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2013 Year End Best Of

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2013 was a particularly hard and busy year in which the real world came between me and music. In January, I left my job after nearly 10 years (with an additional 5 previous years as my primary client). I went to a company which was being spun off from its mothership and had 9 months to lead the start up of its IT organization. At the same time, I nursed a much loved cat through a terminal cancer diagnosis (she passed away ~ 2 weeks before the completion of the afore-mentioned start-up). In other words, as much as it may annoy Brendan, EvilSponge fell to the bottom of the pile because life got in the way.

It was a hectic and happy and sad year, but there wasnít much music in it. I listened to only a few records and didnít go to many shows, but below is what I liked.

  1. One Kiss Ends It All by Saturday Looks Good to Me
    Fred Thomas and his rotating cast of characters returned after way too many years with a reverby, shimmering record. Sure there was some filler, but the sing-along brilliance of songs like New City, Break In, or even Sunglasses (which I think I might have panned in my review, but which has seriously grown on me) is hard to pass up.

  2. The Adult Section by The Karl Hendricks Trio
    This is a 2012 release, but I didnít happen across it until late in 2013. Itís typical Karl Hendricks Ė funny song titles (the best one is I Donít Need A Hippie (To Tell Me How To Talk To My Cat), although Dreams, Ha ranks ups there), razor sharp loud music alternating with massive self-reflection (see: After Four Beers). The manís been doing this for some 20 years now and every one of his releases has something new to offer.

  3. Neighborhood Veins by Schooner
    North Carolina indie meets country meets occasional mis-step. This one gets its ranking almost entirely because of the second song, Trap, which is the best single piece of music I heard all year.

  4. Sing-A-Longs by Blair Crimmins & The Hookers
    Atlanta-based 20s/30s style Dixieland/Ragtime combo. Itís wild, itís wacky, and itís just plain fun. This was a fairly random thing to pick up (review forthcoming Ė I swear, Brendan!) and I know itís not for everyone. But durn it, I just like it.

  5. My Heart Soars Like a Hawk by Nylon Jail
    A debut by a Czech band which the press release called "electro-country" and described as meeting of Depeche Mode, Johnny Cash, and Nine Inch Nails. I listened to it on a total lark and with very low expectations. It was actually a pretty good dark country record, reminiscent of a band like Big Lazy or very early Calexico.
  1. OCTOPUS PROJECT w/ The Purkinje Shift, and Jeffrey Butzer & The Bicycle Eaters on 9 August 2013 at The Drunken Unicorn
    Three great acts, all hitting their stride on one glorious (but steamy) evening. I donít think Iíve ever seen a disappointing show by any of those bands, but putting them together on one evening was about the most awesome thing I could think of.

  2. KYLESA w/ <name redacted> ,White Hills, and Lazer/Wulf on 21 June 2013 at The EARL
    It was a heavy evening. It involved an aggressive flute solo by . Itís not normally my sort of thing. And damn if it didnít rock.

  3. THE LIVERHEARTS w/ Hip to Death, and Duende on 4 Jan 2013 at The Star Bar
    Iíve always had a thing for the angular math rock of The Liverhearts and this first show Iíve seen from them in nigh unto forever was truly awesome. Beyond that, I really really liked Hip to Death. Iíve been meaning to catch them again and maybe, now that life has settled down, I can manage to make that happen.

  4. SMITHSONIAN w/ Clashinista on 13 Sept 2013 at The EARL
    Itís two cover bands, so you know what youíre getting. But you can tell both groups adore what theyíre doing and so do I. Besides whatís not to love about a band playing White Man in Hammersmith Palais?

  5. RAMONA FALLS w/ Social Studies on 15 February at The Masquerade
    Social Studies was really the highlight, but I couldnít help but also like Ramona Falls, which reminded me just a wee bit of Jukebox the Ghost.
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