A Geek’s Guide to Music in 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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Paul McCartney – New


The press for Paul McCartney’s 16th album, New, indicates that it is his 1st record of new material (not cover versions) since 2007’s Memory Almost Full. To view that as an accurate accounting would be akin to viewing the past through rose-colored lenses (which I’ve been known to do on occasion). In 2008 Paul McCartney released a gem of an album in collaboration with Youth (Killing Joke) as The Fireman entitled Electric Arguments. Though it was the duo’s third record, it was their 1st with Paul McCartney’s signature vocals. Experimental yet with strong melodies, it was one of my favorite McCartney releases. A few years off followed by a covers collection record had me a little worried that Sir Paul had possibly resigned himself to riding away gently into the sun, a happy life in old age. I needn’t have worried so – 2013 brought strong collaborations with the surviving members of Nirvana as well as dance outfit The Bloody Beetroots. The new full length by Paul McCartney, New, uses some of those experiences and fuses them into a record that sounds current while also nodding towards his time with The Beatles.

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The Beatles – Rubber Soul


Part 45 of a series that will run throughout 2013 as I discuss records that have affected me throughout the years – Flashback Fridays

I debated whether I should really tackle an album by The Beatles – probably the most popular and biggest band of all time (sorry Rolling Stones fans). I 1st became obsessed with all things Lennon while still barely into my teens and the sickness has only progressed from there (I even developed an appreciation for Mr. Lennon’s 3 Amigos over the years). When I was 1st getting interested in buying albums by The Beatles a family friend advised me that the cut off for acceptable records was Rubber Soul (the thought was that this was the end of the soft “tea” era / prior to the lads moving on to harder, mind altering “tea”). Of course, I ignored all such conservative rationale and spent all of my paper route money on every CD by the band (that’s about 13 LP’s and 2 odds ‘n’ sods collections for a span of 7 years). I love every record, but I have to admit – Rubber Soul still remains my favorite.

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John Lennon – Now and Then


Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores lesser known tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

John Lennon’s life is well documented – both in print and on film (usually at the request of Mr. Lennon himself as well as Yoko Ono). His work with The Beatles changed the way musicians record and made the path from The Beatles to the Pet Shop Boys very clear by way of tape manipulation and sampling. When you get to his solo career public opinion seems to be a little more divided – not so with me. The back to basics approach of his solo records really suits what Lennon was trying to do away from the band setting. His works have been reissued, remastered, and he even had some of his “works in progress” released in a box set about 15 years ago. Two of his demos were remade into Beatles songs for the anthology album / video series. One of the finest songs John Lennon ever laid to tape was considered for the Beatles reunion and rejected by producer Jeff Lynn (of Electric Light Orchestra fame) because of an incessant buzzing that is on the tape. It has never been officially released which is a damn shame – it is a haunting portrayal of love and loss. The track appears to have been cut at home (The Dakota) sometime between 1975 and 1979. The emotion in John Lennon’s voice feels very real and there is a sadness lurking beneath the surface. The piano accompaniment provides a melancholy atmosphere and allows the weight of Lennon’s words to sink in with the listener. I picked up a bootleg back in the mid 90’s and have returned to it quite often over the years. The perfect John Lennon song, still officially unreleased as of 2013 and it breaks my heart every time I listen to it. Key lyrics:

I know it’s true
It’s all because of You
And if I make it through
It’s all because of you…

And now and then
If we must start again
And we will know for sure