Friday, December 20, 2013

Top 5 - 2013

I guess I'm a sentimental guy because this time of year is always a time of reflection for me. I look back on my success and failures of the past year and resolve to do better in the year to come. The most essential component in the process of reflection is music. I have spent many years as a performer, was the founder of a small record label, and continue to absorb new music every day. There are those who may believe music ain't what it used to be...hopefully the information to follow will disprove your predisposition.

Here are the Top 5 Records of 2013:

5. Heart of Nowhere by Noah and the Whale

Noah and the Whale continue to create contemplative concept albums. 2009's heart breaking, The First Days of Spring, introduced a sorrowful cry for new beginnings. Since then, Charlie Fink and his cast of musical savants have produced two bouncy delights that have clearly put the past away. Heart of Nowhere (and its accompanying short film) is a celebration of youthful exuberance, the joy to dream, and the awareness of the moment. A triumph of the human spirit set to music that could have been a soundtrack for The Breakfast Club. Where have all the years gone....?

4. Make Good Choices by Sean Nelson

"There is nothing more charming than a narcissist with whom you've just agreed"

The above lyric is Sean Nelson in a nutshell: Charmingly Narcissistic. Anyone who has had the pleasure of witnessing the between song banter he and John Roderick have shared over the years would indisputably agree. The former Harvey Danger front man has progressed a million years in two decades. This record has hints of Simon and Garfunkel, a collection of endearing waltzes, and a few nods to the decade that brought this taller version of the aforementioned duo's songbird to our attention. A subtle return from a man who creates music within his own conscious, not mandatory but complimentary. I dare you not to chuckle under your breath.

3. Perils From The Sea by Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle

Mark Kozelek recently founded Calo Verde Records. The label has launched records from The Autumn Leaf, Advance Base, and Sun Kil Moon. In essence, the world's greatest bands on one little label. What a pleasure then to have the instrumental grace of Jimmy LaValle (autumn leaf) accompany the story telling of Mark
Kozelek (sun kil moon). A 2 man super-group. This album offers a series of long tales that would warm any winter window. The usual fables of cats, boxing and love-lorn wandering; coupled with personal reflections told in intricate detail. This collaboration is a master series in words & music.

2. Repave by Volcano Choir   

"Wake up".....begins the introduction of the record's opening track, Tiderays. The lyric, song title and album cover; perfectly introducing Volcano Choir to the world. This is Justin Vernon's (Bon Iver) second effort under this moniker...the first scraps of experiments. Repave serves as much a Bon Iver record as a side project continued. The soundscapes are magnificent and perfectly blend with the stoic vocal delivery of one of the song writing legends of our time. A title wave of sound accompanied by a million beautiful ripples of emotion.


1. Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend    

How incredibly uninventive of me to nominate the same album Rolling Stone, NPR and a thousand other publications have given record of the year. I will not, however, be swayed by public opinion. This record is a profoundly unexpected masterpiece that will live in infamy for many years to come. The Oxford boys who have created dub step records that mirrored Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel have completely rewritten the script on their 3rd effort. The production is multi-layered and spacious with increasingly engaging lyrical content. The tempo has slowed but the energy remains. I thought this would be a summer delight but this record has remained in consistent rotation since May. I find more in every listen. I am always one to argue popular opinion but there is an exception to every rule. 

Thank You For Listening!



  1. The Album Mentioned by burger000 has been added to the unpublished "honorable mentions" list!!!