Monday, December 16, 2013

2013 Countdown Continued (15 Songs)

At this point it starts getting hard, with self-second-guessing as the new hobby. At this point, almost any of the next ten songs could get my vote for #1, depending on what day it is and what I'm doing.

But ...

10. James Blake - Retrograde

            White soul doesn't get much whiter or much more soulful than this. Blake evoked early '80s UK acts, but traded out the fromage for some knob fiddling, taking home the Mercury Prize as a reward. 

9. Volcano Choir - Byegone

     Justin Vernon's other band, or one of them, has been kicking around since 2005. This summer saw their second release, Repave.  If the Bon Iver chorals put you off, you can relax. The guitar does the soaring on this one.

8. NONONO - Pumpin Blood

          What is it with the Swedes? They were all over the place this year, in pop, rock, and post-rock all.  In NONONO's case, it's pop of the infectious kind.


7. Valerie June - Twined and Twisted

          There are an unlimited number of gorgeous songs on the debut of Brooklyn-via-West Tennessee's Valerie June. Though initial hype focused on June's collaboration with Dan Auerbach, the ageless, deep-South, soulful country songs are the ones that leave an imprint long after the player has moved onto the next song in the shuffle.

6. Phosphorescent - Song for Zula

      And another from a deep South native, gone to NYC. Alabaman Matt Houck  made the album of his life, in the aftermath of that life falling apart. "Song For Zula" not only stood "Ring of Fire" on its head, it also became an anthem for anyone with a tired-of-love gripe to whine about.


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