Sunday, 26 January 2014
Best of 2013 - Music (Part 1)
Pretty late to put up a best of 2013, but here they are nonetheless. First up is my best albums of last year. Like the 2012 edition, this focuses on the best albums I bought last year, regardless of when they were actually released.
I bought lots of really great albums last year, so I've split this list into two random parts.
Belle & Sebastian - Push Barman to Open Old Wounds
This two CD set pulls together the various B&S b-sides and rarities (of which there are many). The band clearly produce more quality material than fits of their records, because the quality here is high. They've also just released a new CD pulling together all the outtakes etc released since this one.
Divine Fits - A Thing Called...
Hard to go wrong with a band featuring Britt Daniel & Dan Boeckner. I wasn't initially sure what to make of this record since it doesn't quite sound like what I'd expected, but judged on it's own terms its a really great album (and their show at the Corner was great too).
Handsome Furs - Plague Park
After getting into the Divine Fits album I went out and grabbed some Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade records. My favourite (at least so far) is Plague Park. There's probably only one or two albums that I've listened to more times, which is a reflection of the fact that this is such a focussed album that maintains itself incredibly well.
Mahalia Jackson - Newport 1958
And now for something completely different. Mahalia Jackson is one of the great gospel singers and this is one of her most famous albums. The songs are beautiful, her voice is amazing and the crowd are enthusiastic. If you only own one gospel record this is the one to go for.
Mutton Birds - Salty
I'm a big fan of the Mutton Birds/Don McGlashan (I've posted a nice recording of his 2012 solo show and will be putting up a good recording of his show with Dave Dobbyn a couple of months back). Salty is the band's second album and, although it maybe doesn't quite reach the heights of their self-titled debut, tracks like The Heater, Wellington, and Queen's English ensure that this is still a classic.
Otis Redding - Otis Blu/Otis Redding Sings Soul
I think some of Otis' live recordings made last years best of list, but in my opinion if you only own one album, this is the one to go for. It might not contain his most famous song, but it does have the original version of Respect, Shake, I've Been Loving You Too Long, and his cover of the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction (which Keith Richards said sounded the way he had originally intended it to).
Waterboys - This Is the Sea
The Waterboys show was great, and this is their best known (and arguably best) album. That's in large part because of the presence of The Whole of the Moon, but every track on this album deserves five stars.
Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory
I wasn't particularly impressed by their Laneway show, and the sideshow was damaged by forces beyond their control, but this is still a great record.
Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
I'm not very good at picking what songs/albums/bands will prove to be successful. I would have put money on Sharon Van Etten's Serpents being a big hit, with it's catchy tune, great lyrics, and sing/yell along chorus (Serpents in my mind!). But I would have lost that money. Hopefully her next album will have something that sends people back to discover her back catalogue, because this is an album that deserved a much wider audience.
Paul Kelly - A to Z Recordings
The accompanying book made my best books list and the recording is just as good. This approach is much better than just putting out a massive 'best of' box set like most artists do. It really makes me wish I had a long road trip coming up so I could listen to it from start to finish.
Labels: Best of 2013