nicest bands on the road. I keep on just flipping back from side A to side B and I believe you will do the same.

9 – William Tyler – Impossible Truth

My favorite instrumental album to come out this year. Amazingly talented guitar played with well-structured songs. No complaints.

10 – Elvis Depressedly – Holo Pleasures

Lo-fi sad songs. As emo as I will get.

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

Andrew Cedermark – Home Life
Celestial Shore – 10x
Chastity Belt – No Regerts
Coke Weed – Back to Soft
Deerhunter – Monomania
Daughn Gibson – Me Moan
Other Colors – Free Thoughts
Ovlov – Am
Peals – Walking Field
Small Sur – Labor
Stephen Steinbrink – Arranged Waves
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

Local-ish Records of Note

1. The Fire Tapes – Phantoms

2. Klauss – Totems

3. Left & Right – 93 EP

4. Borrowed Beams of Light – On The Wings Of A Bug

5. Lil Huffy – Old Volvo

Top Shows of 2013:
**1/8 – Julian Lynch, Andrew Cedermark, Cassie Ramone @ Glasslands
1/26 – Chelsea Wolfe, King Dude @ Music Hall of Williamsburg BK
2/2 – Eternal Summers @ The Bazaar in Roanoke
**3/29 – The Beets, Wild Yaks, Air Waves @ Living Bread Deli BK
**3/30 – Chris Cohen, Lux Perpetua @ PhilaMOCA
4/18 – Colleen Green, Surfing, Lil Huffy @ My Mansion in Harrisonburg
4/19 – Water Liars, Ming Ming @ The Tea Bazaar
4/26 – Daniel Bachman, Dais Queue @ The Tea Bazaar
4/29 – Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction – The Southern
5/24 – Andrew Cedermark @ PhilaMOCA
**6/6 – The Fire Tapes @ Shea Stadium BK
6/9 – Julian Lynch, The Luyas @ Mercury Lounge NYC
7/10 – Peals, Jana Hunter @ Times Square
7/11 – Andrew Cedermark, Liquor Store, Little Big League @ Shea Stadium BK
7/25 – Woods, Parquet Courts @ Ottobar in Baltimore
**7/29 – Real Estate w/ Glenn Mercer, Cassie Ramone @ Maxwell’s Hoboken
7/31 – Invisible Hand / Andrew Cedermark solo set @ Cameo Gallery BK
8/14 – Jeffrey Lewis, Roof Doctor @ West Kensington Ministry in Philadelphia
8/24 – Diarrhea Planet, So So Glos, Left & Right @ The Tea Bazaar
**9/4 – Purling Hiss, Invisible Hand, Nightlands @ The Tea Bazaar
9/5 – The Beets, Magik Markers, Free Time @ The Tea Bazaar
9/6 – Swearin’, Whatever Brains @ Hopscotch
9/7 – The Breeders, Spiritualized, Spider Bags, The Beets, Sleep @ Hopscotch
9/8 – Klauss, Norwegian Arms, Great Dads @ Magnolia House
9/14 – Nude Beach, Suspicious Beasts @ The Tea Bazaar
10/8 – LAKE, Erik the Red, Beako @ The Tea Bazaar
**10/10 – Lust-Cats of the Gutters, Mannequin Pussy, Big Air, Lil Huffy @ The Tea Bazaar
10/20 – Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ The Jefferson
10/25 – The Beets, Chastity Belt @ Shea Stadium BK
10/28 – Celestial Shore @ Death by Audio BK
**11/1 – Horse Lords, Nu Depth @ The Tea Bazaar
11/2 – Coke Weed, Big Air, Nap @ The Tea Bazaar
12/12 – Guardian Alien, Great Dads, Gnatcatcher @ The Tea Bazaar
12/14 – Borrowed Beams of Light, Typefighter, Daytona @ The Tea Bazaar
** = Best of the Best

Tags: charlottesville · feature

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Joy M. // Jan 7, 2014 at 9:26 pm


  • 2 james // Jan 8, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Parquet Courts woulda been on my list as well, but it was disqualified due to the 2012 release date. (I’m betting it’s gonna be on Pazz & Jop this year anyway, though… you’ll be in good company)