*Dromedary bands and friends weigh in with their top records of 2013*
Scouring the music blogs over the past few weeks has revealed a few Dromedary bands and friends, listing their top records of 2013. We thought we’d repeat them all here, so you could find them all in one place.
*Ralph Malanga, Stuyvesant*
10) *Alkaline Trio* – _My Shame is True_ I didn’t listen to this album, which is odd because I’m a fan, but this makes the list on album title alone.
9) *Pussy Riot* – A Punk Prayer documentary. A must watch for all. I couldn’t help but think what D. Boon would think if he was alive today.
8) *From 93 To Infinity* – Dromedary Records comp. While I’m not a huge fan of compilations, Overlake’s cover of Yo La Tengo’s “From a Motel 6 is worth the price of the CD alone. Everything else is gravy. The Jean Homme & The Broken Telomeres cover of “Radio” is equally awesome.
7) *Arctic Monkeys* – _AM_ – I’ve never been a fan of this band before. But this record is insanely good. I’ve always been impressed with British rock bands who aren’t afraid to let a little disco/dance infiltrate the rock.
6) *Unknown Pleasures – Inside Joy Division* By Peter Hook. The rapid rise and fall of Joy Division is widely known by now, and to read about it from Peter Hook’s perspective doesn’t make the story any less harsh. But it’s still pretty cool.
5) *The Night Marchers* – _Allez Allez_ Anything the John Reis does is usually right up my alley, and the 2nd Night Marchers album is no exception. Wry wit and loud guitars get me every time.
4) Rocket From the Crypt reunion shows. Was lucky enough to catch one of their sets at Riot Fest in Denver. Even if you’re not a fan of them on record. Their live shows are a testament to just how good a band they are. They turn non-fans into fans every show.
3) *Queens of the Stone Age* – _Like Clockwork_ – This record hit every mood with a pillowcase sodas. it’s moody, flippant, sinister, ruckus-like, yet vulnerable. Name another record that does that. Just brilliant. First record in a long time I can listen to 3 or 4 times a night.
2) *Radioactivity* – _Radioactivity_ From the people behind such great bands like, The Marked Men, The Reds, High Tension Wires, The Mind Spiders, And The Potential Johns. Heartfelt low-fi power pop/punk. Jeff Burke is sort of a one trick pony, but that one trick is better that what 99.9% of rock bands are doing today. The song “The Last” sometimes makes me want to cry. It’s so earnest. So real. I wish I can someday achieve that level of songwriting.
1) Replacements reunion. Yeah it wasn’t with Chris Mars, and Bob is long dead, but my god, were they incredible in Denver. Here’s to wishing that their tour tops my 2014 list.
*Ev Gold, Cinema Cinema*
(as published in “United By Rocket Science”:http://unitedbyrocketscience.blogspot.com
*My Bloody Valentine* – _M B V_
*Melt-Banana* – _Fetch_
*Good For You* – _Life is Too Short to Not Hold a Grudge_
*Wire* – _Change Becomes Us_
*Black Flag* – _What The…_
*Tomahawk* – _Oddfellows_
*Atoms for Peace* – _Amok_
*Four Tet* – _Beautiful Rewind_
*The Meat Puppets* – _Rat Farm_
*Carcass* – _Surgical Steel_
*Jerry Lardieri, The Brixton Riot*
(as published in “United By Rocket Science”:http://unitedbyrocketscience.blogspot.com
Favorite Album of 2013
Superchunk’s “I Hate Music”
Picking favorites may have been hard, but #1 was never in question. Superchunk’s “Majesty Shredding” was my favorite record of 2010 and its follow-up tops my list this year. Great songs, great production and great performances. Not a bad track on here.
Favorite Album That Avoided The Sophmore Slump
Veronica Falls’ – “Waiting For Something”
Loaded with jangling, chimey guitars and beautiful vocals, Veronica Falls’ recalls some of the 90’s New Zealand/Flying Nun sound perfected by bands like The Bats and The Chills.
