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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Best Albums of 2013 (So Far) 40-31

Albums 40-31

40) The Shouting Matches: Grownass Man - What do you know, another side project by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver)!? Taking a break from his days spent with Kanye, Vernon found time to collaborate on an official album with long-time friends Phil Cook and Peter Moen on a more bluesy project than what we're used to from him. It's a nice change of pace from his usual sound. Not slowing down, he's also releasing another Volcano Choir album later this year. Based on the first single, sounds like it's going to be great in its own right.

Check out said change-of-pace-for-Vernon "Seven Sisters" below

39) Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience - Another who needs no introduction, Timberlake returned to music in 2013 after a bit of a hiatus (2006) to focus on his acting career. Luckily, he didn't return for an N'Sync reunion. He's a much better artist when solo and/or collaborating with other greats, like Jay Z. The 20/20 Experience is part one of his triumphant return to music as part 2 is set for release later this year. 20/20 was a bit of a departure from the norm with 10 tracks coming in around 70 minutes so longer and more intricate than previous releases. This is a good album and could be higher on MY list, but the songs are consistently a tad too long for me to really keep my attention. But that's me.

Everyone knows "Suit & Tie"  and "Mirrors" by now, so check out the fresh opener "Pusher Love Girl" below

38) Little Tybee: For Distant Viewing - Another fun indie band that's been on my radar for a few years but for some reason, never fully resonated with me. The 3rd release, and 2nd under Paper Garden Records, by Little Tybee has an eloquently layered and rich sound. The music is very accessible and needs to be heard by more people. Vocalist Brock Scott's whimsical singing just adds to the sound, almost like another instrument, and flows perfectly. Please, listen to Little Tybee. They deserve your attention.

Check out "Hearing Blue" below

37) Daughter: If You Leave - Another dreamy indie pop addition to the list, Daughter's exquisite debut album. This English trio has been around for a few years and after a couple of EPs, signed with 4AD for the release of their 1st LP, If You Leave, released in March of this year. They did an extremely chill and beautiful rendition of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" back in April. Ballsy, yet glad they did it.

Check out "Youth" below

36) Young Galaxy: Ultramarine - This sextet from Vancouver first caught my attention with their lush sound and phenomenal videos ("We Have Everything" and "Peripheral Visionaries") from their last album, 2011's Shapeshifting. On their 4th release, Ultramarine, Young Galaxy bring their most cohesive album to date. Their synthy dream pop is unique, unlike many others in the genre that might claim to have a similar sound.

Check out "Fall For You" below


35) Frightened Rabbit: Pedestrian Verse - Was lucky enough to finally see these guys play earlier this year at SXSW. Like most chill folky bands, they bring it harder live and put on a great show. This 5-piece Scottish indie rock/folk band takes their sound to a more anthemic level this time around, and they crush it. Not gonna lie, this SHOULD be higher on my list but I haven't given it enough listens to this point, even though I've had it since February. An unfortunate casualty of the epic music of 2013. Luckily, there are still 6 months to change that.

Watch them play "The Woodpile" live on Conan from back in March

34) Hanni El Khatib: Head In the Dirt - Apparently, this is the bluesy section of the list. Khatib enlisted The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach to produce his 2nd full-length album and his presence is obvious from the start. The reverb-drenched garaged-out blues rock shines through in Dirt. Another recent add to my library that will surely grow as the year goes on, especially due to my love for the Keys and similar sounding artists. You may have heard him channel The White Stripes on "You Rascal You" from commercials/TV/movies off his debut Will Guns Come Out.

Check out the opener and title track below

33) SZA: S - Came across the latest release from this New Jersey R&B singer back in April courtesy of one of my favorite music blogs, Gorilla vs Bear. Her voice is amazing and tranquil and she has a pension for tight beats and backing music. Always a good combo. If you're unfamiliar with her, you need to change that.

Check out the catchy and epic "Aftermath" below

32) Thao & the Get Down Stay Down: We the Common - Thao has been on my radar for a few years now but this is the first of their albums I've really been able to dive into head first. Lead by singer/guitarist Thao Nguyen, this San Fran based band brings the alt-rock-folkountry with a vengeful sense of fun. The band's 5th album is very good and includes a collaboration with indie darling Joanna Newsom on the old-timey beautiful Kindness Be Conceived.

Listen to the awesome title track "We The Common" below

31) Small Black: Limits of Desire - The 2nd full-length from this Brooklyn-based quartet caught my attention with lead single "Free At Dawn." The song is in the same arena as the chill Washed Out, that I am a huge fan of. Their sound is a more laid back take on the 80's synth-wave reinvention many bands have taken on these days. I unfortunately missed these guys when they were in town a few weeks ago, a mistake I don't intend to make again. The album cover is a perfect take on the title Limits of Desire, as it features a naked man and woman on either side of the top of a ladder embracing. So close, yet so far from each either.

Check out the stellar "Free At Dawn" below (with the album cover so you get what I'm talking about).

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