Category: Four North Men

KidAJoe’s Top Albums of the Year 2013

KidAJoe’s Top Vinyl for 2013

I cannot believe that another year went by so quickly.  I feel like it was just yesterday I was trying to get this blog rolling, now it’s been dead for a whole calendar year!   I certainly wish I could find the time to keep it up but I obviously have other priorities.    So this list is for my boys in the “Four North Men Of The Rockpocalypse” group on Facebook.

It was an amazing year in music.  It was completely impossible to make a top 10 list, so I’ll just list a bunch of my favorites in no particular order.

  • Kanye West, Yeezus – I’m guessing that this one is not on any of my friends year end lists.  I’ve never really given Kanye much of a chance in the past.  The two main reasons are:  I’m not usually to into hip hop and Kanye West  is a complete jack ass.   That being said, I gave this one a chance partially out interest to finally see what he is all about as a self proclaimed “creative genius”.   The first couple listens I was really jolted by the oddness of the tracks, and had almost written it off.  But then a week or so later I put it back on after not being able to get lyrics from the song “New Slave” out of my head.  In the next few weeks I hardly listened to anything else.   I hate to admit it, but this just might be my favorite album of the year.
  • Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City – This is another one of those albums that took me a little bit of time to latch onto.    Ezra Koenig is such an amazing lyricist and writes some pretty catchy indie pop.
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito – I love my Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  I love that they went back to there rock/punk roots on this one too!  I even had the pleasure of seeing them live this year.  Karen O. is fn crazy on stage.   I was surprised that this one wasn’t on any other lists I’ve seen this year.
  • Quasi – Mole City – Probably one of the most overlooked indie bands of my lifetime, (even by myself for a time) Quasi put out yet another strong album.  If Yeezus isn’t number one, then this one was.
  • Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record – Another amazing song writer, who I had the benefit of seeing live this year.  The sad part was that I was one of about 30 people at the show.  In Miss Friedbergers defense it was a whopping 8 degrees outside that night.  In any case, one half of the Fiery Furnaces put out a pretty cool indie rock album.  This just proves to me that her brother Matt isn’t the only “artistic genius” in this family.
  • Typhoon – White Lighter – This album crept up on my out of no where.   I had previously fallen in love with there EP Hunger and Thirst, but for what ever reason the band had fallen off my radar.  I had fallen behind checking my weekly email of album releases when discovered this release.  I quickly fell in love with this one and will have the pleasure of seeing them in March at Port City Music Hall in P-town.
  • James Blake – Overgrown – Mr. Blake’s  (not to be confused with Mr. Blunt) sophomore output was not a dud.   Still amazed that I can love something that relies so much on synthesizers and autotune.  Just proof that even the worst inventions can be made cool.
  • Kim Deal – Solo Series – This wasn’t actually an album, but a series of 7″ singles from the former bassist of Pixies.   The trilogy of singles quickly became a main stay in my playlist rotation this year.
  • Volcano Choir – Repave – Justin Vernon is a god.  Enough said.
  • Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rival – Noise Pop?  I think that is what they have been dubbed.  Regardless Sleigh Bell is best listened to with the volume turned up to 11.
  • Arcade Fire – Reflecktor – I have a love/hate relationship with this album.  I think it is pretty cool “art pop” that sometime just goes on way to long.  A lot of  songs drone off with the main lyric just repeated over and over for several minutes to end the song.   It is good in practice, but the fact that so many songs on this one tend follow the same exact formula makes the album slightly boring.   So the question is: “Did I add this one because it was a good album or because it was the Arcade Fire?”  Something I guess I’ll have to reflect on in 2014.
  • Haim – Days are Gone – Anyone who knows me at all, know that I’ve been in love with the sister’s Haim since I saw them on Mumford and Son’s Gentlemen of the Road tour.  Most of the songs on this were not new to the Haim realm, so listening to this one initially didn’t contain many surprises.   It will be interesting to see what 2014 will bring for these girls.  I know they are huge in the UK and are getting lots of press in the US.  I also have tickets to see them in Boston in May!
  • Lorde – Pure Heroine – I figured I would book end this list with the two most main stream outputs.  Lorde stormed onto the national stage like crazy this year.  (something I predicted I might add)  If you have only listened to her hit single “Royales” you are missing out.