Favorite Album By A Band From Brooklyn – “New Moon” by The Men
For the second straight year, The Men have produced an outstanding, completely unpretentious guitar rock record. And coming from Brooklyn, that’s quite an accomplishment.
Favorite Live Album/Reunion of Sorts – The Chills’ “Somewhere Beautiful”/”Molten Gold” single
“Somewhere Beautiful” serves two purposes – it’s an excellent retrospective of The Chills’ best songs in one package and it’s also a “victory lap” of sorts for Martin Phillips’. Not content to simply revisit the past, their new single “Molten Gold” was my favorite single this year.
Swervedriver – “Deep Wound” Deep Wound
Eleventh Dream Day’s “New Moodio”
This is the bizzaro world version of Eleventh Dream Day’s classic “El Moodio”, recorded and financed by the band back in 1991 and finally available to all thanks to NJ based Comedy Minus One.
Favorite Actual Reissue:
The Verlaines’ “Juvenelia”
Having been very late to the party, I only discovered Juvenelia a few years ago, but it’s become one of my favorite records. Looking forward to getting an “honest” copy.
Favorite Album That Made Me Want A Baritone Guitar:
Bottomless Pit’s – “Shade Perennial”
Despite being a Bottomless Pit fan since “Hammer Of The Gods”, this was the year I first listened to Silkworm, the previous outfit of BP’s Andy Cohen and Tim Midyett. And I listened to them A LOT. If the rules allowed me to pick albums from previous years, 50% of them would likely be Silkworm records. I’ve loved everything Bottomless Pit has put out to date and this is no exception.
Favorite Album From A New Jersey Institution:
Yo La Tengo’s “Fade”
It’s definitely on the quieter side of their catalog, but I really enjoyed the sound of this one.
Favorite Album Discovered Too Late For Summer:
Upset’s – “She’s Gone”
This reminds me a lot of some of my favorite female fronted 90’s bands – specifically Velocity Girl and Sleepyhead. And that’s definitely a good thing.
Favorite Live Show:
Screaming Females at Maxwell’s
Nobody really wanted to say goodbye, but I’m glad my final memory of Maxwell’s will be watching this New Brunswick trio blow the roof off the joint – and watching my wife get completely blown away by her first Screaming Females show.
*Al C, Dromedary Records*
20) *Iceage* – _You’re Nothing_ (Matador): Equal parts noisy and melodic; this is on one hand a crushing punk record, and on the other a harmonic masterpiece.
19) *Speedy Ortiz* – _Major Arcana_ (Carpark): Give me dissonant, riff-laden math rock, and I’ll love it every time.
18) *There Will Be Fireworks* – _The Dark, Dark Bright_ (self-released): A powerful, dramatic piece of art, more mature than their debut but equally expressive.
17) *Deafheaven* – _Sunbather_ (Deathwish Inc): Ever wonder what it would sound like to mix brutal speed metal with mellow post-rock? It sounds like this, and it’s awesome.
16) *d.smithsucks* – _The End Of Everything_ (self-released): Anthemic, Mould-esque guitar rock with an obvious Lemonheads influence from a guy who dislikes the Lemonheads.
15) *Earthless* – _From the Ages_ (Tee Pee): Massive guitar solos, ten minutes long, like they’re supposed to be.
14) *Jimi Hendrix* – _People, Hell & Angels_ (Legacy Recordings): unreleased studio recordings initially intended to be the followup to Electric Ladyland. A fresh batch of Hendrix just reminds me of how important his contributions were.
13) *Widowspeak* – _Almanac_ (Captured Tracks): Mellow.
12) *Jesu* – _Every Day I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came_ (Avalanche Recordings): Not enough songs. Not loud enough. Still brilliant.
11) *Cheetahs* – _Extended Plays_ (Wichita Recordings Ltd.): Washes of distortion, powerful pop hooks, like a 90s indie rock revival. I’m an old man, I love this shit.
10) *Polvo* – _Siberia_ (Merge): If I didn’t love their last one so much, I’d say this one might be their best work.
