Talkin’ Salad’s TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2013
It’s hard for me to listen to a whole album. That’s a lot of time that I don’t have. But this year was remarkable for the long player and I’ve put together a list of my favorites. Keep in mind there were so many more albums that I never got a chance to listen to and trust me, that frustrates the shit out of me. For instance, I never listened to James Holden’s album. I dont know why, I just haven’t. It’s not like I don’t want to. I love James but I just haven’t found the time. Same goes for Volcano Choir, Youth Lagoon, Yo La Tengo, Nosaj Thing, Dean Blunt and so many more. However, you may notice a few albums that didn’t make this list that I actually did listen to like Boards of Canada (sounds like every other album they did only not as good), Blood Orange (Ugh, don’t even get me started. So disappointed with this. Beyond cheesy. I feel like I’m being ear raped by a Teletubbie.) and Daft Punk (Stupid.).
So this is the list of the Top Albums I’ve listened to this year. I wish I could have listened to more but I was a bit busy, sorry.
20. Huerco S. “Colonial Patterns”
He hails from Kanas City. Which would explain why his shit is so fucking twisted and weird and dark and cold and mostly a headfuck. I’ve been to Kanas City. Shit is bleak. This album is not dancefloor friendly at all. Unless you’re the type of DJ who tries really hard to play music that makes you standout and be different but in turn alienates everyone in the room. I’ve seen/heard those types and trust me, you’re fucking annoying. 95% of the people in the room want to smack you. I say 95 because there are always like a handful of hipsters that cream in their pants for this stuff at a club. I prefer to listen at home.
19. Devendra Banhart “Mala”
His claim to fame is that he dated Natalie Portman for a while. But little did you know, he is actually really good at singing and making music. His album Mala is full of true to life lyrics like “If he doesn’t try his best, please remember that i never tried at all.”
18. A$AP Rocky “Long. Live. A$AP”
I honestly love the song Skrillex produced (see below). Really, I’m not joking. It makes me wanna be a stupid kid again and be all aggressive. But please, for the life of me, don’t ask me what the hell he’s doing with Rocky in Jamaica. Besides jumping around and looking very white.
17. Blue Hawaii “Untogether”
It’s emo and has nice melodies.
16. Tim Hecker “Virgins”
A time and a place. That would describe most of Tim Hecker’s music and albums. Ambient, soundscape and chillout are also genres I suppose you could use. I’m not one for genres and shit so I like to call it really pretty music. It reminds me of cold grey winter days. It may not be the most uplifting music but I never said I was here to soundtrack your annoying “inspirational quote” of a life.
15. James Blake “Overgrown”
"I’ve been a James Blake fan before all these idiots thought it was cool!",says the High School version of me who wants to drop kick every jock wearing the T-Shirt from the new album. To be honest, I don’t even know if it’s cool to be a fan anymore and to be double honest, I could care fucking less if it’s cool or not. I love his voice, his live show is insane, and his music makes me feel good.
14. Nils Frahm “Spaces”
Do yourself a favor and take 9 and a half minutes out of your busy day checking Facebook and posting Instagram photos of your disgusting food and watch this video of him perform one of my favorite songs on the album. This should have been in my Top Songs of the Year list. Fuck. I totally forgot about this. Ugh. Anyways, watch the video. This album is brilliant.
13. Jon Hopkins “Immunity”
One of the most talented artists in the game. “What game is that?”, you ask? I don’t know, I was just trying to sound more street. Fuck you. The dude collaborated with Brian Eno at like 23 years old. What were you doing at 23? I was playing Paul Oakenfold records and liquid dancing at all night raves in Brooklyn. Loser.
12. Forest Swords “Engravings”
I’ve been into these guys (Or guy, singular. Or girl. I actually have no idea how many people make up this band. Super into them though.) since they burst onto the scene with that cover of Aaliyah’s “if your girl”. So I was really excited when Boomkat sent me an email saying their new album was available. I bought it and enjoyed it thoroughly.
I realize I’m not really describing these albums or using any fancy words and phrases like “harmonic progression” or “oscillating synths”. That’s because I’m not a music journalist and I fucking hate when I read reviews with that type of nerd mania jargon. The average person doesn’t listen to music like that so I’m just telling you if it’s good or not. And if it’s in this list, then it’s obviously good.
