After making the statement last week that I had finally rounded up the releases of 2013 that I needed to hear before making a best of list, I was brought back to reality this week and realized that there were still many more that needed my attention. I'm still trying to focus on the albums that have an outside chance of making an impact, but wanted to share with you some of the other 2013 releases that have made their way to my ears over the past two weeks. The next roundup will be my Best of...so enjoy these takes before the big reveal.
Pusha T - My Name is My Name: The second album from Pusha T has been getting rave attention lately. I've seen it included on most of the best of the year lists. And while it's certainly legitimate quality hip-hop, I couldn't get past the idea that I was listening to somebody trying to sound like Kanye West. The beats and his flow are both reminiscent of Yeezus. But where Kanye takes the style to new levels, Pusha T seems content with nearly reaching the heights West has set. That said, an album that sounds that similar to one of the best of the year is worth a listen.
Gwar - Battle Maximus: The thrash metal band's 13th album was released this fall, 25 years after their debut. Gwar is the novelty band that has never felt like a novelty because of their intense commitment to making brutal, and often brilliant, metal. The intensity is still there on this album, even if it does feel a bit uneventful at times. A decent enough thrash album, but probably their weakest in quite some time.
Body/Head - Coming Apart: Released in September, this is the debut album from Kim Gordon's new experimental noise rock band. I gave it a listen after seeing it on a Best of the Year list and I just couldn't get into it. Kim was never my favorite part of Sonic Youth, and typically I found her songs to be boring. This was pretty much a solid mess in my opinion, all experimentation without innovation. But random noise has never really been my thing. Others may love it.
Colin Meloy - Colin Meloy Sings The Kinks: This is the fourth Colin Meloy Sings... EP from the lead singer of The Decemberists. It follows Morrissey, Shirley Collins, and most recently Sam Cooke way back in 2008. This came out last month and certainly seemed to be the most promising, not only because I love The Kinks, but because it had the potential to be the most different from the original. Perhaps the oddest part of this is the song choice, staying away from their iconic songs and picking lesser known tracks like "Hairy Rag," and "The Way Love Used to Be," both of which he does a fantastic job with. "Waterloo Sunset" is the best known track on here and his version isn't much different except for his unique vocal style. A welcomed addition to what is turning into a must have series.
The View - Tight Hopes EP: One of the most under appreciated UK indie rock bands of the last half-decade, The View has made some great albums, and a handful of perfect songs since their debut six years ago. This just released EP containing four songs is their first released music since last year's Cheeky for a Reason album. The sound is what we've come to expect at this point, intelligent observations of society delivered with brashness. Another catchy rock release from them, with "Addicted" and the "Where" being the two real stand-outs. "Where" captures the full sound of their most recent work and is quite beautiful.
The Flaming Lips - Peace Sword: Released last month, this is essentially an EP inspired and recorded for the movie Ender's Game. The title track was used in the movie, and has a Yoshimi Battles the Robots vibe to it. The rest of the tracks were apparently offered to the produces of the movie, but they decided not to use them. This could definitely be a continuation of The Terror, their very good album released earlier this year. They've really been on a roll lately, reinventing their psychedelic sound into beautiful and spacious mood pieces. This is a must for fans of their recent work.