Sunday, December 1, 2013

2013 The Albums - Honorable Mentions

This has become a Thanksgiving weekend tradition for us, beginning the year end music lists of what the calendar served up to the public as the best records of the year. Here is the first list, our HONORABLE MENTIONS category, a handful of records that did not crack our still-to-come Top 10 but worthy of note. Next week we will bring our coveted, LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN award. Stay tuned for that but in the meantime, here are 2013's Honorable Album Mentions. As always it is broken up into a quick list and then with explanation. 

2013 Honorable Mentions (In No Particular Order): 

- David Bowie - The Next Day
- Depeche Mode - Delta Machine
- Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends
- Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
- Haim - Days Are Gone
- Atoms For Peace - AMOK 

Now, With Explanations: 

David Bowie - The Next Day
The Thin White Duke returned with his first album in a decade and one of classic rock’s greatest enigmas and shape-shifters did not disappoint. The Next Day is a rock and roll cabaret that hears Bowie with some of his finest work. With chomping guitars, lyrical stabs at pop culture and paparazzi, pounding drums, and even the occasional sci-fi ballad here and there, The Next Day proves that age is just a number and the reason why fans had to wait was for something this special.
Key Tracks: The Stars (Are Out Tonight), I'd Rather Be High  

Depeche Mode - Delta Machine
The legendary British electro rockers returned for their 13th album and prove that 13 is a lucky number. Depeche Mode have had an amazing career of going strong for four decades now and like a fine wine get better with age, yet, Delta Machine maybe their finest serving in years. Taking queues from their 90’s angst days of Violator, Songs of Faith and Devotion, and Ultra and mixing it with their heavy electronic and experimental sounds of 2005’s Playing the Angel, it is the perfect album from this band going into their latest era. If anyone had any doubt about Depeche Mode in 2013, the band roar to prove they are here to stay.
Key Tracks: Soft Touch / Raw Nerve, Soothe My Soul 

Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends 
While Portugal. The Man have released a record every year from 2006-2011, many fans scratched their heads as to why a record never came out in 2012, yet, the band had an answer – they got a call from Danger Mouse and he wanted to work with the Portland via Alaska art rockers. Pushing back whatever would have came out last year, PTM started fresh with Mouse and managed to really show off to fans that it was worth the wait. Evil Friends is the result of hive minded collaborators, artists, and raw musical talent hard at work. While Danger Mouse added his thumbprint to the bands signature psychedelic sound, he never took anything away from it, in fact he added more. Evil Friends hears elements of funk and jazz, and even slight touches of reggae in the mix. 
Key Tracks: Creep In A T-Shirt, Modern Jesus 

Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
Josh Homme and co. returned for an epic comeback and a fantastic display of pure rock and roll. Queens of the Stone Age pack all the punches with help from Dave Grohl on drums, production by Trent Reznor, and former bassist Nick Oliveri back on board to lend a hand, yet, more superstars like Elton John and Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner displayed their talents for what could be Queens’ best album since their 2002 breakthrough, Songs for the Deaf.
Key Tracks: My God is the Sun, If I Had a Tail 

Haim - Days Are Gone 
The long awaited debut album from California’s favorite sisters finally arrived and did not disappoint. After emerging as one of the most talked about new bands of 2013, Haim’s Days Are Gone is a slithering pop – rock record that combines fun-in-the-sun emotion, killer riffs, heavy beats, and catchy hooks that it will just make you want to play it over and over again. 
Key Tracks: Forever, The Wire 

Atoms For Peace - AMOK 
Thom Yorke returned with his side project, Atoms for Peace and instead of making a second solo LP the band, which began as the touring band who supported Yorke in 2009 crafted their long awaited debut. The band, which consisted of longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Goodrich, Flea, Joey Waronker, and Mauro Refosco, is now much more than just Yorke's "other band." AMOK is the proof of that. It is a band venturing into new musical landscapes and taking electronic elements set forth by artists like Four Tet, Flying Lotus, and Burial, and mixing it with acid jazz and world music, AMOK is much more than just a daring Radiohead venture for Yorke, or just a place where music junkies can jam together and make crazy shit, it is a band that is looking to push the musical landscapes and test their limits as musicians and as music fans.
Key Tracks: Before Your Very Eyes..., Judge Jury and Executioner