2013 has been quite a year for music. Last year I found myself half way through the year thinking about what my top albums were going to be and really struggling with a full top ten. This year I’m struggling to whittle the list down to ten! There has been some stunning music that has pleased my ears and generally made my life a happier place to be. So here goes my top ten…..
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Dan le Sac and Scroobius Pip. Loved their 1st album, 2nd album didn’t gel as well as I’d hoped (the curse of the difficult 2nd album I suppose), and then Repent, Replenish, Repeat came along and boom – straight to the top of my list of the year. It’s darker and noisier than anything they’ve done so far. The lyrics really do rip your nerves up – The first time I heard ‘Terminal’ had me in tears. Whatever Pip has gone through to inspire this album must have been seriously hard but it’s brought about an inspired album that has anger, beauty, pain, joy….it’s pretty close to perfect in my eyes.
Another bolt out of the blue. One of my friends on Facebook posted the video to ‘Iron’ and I was mesmerised. He sounds an awful lot like Antony Hegarty from Anthony and Johnsons, and he uses the most gorgeous instrumentation, and I particularly love the percussion on ‘Run, Boy, Run’. I don’t know much about Woodkid except he used to be a video director, working with the likes of Lana Del Rey – the fact that he didn’t make much music before that and came out with this album makes it even more staggering – naturally the videos for the singles from the albums are gorgeous too. I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.
This band came thundering in to my life from what felt like nowhere, and should have been a band I should have known about for much longer. I think I did my usual following links on Twitter and listening to them and just instantly fell in love with them. Live they are so utterly amazing and most of my happiest times this year have been bouncing around to them singing along like my life depended on it. There is not a single duff track on ‘Til The Death of Rock & Roll’ It’s just this energetic, swaggering punk rock that just does it for me basically! Now let’s just hope they don’t stop now (most members of the band are in other bands with fairly hefty touring/recording schedules which does tend to limit their time for The Loyalties) as I need more of them in my life.
I think it has been heavily noted, mostly by myself, that I give more to my music fangirling and general support of the music I love than to any relationship I have ever been in. I have literally travelled thousands of miles for gigs before now and I don’t see that stopping at any time. In November I decided to go to Paris just to see Brother Dege play live. He had no gigs coming up in London so what else was I going to do? 🙂 It was so completely worth it – he was astounding that night and I got to meet the man after his show and he was so lovely and easy to talk to and I really appreciate it when bands/artists I like take the time out just to talk. Anyways this album could have been a bit further up the chart than number 4 but as it has only been out for just over a month I haven’t had as much time to absorb it, but it’s pretty damn awesome so far and his guitar work is just something I could listen to constantly. Favourite tracks for me are ‘Crazy Motherfucker’ (there’s one part where he has this way of singing crazy that makes me go all weak at the knees!!) and ‘The River’ but overall it’s a fantastic album and I hope he is known for more than just being on the Django Unchained soundtrack as there is so much more to him than that.
Something of a guilty pleasure of mine! Well, maybe that’s the wrong terminology as when I first got in to her her music was a lot more in line with electroswing but her new album sees her moving away from that in favour of a more theatrical, Pop Music. I went to see her live this year and I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but the audience really surprised me! It’s like her music has moved away from hipster friendly dance music to Radio 2 overnight! There were very few people around my age there, and certainly very few vintage dressed types – it was mostly blue rinse brigade!! Not that I’m ageist as I’m not that far away from their age myself but it’s strange how her music has undertaken such a twist. I didn’t get the album straight away and it did take me seeing her live to really get it but it is a solidly awesome pop record. Something easy to sing along to….as I have done frequently….quite possibly to my Neighbours annoyance 🙂
It would be wrong for me to not have a year of my musical life without some mention of Ginger Wildheart along the way. He is one of the most enduring artists in my life, as in, I started to listening to him when I was a teenager and he’s still in my life now. Hey! Hello! are a glorious band of melodic rock and roll and Victoria Liedtke and Ginger just mesh together so well musically. I was a very lucky lady on Tuesday night when I got to see them live as support at the Ginger Wildheart Birthday Gig and a fun and very drunken sing along was had to ‘Swimwear’ and if that isn’t a highlight to last gig of 2013, I don’t know what is!
2013 has been pretty epic for gigs I’ve managed to go to – front row for Bourgeois and Maurice at London Wonderground this summer was much win. I’d never seen them before, but they are a favourite of one of my friends and she was very keen for me to go and see them and I enjoyed every minute. They’re glouriously fun cabaret with a wicked sense of humour who seem to just describe my world view, particularly in their song about social networks….
Why yes, I am a sucker for synthpop. Always have been. This fact has been known to startle people as my image doesn’t fit with it, as I’m a scary rock type….or something, but an album this laden with big melodies and electro goodness is definitely my sort of thing 🙂
A band who in my mind should be utterly bloody massive, and hopefully with their recent Pledge campaign (526% of their goal!!), it may have just given them the spark to keep it going. Remain in Hope is packed full of big rock songs and there’s a lot to love about the band as they are hard working chaps from Yorkshire with a fine line in a big, anthem like pop rock – what’s not to love?
Never been much of a fan of Unwoman’s stuff before this – she has a certain appeal but her stuff is very much towards the goth/steampunky crowd that I never really got, but her covers are something truly astounding. There’s such a wide range of songs on ‘Lemniscate Uncovered Volume 2’ and they are all so very different as it is just her and he cello mostly. Her cover of Talking Heads ‘This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)’ had me loving the song as I never really cared much for the original, so whilst a covers album could kind of be cheating, it’s brought new songs in to my life that I may have not given time to to before which is something I am thankful for. Also her cover of White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’ just rules!
And there are so many more albums that didn’t quite make this cut – not because they aren’t good – but there’s been so much to choose from and so hard to get this list down to 10. So thank you 2013 for being so bountiful! Let’s hope 2014 is the same 🙂