2013: 50-41

Danny and the Darleans - Danny and the Darleans50.  Danny and the Darleans – Danny and the Darleans

Nero’s Neptune

Danny and the Darleans is the most recent project of the Motor City’s Danny Kroha who first gained accolades in the late 90s with his pared-down garage band, The Gories.  Danny and the Darleans follows in a similar vein–proto-punk ala Detroit’s MC5/The Stooges infused with the noisy yet relative innocence of The Sonics.  The lyrics are overtly simple, but the garage punk message is timeless. – SHH

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Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels

49.  Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels

Big Dada

Killa Mike won critical acclaim last year after the release of R.A.P. Music produced by El-P who was enjoying his own success with his album Cancer 4 Cure.  Shortly thereafter the two joined forces under the handle Run the Jewels.  Their self-titled album is unique in that it has a retro feel, but at the same time it doesn’t sound dated.  El-P refers to he and Killa Mike as “The old Atlanta, new Atlanta, future of the city.”  They are currently one of the best Southern rap acts out there.  Listen and you’ll feel like you’re walking around with a 36-inch chain! – SHH

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Ty Segall - Sleeper

48.  Ty Segall – Sleeper

Drag City

Ty Segall dialed his sound way down on the aptly named Sleeper, a mostly acoustic album focused on the psychedelic trope of slumber.  The record was reportedly written in memorium of his recently passed father.  For those who really enjoyed the edgier Slaughterhouse and TwinsSleeper may seem like a bit of a drag initially, but it is an album that appreciates the more you spin it. – SHH

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Xenia Rubinos - Magic Trix

47.  Xenia Rubinos – Magic Trix

Ba Da Bing Records

Try and imagine what a Latin American St. Vincent at the helm of Dirty Projectors would sound like; Xenia Rubinos is not too far off.  Her debut, Magic Trix, is an eclectic mix of pop/rock and jazz with a Spanish twist.  The record bursts out in all sorts of interesting directions and yet it never lacks cohesiveness.  Rubinos’ melting pot debut should act as a career springboard, and given the boom in Brooklyn right now, she would do herself a favor by trying her hand at some collaborations with local artists. – SHH

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Daniel Avery - Drone Logic

46.  Daniel Avery – Drone Logic

Because

Drone Logic marks one of a handful of December releases on this list which frequently get neglected on annual lists because publications want to get them out the last week in November (not three + months into the new year…).  Drone Logic, Avery’s debut, is very impressive though it isn’t really groundbreaking; Avery shows a total command of the past two decades of electro, deep house and IDM, one that allows him to come off just as effective as his influences which should be obvious for seasoned electro-heads. – SHH

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Camera Obscura - Desire Lines

45.  Camera Obscura – Desire Lines

4AD

Desire Lines, Camera Obscura’s fifth LP, is their first release in over four years and an unconcerned pre-order of mine.  Ever since the Glasgow acts’ inception they have exhibited a gift for drafting pop songs which has earned them a spot in indie pop royalty alongside fellow Scots, Belle and Sebastian.  That being said, while other bands toil away trying to come up with a new approach to the pop song, Camera Obscura hasn’t changed much of anything.  Then again they haven’t had a miss yet and so I suppose it’s a case of the proverbial “If it isn’t broken…” – SHH

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Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My Time

44.  Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time

Capitol

After a series of successful singles, Sky Ferreira released her first LP, Night Time, My Time, which came conveniently at the right place, right time for her.  2013 was a crowded year all around, but 21-year-old Ferreira had a number of contemporaries’ releases to contend with: 16-year-old phenomenon Lorde, pop icon Katy Perry and the genre-bending newcomer, Charli XCX.  Her album is simply better.  The lyrics are infrequently poignant, but that doesn’t dispel her from the 2013 pop cream.  Her influence is unclear (outside of the fact that she idolized Britney Spears and knew Michael Jackson as a young girl), but the album suggests a knowledge of artists as different as Billy Joel (listen to the pre-hook on “You’re Not the One”) and Suicide (listen to the beginning of “Omanko”…it’s the worst song on the album but I would recommend a listen strictly for educational purposes).  Long story short, don’t let her feeble looking cover photo fool you; this girl knows what she’s doing. – SHH

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Sarah Jarosz - Build Me Up From Bones

43.  Sarah Jarosz – Build Me Up From Bones

Sugar Hill

2013 was a particularly strong year for folk and singer/songwriters.  Jarosz’ third and most polished LP finds the multi-instrumentalist excelling further in her compositional skill, earning her a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album.  She did just graduate from The New England Conservatory of Music.  Her lyrics are intimate and expressive, those that are hers; she wrote 11 of the 13 tracks, the other two being covers of Bob Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate” and Joanna Newsom’s “The Book of Right-On.” – SHH

Aside:  King DD and I saw Ms. Jarosz at the Egg in Albany a few weeks ago.  Boy, does she know her way around a banjo!  And her cellist, Nathaniel Smith, is absolutely breathtaking to watch perform live.

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Quadron - Avalanche

42.  Quadron – Avalanche

Vested in Culture

Quadron is a Copenhagen-based duo comprised of producer Robin Braun and vocalist Coco O.  There were a few albums released in 2013 that were doubtlessly conceived intimately as what I will call “doing it music”–(Rhye’s Woman, John Legend’s Love in the Future, Autre Ne Veut’s Anxiety).  Whoops!  Not “concevied!”  Rather, formed with a specific purpose in mind.  Avalanche, the duo’s second offering, is another collection of sexy, MJ-infused R&B tracks that should be able to excite virtually anybody.  If you’re in a relationship, buy candles; if you’re single, buy lotion and tissues. – SHH

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History of Apple Pie, The - Out of View

41.  The History of Apple Pie – Out of View

Marshall Teller

For those of you who appreciate the early 90s indie rock output of the British Isles, The History of Apple Pie will be a we a welcomed new band.  I first discovered THOAP while shopping for vinyl imports online.  Who knew there was an amazon.uk???  Singer Stephanie Minn’s soft vocals seem to take cues equally from shoegaze and twee pop elders and guitarist/producer Jerome Waston’s riffs sound like something out of a Teenage Fanclub band practice.  In the realm of indie rock THOAP aren’t brain surgeons, but their debut carries along with it a gleeful energy that rubs off. – SHH

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