My Favorite Music of 2013

Best of 2013 cover

I see a trend developing here – that I am only going to make one post a year, and it’s going to be my “best of” music list.  I’m fine with that.  As you can tell, I couldn’t even get this post out close to on time.  I actually did have the list 95% finished before the end of 2013, but I just couldn’t get around to finalizing it until right now.

I also have a confession – I “cheated” pretty badly with this year’s list.   I borrowed a few selections below from other “best of 2013” lists.  That’s a tempting option when you wait until late December to start assembling your lists.  But now that I’ve come clean about it, I have a clear conscience.  Enough blah blah, here’s my list…

  1. High School Lover – Cayucas – Bigfoot  This is the first track that made it into my “best of” playlist.  This band sounds a little like Vampire Weekend as the backing band.  The vocals sound sort of like a higher energy Jack Johnson who stole Jim James’ reverb.  This track is one of the most upbeat on the album, but the whole album is good.  (Unfortunate confession: I heard this song in a BMW commercial last night, which definitely lowers its street cred a bit.  But good for Cayucas for getting paid).
  2. Bad Reputation – Haley Bonar – Bad Reputation (Single)  Don’t know much about Haley Bonar, but I really dig this song.  I like the opening guitar drone, the high capo strums on the chorus and the head voice/falsetto vocal parts.  This one will get stuck in your head.
  3. Caught in the Briars – Iron & Wine – Ghost on Ghost  Great album from Iron & Wine as Sam Beam now sounds completely at home playing with a full band.  Saw I&W live in 2013 and it was a great show as well.  Surprisingly, Sam Beam is a hilarious snarky smart ass.  Didn’t see that coming.  Let’s be honest, this band could easily be classified as “easy listening,” but it’s really good easy listening.
  4. If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On The Dancefloor) – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – The Speed of Things  I worried I was just tempted to include this track because I liked some stuff by DEJJ and they seem like a hip band, but the more I listen to this song the more I’m sure it belongs on the list.
  5. America Religious – Caroline Rose – America Religious  This track was right on the cusp of inclusion on this year’s list, but again I’ve been listening to the final list for almost two months now and this one is a grower.
  6. Brother Bryan – Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt A friend described Waxahatchee as sounding like “early Liz Phair,” which is pretty accurate.  It is also a guarantee that I would like them.  There’s a different track on this album that has some guitar that’s slightly reminiscent of early Smashing Pumpkins.  Double-win.  This one is lots of quarter notes and heavy on the bass and drums, which I also tend to like.
  7. Shake It Off – The Spinato Band – Cool Cocoon Stolen from a friend’s “best of” list.  To me this band sounds kinda like The Cars.  Catchy, very catchy.
  8. Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster – Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin Also plagiarized from another list.  Sloppy, fuzzy guitars that are tastefully done.  I need more songs like this in my life to keep me from swinging too far into indie “easy listening.”
  9. My Heart Belongs to You – Johnathan Rice – Good Graces I love the opening slide guitar riff.  I like the song OK.  The lyrics are a little simplistic and underwhelming, but I never fault anyone too much for their lyrics.
  10. Byegone – Volcano Choir – Repave  Again, borrowed from another list.  Great dynamics in this song with a big arpeggio that you can’t help but keep anticipating while listening to the song.
  11. Two Fingers – Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg  Heard a different track on the radio that I didn’t like as much.  And his name Buggs me.  But he’s 19 years old, and this song is undeniably catchy.
  12. Haunted – Leagues – You Belong Here  I like falsetto vocals when they’re done right.  I like the verse here, I like the chorus, I like the backing vocals, I like the drums and I like the opening guitar.  Lots of things to enjoy.
  13. Izze’s Lullaby – Jorma Kaukonen – River of Time  Not released in 2013 but that’s when I discovered it.  This track also doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the list, but again who cares.  I found it this year and I like it – hope you do too.

I hope you enjoy.  As always, if you like anything you hear please support the artists by buying their albums or (better yet) seeing them live.


DOWNLOAD ZIP of all tracks HERE


happy belated new year!


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