11. Caveman “Caveman”
This is a tough one for me, personally. This album came out around the time my mother passed away. It was obviously a life altering and beyond surreal moment of my life. I remember driving around in a haze, trying to get everything in order. Wills, deeds, funeral arrangements, my mind, etc. All to the sounds of this album. Unfortunately this will stick with me for the rest of my life and I’ll probably never be able to truly go back and listen to this album in full. It’s just one of those things. It brings back too many hard memories. But it still ranks as one of the best of the year.
The song below hit especially hard as I watched the cancer slowly take my mother from the physical to the beyond. An experience that so many people before me have had to bear witness to in their life and one that I will never forget. But like I always say, this is “life music”. These are the types of albums, songs and sounds that people listen to when life hits you in the face. Whether good or bad. Births, deaths, breakups or makeups. Who’s playing a house or techno record during these moments? I’m sure as hell not.
10. Kurt Vile “Wakin On A Pretty Daze”
A solid album from start to finish. Great driving album, at home cleaning album, great new love album (listening to this with the new girlfriend, boyfriend or sexual partner in your life). Philly (Philadelphia, for our international readers) born Kurt Vile has been making albums like this since 2008. He’s an indie crooner…or something. That word crooner is terrible. Not sure why it bothers me so much. Anyways, great album.
9. Arcade Fire “Reflektor”
I can totally see why some people hated this album. It’s definitely a little cheesier, has some terrible lyrics (way too much heaven talk) and way more pop appeal then their past albums. But I love it. The songs are so catchy and have such a good vibe to them. I listen to a lot of deeper, moodier sounds as you can see from this list. So I think this was a breath of fresh air for my current playlist. I had an extra skip in my step listening to this and an overall feeling of not giving a single fuck. More than usual.
8. Wraetlic “Wraetlic”
This is Alex Smoke’s side project that should maybe be his main project. That’s not a swipe at his original productions. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, it’s just that this album is something beyond. I’m surprised I’m not seeing it on more best of lists. But whatever, I also saw Vampire Weekend on those lists so obviously they have terrible taste in music.
7. Machinedrum “Vapor City”
This album is really catchy. His mustache is super interesting as well. I just like this album a lot. No reason why it’s so high on the list but I found myself going back to it a bunch.
6. Darkside “Psychic”
I had the pleasure of being on tour in Australia during the same time as these guys. We had some dinners, got to hang, talk shop, music, shit that annoys us, conspiracy theories, etc. It was refreshing. I’ve known Nico for a few years but most of our time spent was before his rise to fame. So I was curious what had changed. He was 18 then and surely all this success would have gone to his head, making him unbearable and someone I’d be annoyed with within seconds. I’ve seen it happen with so many others so I was prepared for it. But it wasn’t like that at all. I enjoyed our conversations, the jokes, the small talk and most of all, the fact that he hasn’t lost touch with reality. He’s still grounded and continues to go out there and perform on a level that most ego driven DJ’s could only dream of. Love his music or hate it (It seems to be a very polarizing topic for some reason), his talent is inescapable.
This album is further proof that he is at the top of his game. However, I am in no way failing to recognize how much Dave Harrington brings to the table. Sadly he gets overlooked by the magnitude of Nico’s stardom. That’s a shame because it’s the combination of both artists that makes this album such a thing of beauty. The video below is a perfect example.
5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra “II”
It’s a rock album and a fucking brilliant one at that. It’s just quality song writing and riffs and rock parts and electric guitars and long hair and groupies and heroin and picks and guitar solos (I’m just naming Rock & Roll things at this point.). Watch some marionettes masturbate in the video below. That’s pretty Rock & Roll.
4. Jai Paul “Demos”
I don’t know what the hell happened here. Apparently someone leaked this album, with full artwork, but Jai Paul himself didn’t actually make a statement until 3 days later after a shit load of people paid up to £8 for it. It’s all a bit fishy if you ask me. I actually paid money for it thinking it was an official release and whatever, it was worth it. This is the album Blood Orange wish he made. Or I wish he made. Sex jams through and through.
