Monday, December 30, 2013

Turnbull's Top 10 Albums of 2013


10) Jim James - Regions of Light and Sound of God

(image via stereogum.com)
The My Morning Jacket frontman go solo and gives us a funky set of songs with a spiritual bent, using some interesting drum loops and gaining inspiration from R&B and soul.


9) Oddisee - The Beauty In All
(image via hhv.de)

Some of Oddisee's albums feature lyrics, but I feel his true essence is captured through his instrumental LPs.  He first blew me away on his Rock Creek Park mixtape from 2012 – a love letter to an area in his hometown of Washington, DC.  This new record shows a huge leap in production skills, is a bit more progressive, and is reminiscent of Flying Lotus.  This guy keeps getting better and better.  He's one of the most underrated producers in hip hop.


8) Local Natives - Hummingbird
(image via undertheradarmag.com)

Another great surprise from early 2013.  I was immediately drawn in by the vocals.  Sounds like Jeff Buckley meets The National. 

7) Kurt Vile - Wakin On A Pretty Daze
(image via matadorrecords.com)
Perfect soundtrack to a lazy, sunny Saturday afternoon.  Slacker indie rock reminiscent of Tom Petty and Neil Young.  Grungy, meandering guitar riffs with hokey yet endearing lyrics.  A great listen from start to finish.

6) Foals - Holy Fire
(image via wikipedia.org)
Foals seem to hit their stride on this, their third full length album.  It's an improvement on the more emotional musical vibe they went for on their previous album.  This album captures the feel of their live show quite nicely.

5) Bombino - Nomad
(image via nonesuch.com)
Gritty African blues, produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.  You don't need to understand the lyrics to feel the groove of these tunes.  Bombino is a young artist with plenty more success on the horizon.  He has overcome tremendous adversity as a result of the civil war in his native country of Niger, including the execution of two of his bandmates.


4) Tim Maia - Nobody Can Live Forever - The Existential Soul of Tim Maia
(image via luakabop.com)
I must confess...this album actually came out in late 2012, but I discovered it earlier this year and played the shit out of it so I had to include it on my list.  You have never heard Brazilian music sound this soulful and funky!  And Tim Maia's back story might be more interesting than the music.  Described as an 'unrepentant acid head', Maia left Brazil in the late 60s for NYC and cut his teeth on the soul and funk sounds of the time.  After being deported back to Brazil, he joined a UFO worshipping cult, and would go on what he called “ a triathlon” - an all-night bender fuelled by cocaine, pot, and whiskey!

Maia passed away in 1998 but this re-issue has some of the best songs from his illustrious career.  He's one of the craziest cats you've never heard of.


3) Toro y Moi - Anything In Return
(image via pampelmousse.com)
I've already said a lot about this record in a previous post.  If you missed it you can read it HERE.


2) Mayer Hawthorne - Where Does This Door Go
(image via rollingstone.com)
I had high hopes for this record and was not disappointed.  Although I found his earlier stuff a bit "hit and miss," this album still keeps Hawthorne's "blue-eyed soul" sensibility.  It's less Motown and instead has more of a Hall and Oates/Steely Dan/Toto/Michael McDonald vibe to it.  Great to see the continual evolution of this underrated artist.


1) Party Supplies - Tough Love
(image via hypetrak.com)
My biggest and best surprise of 2013.  Party Supplies (AKA Justin Nealis) first grabbed my attention for his work on Action Bronson's Blue Chips mixtapes.  But Tough Love is not a hip hop album..it's an 80s pop record in the truest sense, but it also has the modern dance sound of acts like Chromeo, Phoenix, and M83.  This album has such beautiful production all over it.  I was so happy that many people I shared this record with didn't like it so I can kept it all to myself...there's just something about it that keeps me hooked.

-Turnbull

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