Another year is coming to an end, and in honor of 2013, here are a few of my favorite albums of 2013.
1. Wavves | Afraid of Heights
favorite track: Afraid of Heights
The popular surf rock band, Wavves, released their second studio album on Mom + Pop Records earlier this year, and was a larger commercial success than their previous LP, King of the Beach. On this record, Nathan seems to drop the whole ‘California skater’ state of mind, though it does seem to make its occasional appearances, and embeds himself in sorrow for the majority of the record. Afraid of Heights found its way to the top of my 2013 list due to its instantly catchy hooks and powerful grungy anthems. 10/10 in my book.
The long awaited sophomore LP of Brooklyn’s own Beach Fossils, finally came around and after listening to this album, I remembered why Beach Fossils remains as one of my favorite indie rock bands of this time. This record definitely came out with a bang a long with some good intentions. The album comes jam packed with a large collection of dreamy, post punk tracks that could be played for hours on end. With more rising bands playing in this similar style of dreamy, note by note riffs, Beach Fossils really set themselves apart with this record.
After a large amount of success coming in from their first few EP’s, Daughter released their debut album, If You Leave, on 4AD records. From its ambient textures to its powerful lyricism, If You Leave is definitely one of 2013’s most chilling albums.
4. FIDLAR | FIDLAR
favorite track: No Waves
“Fuck It Dude Life’s A Risk”, might be the perfect way to sum up FIDLAR’s (yes, it must be all caps) debut LP. The no good, modern day rock n roll, self titled album comes out locked and loaded for a solid forty minutes, and covers a good portion of a day in the life of FIDLAR. Wether it be indulging themselves in narcotics, surfing, or drinking cheap beer with friends, this album really keeps the energy flowing through a good fourteen tracks.
19 year old singer songwriter, Archie Marshall released his official debut album on XL Recordings, and it really seems to set the level for most modern day musicians. The album features a collection of both new and old songs that feature strong chord progressions, hard hitting textures, and above all, strong lead vocals. The mix of influences really adds to this masterpiece from quiet and subtle songs to intense expressive ballads. There’s even a little sax solo.
Probably on everybody’s best of 2013 list is Deafheaven’s second studio LP, Sunbather. Whether you’re a fan of metal or not, this album will definitely hit you hard. The album stretches out to an hour long on seven tracks, each filled with a dreamy feel that will have the listener mesmerized. This album without a doubt is a big highlight of 2013.
7. The Growlers | Hung At Heart
favorite track: One Million Lovers
The Growlers hold very distinct attributes to their name. It’s their own genre really, and Hung At Heart is a perfect example of this. This is the 3rd album by the popular beach goth band, and it seems to be their best. Though their music hasn’t really seemed to evolve since their first album back in 2009, it holds a certain quality to it that keeps it fresh and exciting. Hung At Heart features fifteen incredibly catchy tunes that kept me entertained from beginning to end.
8. Smith Westerns | Soft Will
favorite track: Varsity
Soft Will is the third studio LP of Chicago rockers, Smith Westerns. It features the lovable qualities of their previous records, such as catchy choruses, groovy guitar solos, and ambivalent songwriting. The Smith Westerns definitely have come a long way since their first album though, more than just production wise. Soft Will features a large handful of tracks that really put their best and catchiest work away. Did I mention it was catchy?
2013 was definitely a good year for bands to release their debut albums. Most of them rose to the top, and Bleached was no exception. The Los Angeles, indie rock girl squad, released their first full length on Dead Oceans records and was quickly praised by everybody. The album features the common indie rock sounds that you would expect would hail from the California area, but with memorable hooks that make each song as good as the next. The album also features a mix of influences that lets Bleached stand out from any other indie rock band currently out on the market.
10. Pity Sex | Feast Of Love
favorite track: Drawstring
With many new bands coming up, the emo revival era is still growing strong. Pity Sex being one of those bands, released their debut earlier this year on Run For Cover records. The Michigan band released an EP, Dark World, last year that gathered a lot of buzz and also got them a deal with RFC. Feast Of Love is now their follow up and stretches out on ideas Dark World couldn’t. This album shows growth and development from their previous work and it seems as if they branched out into a more shoegazey type of atmosphere. Along with sound and production improvement, the album features fantastic songwriting accompanied by a mix of the band’s lead singers. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.
This band and their fans are something special. More people showed up for this Tumblr IRL than any other before it, and the smiles didn’t stop.
With the help of longtime collaborators, thebaxley (that’s husband and wife duo Ryan and Alice), and zcrytuff, fidlar dressed LA’s The Well with two years’ worth of a Tumblr, as well as life-sized versions of their album artwork and R. Kelly times two.
Fans in attendance got to design their very own, limited edition vinyl sleeves, and silk screen unique artwork on top, or on anything they wore that night. fidlar treated the crowd to a steamy show, with oldies and new tracks from the album, Fidlar Too.
Official music video for 40oz. On Repeat by FIDLAR, from their upcoming album “Too”. Video directed by Ryan Baxley.
I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me To talk to somebody I don’t know Well I’ve tried to ask you out about a thousand times In my head, you just always say “no”
And I don’t care at all, I’ll drink some alcohol It’ll make me who I really wanna be But I’m that kind of special person that drinks too much Cause nobody understands me
Because everybody’s got somebody, everybody but me Why can’t anybody just tell me that I’m somebody’s?
I’m gonna lock myself inside my room With this 40 ounce on repeat
I thought that if I cleaned up my act It’ll help me understand exactly who I am But I hate to say that it just don’t work like that Cause I’m a special individual I don’t need no plan
But I got bills to pay, and I got pills to take Cause I’m born and raised in the USA And I’ll just scream and shout, that I’ll never sell out I’ll never sell out, man! Wait… how much?
Because everybody’s got more money, they got more money than me Why can’t anybody just give me some more money? Because everybody’s got somebody, everybody but me Why can’t anybody just tell me that I’m somebody’s?
I’m gonna lock myself inside my room, with the television on repeat
Because everybody’s got somebody, everybody but me Why can’t anybody just tell me that I’m somebody’s? Because everybody’s got somebody, everybody but me Why can’t anybody just tell me that I’m somebody’s?
I’m gonna lock myself inside my room, with this 40 ounce on repeat
Does FIDLAR have a single song that’s not about getting drunk and high? Well, sort of. They also have songs about skating! And hangovers! I know I’m making this sound really exciting, but in all seriousness, the LA based garage-punk/surf-rock outfit does have a few choice cuts. “Blackout Stout” is composed of a rough and tumble backdrop that’s pierced by guitar whines, synchronized backup vocals, and muffled hand-claps as the former skate crew tells that ever familiar story of trying to find a way home after getting much too drunk. The song is probably as good as anything fellow LA slacker-king Wavves has released, and he’s not too bad, right? PS, this probably goes without saying, but it sounds even better after a few cheap beers.
Best Moment: Those guitar whines, which first begin puncturing our brain at 0:16.