3. Mount Kimbie “Cold Spring Fault Less Youth”
I was worried about these guys for a bit. It seemed like decades went by since their last album and I thought well maybe they just ran out of ideas. I was wrong, thankfully. This album is one giant great idea. Loves it. (I’m aware Paris Hilton says “loves it” and I was just trying it out there. Speaking of great ideas. That was not one.)
2. Four Tet “Beautiful Rewind”
Kieran is one of those rare artists that exudes so much god damn talent and yet remains so humble and down to earth it makes you sick. I look at a guy like him who goes out and makes an album like this and then look at (insert popular talentless douchebag producer who makes way too much money and gets way too much recognition here) and I just want to give up on humanity but then I also don’t want to give up because there are still artists like Four Tet around. I’m not sure any of that made sense. Basically, he’s one of the most gifted producers our generation has seen and he’s remarkably chill as well.
1. Atoms For Peace “Amok”
I have to admit, at first listen I was like meh, sounds like a Radiohead album. Which is NEVER a bad thing but with so much anticipation for this new project I really was hoping for something different. So I let it sit for a few months and came back to it with headphones and time to really let it sink in. Wow, I heard something completely different and mind blowing that I proceeded to listen to the album on repeat for months on end. I think Thom’s voice is so iconic and recognizable that you automatically write things off as Radiohead no matter what the project is. But at a closer listen, once you really dissect this album, you realize how special it really is. I know this may be going out on a limb but if I had to rank this with everything he’s done, I would put this up there with Kid A, OK Computer and In Rainbows. I got to see them (Nigel and Thom) along with Tarik Barri’s visuals live at Berghain in Berlin and it was one of the best live performances I have ever experienced.
This is one of those albums where my favorite song changed every time I listened.
Talkin’ Salad’s TOP 38 SONGS OF 2013
Holy shit, so much great music this year! I know, every year has great music but for some reason this year felt like it was coming from every direction. At one point I was like, ok, enough, chill the fuck out. Sometimes I’ll have so much great music to listen to that I literally get anxiety and freak out (like mini freakouts not full blown shitstorms). First world problems, I know.
So once again I’ve sat on my computer for around 12 minutes and compiled the top songs that made me freak out and touched me in a special way. I hope they touch you too.
SIDE NOTE: some of these videos have restrictions and cant be played on other sites so you’ll have to watch/listen to them on YouTube. Just click the little logo and you’ll be fine. No more tears.
38. Huerco S. “Struck Eith Deer Lungs”
37. Mount Kimbie “Home Recording”
36. Wraetlic “Hymn to the Departed”
35. James Blake “Digital Lion”
34. A$AP ROCKY “Hell feat. Santigold”
33. The Flaming Lips “Always There…In Our Hearts”
32. The National “Humiliation”
31. Joe “Slope”
30. Boards of Canada “Transmisiones Ferox”
29. Devendra Banhart “Für Hildegard von Bingen”
28. Joe “Maximum Busy Muscle”
27. Deerhunter “T.H.M.”
26. Kurt Vile “Girl Called Alex”
25. The Invisible “The Stain” (Illum Sphere remix)
24. Tim Hecker “Live Room Out”
23. Mazzy Star “California”
22. Caveman “I See You”
21. Fout Tet “Our Navigation”
20. Moratu “Fruntaelta”
19. Forest Swords “An Hour”
18. Koreless “Ivana”
17. Barker & Baumecker “No Body” (Machinedrum Remix)
16. Jai Paul “Track 11”
From his leaked album so there are no samples online, sorry. BUUTTT, it’s the last song on my Ibiza Voice Podcast so check it out HERE. Cheaky self promotion…
15. James Blake “I Am Sold”
14. Flying Lotus “Between Friends ft. Earl Sweatshirt and Captain Murphy”
13. Machinedrum “Rise N Fall”
12. Grizzly Bear “Will Calls” (Marfa Demo)
11. Darkside “Freak, Go Home”
10. Visullucid “SW”
So this was a serious late entry as I just got this track last week and played it for the first time in Miami for Art Basel. It was one of the last tracks in my set and it set off a serious moment. Like when the whole night culminates into one epic, hair on the back of your neck standing up, every drug from the last decade kicking in moment. That moment being the incredible pads that come in at the end. I swear everyone in the room was crying and wanting to have my child (side note: most of the people in the room at this hour were men). Regardless, that moment lasted for years in my head and I instantly told myself this would be going in this list. It’s from Romania, as if they need more amazing producers. Go buy the vinyl.