9) *Yo La Tengo* – _Fade_ (Matador): Just a brilliant record, from a band that makes very few missteps. Musically, there’s very little I will miss more than YLT’s Hanukkah shows at Maxwell’s. Hopefully, anyone who got to see one understands just what a special thing those shows were.
8) *Bailter Space* – _Trinine_ (Fire): Bailter Space is one of the greatest (and loudest) bands ever; their new record does not disappoint.
7) *The Night Marchers* – _Allez Allez_ (Swami): Loud, sweaty bar rock with enormous hooks and catchy choruses. What’s not to love?
6) *Kvelertak* – _Meir_ (Roadrunner): Norwegian metal. I can’t understand a fucking word they’re saying, and the cookie monster vocals fly in the face of everything else I listen to, but this is an absolutely amazing record, a collection of monstrous riffs and enormously melodic guitar work, and I’m fairly certain that if Kvelertak had existed when I was in high school, I would have run away to Scandinavia.
5) *Kurt Vile* – _Wakin On A Pretty Daze_ (Matador): When it came to Kurt Vile, I was not an early adopter, but now I’m working hard to catch up. I love the laid back quality of his vocals, the reverb on the instruments, and the way his songs have a tendency to break somewhere in the middle before meandering off in a different direction, like a stoner with ADHD.
4) *Bardo Pond* – _Peace On Venus_ (Fire): I’ve been fascinated with Bardo Pond’s melodic jams for 20 years. Waves of massive distortion with beautiful, melodic flute passages over endlessly repetitive riffs create a complex brand of psychedelia that the term “stoner rock” simply doesn’t do justice. When their music gets more accessible, as it does on this record, the result is always brilliant.
3) *Bottomless Pit* – _Shade Perennial_ (Comedy Minus One): One of the best bands in America.
2) *Radioactivity* – s/t (Dirtnap): Blindingly fast guitar pop with brilliant hooks, like late 60’s garage pop, late 70’s skinny tie new wave, and mid-80’s punk rolled into one fantastic band.
1) *Joel R. L. Phelps & the Downer Trio* – _Gala_ (12xu): Out of nowhere comes a new
Joel R.L. Phelps record, and it’s the most brilliant thing I’ve heard in a while. Not even a contest, easily the best record of the year.
5) *Frank Zappa* – _Apostrophe_ (Zappa): Finally, all the Zappa titles are being released digitally. Apostrophe is one of my favorites, if only because “Uncle Remus” is my favorite Zappa song and I’m finally able to own a clean digital copy of it AND properly compensate the estate.
4) *Come* – _11:11_ (Matador): Fuzz-encrusted blues. One of the most beautiful bands, probably their best record.
3) *Speed the Plough* – _The Plough and The Stars_ (Bar/None): A lavishly-packaged collection of songs from their first four out-of-print albums, rare live recordings, and some new stuff as well, released by New Jersey’s greatest record label.
2) *Songs: Ohia* – _Magnolia Electric Co_ (Secretly Canadian): Songwriting.
1) *Lemonheads* – _Creator_ (Fire): One of the best records by a band that’s been a massive influence on me and my little record label, it’s so great to see these records back in print again (and to hear the Lemonheads with Evan Dando and Ben Deily together)
*Favorite Live Performances:*
5) The Feelies – Maxwell’s, July 3: Saying good bye to the world’s greatest venue, Brenda Sauter singing the Velvet Underground’s “After Hours” to close the set. Not a dry eye in the house.
4) Yo La Tengo – Boulder Theater, May 21: Catching one of my favorite bands from back home while in the midst of a long, cross-country trip took away some of the homesickness.
3) Overlake – Asbury Lanes, September 19: Watching a great new band coming into their own is an exciting thing, and this performance was tremendous.
2) Stuyvesant – Maxwell’s, June 26: New Jersey’s best band play their final show at their home base.
1) Stuyvesant/The Brixton Riot/The Anderson Council – The Court Tavern, February 9:
Just a great bill. Loads of power pop.