Jonc’s Best of 2013 Lists

Here we go, kids–time again for my personal top favorites of the past year! I’m going a bit retro with the format this time out, as that seems to have been the theme for me this year: revisiting older processes, tweaking them, learning from them, and updating them when and where necessary. Case in point was my end of year compilation, something I’ve been creating, or attempting to create, and sometimes failing for one reason or another, since 1988. There’s another retro thing right there: most if not all of you have heard me go on about that year in music, how influential and exciting it was for me. So I’d decided to go old-school and build it up aesthetically (Rob Fleming from High Fidelity would be proud of me), and in the process, I’ve decided that this year’s Lists will also be the same. Okay, I didn’t start with the countdown lists until the late 90s during my stint at HMV, but still…it’s the return to the countdown that matters!

So without further ado…

JONC’S TOP MUSIC OF 2013

Well, THAT Came Out of Nowhere…: Best Unexpected Releases from Classic Bands and Singers
My Bloody Valentine, mbv
The London Suede, Bloodsports
Boards of Canada, Tomorrow’s Harvest
Paul McCartney, New

‘Don’t You Already Have This?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘But You’re Buying It Anyway?’ ‘Uh…Yes?’: Best Box Sets and Reissues
We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It!!, Bostin’ Steve Austin [Splendiferous Edition]
We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It!!, Big Bang [Orgasmatron Edition]
So happy these two 80s albums finally got a remaster/reissue! Two of my favorites from 1986 and 1989. They couldn’t sound more different from each other (the former is loud and punky, the latter is sleek and poppy), but Fuzzbox were a hell of a lot of fun.
Love and Rockets, 5 Albums
This set is highly recommended; the first four LnR albums plus a disc of rarities, it’s some of the best college rock out there, and a HUGE influence on my own music.
The Clash, Sound System
The seminal punkers finally get a remaster, and OH MAN does this collection sound freakin’ AWESOME. It’s a vast improvement over the original CD masters.

Listening to Their Older Siblings’ Records: Best Retro-Sounding Releases
The History of Apple Pie, Out of View
Panda Riot, Northern Automatic Music
Nightmare Air, High in the Lasers
A number of bands nailed the noisy, dreamy shoegaze sound pioneered by My Bloody Valentine and Lush. Excellent stuff.
Smallpools, Smallpools EP
A four-tracker with sounds lifted straight from Prince’s Revolution days. Synthpoppy goodness.
Savages, Silence Yourself
A band that picks up where the original postpunk left off so many years ago, channeling LiLiPUT and early Siouxsie & the Banshees.
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
This time out the duo borrowed Nile Rodgers for a while to channel some sweet 70s soul and disco beats. Great mix.
Capital Cities, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery
A band firmly stuck in early MTV 1982 new wave, complete with Alphaville keyboards set on “French horn” setting.

I Want My MTV YouTube: Best Videos
Capital Cities, “Safe and Sound”
With a song like this, it’s only fair that it has dancing. And it has a lot of it.
Rogue Wave, “College”
Okay, I admit I only knew there was a video for this about a few days ago. It’s on this list because this was filmed in the Presidio, about a mile or so away from my apartment. I know exactly where that spire is, and have taken many pictures of it! Also: I can’t be sure, but I think they’re riding the 1 California at the beginning and end of this video. 🙂
Cayucas, “High School Lover”
Goofy video, but it fits the goofiness of the song.
Pearl Jam, “Sirens”
The guys look GREAT for a band that’s been around since 1991!
World Order, “Last Dance”
Or, you know, pretty much any World Order video. They’re all awesome. 🙂

