Though at times this summer , the album charts looked like a apge from 1976 as artist like David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Mark Knopfler released respectable discs. However, most of them only stood out when compared to some of their recent output which ranged from non-existent (Bowie) to horrid (Elton John).
Though Knopfler, the former leader of Dire Straits, gave us a double album with some glorious highlights, he really didn’t take us anywhere new. McCartney seemed to be energized from his Sound City sessions with Dave Grohl to release one of his better albums in years then again we are comparing it to the drab of last year’s Kisses On The Bottom. Bowie’s release was probably the strongest of the all the old pros including Eric Clapton (who resorted to too many covers).
But my favorite Bowie album this year was not one released by David per se. Rather his long time producer Tony Visconti helped a power trio out of Argentina put together one of the better song for song collections of the year. Therefore it gets the nod as my favorite new artist album of the year- Capsula’s Solar Secrets. Grinding guitars and Bonham like drums are complimented by smart lyrics and engaging melodies to provide a very promising start for this band.
Here’s my other favorites albums of 2013.
Dawes- Stories Dont End- I cheated on this one and put it down on my list even before I heard it. I think this band is a one hit song away from being the next big thing. Their live shows are dynamic and their songs make for great stories. They are a nice combination of new sounds deeply rooted in the 1970s Laurel Canyon vibe.
Moon Taxi- Mountain Beaches Cities Another band about to launch into the stratosphere. Though last year’s “Cabaret” was my absolute favorite this LP finds the band continuing to make melodic music with engaging time changes and meaningful lyrics.
Blitzen Trapper- VII Lynyrd Skynyrd meets WIlco. This is a true document of Americana music 2013. Blending honest sentiment with a southern rock grove that is not afriad do get progressive at times. I know it sounds convoluted, but give it repeated listens to uncover its nuances.
Lorde Pure Heroine- This would probably qualify simply for the powerhouse summer hit “Royals.” However, the teenager combines wit and sarcasm with rap influenced grooves and danceable beats. This girl is about to rule the music world.
Cage The Elephant- Melophobia- The album title translate to fear of music and listeners may experience exactly that. It’s a whiplash ride of guitars and power bass that changes tempos and rhythms faster than John Mayer changes girlfriends. I love the spontaneous feel of this album and the urgency by which they deliver their message. Long Live Rock.
Foxygen We are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic – The album title raises the bar of anticipation and this band delivers a sense of wonderment that reflects back on 60 years of rock and roll without nostalgia. Blending diverse influences from the 50’s to present day, Foxygen has delivered my favorite album of the year. It’s fun to listen to this collection on numerous levels. First lyrically, it’s Whitman-esque. Covering the American landscape with free form styling’s that are as bewitching as they are poetic. Secondly, you and your classic rock friends can sit around the living room picking out the influences in this perfect melding of 21st Century music that is pure magic.