This is my list of favorites from the year. It’s not restricted to items that just came out in 2013. It’s a list of favorite media that I consumed within 2013. Click on the links to see or hear or buy.
Below is a mixcloud sampler of the following list. The great thing about Mixcloud is that the artists get paid royalties from the playing of their tracks. So here’s it is, Scott Colburn’s Best of 2013 mix.
Dada Trash Collage – Can’t Pause People
Full disclosure: I mastered this, but I play it over and over again. It is definitely in a tie with Jane Jane this year as I’ve played both about the same amount. In fact it’s very much a soul/pop record of the best kind.
The music is soulful and bit off center. The vocal harmonies are unique and deeply satisfying. The compositions are pure pop but the arrangements are complex. This is the sort of record you just sit back and let it engulf you.
Jane Jane – Jane Jane
This group made my top list last year too. This year they moved to New Orleans and dropped the Pollock part of the name. This is one of two releases that came out this year. Both are download only releases. The second is called Obituary and is the Pollock band.
The music is haunting and bit off center. The vocal harmonies are unique and deeply satisfying. The compositions are pure pop but the arrangements are complex. This is the sort of record you just sit back and let it engulf you. (yep, just like Dada Trash Collage)
Devo – Hardcore
These comps came out on CD in the late 90’s, but this is on vinyl! Superior Viaduct is a label in SF, that is basically reissuing my entire record collection. This Devo collection is demos recorded on 4 track in OH between 74 and 77. Many great, raw recordings of classics like Mongoloid and Jocko Homo, but a ton of really weird synth pop ditties that they did over time. Really remarkable stuff and great fidelity. They must have had a handle on recording early on which makes these demos super exciting.
Chrome – Half Machine From the Sun
Wow! what a great record. It’s lost tracks from 79-80. When you play it you just hear the time between Half Machine Lip Moves and Red Exposure. What’s weird about this record is that it sounds unfinished. Like the recording had been abandoned. I mean, I could listen to Helios Creed jam on a single riff for hours, but really can detect a lack of ear candy that probably would have been in the record if they had finished it in the day.
Not really sure what the story was on this, but they did a pledge music thing for this to raise money to buy the tapes and mix it. After some time, we got to download the tracks. This is how I listened to this record most of the year. About a year later, I finally got my signed vinyl copy. It was really frustrating because it’s the perfect example of someone trying to do the DIY thing but are really inept at it (or too stoned). The excuses were really pathetic. BUT, I hold it in my hands now and it is still a really great record from one of my favorite bands.
Cracker Factory – No One Knows We’re Here
Full Disclosure: I produced this record but I can’t stop listening to it. Frank Zappa and Greg Ginn are two of my favorite guitar players. After doing this record and few other previous records with R.L. Heyer, I’ve become a real fan of this guy’s guitar playing. The record is a straight, power trio rock record. Half Beatles, Half Rush. Killer rhythm section. Awesome rock vocals. And the best part is that we did the whole thing in 5 days. So Suck It!
Coming Soon – Disappear Here
Full disclosure: I produced this record. Are you interested in slick 80’s pop a la Talking Heads? Or maybe you like a little classic Chicago House for an outro? No? Too bad, because this record has all of that and more. Each song a perfectly crafted pop song with plenty of ear candy. Totally cool synth lines. Meshing of electronic and acoustic instruments. Stellar guitar picking playing style with a dash of west coast hip hop. Really fun stuff
David Bowie – The Next Day
David Bowie is a bad ass!
I mean it. He has a wide discography of distinct music. Then he does nothing for 10 years and records this in complete secret and says, “Here ya go, stupid!”
Good For You – Life is Too Short to Not Hold a Grudge
So there was a Black Flag reunion this year. Two of them actually. Ended up in lawsuits and the singer getting fired. There was also a new Black Flag record called “What The” with a really bizarre cover. It begs so many questions.
I have to order the new Black Flag record right? They are one of my favorite bands. I know Henry isn’t singing with them. Ginn’s playing bass and guitar. Someone else is playing drums. Ron Reyes is singing. I don’t have any real hopes for this but….
I read a review of the record and the author clearly has a handle on Black Flag’s catalog, but also mentions the Ginn side projects. Some I know, some I don’t. This leads me to the SST site to order a few records. I get the Black Flag, the band that opened for Black Flag on tour called Good For You, Greg Ginn and the Royal We and a band called Mojack that the author referred to as difficult. Sounded promising.
I listen to Black Flag first. After side 1, I put it away for another time. I spin this Greg Ginn and the Royal We 45 EP. Nice! electronic beats, theramin and that sweet Ginn sound in loops and live leads. Heaven really! Then comes the Good For You. WFT!!!!! THIS IS THE NEW BLACK FLAG RECORD! It totally sounds like the logical extension of Loose Nut! This singer Mike Vallely even sounds like Rollins. all the classic Black Flag touches are there. Intense vocals, short, crazy blasts of Ginn leads, weird atonal riffs. It’s really a classic.
Then that lead me back to the actual Black Flag record. Side 2! It’s always side two with them. Nice, sludgier songs with some really classic guitar playing. Nothing pretty about it. Love it.
The only complaint I have with most of these records is the audio production stinks. the edits in the songs are so blatant that even the lay person could hear them. The mixes are no where. It’s a good thing that I love Ginn’s playing because most of the time, that’s all you can hear. The drums and bass are just buried.
But regardless, I love what he’s doing and want to dive in further to the missing titles. Any one want to join me?
Orthrelm – Behold…The Arctopus
This one is old. 2006. still available on vinyl though! This is the sort of speed playing and starts and stops that just makes your jaw hit the floor. Stellar!
Feral Children – Too Much Too Late
Full Disclosure: I produced this one years ago! I was also bummed it hadn’t come out yet because it’s one of their best records to date. Really well written songs. Very nice, lush vocals. Huge guitar and Sergy’s signature keys. One of a few local bands I try to see as often as I can.
The following are also recommended
The Delta Nudes – Greatest Hiss
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away
Factrix – Scheintot
Slicing Grandpa – Low Vibrations
Moira Scar – Scarred for Life
David Lynch – The Big Dream
Locrian – Return to Annihilation
SISU – Light Eyes
Flaming Lips – The Terror
Snug Harbor – S/T