Wednesday, January 1, 2014

And I'm Known To Kick It Like The Captain Of A Soccer Team: Aaron's Favorites, 2013

1. Deerhunter, Monomania
Absolute faith in the power of rock and roll. Anthems for staring at swamps in the twilight. Beauty in tangled peals of howling noise and hushed reveries. World-conquering riffs, crystalline shuffles, joy in transformation.

2. Janelle Monae, The Electric Lady
Monaé is an effortless virtuoso. She flits around a shimmering universe of her own creation, going wherever the funk (and Kellindo Parker’s insane guitar) lead.

3. Kurt Vile, Wakin On A Pretty Daze 
It’s loose, he’s lethargic. But there’s not a wasted moment on Daze, provided you turn up the speakers and let the golden vibes soak in.

4. A$AP Rocky, Long. Live. A$AP.
Rocky closes his eyes, dives in, and comes up with the sound he’s always heard in his head--hard, slurred beats, familiar and alive. All without breaking a sweat.

5. Waxahatchee, Cerulean Salt 
Katie Crutchfield’s sparse, yearning guitar rock sounds like country music to me. It’s almost painfully intimate. But that’s the thing about Crutchfield--she’s tough as nails.

6. Chance The Rapper, Acid Rap
Straight from the South Side and with a foot in Native Tongues kaleidoscopics, an 18-year-old running circles around the competition. In a voice that mutates every minute, Chance spits details that will rip your heart open.

7. Danny Brown, Old
Hip-hop’s reigning elf king reintroduces himself, laying on the grime and charisma thicker than ever. I like the terse first half, but the clubby Side B’ll make you snap your neck too.

8. Grant Hart, The Argument
A Paradise Lost-inspired double LP brought to life by the melodic gifts of an American treasure. It’s inspiring that Grant actually made this, more inspiring still that it’s this good.

9. Run The Jewels, Run The Jewels
Get out of town. Go fuck yourself. This unremittingly intense neo-boom bap tag team isn’t for you.

10. Marnie Stern, The Chronicles of Marnia
Showering your consciousness with the blasts of guitar, explosive drumming and forest spirit vocals. This is Marnie’s Axis: Bold As Love--her gifts as a songwriter catching up to her sick guitar skills.

Edit: I  voted in this year's Pazz & Jop (here's my ballot), and submitted a Top 10 singles list:

And here's my yearly Tumblr tabulation.


  1. Yes! Deerhunter, man. Thanks for being the first person to suggest there's actual variety to this album, while also not ignoring its visceral impact. And while we're on the subject I feel I'm still owed a detailed account of your feelings about "Halcyon Digest," an album I weirdly don't recall ever talking specifically about with you, but which was conspicuously absent from your 2010 list.

    Not one, not two, but three overlapping albums on our lists. Some kind of record. Love all those others, too, though sorry to say I still haven't heard #4.

  2. Hm, you know there were songs on Halcyon Digest (a brilliantly-titled album) that I really loved. But most of the 5+ minute songs didn't really move me (with the obvious exception of "Desire Lines").

    Monomania has insane range! What buffoon could suggest otherwise? I feel like it's an especially amazing album because it bridges Deerhuntery noise and dreaminess with Southern Rock. These guys are the true heirs to IRS-era R.E.M.

    Thank YOU for recognizing that Bradford is the great frontman of our age.