The Modern Medley
Song - Artist -
Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple -
NOTE: THIS IS NOT DJ EXPENSIVE HAIRCUT'S FAVORITE 2013 ALBUMS SO FAR! THAT COMES LATER. THANX
1. Anamanaguchi – Endless Fantasy
Full of pop punk, J-pop, house, and regular chiptune influences, these dudes party their way through a super fun, memorable album that will definitely make you feel a bit nerdy, but in a cool way. Order an extra large pizza, grab some sugary soda and put this bad boy on.
2. Beach Fossils – Clash the Truth
This group shares similarities with Diiv, Wild Nothing, and many other Captured Tracks labelmates, but this is their breakout album, in my opinion. Every track has a GREAT hook, each brings something that makes it stick out from the torrent of dream pop coming out these days, and there are some killer melodies as well. The whole thing is a little bleary, but Beach Fossils add enough variety to this hazy game to stick out in the cloud of mediocre rock n roll.
3. Bombino – Nomad
Lyrics all in Tamashek, the language of the Taureg people, the lead man Bombino sings about freeing his country and the struggles he and his people go through under persecution of the Nigerian government. But not only do they sing about hardships, they shred to cope with them. The guitar work on this album is crazy, incorporating non-western polyrhythms and melodies all over the place. But if you feel like this album might be a little too exotic for you, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys handled production; definitely giving it a few western blues rock touches.
4. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
This album effortlessly combines disco, funk, RnB, pop, electronic, rock and more styles of music into one, cohesive product that defies logic. There are musical-like numbers, drum solos, a rocket taking off, and SO much much much more. Even if you aren’t a fan of “electronic” music, you can take an ear to this and find something you like. Have it be Nile Rodgers’ definitive guitar style or Panda Bear’s usual drone, there will be something here for you to like.
5. Deafheaven – Sunbather
I’m not usually one for any type of metal, but this album is surely the most excited exception I’ve ever given. Deafheaven are a Californian black metal fusion band, which blends the wretching and darkness of black metal with the builds of post rock but also some elements of screamo, punk, and even shoegaze. On this album, it’s all about playing things as loud as possible. The guitars are SUPER fast, the drumming is SUPER fast and thunderous, the singing is brütal. Most of these songs have movements within them, getting back to that post rock influence, which include melancholy lows through interludes and dramatic, euphoric highs through extreme builds and climaxes. If you can get past the stigma of screaming in music and just let it take control of you, you probably will feel like doing things bigger than you.
6. Deerhunter –Monomania
Probably the most bombastic, silly and actually rockin’ good in Deerhunter’s catalog, this album takes leather jacket wearing, punk mindset attitudes to their normally askew sense of rock n roll to make something dirty, fun, unabashedly imperfect, but raw and thrilling. If Deerhunter fans that dig their more lowkey stuff, give this a try. You might see past the motorcycle helmets and tobacco breath to see something you enjoy.
7. Disclosure – Settle
This is an album PACKED with insanely groovy, danceable electronic music, centering on house and UK garage, in a way. But seriously though, who cares about what exact style of electronic music these dudes are crafting: the important thing is that it gets your body moving. The guest vocalists on here rule, some songs on here definitely take influence from the Detroit techno scene and did I mention that it’s super good? Well if you’re a fan of getting your body moving, check this thing out.
8. The Flaming Lips – The Terror
In my experience with the Flaming Lips, I’ve always thought of them as consistently using the “weird” factor to their advantage, by using it to create music that has never been made like it or music being put out on unorthodox formats. Take the 24 Hour song they released in 2011, being released on a harddrive encased in a human skull with chrome drips, putting a flash drive in a gummy fetus, or doing a making a vinyl where all of the collaborators blood would be injected into the record itself. It’s the little things. Usually, the Lips are pretty jovial sounding about their music, have it be about heroin addiction on the Spiderbite Song from 1999’s The Soft Bulletin or whatever they were talking about on Embryotic, so it was a surprise to turn this album on to find not one speck of happiness within. Perhaps the frontman Wayne Coyne’s separation with his wife had something to do with this bleakness, but woah. This record is intense. Embryotic had some moments on it where it felt heavy but in sort of a psychedelic addled way, plus they balanced some of the heavier songs with weirdness, reinforcing the drugged out feeling of it. This, however, feels all internal, like the band members are inside of their own heads fighting internal demons and losing. It’s pretty heavy on the electronics, all of them being spooky and capable of making your skin crawl due to the inhumanness about them. It would be the perfect soundtrack to being stuck on a deserted alien planet, only to traverse the barren landscapes until your lonely death. SO: with all that great, positive imagery, you totally wanna go listen to this, right? Well, I think so. I bet it’s unlike most things you’ve heard out there, and some of these songs are already Lips classics in my mind, like “Look… The Sun is Rising” and the title track. It’s weird, dark but strangely rewarding. Check it out.
