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greymatters

December 8th, 2013

08:49 am - The Year in Music 2013

2013 was an unusually strong year for returning artists from the late 90s and early 2000s. Much of what we got was reminiscent of what we have heard before, but made up for lack of new directions with a basic ability to deliver on established strengths. Want to listen? Check out the spotify playlist.

New artists:
  • Savages blew me away with the shit-kicking punk energy of "Shut Up", and doubled down in their live show
  • Junip's low-key slacker vibe proved perfect for late nights and early mornings
  • I'll be keeping my eye on Berlin-based Perera Elsewhere for her thoughtful trip hop cafe indictments of corruption and ossification
Strong returning artists:
  • Radiohead's Thom Yorke continues to produce twitchy, compelling solo content with this year's "Atoms For Peace"
  • Goldfrapp released her best album since Felt Mountain with "Tales of Us"
  • Sigur Ros steered their glacial sound into a strangely-appropriate metal direction with "Kveikur" (particularly the track Brennisteinn)
  • Even Depeche Mode continues to put out music as strong as their glory days in "Delta Machine"
  • The National doesn't break any new ground with "Trouble Will Find Me", but overall it's solid
  • Trent Reznor's post-NIN vanity project Welcome Oblivion may have been a transparent attempt to let his wife sing on an industrial record, but a female voice works exceptionally well with his sound. His new NIN effort "Hesitation Marks
  • Eluvium successfully added vocals to his dreamy style in "Nightmare Ending"
  • Kronos Quartet teamed up with The National's bassist to produce an incredible contemporary chamber piece "Aheym"
  • I like to joke that Moby's music can probably be algorithmically generated at this point, but it's still good background for getting work done
One-offs:
  • I usually can't stand rap for its self-aggrandizing consumerism, but Kanye West's "I am a God" is so completely bonkers in the extreme of its self-aggrandizing consumerism that it's irresistible. Now bring me my damn croissants.
  • Franz Ferdinand's "Right Action" is the only good song from their new album, but it was the perfect upbeat sountrack to the summer.
  • I wanted to like Neko Case's new album, but only "Wild Creatures" captured that smoky nighttime roadside feel I love so much.
  • DomPeter's mashup of Nine Inch Nails and Carly Ray Jepsen Call Me a Hole was disturbingly brilliant
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