Best of 2013 So Far

As we are already past the halfway point in 2013 (scary, I know), Caroline and I took some time to look back on all of the amazing music that has been released thus far. We each chose a song and an album to highlight from our growing list of favorites and explained why you need to hear these artists right now if you haven’t already. And since we’re such nice and considerate people we also created a Spotify playlist that features a spattering of additional songs from our favorite artists of 2013 including Houndmouth, San Fermin, Phox, Caroline Rose, Vampire Weekend, Tallahassee, and more. Read on to hear about our favorites and make sure to subscribe to the playlist at the bottom of the page to hear the finest that 2013 has had to offer.

Eric’s Picks

Lady Lamb the BeekeeperRipely Pine

Many times when an album comes out early in the year it can be difficult for those songs to stay top of mind when making your year-end lists. Even though we are just past the midpoint of 2013, I highly doubt that Lady Lamb the Beekeeper’s Ripely Pine will soon be forgotten when December rolls around. Ever since Aly Spaltro released her debut LP under the LLTB moniker back in February, I haven’t gone more than a week without listening to it and that’s no lie. With a full band to support her songwriting, Spaltro created a sprawling, epic, and breathtaking album that has not yet been topped in 2013, at least in my book. The raw emotion, and passion in Spaltro’s songwriting is what makes me keep coming back and listening again and again. Try out “Bird Balloons”, “You Are The Apple”, and “Crane Your Neck” and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Charles Bradley– “Strictly Reserved For You”

In 2011 former James Brown impersonator, Charles Bradley, burst onto the scene with his debut LP No Time For Dreaming which featured the massive hit “The World (Is Going Up In Flames).” By now we all know his inspiring story of hardship and struggle that has led to his fairytale success, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit skeptical as to how he would follow all of that up. To say I was pleasantly surprised with 2013’s Victim of Love would be a vast understatement. The album is dripping with soul as Bradley pours his heart into every lyric, with his cohorts in the Menahan Street Band putting the exclamation point at the end of each phrase. This is especially true on the album’s opening track and lead single, “Strictly Reserved For You.” From the first hum of Bradley’s voice, to the distorted guitar lick that makes you want to melt, and all the way through the final guitar solo, this song has so much soul it’s hard not to get up and bust a move every time I hear it.

Caroline’s Picks

Laura MarlingOnce I Was An Eagle

“The voice of a generation” is an expression that gets thrown around loosely. When talking about Laura Marling, I offer up that phrase at every chance I can get – and come at me bro, I’m ready to defend it. Ever since 2008’s “New Romantic,” Marling has nailed the plight of young love in the most authentic way I’ve ever heard.  Singing over stormy guitar and percussion on Once I Was An Eagle her vocal performance effortlessly reflects the infinite emotions that she’s working through. Sometimes scarred and fragile, sometimes burned and ruthless, and often somewhere in between, Marling’s lyrics and delivery are always real. By revealing her own self so earnestly, Laura Marling ends up speaking for us all.

Frightened Rabbit– “Acts of Man”

With Frightened Rabbit’s latest album Pedestrian Verse, lead singer Scott Hutchinson has quickly become pop culture’s latest and greatest antihero. Hutchinson drags us through his tormented highs and lows on each stunning track, particularly the album opener “Acts of Man.” Hutchinson becomes every woman’s worst nightmare realized when he mourns: “Man, he breeds although he shouldn’t/ He’s breeding just because he comes/ Acts the father for a minute/ Til the worst instincts return.” Seriously, Don Draper much? Yet soon after he admits, “I have never wanted more to be your man/ And build a house around you,” and suddenly all is forgiven. How such self-loathing, sorrow, and ultimately hope can be packed into one short song still baffles me. Pedestrian verses, these are not.

Posted on by Eric in Best of 2013, M&T Favorites

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