9. Iceage – You’re Nothing
This Danish punk/post-punk band of mostly teenagers put the world ablaze in 2011 with their debut, but I think this album is their biggest achievement. Their first album was a great, intense, really loose punk burner twisted into a tight package. This album however brings some variety to the table with adding the closest thing I think the band could do to a ballad, some tighter production, some catchy as fuck songs and a few other tricks that you’re gonna have to listen to it to figure it out!
10. Jai Paul – Demos
Not much is known about Jai Paul. The one, concrete thing that we can assume is that he knows how to write a damn good song. This album is packed full of breakneck transitions, “Off the Wall” era style disco/groove breakdowns on the instrumentals, thumping bass, sexy handclaps, obscure samples from movies and television (Gossip Girl and Harry Potter!) and Paul’s smoky, smooth singing voice. The whole thing rocks my body. Also it’s an unofficial compilation someone leaked from Paul’s computer, so finding it may be a bit hard now, but it’s well worth it.
11. The Knife – Shaking The Habitual
What do industrial style synth and sound effects, heavily manipulated vocals, tropical percussion, Javanese polyrhythms, 19 minutes ambient interludes, senses of paranoia, urgency, dread and euphoria, and zithers have in common? Well not a lot before, but they all come together in one massive package on The Knife’s newest album, “Shaking the Habitual.” The group is doing just what the album title states: shaking the norm of the sound of music coming out right now, in terms of instrumentals and lyrical content, tackling issues on gender equality, politics, and more. It’s a pretty heady listen, but it’s so rewarding once you crack into that genius that comes from such an inventive work of art.
12. Majical Cloudz – Impersonator
Majical Cloudz group name evades the stigma of having a sound that matches their name. Instead of silly, lighthearted frippery, Majical Cloudz’s debut is full of pretty heavy material, sung in a way that is so deep and striking that you can feel the vocals smashing away at your reserve while the instrumentals worm their way into your subconscious. It’s dark, like a moldy basement filled with rotting childhood ephemera stacked in wet boxes. But it’s the light from your flashlight that reflects off of these iridescent, slimy boxes and toys is what makes it so beautiful.
13. My Bloody Valentine – MBV
The reigning kings and queens of shoegaze return with their follow up to one of the highest regarded albums of the 90s. Full of distorted hooks, cooed vocals, pounding drums and that signature shoegaze smear all over.
14. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels
At last! At least one hip-hop album making some essential pickups for my 2013 list. Run the Jewels is the duo of two MCs that made a huge name for themselves in 2012, Killer Mike and El-P. The two spit over beats that El-P produced, which Mike has done before last year, so he’s right at home here. Basically the whole thing is them bragging about how good they made it after last year as well as two good friends having fun in the studio making extremely fun and hard hitting music. Killer Mike’s flow is direct and thumping as usual and El-P’s is calculated and hard to decipher as ever. You should read some of these lyrics, though. This project is great and they’re giving it away for free. I’d pay money for this, no doubt. Also check out that Watch the Throne diss on “Sea Legs!” Awesome.
15. Various Artists – After Dark 2
Are you a fan of being dark, mysterious, sexy, sultry, 80s inspired, and pretty damn cool? Well I think I might have found your perfect soundtrack. All of these songs are italo-disco revival, showcasing retro sounding synths, dripping slow jammed emotion, and a real sense of “ohhhh yeeeaahhhh I’m grooving.” Most of these songs are like you: dark, mysterious, sexy, sultry, 80s inspired and pretty damn cool.