Monday, December 30, 2013

Dedicated Ears 2013 Most Listened to Albums/EP's

This past year I downloaded some 500 albums and have listened less and less to the big labels. Love the lo fi production and DIY attitudes. No big surprise that Pretty Little Empire is at the top. I love the way their sound grew. I want to say thanks to all the acts for playing such great music, and also all of the bands that have legal free downloads, I appreciate it. I was fortunate to continue my friendship and musical exchange program with DC and the fine people at The Waiting Room. Also, a big thanks to Tom Schraeder for including me in his Chicago, I love You festival. Also, thanks to August and the people at NOVO for the recommendations as well.
1.  Pretty Little Empire - Pretty Little Empire St. Louis four piece driven by Justin Johnson's every man song-writing and backed up most excellently by William Godfred,  Wade Durbin and Evan O'Neal. My favorite song keeps switching, as it should when dealing with a masterful album. As of late "You Are The One" is my jam. 
2. Lapland - Lapland   Josh Mease vehicle that taps into Josh's jazz influences and dream folk, but as well a electronic touches which work to great effect with his signature style as on the track "Overboard".
3. Ant The Symbol - Anthony Part G: Hardlyworking Truly "alternative hip hop"  is what Richmond based Ant The Symbol is selling, and I am buying. This is the quintessential "set to repeat" album. So many hooks, so little time. "Enter The Symbol" is so, damn, good!
4. Sheep, Dog, Wolf - Egospect  Daniel McBride is Sheep, Dog and Wolf and he hails from New Zealand. Headphones are essential on this album. So many layers, so many instruments and so beautiful melodies as well.  "Egospect", with it's soaring vocals, is my favorite track.
( A TWR Recommendation)
5. Car Seat Headrest - Nervous Young Man  Prolific Car Seat Headrest hails from Williamsburgh and plays quietly as well as extremely loudly. You can hear both kinds in the 15 minute opener "Boxing Day".

6. Queens Of The Stone Age - Like Clockwork  QOTSA can always be counted on to put out a kick ass rock album with very little filler.
7. Clones Of The Queen - Moonlight  Haunting electronic music. Be sure to check out the pretty title track.
8. Ego Ella May - The Tree Jazz influenced R & B from London's Ego Ella May. The hypnotic, swaying track "Rush Hour Crush" is my favorite track.
9. CRTVTR - Here It Comes Tramontane!   The opener "Workers" is a hell of a raucous and melodic song. Genova,  Italy based CRTVTR feature Mike Watt again which is fitting because the sound of this album so resembles those indie/alt guitar albums from the 90's.
10. Not Right - Shut The Fuck Up At The Back (live) Lo, lo, lo fi that is so, so, so right. You won't be able to NOT smile whilst listening to "Anti Social Media". Not you father's punk music. Not Right is Coventry based. 11. Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady  Though not the powerhouse of her last album,this is still a really good album.  How awesome is "Primetime (feat Miguel)".

 12) The Black Atlantic - Enshrine Pretty songs from Geert and the guys. "Amor Fati is my favorite on here.

13. La paloma de fidel - Esperando a Gazotti  Pretty folk songs from Buenos Aires based La Paloma de Fidel. "Las naves" is really nice.
14. Mutts - Object Permanence Mutts are back again with another album you have to listen to. "Prizefighter" was on a permanent loop in my head for many a moon this year. There is a stellar video that they did for the song as well. This song should be on a movie soundtrack. Someone get on that!

