Yeah, I’m a few days late with this, but if people can start posting their year end lists Dec. 1st, I can get mine posted 10 days into the new year. Ha.
1. Pinkish Black – Razed To The Ground
Fort Worth’s favorite doom and gloom synth/drums duo followed up their stellar 2012 Self Titled release with another masterpiece. Redefining what heavy can be and how it can be represented, Razed To The Ground found Daron Beck and Jon Teague mining howling dark drone from the netherworlds.
2. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
The most polarizing band in North America, Arcade Fire brought forth arguably the year’s best post-punk record. People love to hate this band, and at times they don’t make it easy to defend them, but the music here speaks for itself. I had originally said this would be my 4th favorite Arcade Fire record, and meant it as a jab. The more I listened and louder I turned it up, the better and better it became. Free your mind of preconceived notions about them and just turn it up. You’ll be happier for it.
3. Windhand – Soma
Came across Windhand earlier in 2013 through their split with Cough (which is fantastic too) and eagerly awaited the release of their second full length. Soma is soul crushing doom metal at it’s finest, although accessible as well. You should all buy this on LP and let their organic delivery sweep you up.
4. Sigur Ros – Kveikur
Could I do a year end list without including a new Sigur Ros record? Nope. Kveikur is more captivating than their previous album, Valtari, bringing the listener in more, versus leaving them in the cold, Icelandic soundscapes.
5. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds– Push The Sky Away
A more subdued offering from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Push The Sky Away compiles 9 tracks of plodding, mid tempo selections that came alive in such a bombastic fashion live you understood why they were recorded in this way.
6. My Bloody Valentine – MBV
22 years in the making had My Bloody Valentine fans salivating at the announcement of a new record. But how does one live up to 22 years of speculation? It’s nearly impossible. 9 tracks seemingly broken into three 3 song arcs had some fans elated while others complained about feeling like Loveless throwaways. For my money, who cares? It’s a new My Bloody Valentine record and that’s all that mattered. Just enjoy it, weenies!
7. The Mavericks – In Time
Tremendous comeback from one of the more underrated and overlooked acts in country music history. Raul Malo’s vocals are hard to beat, and the band continued to wander down their country/Tejano/lounge/rock/pop path forging only a sound indicative of The Mavericks.
8. David Bowie – The Next Day
I cannot tell a lie. I was originally underwhelmed by this record. I was thrilled to have new Bowie, but wasn’t sure if I really liked it or not. I thought the second half was much stronger in the beginning, but alas I was wrong. The Next Day is a strong installment from one of our greatest musical treasures. I apologize for doubting you, Mr. Bowie.
9. Esben and the Witch – Wash the Sins, Not Only the Face
The sophomore effort from British trio Esben and the Witch wasn’t as chaotic as I had hoped it to be. Seeing them in 2011 on Violet Cries, their delivery was almost frightening and violent, and I had expected that to rub off onto their next record. What we got was a maturing slab of indie-goth befitting a band in the midst of growth. I pray there’s another record soon.
10. Southern Train Gypsy – The Bastard
Fort Worth’s finest metal band – according to FWWeekly (2 years running) – released a quaint little 5 track ep this year. Part breakup concept record, part rip you to shreds southern swamp metal, Southern Train Gypsy continued to blow ears and audiences away with The Bastard and blistering live shows to boot. Are you on the STG tip? Well why not?
11. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
12. Savages – Silence Yourself
13. Kylesa – Ultraviolet
14. Melvins – Tres Cabrones
15. Power Trip – Manifest Decimation
16. Quiet Company – A Dead Man On My Back
17. Eddie Spaghetti – The Value of Nothing
18. True Widow – Circumambulation
19. Wire Nest – Wire Nest
20. Chelsea Light Moving – Chelsea Light Moving
21. Okkervil River – The Silver Gymnasium
22. Wooden Sjhips – Back To Land
23. In Solitude – Sister
24. Black Joe Lewis – Electric Slave
25. Guided By Voices – English Little League
Got out and saw a few shows this past year. Still, not as many as I’d liked, but hey, I’m getting old. Seeing Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in March at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium was incredible. The fastest 100 minutes of the year, easily. He could have played another 3 hours and not a soul would’ve complained. Coming in at a really close second would be Sigur Ros at Verizon the following month, although I didn’t understand a single word uttered that night.
Slayer roared into Dallas with their new, probably final lineup in the wake of Jeff Hanneman’s passing and the exit of Dave Lombardo. I’ve been pretty harsh about both new players, Paul Bostaph and especially Gary Holt in the past , but this version, and the setlist they pulled – nothing past 1990’s Seasons In The Abyss – brought about a band with more vigor and cohesion than they’ve portrayed in years, making 23 years plus old music sound as relevant and fresh as today. I went in skeptical, and came out sold. This is Slayer. Love it. Embrace it.
In what was possibly the final installment of 35 Denton festival provided several noteworthy sets this year, leading with Sleep, Pallbearer, Chelsea Light Moving, Pinkish Black, Power Trip, Roky Erickson and Brutal Juice. Caught Muse again, and while it was still a great show, it did not match their 2010 outing whatsoever. Caught Blondie and X at, of all places, the Texas State Fair, then witnessed Windhand and Solomon decimate The Grotto afterwards. Also went to the most undersold show of the year, My Bloody Valentine at Verizon Theater in August. I’m being generous at estimating 1,200 at this show (venue seats 7,000) but was great nonetheless, even with a couple of start/stop songs thrown in.
Baboon put their best foot forward with a rare appearance during Dia de los Toadies Seis this year, reminding everyone why they are one of D/FW’s greatest live acts, while the Toadies sets both nights at Dia offered some surprises and their end of December show at Billy Bob’s just brought the rock. It’s nice to see they don’t have to rely on Rubberneck so heavily anymore with so many solid releases to choose from.
And with a Melvins and a Supersuckers show to round out the year, I’d say 2013 was pretty eventful! 2014 has already kicked off with a stellar Murder City Devils show, let’s see where the rest of the year takes us!