A Geek’s Guide to Music in 2013

2013

Another year gone by too quickly. Nothing left to do but try and recount all the great music releases of 2013. We saw the return of David Bowie, (3) new Mark Kozelek records, band reunions, and high-profile hip-hop releases. We also saw people upset with Miley Cyrus quite a bit and while I don’t enjoy her music I thought that the controversies were overblown. I was really looking forward to the new Eminem record but ended up liking only a few songs. Kanye West’s new record didn’t really do anything for me and I couldn’t get into the long-awaited My Bloody Valentine. My list is lacking some of those albums that are on other sites – some of them I didn’t dig all that much and some of them I just didn’t replay very much.What can I say? I march to my own beat. On the flip side, I loved every Mark Kozelek related album, discovered a few gems, and rocked out to Black Sabbath. So here’s a look at 50 music releases from 2013 that I played over and over again. I’ll see you in about a week with the 1st article of 2014.

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The Razor Skyline – Dark Water Oasis

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How does one respond to adversity? People like to repeat cliché statements on social media or plaster those statements onto a photograph of a famous person. “Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.” The funny thing about cliché statements though – most of them are true. The RaZor Skyline is a band who has persevered through lineup changes to deliver their strongest album, Dark Water Oasis.

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Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

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2013 is proving to be an amazing year for the return of artists who first rose to fame in previous decades. For electronic tinged music, this is especially so. Earlier this year we saw the unexpected return of David Bowie, with a strong album that brought to mind his “Berlin Trilogy” musically and visually (that cropped cover of the Heroes album is a conversation starter). The Pet Shop Boys followed suit a few months later by delivering their strongest album in years, a hard-hitting, beat heavy masterpiece. It only figures that with the 70’s and 80’s represented this year, the final part of the trilogy would be filled with a band who really took off in the 90’s, Nine Inch Nails.

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Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral

Part 14 of a series that will run every Friday throughout 2012 as I discuss records that have affected me throughout the years – Flashback Fridays

It seems strange but in 1995 David Bowie wasn’t really considered all that cool anymore. Sure, his 70’s (and for the truly hip, even his late 60’s singles) records would always have new fans and admirers – people who would hear 1 classic record and instantly have to buy them all. It was generally accepted that everything up through Scary Monsters ranged from good to masterpiece while he quickly dropped off as he made a bid for the mainstream with 1983’s Let’s Dance (compare Bowie’s version of China Girl to Iggy Pop’s from 1977. You’ll see what I mean). After a few middling records followed by a stint as “just one of the guys” in the band Tin Machine, Bowie seemed to be making strides towards getting his 70’s mojo back. 1993’s Black Tie White Noise was a nice start in this direction and 1995’s Outside took it a step further. Compounding all of this, Nirvana’s cover of “The Man Who Sold the World” from Bowie’s 1970 album was constantly on the radio in the aftermath of Kurt Cobain‘s suicide.

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Sonny Lanegan – No Questions

I’m going to say something that may not be the most popular thing to say – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack was way too long for me. I loved portions of it (especially the cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”). But at times I found myself losing interest or reaching for the track forward button. I have enjoyed Trent Reznor’s soundtrack work and think it holds a specific spot in the Nine Inch Nails canon – but compared to Ghosts or The Social Network – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meandered where it should have concluded or ended where I had hoped it would meander. Not a disaster by any means, I just wish it had been cut in half (this all could be due to a short attention span, I admit).

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