Kool & Kass, Peaceful Solutions [hip hop/dumb, Greedhead]
Also a contender for fav album of 2013. I love everything Kool AD best rapper in the whole world does. He's like three-quarters of what I aspire to be. Dumb stupid funny smart type of guy. I want to be that guy! Kassa Overall's rhymes here are not as good as Kool AD's but that's kind of the point and the not-trying amateur vibe makes me love this even more. I put a Kool AD song at a party once and everyone thought it was terrible (but that's the point, you guys). Best tracks are “Pleasance (WDGAF)”, “Triflin” and “Yaper Capers”. The music video for “Pleasance” is really good.
Everything else released by Kool AD (best rapper ever) this year.
19, 63. And as of like yesterday (#TYBG) NOT O.K.
Chief Keef, Almighty So [hip hop/trap, Glory Boy]
Lotta folks didn't like this mixtape. Chief Keef moved from the projects to the suburbs and now has a shit ton of money from his last few releases. He spends most of it on drugs. As a result, you can't understand half of the shit Chief Keef slurs on these tracks. The production work and his delivery still carry his trademark flow tho, deadpan and lurking-beneath-the-surface psychotic. Also, half the intro track is just the words “TURN UP” like twenty times in a row.
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories [electronic, Columbia]
Sorta embarrassed to put this on my year-end list but fuck it. This album is so fun. At first I wicked hated “Get Lucky” cause I had to hear it blasted from some dickhead's room in my quad and also at every shitty party I went to and immediately regretted attending. I'm more ambivalent now tho. I'm a sucker for “Instant Crush”. I will always fuck with Julian Casablancas. To hell with my brand.
Colin Stetson, New History Warfare, Vol. 3: To See More Light [ambient/jazz, Constellation]
Colin Stetson is a saxophonist. This entire album is saxophone. While that might sound boring or terrible or terribly boring, it is not. This shit is transcendental. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver provides vocals for some of these tracks, but mostly its just Colin Stetson sing-moaning long drawn-out “oohs” and “aahs”. I am reminded of the sea. “Among the Sef” is a good song and I think there is an accompanying video somewhere on Vimeo that I also like.
Swearin', Surfing Strange [indie/pop punk, Salinas]
I like this album a decent amount but not as much as their first album. Still pretty good but it's less of the chugging pop punk riffs and has a bit more sophistication and better production work (I think?). The band is built from remnants of bands like PS Eliot, which operates in my fav style of girl-fronted pop punk. Catchy and honest. Girls are cool.
Dirty Beaches, Drifters/Love is the Devil [ambient/experimental, Zoo]
Dirty Beaches follows the stylistic legacy of the No Wave bands of the 70s/80s (re: Suicide). But while his first album was more lo-fi sluggy retro-50s type stuff, this album seems way more concerned about space. What I like most about Dirty Beaches is that he is a globetrotter. Dude's lived in a lot of places and spaces. He is Taiwanese. He has this fascination with spacial beauty which he captures here in the form of noise. Sometimes this album is scary. DHT would probably be a fun drug to take with this album.
Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels [hip hop, Fool's Gold]
El-P and Killer Mike are two of the most enjoyable rappers out there. Both are well-read and hard-hitting. Sorta like a punches made out of words. El-P and Killer Mike are rapping boxers. I get very pumped listening to them. I get very pumped on this album. Production work by El-P compliments the verses nicely. “A Christmas Fucking Miracle” might be my fav track mostly because it uses jingle bells.
Inter Arma, Sky Burial [metal, Relapse]
This album is heavy and vaguely psychedelic. Its sorta black metally, but other times has more progressive, melodic instrumental sections. It occasionally veers into stoner/sludge territory. It manages to keep things varied and fresh without ever losing a sort of pervasive exhilaration. The album art is neat.
The Haxan Cloak, Excavation [experimental/drone, Tri Angle]
This is a scary ass album most of the time. One of those albums I don't usually like to listen to alone at 3am because I have an acute fear of supernatural darkness and it makes me uncomfortable. But sometimes I do it anyway cause I ain't no bitch. “Consumed” is essentially the soundtrack every high-tension movie trailer.
Julianna Barwick, Nepenthe [ambient/post-rock, Dead Oceans]
Very peaceful. Barwick's sound is always angelic. Her voice is looped over itself to create a type of vocal post-rock. Its kinda post-church choir more than anything else. Postmodern hymnal maybe. “Pyrrhic” sounds a lot like Sigur Ros. “One Half” has actual lyrics sorta. Best taken as a whole imo.