Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best Albums of 2013

December 31st, 2013

2013 was a exciting year for music and I had a very tough time choosing what I considered 'best', due to my eclectic collection (which I have recently dubbed an 'eclection').
They're the 'best' for me in so many different ways; some 'best' for the dancefloor, road trips, cheering up or mellowing out.  The common denominator is that I loved them, so there's that.

Here are my top 5 albums of 2013 + runner's up, in no particular order because it's nearly impossible to compare my favourite rap, rock, electronic and roots albums in that way.

xx dj mediafrenzy


Ah yeah!  This album just makings me so happy to listen to.  It's rap at it's finest IMO;
clever, lyrical, socially conscious, deep and hopeful.  While Eminem would be screaming obscenities at us through the mic, Shad shares poetry with a smile and a helluva beat.  My favourite tracks include: "Love Means", a duet with the very rad femcee, Eternia from Tdot delving into the complexities of relationships, monogamy and expectation and "Fam Jam" a super upbeat track exploring his roots and place in this world.  I was fortunate enough to open for Shad last year at a small show, EOA, which was quite a treat. His passion for his old London stomping grounds is ever apparent.  He praised and thanked all the lifelong/old friends and faces he saw at the LMH concert on this year's tour.  I wish I could have enjoyed the show more, the melody was lost in the bass, which shook my insides and made the songs almost an unrecognizable vibrating fart.  They should have turned down the bass a tad and let the rest of the elements keep shining. The spoken word during the encore made the hairs on my arm stand on end, so it made it all worth it.

This might just be my most listened to album of 2013.  I picked up a CD copy of this on the way out of town and it stayed on repeat for the whole 4 hour drive.  I wasn't sick of it at the end.  I listened to it more, I want more.  The album, which features the sounds of over 50 different instruments immediately puts you in a relaxed zen state, but holds you entranced and interested, never bored.  Ernest Greene's best work yet.  Good for both late night driving and early morning rising.

The awesome, dark psychedelic side of the the Sadies shines through the most in their latest release.  It still contains a heavy western feel of twang and sorrow, but with such a driving force coming through the instruments.  I do love this album, but the optimum way to fully experience the emotion, strength and endurance in this music is to see 'em live, playing their hearts out through 2 sets and a encore.  "Thank you Ladies and Gentleman, we only have 26 more songs for you tonight."

It's funny how albums grow on you (or you into them).  I really didn't care for this album on first listen: the poppy disco vibe was annoying me, but damn if it wasn't so catchy.  The second listen had me bobbing my head, singing along and looking forward to the next track. I was hooked. My favourite song on the album is the finale, an epic electronic prog symphony called Contact, but the whole album is solid. I still enjoy hearing 'Get Lucky' despite it being overplayed to death on the radio this summer and I always look forward seeing to the next associated music video.

Ooohh, sweet soul.  The horns, the moans, the deep, cool, sexy sounds from Daptone Records.
No, I'm not mistaken, this wasn't recorded in 1973.  But with 2  amazing albums in 3 years, I must say, we are extremely fortunate to have soul music of this calibre being recorded in 2013.  What a voice from Mr. Bradley, and The Menahan Street Band satisfies to the utmost degree.  I hear in Toronto he finished the show and got offstage to give the audience hugs.  

Close Runners Up

My favourite hip hop producer collaborates with a stellar crew here, especially Kirby Dominant and Jeans Boots with their track "Don't Give Up"

Love me some Cults, puts me in a good mood

Beautiful rootsy, bluesy, folk with a strong hint of soul.  She's got a real phenomenal, unique voice. Hopefully 2014 will bring a live show my way.

YES! Dirty, rough, pumping rock and roll.  The old boys have not lost their touch.  Definitely worth checking out.  I'll be missing the concert this spring, but a big 'rock on' to those of you who will witness these legends on potentially (one of?) their last tour(s).  Bluesy 'Loner' wins best track off this one.  The album cover is magical.

Neko singing Nico's 'Afraid'.  That song alone wins this album a place on this list.  Haunting and dramatic…and beautiful.

2014, whatcha got for my ears?


  1. Hi M! Here's what i got:

    Top records of 2013

    1. Richard Laviolette and the Glitter Bombs – Over the Roar of the Engines.

    Not trying to be wilfully obscure, but I love this. Terrible
    production and the subject matter seems to be about becoming
    transgendered. Whatever floats the boat or docks the dick. The songs
    are so strong and the recent performance my concert of the year.

    2. Basia Bulat – Tall Tall Shadow....

    For someone so perpetually sunny, a little stormy weather is
    inevitable. Not exactly sure what’s happened and she’s pretty
    circumspect in interviews, but there is an added sadness and heft
    to the songs. This is excellent.

    3. Mikal Cronin - MCII

    Loved the thing the first time it hit the headphones and seeing the guy at NxNE
    was a huge highlight.

    4. Jason Isbell – Southeastern.

    I really did not care for the previous solo albums. Something's been
    always wrong; the production of the songs, the gutless preforming, I
    dunno, they just did not stick and were pale in comparison to say
    Dress Blues. This record adds meat to the bones and is marvelous.

    5. Daniel Romano – Come Cry with Me.

    I think someone mentioned that they expect this to be a big joke and
    Romano to break character. I see this as the most recent of a series
    of characters; we’ve had the punk-pop Romano, the earnest folkie
    Romano and now we have a George-Jones-Romano. He’ll probably drop the
    nudie suit eventually, but until then, I’m loving watching this

    6. Grey Kingdom – Light, I Call Your Name Out in Darkness

    7. Weather Station – Duets.

    8. Colin Stinson – New History Warfare part III

    9. John Murry – the Graceless Age

    10. Shad – Flying Colours – This has been the soundtrack to Xmas.

    Son Volt – Honky Tonk
    Oblivions – Desperation
    Lindy Ortega – Tin Star

    Still have to hear

    Nick Cave
    David Bowie
    Ty Seagul
    John Moreland

    Didn't really like:

    Richard Buckner
    Kurt Vile

    1. Great list, thanks for sharing, T! I've heard Basia Bulat, Daniel Romano & Grey Kingdom's albums, all noteworthy for sure!