15. Kristin Hersh - Spark Meet Gasoline (WorkInProgress) I have been a fan since her Throwing Muses days. I became heavily addicted to her album "Hips and Makers". Love her tone. Check out the goodness that is ""Guadelupe".
16. Curt Oren - Home  If you like your saxophone played in a experimental way, like I do, then you will love  Iowa City based Curt Oren's opening track "No Exit".
17. Baik Eun Sol - A Day's Work  Punk (check), fuzz (check), female vocals (check), South Korea (check?!) Baik Eun Sol is all three.  "나쁜 남자" is my favorite track.
18. Dylan Campbell - Magic  Written and recorded in Mozambique. Quite a few musaical influences on this album by New York based Dylan Campbell. Love the title track.
19. Alex Cook, Hler Kristjansson - The Deacon of Myrka  Ambient, Beautiful classical, contemporary. The strings make the album.  Iceland based Alex Cook, Hlér Kristjánsson and Ensemble have made quite an album here.
20. Rachel Anne - Let The Devil Drink  Dark country, gypsy...  I'm there! Sad and longing tales from Alaska's  Rachel Anne. "Wait For The Sun" is my favorite track.
21. Collage - Pixel Swap Century  Electronic pop from Chicago's Jesse Bustamante. An artist I think more people should check out. With influences of island music and electronic experimentation there is never a dull moment!
22. Laurence Made Me Cry - The Diary Of Me Such beautiful songs. Cardiff is home to Laurence Made Me Cry (aka Joanna Whitby).  (TWR Recommendation)
23. Space Ghost Cowboys - Porcupine  Aaron Maine mines the wheel for Space Ghost Cowboy, as the Reilly Brothers, Sex God and his self titled work.  Off kilter is his music and his plainative vocal style is something I really enjoy. "Memory" is my favorite song here.
24. (the gals of) Redbook - the gals of) Redbook  Girl group of the punk variety from Seattle. (the gals of) Redbook pummels along with a lot of bottom ended.
25. Los Animales Superforros - Copla del Pensamiento   Folk, indie, world, pop and island themes are evident in the nice album by Buenos Aires based Los Animales Superforros.
26. Lizard Kisses - Loving Creatures Feels like i've been listening to Brooklyn duo Lizard Kisses forever. The duo sent me their first EP Sleeping In  2010 and I've been a big fan ever since. The dreamy track "Over and Over" is my favorite.
27. Open Attic - The Manderin EP  Chicago's Open Attic write witty songs that would have been on that underground 90's artist you loved. The honest story telling in 'Manderin' is on my short list for best tracks I've heard this year.
28. Sentidor - doismiletreze  Belo Horizonte based Sentidor play glitchy, triphop. The "Kid A" cover was done nicely.
29. Video Ranger - Cassette Tape 3/13  Punk, Lo fi punk, noise goodness from Omaha's Video Ranger. They had me at trombone. "6:8" is my favorite. 
30. Geronimo! - Buzz Yr Girlfriend Vol. 3   Fuzz, math rock, punk from Chicago based  Geronimo! "Genius Is Dead" is my favorite track. On the excellent label Exploding In Sound.
31. Cold Country - Missing The Muse   Been another great year for Chicago acts. I was introduced to the folk,/country, band Cold Country this year.  And I am glad I was. Check out "What It Takes" for sure.
32. Kelly Latimore - Vinegar and Honey   Experimental, First came across Athens, Georgia based Kellya few years back on the now(sadly) defunct site CLLCT. Beautifully done this album is. "Keeper Of Bees" is my favorite.
33. Вкус Киски - Mokroshelky
What's not to like about punk, grunge,  stoner grrrl group music sung in Russian? "Вуду-сука" is my favorite.
34. Memorygardens - Wavelengths  90's alt rock, shoe-gaze, stoner from Pennsylvaniawith love from one man band ( Tyler Pursel ) Memorygardens.
35.  Los Buscadores del Movimiento Perpetuo - Rendiran Culto ala Muerrte  Metal, slugde, stoner rock fsunf in Spanish from Los Buscadores del Movimiento Perpetuo. Quite a few catch loud tracks on here.
36. Judd Madden - Glacial  More stoner rock, desert doom from Melbourne based Judd Madden.
37. Pure Wild - This Night Is Long My Love Is Strong Alt-folk, alternative from New York based Pure Wild.
38. Tres Von Dingo - Basement Depths Tour Split  Bismarkck based Tres Von Dingo plays alternative, lo fi, fuzz pop.
39. Better Or Best - Something of a Reverie  Alternative, indie, dream pop, electronic from San Diego based Better Best. Thanks to Better Best for the download!
40. Teenage Rage - time to turn the page on teenage rage  My favorite Chicago based vaud-ville, county folk act is back with a short and sweet set of songs.They are truly one of a kind.