Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Favorite Albums of 2013

With the plethora of year-end best of-lists out there, I debated whether it was even worth it to add to the broad fray of lists. But then I realized how sometimes looking at one list will remind me of an album that kind of flew under the radar but was nonetheless one of my favorite of the year, thus reigniting the idea of musical kindred spirits out there in Internetland. So in the spirit of all of that, here's my list of my favorite albums of 2013. I hope you'll recognize a bit of your own listening habits in here too; and if you think I've completely lost my mind by leaving a certain album out- let me know about it.

Otherwise, let's all be thankful for one of the most robust music years in recent memory. Who says the industry is in a tailspin? I, for one, am happy to look back on the amount of quality music to grace our ears for the past twelve months. Here's to hoping that 2014 is more of the same goodness.

Happy New Year y'all.

15. Where You Stand - Travis

14. Chop Chop - Bell X1

13. Woman - Rhye

12. Mother - Natalie Maines

11. If You Leave - Daughter

10. Stories Don't End - Dawes

9. Let's Be Still - The Head and the Heart

8. Ghost On Ghost - Iron & Wine

7. Repave - Volcano Choir

6. Once I Was An Eagle - Laura Marling

5. Limits of Desire - Small Black

4. Country Sleep - Night Beds

3. Muchacho - Phosphorescent

2. Hummingbird (Deluxe Version) - Local Natives

1.Trouble Will Find Me - The National

Listen to the full albums here:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Drive All Night

Typically December is a slow month for new music, with the plethora of "Best Of" lists having to tide us over until after January. But thanks to Glen Hansard (and his label, Anti-, who isn't afraid of an off-beat release time), we're getting a little taste of something new to break up the monotony of holiday music with the release of his 4 song EP, "Drive All Night."

While four songs isn't nearly enough, it's a solid, high quality four songs including a stellar cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Drive All Night" with Eddie Vedder and Jake Clemons. And, in the spirit of the holiday season, a portion of the sales for the full EP will go to Little Kids Rock, a charity championed by Clarence Clemons.

While the "Drive All Night" cover is a massive highlight (check out my write up for Cover Me Songs here), the other three songs are right up the alley of any Glen Hansard-slash-Swell Season-slash-The Frames-slash-good music in general fans. "Pennies in the Fountain" is a melancholic tune with a softer, lilting vibe; "Renata" is a soulful cry of a song that highlights Glen's musical diversity; and "Step Out of the Shadows" is a crystalline a capela ballad. The highlight, though, is still "Drive All Night"- it's everything we love about Glen Hansard's music, with a little help from his friends.

"Drive All Night" is available now.