Top 10 Albums of 2013

The time of year has come again for me to make a list of the tunes that have dominated my speakers over the past year. Often my favorite albums correlate with the live shows I’ve seen, since I always try to intimately get to know a new album before I see a band perform it. Inevitably, there are two or three albums that dominate my waking hours and keep me from getting out there and listening to new stuff. This year, Rhye’s Woman, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor and Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories became the subjects of my obsession.

I’m getting ready to take a big, long vacation and it couldn’t come at a better time. For one, it’s freezing out and I’m escaping winter. Secondly, as my favorite sources of music news and reviews start to release their top 10 / 25 / 50 / 100 albums of the year, the list of albums I’ve somehow overlooked over the past year is growing and I get to refresh my iPod with tons of new music. So far on my list: Tennis, Grizzly Bear, Childish Gambino, M.I.A., Burial, Crystal Antlers, Volcano Choir and Juana Molina; these are the artists that will keep me company on planes, trains and beaches.

I was looking back on my favorite albums of 2012 and I realize that I’m still listening to those albums. My favorite albums of 2013 will no doubt remain on rotation, because a favorite album is one that you never tire of. Albums where after each play, you change your mind on which is your favorite track and each new listen has you noticing a different riff, new lyrics and new layers – these are worthy of being favorites.

Once again, in no particular order (because that is just a migraine waiting to happen), my top 10 albums of 2013:

2013 top 10

  1. Rhye – Woman
  2. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
  3. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
  4. Tegan & Sara – Hearthrob
  5. Arctic Monkeys – AM
  6. Haim – Days Are Gone
  7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
  8. Austra – Olympia
  9. Local Natives – Hummingbird
  10. Kid Cudi – Indicud
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Music to your Ears

This past long weekend felt like the beginning of the summer and I had time to lay out in the sun and listen to some new tunes.

The hype around Daft Punk’s newest and much anticipated album Random Access Memories has been absolutely over the top (some say the highlight of this year’s Coachella was Daft Punk, who didn’t even perform). The first single “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell has my bets for anthem of the summer and this weekend I got to listen to the album in its entirety. It’s different from the Daft Punk sound you’ll remember. Arguably one of the originators of the EDM movement, Daft Punk has taken a step away from the club beats and leaned towards a soul sound. I think it’s going to take me a few more listens to fully form an opinion, but the track featuring Julian Casablancas (lead singer of The Strokes) was easily my favorite upon first listen. Check out the album’s website for interviews with most of the album’s collaborators.

Am I revisiting my adolescence? The next album I’ve had on heavy rotation (ok, non-stop) is the new Yeah Yeah Yeah’s album “Mosquito”. Sacrilege is the first single, but it’s the title track that is constantly stuck in my head. The whole album is amazing and proves that Karen O. has still got it!

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Get Moving: Tracks for your Workout Playlist

After a fun, indulgent and lazy long weekend, this morning it was back to the gym for me. Countless lunges, squats, crunches and time on the elliptical and treadmill isn’t easy for anyone and I find I need really great music with a quick pace (or beats per minute/BPM) to get me working hard right until the bitter end.

Once upon a time, I used special software that measured the BPM of all of my workout tracks to keep the songs and beats consistent (and consistently high). That playlist was wiped (sigh) and I’ve since been working to bring a solid playlist back together, mostly through memory and trial and error at the gym.

Over the next little while, I’ll share with you some of my favorite tracks to add to your playlist and keep things fresh.

Here are 5 of my favorites right now.

Amy Winehouse – Rehab (Hot Chip Remix)

Annie – Heartbeat (MSTRKRFT Remix)

Florence + the Machine – Kiss with a Fist

Cut Copy – Hearts on Fire

Cut Copy – Hearts on Fire (Aeroplane Pop Remix)

Daft Punk – Technologic (Peaches No Logic Remix)