Sunday, 22 December 2013

Best of Newly Heard in 2013



The end of the year is a good excuse to reflect on what you've enjoyed in the last twelve months and remind yourself of those songs that jumped out of the background and made themselves known.

A huge amount of great music already exists that, while not new to the World, is new to me this year; so I'm not limiting myself to songs first released in 2013. Still, this year is heavily represented because that's what's been brought to my attention by websites and radio.


Spotify playlist available.

This will Destroy You - The Mighty Rio Grande

Echoing and suspenseful The Mighty Rio Grande grows like a pool being fed by thousands of raindrops, waiting to spill over and breath new life into a desert. Beautiful.

Public Service Broadcasting - Everest

A personal high-light for me from the inaugural ArcTanGent festival, this is Public Service Broadcasting's best song. It gives me chills every time with the overlaid spare refrains building over a constant, one foot forever in front of the next bass and drum rhythm. You can almost feel the air thinning as the song reaches its own peak.

James - All Messed Up

I've had a soft spot for James since hearing a 'Best of' years ago; Sit Down and Sometimes being favourites. Layered, big, classic Manchester indie-rock. After deciding to listen through the rest of their albums All Messed Up stood out; showing that you think everyone knows what they're doing, but actually they're just as confused and uncertain as you are, and this is how the World works. Sadly the rest of the album Pleased To Meet You isn't nearly as good as this song.

Ezra Furman - Tell 'Em all to Go to Hell

A last minute edition to the list thanks to Marc Riley's radio show, this sounds like a classic even before the cracking voice sings "In a Chevy Express with a hood full of rust", bringing images of rural American escape. There are no new ideas here, but they're brilliantly played out with the brass section giving an upbeat feeling of adventure to the defiance instead of the despair of not have any other options.

Queens Of The Stone Age - If I Had A Tail

Undoubtably cool, sauntering in and ordering a double this is QOTSA at their best. Robot rock solid riffs and unsettling notes in the lazy solo leaving you more satisfied for their eccentricity.

Touché Amoré - To Write Content

Touché Amoré is all painfully open stream of consciousness hardcore, but To Write Content is an especially fantastic piece of introspection; breaking the walls between performer, commentator and conscience completely. Suitably appropriate for the age of tweeted self confessions.

I prefer picking out individual tracks over albums, it's less demanding time wise for readers, but for those interested, I've enjoyed the following albums this year, in no order whatsoever:

Bob Dylan - Oh Mercy
The Bronx - The Bronx IV
Deafheaven - Sunbather
The National - Trouble Will Find Me
Public Service Broadcasting - Inform Educate Entertain