Hey, end of year lists are fun and what not, but if I don’t provide music recommendations throughout the year, there’s really no credibility to my word, right?  Plus, I’m going to overplay all this stuff like wild in the next few months, so by time the “Best of 2013” list comes out, it will all get passed over in favor of more top-of-mind obsessions.  So join me on this brief look at the best music of 2013 so far before I forget all about it.

Okay, we’re going to run through the ten songs I’ve connected with most, but that’s far from telling the whole story.  My 2013 playlist, while still a work in progress, is averaging more than one song added per day. Subscribe to it here: 2013: Year of the Tunepocalypse. It’s weird, it’s erratic, it’s emotional, it’s…me? It doesn’t think it’s funny, so I guess it’s not a true reflection, but pretty close.

I swear this is the last paragraph before getting to the tunes.  Usually I use other sources to gather my new music: NPR, Spinner, Pitchfork, a message board in the bowels of the internet. This year, I’m trying to go pretty strictly off just a list of new albums.  So the only biases I hold are from previously knowing bands, and not from every music publication on earth shoving the Alabama Shakes down my throat and telling me I love them (they’re good, but come on, relax people – they had like, half a good album). So that, and my faux-black friend Shaun, are the only sources for the following tracks.

The Songs 

One of the most pleasant songs I’ve heard in some time.  It makes me think I’m in The Mamas and the Papas era, which isn’t something that I’m really longing for in my life (here are my top longings right now: 1) Cheez-Its (always), 2) a phone that wasn’t made by monkeys, 3) a more creative list, 4) a time machine that will specifically only take me to The Mamas and the Papas concerts, circa 1967…wait…maybe I am longing for it), but it’s a very welcome change of pace.  The chorus is beautiful, especially the female vocalist in the background just being all “nah, it’s cool, I wasn’t really into you and moved on like, the second this thing ended,” but she’s saying it in such a polite way that I can’t help but love her and respect the games she’s playing with this guy.

I can’t really write about this one without lacing it with profanity, and since my mom’s still kinda reeling from my “what the eff is that?” inquiry after she put a salad on the table at my birthday dinner last month, I’ll take a pass on the profanity.  But you’re going to want to hide all your valuables, because the hook will make start stomping around the room and waving your arms like a lunatic.  Especially if there is a bad female influence in your life, and she is causing you angst.

This is probably my favorite album of the year to date, so it’s tough to just pick one track here. It’s especially difficult because on some songs they sound like the Beach Boys, others they have a little Devotchka going on, and I think I’m catching some Stephen Malkmus at times?  Nope, I’m thinking of the band two songs down on that last comparison. We’ll play it safe and go with a softer tune here…nahhhh, let’s go with something that rocks.

Before anyone could even breathe this year, the folks at NPR had already tagged these guys one of the breakout bands of 2013.  They’re probably right, this track and “Two Sides of Lonely” are lady-killers.  But I hesitate with the same feeling I had about the Alabama Shakes last year – that everyone’s going to tell me I have to like this music.  I like the Shakes, and I like a lot of what’s on The Lone Bellow’s album, but I don’t like people tell me how to feel because that’s confusing enough without other people’s advice.

I’m willing to overlook the punk rock “talking instead of singing” thing because the riff in this song is awesome, and that theme continues throughout the album.  Plus, it’s just fun to listen to.  Simple as that.

Speaking of fun to listen to…uhhh, skip to the next song?  This is a tear-jerker of a melody, like The Moody Blues doing a folk song.  It’s lovely winter music – it’ll be on the shelf when the summer comes around unless I’m trying to make someone (myself) cry.

This was actually the first “2013” song I listened to, and I fell in love with it immediately.  It’s simple, it sounds like SBTRKT, and it’s subtly seductive.  I’m not looking for much more in a song than that.

Chris Owens left Girls. That’s stupid. Girls was awesome. His solo venture could use some work, but there are a couple of tracks worth checking out. The most enjoyable of which is the one I’m including here, which is basically just a saxophone and backup singers and makes you feel like you’re hanging out on a beach in the Caribbean.  One R and two Bs in “Caribbean” – I’ll never get that one down.

Dance tune straight out of the 80s/90s.  Turn up the bass and just ride it out.  But, if you value your ears in any way, don’t listen to this whole album. Toro, your album’s a bore-o. Never put more than 8 songs on an album again-o. y…moi? Clearly losing all ability to write by this point.

Here’s a guy wailing about love and God-knows what else. If you’re wondering if musicians still get upset about love and broken hearts and missed opportunities and can never ever ever stop thinking about those things – well, they sure do!  And they’re using falsetto.  But, I mean, good song.  Can you tell that it’s midnight, and I don’t want to write another word? I can’t even muster up the effort to put my quips into parentheses at this point.  I should have just made this a pile of YouTube videos, said no more than five sentences at the top, and been done with it.  Wow, you guys are going to think I have a lot to say about this Local Natives song when you see this paragraph, but by the time you get to this sentence you’ll realize I stopped talking about this song about six words into the paragraph. I hope he falls off that cliff.

Growing up we had plenty of Nintendo games to last us a lifetime.  Really all we needed were the Marios, Bubble Bobble, Micro Machines racing, and the original Zelda, but don’t tell my parents that.  One of the games we had, which I never remember beating, was called “Ultimate Stuntman”.  I remember the soundtrack significantly better than the game, and I think my friend Umberto does as well.  Because this song sounds like it belongs on “Ultimate Stuntman”.  If that doesn’t sell ya, I don’t know what will! But seriously, Umberto, did you just steal this song from “Ultimate Stuntman”?

You’ve all heard JT’s “Suit & Tie,” and Ty Segall is going to make like 500 songs this year, so I don’t need to cover either of those (and if you don’t dig “Suit & Tie,” I’m more than happy to punch you right in the nose).  Happy listening, kids.  And don’t forget about my 2012 and 2011 compilations if you’re looking for other tunes!