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. 🙂
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”
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