Best Songs
20. Johnny Marr, “Generate! Generate!”
19. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Sacrilege”
18. How to Destroy Angels, “Ice Age”
17. The London Suede, “Barriers”
16. Small Black, “Free at Dawn”
15. MS MR, “Hurricane”
14. Low, “Plastic Cup”
13. Boards of Canada, “Reach for the Dead”
12. The Polyphonic Spree, “Popular By Design”
11. My Bloody Valentine, “New You”
10. Rogue Wave, “College”
9. Placebo, “Too Many People”
8. Django Django, “Default”
7. Editors, “A Ton of Love”
6. Wire, “As We Go”
5. Trails and Ways, “Como Te Vas”
4. Pearl Jam, “Sirens”
3. Cayucas, “High School Lover”
2. Bastille, “Pompeii”
1. Dutch Uncles, “Fester”

Best Albums
20. Cut Copy, Free Your Mind
19. Depeche Mode, Delta Machine
18. Small Black, Limits of Desire
17. Little Green Cars, Absolute Zero
16. How to Destroy Angels, Welcome Oblivion
15. MS MR, Secondhand Rapture
14. Beady Eye, BE
13. Bastille, Bad Blood
12. Arctic Monkeys, AM
11. The National, Trouble Will Find Me
10. Dutch Uncles, Out of Touch in the Wild
9. My Bloody Valentine, mbv
8. The Polyphonic Spree, Yes, It’s True.
7. Sleigh Bells, Bitter Rivals
6. Editors, The Weight of Your Love
5. Tired Pony, The Ghost of the Mountain
4. Pearl Jam, Lightning Bolt
3. Wire, Change Becomes Us
2. Johnny Marr, The Messenger
1. Boards of Canada, Tomorrow’s Harvest

Walk in Silence: End of Year Wrap-Up and Plans for 2014

Hi Gang!

I’m sure you all are awaiting the next few Blogging the Beatles posts from me, and granted, I will definitely get to them in the next week or so.  You know how the last few weeks of the year are…a lot of last-minute running around, catching up on things, holiday errands and whatnot, and the end-of-year/end-of-quarter insanity that happens at work.

Over the last day or so I’ve also been building up a classic old-fashioned best-of-year compilation: I may not be committing this music to tape or cd like in the past, but considering it’s been twenty-five years since the first year end compilation I did, I felt it prudent to work within the confines of the original: I’d work in batches of forty-five minutes, as if I were creating this mix on ninety-minute tapes like the ones I’d buy at Radio Shack.  I’d also focus more on the sequencing–over the past few years, I’d basically build a file full of mp3s, jumble them up using random shuffle, and do some final tweaking with songs I wanted in certain positions.  This time out, I’m building the playlist song by song, with specific placement for certain songs.

I’d mentioned on Twitter that I’d chosen We Sing and Dance As We Go: The Singles 2013 for this year’s compilation; this is actually a nod to the first one I made in 1988.  The title comes from Wire’s “As We Go” from their Change Becomes Us album from this year, which closes out Tape 1 at 89 minutes 20 seconds.  The first one had the title of Does Truth Dance? Does Truth Sing?: The Singles 1988, which comes from Wire’s “A Public Place” from their A Bell Is a Cup Until It Is Struck album, which ends Tape 1 on that year’s compilation.  This past year has definitely been one of retromania–college rock bands from the 80s releasing new product, new bands from today releasing sounds very similar to the 80s vibe, and a hell of a lot of impressive reissues and box set retrospectives as well.  I will most likely cover a number of these at the start of the new year.

But yes…as noted on Twitter, I will be posting the playlist for We Sing and Dance As We Go: The Singles 2013 as soon as I complete it.  I will also be working on a year-end post as well.

 

So!  In other news, I have a few more posts to go for the BtB series:

No One’s Gonna Change Our World (featuring “Across the Universe”) and The Beatles’ Seventh Christmas Record

–“Let It Be”/”You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” and Let It Be

–The new songs “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love” (of course I was going to include those!)

Once those are done, I will, as mentioned previously, be ramping up on the music posts here at Walk in Silence.  I plan on posting some kind of record review, whether it’s from the 80s heyday of college rock or something new that just came out.  I’m hoping to get at least one post up per week, but if I can manage another one at some point, that’s fine too.  I’m looking forward to writing up some new articles in the new year, and I hope you’ll enjoy them.

 

Happy Holidays! 🙂