Luke’s Best of 2013

I know you’re tired of seeing End Of Year Lists clog up your news feeds, so I’ll keep this as brief as I can. These are some albums that you might have seen but not bothered listening to (or just not seen at all). Let’s get started.

5. Tomorrow Is Nearly Yesterday And Everyday Is Stupid by Crywank

Sad, introspective, acoustic music that speaks to your soul in a good way and a bad way. Bring Tissues for James Clayton’s newest dive into his own existential angst. From beginning to end, James is unapologetic toward himself. Saying that he wears his heart on his sleeve is an understatement-he wears a flag above himself broadcasting his depression. Crywank isn’t known for subtlety, and this release is no exception.

4. The Talon of the Hawk by The Front Bottoms

Clever, abrasive, acoustic driven rock and roll. Best consumed when you’re trying to pretend that your breakup isn’t hurting you nearly as badly as it is. The album feels like starting the summer single and hating it. Equally poppy, funny, and self deprecating, the Front Bottom’s new album will make you bob your head through your tears.

3. Audible by Football Etc.

One of the best, most hardworking and least appreciated bands in the state, Lindsay Minton and Mercy Harper of Football Etc. keep crafting their specific brand of subdued, melodic indie. 2013 was the year of nobody shutting up about “Emo Revival,” but despite being one of the strongest bands in this genre (are we calling ‘revival a genre?) and being signed to Count Your Lucky Stars, a fantastic label run by Keith Latinen from Empire! Empire! (a band which has received no shortage of well deserve citations on lists of “emo revival bands”) Football Etc. has been consistently and conspicuously missing from the lists, blogs, and magazine entries by most major publications in favor of almost exclusively male-fronted bands. I can’t really overstate my disappointment in that, but that’s for another post. The album itself is brilliant and emotive, with amazing vocals and well crafted guitar lines. Seriously, if you’re in Houston and don’t love these guys, you’re missing out.

2. Whenever, If Ever by The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die

Now to a band who was missing from almost nobody’s list, The World Is . . . Formed from the ashes of My Heart To Joy (among other bands) this group of, what is it now, 7? 8? 9 members? has created a blend of emo, post rock, and post hardcore that’s unmistakeable. When I first heard this album, I can’t lie, I hated it. Something about it just didn’t catch me the way that their earlier stuff (especially their album with Dear Leap) had, but after a couple listens I finally fell for it. If anything can be said about TWIABP, it is that they know how to create an atmosphere. The sheer denseness of their production along with the unpolished, strained vocals are a combination that’s off putting to most people at first, but quickly grows on you. Definitely a record you need to grab.

1. Sunbather by Deafheaven

I’ll be fair here, Sunbather is an album that definitely got a lot of attention this year: you might have even seen the visually striking album cover used on an advertisement for the iPhone 5s. I’m not sorry for posting it. Every detail of this album is perfect, from the production to the actual songs to the lyrics and, yes, the album artwork. Released on Deathwish Records, owned and run by Jacob Bannon of Converge fame, Deafheaven’s second album is different from Deathwish’s usual catalog, which consists primarily of hardcore punk. Instead, Deafheaven brings a mixture of (mainly) black metal with influences from shoegaze and post rock. Jokingly regarded by many as “hipster black metal” or “black metal for people who don’t listen to black metal,” this is an album that must be listened to as a whole. This album is unceasingly emotional, with cathartic peaks in songs like Dream House and Sunbather and meditative interludes like Irresistible. An absolute must-listen.

 

By Luke Runte

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