Hello! I have been away for a while. How have you been? Busy? I know, right? Great to see you again!
It’s the end of the year, and everywhere you look, you will find: So.Many.Lists. I am going to add to the deluge with Doodler’s Year in Review, featuring my favourite music, books, articles, food, blogs, etc. of 2013.
First up is music. Many of my favourite artists released albums in the later part of the year and they are definitely on this list. The albums below are not ranked, because laziness. :P Enjoy!
Mantangi - M.I.A.
M.I.A. is back with Matangi. You can stream this entire album legally via Vevo/YouTube. After being able to preview the entire album, I really grew to love it and purchased the vinyl (which didn’t come with a digital download code, as all records should these days imho) as well as the album on iTunes so that I could listen to it on my commute. This album is an energetic powerhouse that somehow achieves both the effect of a subversive punch in the face and Katy Perry-esque commercial appeal at the same time. The perfect soundtrack for: kicking the day’s ass.
My Name Is My Name - Pusha T
Pusha T of Clipse fame is a grown man who raps about pushin’ weight. This album is very well produced, slick and catchy while remaining firmly rooted in the world of birds, the life, and the realities of the corner. The first track I heard is still my favourite of the album: Nosetalgia. Love the beats, the flow, everything on this one. This is my favourite hip hop album of 2013. (P.S. This tumblr made me LOL)The perfect soundtrack for: LARPing Breaking Bad.
Yours To Discover - Sebastien Grainger
I have been greatly anticipating this album for a while (years). As a big fan of Sebastien Grainger I have been enjoying his songs since the initial DFA1979 days, and throughout his solo projects, and saw him with The Mountains at the Horseshoe a few years back. I love this album. Dance-y hooks and riffs partnered with his concise lyrics serve up a delightful 12 tracks of awesome. As a fan (nerd) I appreciate what I hear to be a similar thread in the song “Let’s Move To NYC” and an old song called “When You Go Out” from his old project “Rhythm Method”. At the time of writing it is still up here on Myspace:https://myspace.com/sebastiengrainger/music/songs (remember Myspace?) The bells on this track always gave me a vaguely Christmas-ish feeling so both these songs will always make me think of winter. As an aside, Seb sure knows how to win Twitter. The perfect soundtrack for: performing with your lips touching the mic/moving across the country on a whim.
Pushin’ Against a Stone - Valerie June
I love the twang and soul in every song on this jewel of an American album. The southern sensibilities of this album are genuine and endearing and she brings her authenticity to appreciative audiences wherever she is performing from New Orleans to NYC to Paris. “Pushin’ Against a Stone” and “Workin’ Woman Blues” are my fave tracks. Valerie June has the perfect voice for these songs and also plays the banjo as well as the guitar. Really like the lyric: “I ain’t fit to be no mother/I ain’t fit to be no wife”. The perfect soundtrack for: working hard at a thankless task that is personally rewarding in the long run (aka life).
Victim of Love - Charles Bradley
To be honest I prefer 2011’s No Time for Dreaming (Heart of Gold cover!), but Victim of Love is, for sure, one of the best of 2013! I was fortunate enough to see Charles perform live in Toronto this month and it was amazing. Charles Bradley owns the stage, period. If you are still sleeping on Charles Bradley it is time to wake the fuck up. If you’re looking for an introduction apart from the music (which actually speaks for itself) you can check out the doc “Soul of America”. I love Charles Bradley. The perfect soundtrack for: breakups and pensive reflection on the state of America.
Because the Internet - Childish Gambino
I have been looking forward to this album since I listened to Camp the whole way though for the first time. Royalty was a mainstay in my daily playlist while I was waiting for this album to be finished and drop. Great reveals, growth and showcasing of mc’ing here. This album surprised me in many ways. The perfect soundtrack for: being unapologetic.
Whitebrow - Whitebrow
All killer album of soulful, bluesy tunes, fully fleshed out and performed beautifully. Recorded in an old church this album is impeccably arranged and is a treat to listen to. I have had the pleasure of being at a Whitebrow show and I assure you, if this is the first you are hearing of Whitebrow it will not be the last. When the bass drops you will get chills. This is toe tapping, shake your head in agreement, solid gold music. Honest songwriting and ensemble performance at its best. My favourite track is Whitebrow Blues, but there are so many hits here: Northern Lights, Ain’t Going Home, I Will Follow you Down, the Nick Drake cover and so many more. One of the best of 2013 by far. The perfect soundtrack for: drinking whiskey and writing songs on the porch, in a rocking chair.
I could go on and on (Kiss Land, Born Sinner etc etc etc) but I will leave it at that for today. :P