Other albums worth checking out include:  Foxygen – We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic,  Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II,  Atoms for Peace – Amok, They Might Be Giants – Nanobots, Suicidal Tendencies – 13,  The Flaming Lips – The Terror,  Noah and the Whale – Heart of Nowhere,  The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars,  Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks,  Arctic Monkeys – AM, Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt, and The Avett Brothers – Magpie and the Dandelion.

In creating this list I have noticed about 10 albums by artist I love that I still haven’t had a chance to listen to.  So I guess my 2013 still has some surprises uncover.  If you want to listen to my favorites from the year on Spotify follow this link.  I invite you to tell me what you think of my list and/or to post your list for the year 2013!

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2012, The year the world ended.

2012 Record of the Year

So some of you may have seen my list of ten albums of 2012 on our new blog Four North Men of the Rockpocalypse.  If you are one of those who hasn’t yet, go check out the three other North Men and see what they thought the top albums of the year were.  Remember we are four completely different guys with four greatly varying opinions, so the lists should be pretty interesting.  You should also be careful, you may just discover something new…

Here, I will get into a little bit more details on to what I liked so much about some of the albums I chose for my version of the list.  I will be very interested in seeing if any albums I picked even make it onto any of my counterparts lists. Anyway, here I go…

1.  Fionna Apple – The Idler Wheel – This albums was one of my biggest surprises this years, although most of that was probably self inflicted.  I may have had a unfair bias against Miss Apple from my youth.  (a misguided one at that)  I have since discovered that she has an amazing catalog of albums.  Like much of the music I like I need to contain substance.  This album was both passionate and even abstract at times.

2.  Jack White – Blunderbuss – Does anything Jack White touches not amazing?   Mr. White has an incredible way of taking classic american sound and taking modern spin on the sound.  He is constantly stealing from the past while creating something new and fresh.

3. David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant – I did love this giant!  I couldn’t stop playing this album for a while.  I even frequently would start this one right from the beginning after listening to once. It’s funny, I didn’t even know who David Bryne was before this, so this album opened the door to the Talking Heads. It is now one that I am happy to have passed though this door.  The music has so many layers, and it makes me want to get up and dance.  Not much I listen to does that.  Now I finally see why so many artists love them.  

4.  First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar – I was in love with these young ladies even before this record came out.  These ladies have such beautiful harmonies!  I love the modern Folk movement.  I still find the lyrics so mature for such young song writers though. 

5.  Grizzly Bear – Shields  – At the beginning of 2012 I  thought for sure that this would be #1 on my year end list.  As you can see it isn’t, and I actually wonder if their previous album Veckatimist may hurt them.  Veckatimist is certainly one of my favorite albums of all time and it may have made it hard for this one to live up to.  All together, I obviously did like this album if it is here, but it just wasn’t as cohesive as Grizzly Bears previous album.  

6.  The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter – These brothers are so good.  They much like Mumford (and the Lumineers) bring that old time country sounds a modern feel.  These albums just make me feel warm and fuzzy and I do like me some bluegrass.

7.  Heartless Bastards – Arrow – This is the only album in my top 10 that I did not discover on my own.  A special thanks to Andrea Civello for introducing me to this blues group from Ohio.  It is a very soulful album, and is somewhat is the realm of the older Black Keys albums.

8.  Mumford & Sons – Babel – See both 5 & 6, that pretty much sums up this one.

9.  Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill – I have always been fond of Neil Young.  Despite varying opinions of his more recent albums,  I have been quite a fan of everything he releases.  You really never know what your going to hear out of him next.  The first track on this album alone is worth giving this one a listen.

10.  Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror  – This on just rips.  If you put this one on, be sure to turn it way up!

Honorable mentions: The xx – Coexist, Cat Power – Sun, The Mars Volta – Noctourniquet, Poor Moon – Poor Moon, The Shins – Port of Morrow, Lisa Marie Presley – Storm & Grace, Muse – The 2nd Law, The Lumineers – The Lumineers

Biggest suprise by far is Lisa Marie Presley.  She has always just been a pop artist until now.  Storm & Grace actually had a lot of substance, and was nothing like you would expect!  The Lumineers came to me from another blog I follow,  You Hear that?.  I was instantly in love.  Then this band blew up!  It’s amazing the trend of great music in the mainstream realm at present.  Last one I’ll mention is Poor Moon.  Another great folk record coming from former members of the Fleet Foxes.  I just missed seeing these guy this past summer.  Poor me!

If you would like to listen to these on Spotify here is the link…

So what do you think?  Am I crazy? Amazing? Crying? Living on the Edge?  Tell me what you think!  And share your top albums with me too!