Alright here we go. 10 to 1. 0 to 60. Back to front. Moms and dads.
(Again not all of these were on Spotify so you'll have to click the links for the ones in blue.)
- 10. Nils Frahm - Says - Brian Eno's Big Ship used to be my go-to for huge, epic sounding ambient that made any normal day seem like the last hours you would spend on Earth. Now Says has taken the torch on that one.
- 9. Close - My Way ft. Joe Dukie - Simple, short, and sweet. You don't need flashy effects when the core elements already sound so good. This one was on repeat for weeks.
- 8. Darkside – Golden Arrow - Darkside is Nicolas Jaar's new project with his friend Dave on guitar. Jaar is a master of dynamics and uncommon builds. Add in some choice guitar licks and you have one juicy piece of music. Let this one fill up the room. The video is pretty badass too.
- 7. Tessela - Nancy’s Pantry - This one is unruly. It sounds like nothing else in 2013. It feels underground in that it is so different from your typical dance music formula and yet it is eminently danceable. I see it being an anthem to a huge basement party for the Occupy crowd.
- 6. Foxygen – No Destruction - Sure you could track down and buy a bunch of exquisite vintage gear and hire some knowledgeable producer to record your would-be 60's psychedelic album, but at some point you'd need to play those instruments and make real music. What sets Foxygen apart is their ability to master both - the music and the sound. If someone played this for me blind I would not be surprised at all if they said it was recorded in '68. This is really a placeholder for the whole album, No Destruction is just one of the more fun, whacky tracks off of it.
- 5. Disclosure – Help Me Lose My Mind ft. London Grammar - I'm not one for singing along to songs, but your better believe I was testing out the pipes on this one.
- 4. Dirty Projectors – Socialites (Joe Goddard Remix) - Joe Goddard consistently puts together well-rounded tracks that make you want to play them over and over. The muted intro and steady build made this one my go-to for leaving the office and re-entering the madness that is New York City.
- 3. Jon Hopkins – Open Eye Signal - Hopkins has spent most of his career creating moody, ambient albums rather than dance music and you can tell. The songs on Immunity are long explorations into simple grooves that are in no rush to pull any gimmicky bass drops or cameo appearances. They kind of just grab you by the ears and say, 'hey look at this.' That being said, there is a lot of energy here and the album is a ton of fun to listen to while you yourself are in motion - on the train, running, biking whatever. Open Eye Signal captures that well and made a lot of Best Of lists as a result.
- 2. Jim James – State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U) - This song came out around the time New York was dealing with the reality of Hurricane Sandy's devastation. It was insane. Everywhere below 39th St. in Manhattan, which might as well be the center of the modern universe, was dark - unable to function. ("I mean it, the powers goin out). People lost so much: TVs, rugs, whole homes, tragically even fellow family members. When you go through something that traumatic it makes you more grateful for the things that truly matter in life. You start to question all the things that you thought were important ("state of the art technology, supposed to make for better living"). What does it give us anyway? ("Are we better human beings?"). State of the Art felt like someone pulling back the curtains reminding us that we are merely human despite our best efforts to distract ourselves into thinking we are more.
- 1. Rhye - Open - This one speaks for itself.
Thanks for reading folks. Godspeed in 2014.