9. Mount Kimbie “You Took Your Time feat. King Krule (Oneman Remix feat. Jeremiah Jae)”
Just a great remix from Oneman. The original is superb as well but he just stepped it up a notch, added some new verses from Jeremiah Jae (Which sounds like an Amish hip hop name. Not very “street” at all. May wanna go back and think that one over.) Note to self: google “Amish hip hop”.
8. Four Tet “Aerial”
Well, we all know how insanely gifted Four Tet is. So when his album came out this year, I was not the least bit surprised at how many standout tracks were on there. I have “Our Navigation” also on this list and I could have easily added 3 more. Aerial is just beautiful and nasty all wrapped in one. How many other producers can accomplish that? No one. Maybe Burial. But we won’t even go there….
7. Jon Hopkins “Abandon Window” Immunity Album Version
Looking for a song to lay in your bed during a grey cold winter’s day and cry yourself to sleep? Well, here you go. You’re welcome.
The original came out a few years ago for a Japenese Relief compilation, For Nihon, and to this day it is still one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Now with the release of his latest album (which is incredible), Jon Hopkins stripped things back a bit and brought a more acoustic version, if you will. Equally as stunning, just as heartbreaking, there’s really not much else to say except beautiful.
6. Arcade Fire “Afterlife”
I swear to you I was running around New York City with this blasting in my headphones, giving imaginary hi-fives to everyone on the street and just accomplishing shit. Whether it was ordering a slice of pizza or crossing the street, I fucking owned it to this song. It was like I was living in one giant, go out and be somebody, montage. “Can we work it, scream and shout, till we work it out!”. Seriously, lets work it out everyone!
Ok, lets get back to some more emo stuff.
5. Blue Hawaii “Try To Be”
The sweet caress of her voice wrapping around you whilst you take in a sunrise somewhere in Asia or stare out the window of plane on your way to see her after months apart. It’s all the same movie in your head that’s been playing for the last 36 years. The only thing that changes is the soundtrack.
4. Atoms For Peace “AMOK”
OF COURSE there was going to be some type of Radiohead song on this list! Do you even know me? For any of you dummys who don’t know who Atoms for Peace are, well, I dont even care to explain. Google them. This song just builds, slowly, until you reach those last 2 minutes when Thom belts out that “ooooooh oooh ooooh oooohooooohhh”. It comes in 3 times and fuck, every time, chills.
3. Unknown Mortal Orchestra “Monki”
Such a jam. These guys are new to me and this album was such a nice surprise (thank you, Mr. Yap). The guitar solo in the middle, pff, so good. Make babies to this song. Now.
2. Kurt Vile “Wakin On A Pretty Day”
This song came out around spring time and it’s pretty much the most perfect song for walking on a pretty spring day. I mean, you just want to be outside doing spring shit and being active. It just keeps going too. Coming in at a whopping nine and a half minutes, you can really do so many activities to this song. It’s just a lovely tune and some really nice song writing in a time when most of the shit you hear (on the radio) makes you want to wipe out a whole generation of idiot kids and musicians.
1. Atoms For Peace “Ingenue”
Ok seriously, I don’t even want to hear it from you. Yeah I know I’m predictable and I know I love Radiohead and Thom Yorke and everything that is associated with them and sure, it’s probably boring to be this obvious, but can you blame me? I mean, come on, listen to this fucking song, watch this incredibly beautiful video, tell me you don’t want to just give up doing everything because of how inadequate you are. Ok, well maybe that’s just me. This is how they make me feel. It’s something I’ll have to deal with. But as long as they keep making music like this, I’ll happily deal with it.
You know why this song is the best song of 2013? Because it was released at the beginning of the year and I still get goosebumps and that lump in my throat holding back tears when I listen to it. The bassline change towards the end, the just ridiculous vocal arrangement and not to mention that video that just crushes your heart. The symmetry of a relationship in the beginning which in the end breaks apart into two unsynchronized paths. That’s my interpretation, anyways. What’s not up for interpretation is this song. It’s brilliant and it belongs at number 1. Well done Thom and Nigel.