Jeff Nolan, Hard Rock’s extremely eminent, insanely knowledgeable, and just downright handsome historian, has been so kind at to put together his thoughts on the year in music, 2013. And…here…we…go!
2013 has come and gone, leaving a fetid stain of rehashed ‘80s synth pop, electro-disco bleatings, corporate post-grunge and pretentious Americana performed by people who seem the think that repeated viewings of their dad’s VHS copy of The Last Waltz gives them depth. Kids are buying freakin’ BANJOS these days for cryin’ out loud. Pedal your fixed-gear bike off my lawn.
That said, here are my picks for best albums of 2013: [more]
MOTÖRHEAD – AFTERSHOCK
This new Motorhead album is the best they’ve released in 20 years. Yes, it’s exactly what you expect a Motörhead album to be, but that’s glorious. Lemmy shouldn’t be able to rock this hard in the 21st century (none of his contemporaries can), but somehow he does. He’s taken the title of World’s Greatest Rock Star away from Keith Richards by continuing to matter.
LORDE – PURE HEROINE
A triumph of art-driven pop over commerce-driven pop. There’s something deeply satisfying about an unknown 16-year -old New Zealand girl releasing the most interesting and talked-about pop record in a year when Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Britney Spears all released albums. The trick now for Lorde is to maintain her creative focus in the wake of sudden celebrity. Good luck with that, kid.
PURSON – THE CIRCLE AND THE BLUE DOOR
Interesting young female-fronted band from England. Heavily steeped in early ‘70s prog psychedelia, but with enough oomph and sexiness to keep it from becoming too anachronistic. If singer/guitarist/mastermind Rosie Cunningham keeps her eye on the ball, she may evolve into a major force for rock ‘n’ roll righteousness.
CLUTCH – EARTH ROCKER
Clutch is a singular band and their latest album is a great example of their groovy sledgehammer blooze.
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE – LIKE CLOCKWORK
Josh Homme is probably the best proponent of rock music currently working in the United States. He hasn’t put out a bad record yet and this latest opus keeps his streak alive.
KANYE WEST – YEEZUS
If this record had been released by an unknown artist, we’d all be hailing it as the arrival of a major talent. Since it’s Kanye, the record is filtered through the prism of his annoying mega-celebrity. Still, it’s a really interesting album for a major star to release.
SUPERCHUNK – I HATE MUSIC
Instantly classic return to form for this iconic pop/punk group. Plus, anything Jon Wurster is involved in should always be given a listen.
DAFT PUNK – RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES
The inescapable record of 2013 and understandably so. There was a bit too much critical salivating over this one, but it’s a solid album; just not as groundbreaking as the cognoscenti would have us believe.
MY BLOODY VALENTINE – MBV
Most unexpected triumph of the year. Who would have thought that Kevin Shields could wrangle the MBV wall of noise into something vital in 2013?
NEKO CASE – THE WORSE THINGS GET, THE HARDER I FIGHT, THE HARDER I FIGHT, THE MORE I LOVE YOU
If you haven’t gotten on board Neko Case’s train by this point, I can’t help you.