I’d been wrestling with the idea of putting together a “top albums of 2013” list for a while. Then I realized that many of my favorite releases were EPs, so it became a struggle as to whether or not I should create two separate lists. I’ve instead opted to go with a “Top 20 Tracks of 2013” list. This list is in no particular order and I know there are a lot of good songs from a lot of killer albums from the previous year that haven’t been put on the list. Naturally a lot of these songs or artists have appeared on a Muso Planet compilation (or will in the future).
★Baby Formula (China) – “Lonely Gourmet”. Really dreamy and highly addictive track from the Beijing dreampoppers. The vocals will melt your soul.
★Oeil (Japan) – “Owl Moon”. Oeil released two new tracks this year and, while it was close, “Owl Moon” was just too good. The song is available for download exclusively from Muso Planet volume 2.
★Elephant Stone (Canada) – “A Silent Moment”. The track off their album that best showcases the band’s hindie-rock tag. Really well composed song from an all-around great album.
★Venera 4 (France) – “Haunted Summer”. An epic 9-minute conclusion to one of the best EPs of the year. The acoustic version the band released just before the end of the year is solid, too.
★Beach Volleyball (England) – “Contack”. The best track off of an album from a contender for “band of the year”. I love the depth in this song.
★The Chambermaids (U.S.) – “I Wonder Why”. Probably my favorite album of 2013, and this track is as catchy as they come.
★The Cherry Wave (Scotland) – “Cave/Wave”. These guys pride themselves on the amount of fuzz they generate and they should. This track is loud and one of the reasons that they are high on my list of bands to see live.
★Kinoko Teikoku (Japan) – “Eureka”. My Japanese band of the year and probably my favorite Japanese band over the last two-plus years. You can seriously get lost in this song, which is the title track of their 2013 full-length.
★Puna (Peru) – “Au Dial”. Instrumental electronic track from the highly-underrated Peru-based music project. Beautifully layered song.
★Loomer (Brazil) – “Road to Japan”. I love the vocals on this track. My favorite from the debut album by the Brazilian shoegaze outfit.
★Cool Serbia (U.S.) – “Tear Me Up”. I like the noisy 60s pop throwback sound. “Tear Me Up” is one of the songs off of the EP that I can listen to over and over again.
★Disco las Palmeras (Spain) – “Alfa y Omega (la cruel)”. Ultra was one of 2013’s best albums from start to finish. Alfa y Omega is powerful and that chorus is addictive.
★PanSTARRS (Egypt) – “Fools”. It’s danceable and nasty. There’s something evil about this track from the always noisy Egyptian trio.
★Curelight Wounds (U.S.) – “Leveled Out”. Curelight Wounds put out two DIY EPs in 2013, both of which were brilliant. “Leveled Out” isn’t as refined production-wise as some of the tracks from the latter EP, which might be why it’s my favorite. It’s upbeat and loud and the vocals are smashed deep in the mix.
★His Name is Codeine (Scotland) – “Replica Gun”. Mellow track with a Velvet Underground feel. Very simple and straightforward song that develops subtly over three minutes.
★Wavr (U.S.) – “Melt my Brain”. The vocals on this song are magnificent. The music is big and dreamy and, though it doesn’t change a whole lot, it never gets boring due to the big enveloping sound.
★Wolvon (Holland) – “Stagnant”. A very busy, moody track from the Dutch post-punk band’s album folds. One of the more complicated and interesting songs on the CD.
★Trementina (Chile) – “Hazy Youth”. It was a big year for Trementina who released Brilliant Noise on Japan’s Vinyl Junkies. “Hazy Youth” was the first track made available from the album.
★Zeit (Sweden) – “Sky”. The poppiest track off of the Life is Just a Blur EP, the intro-hook is super catchy, as is the chorus.
★Le Thug (Scotland) – “Of Europe (Arc 1993)”. The song is beautiful. That’s really all that can be said. I love the beat under the big swirling guitars and the vocals are…well…beautiful.