Saturday, December 14, 2013

Top 30 Albums of 2013: 20-11


Here is part two of my favorite albums of 2013 list. 


20.  Memory Loss by The Radio Reds
From my review –
The Radio Reds’ full-length debut Memory Loss is as much an ode to the underground rock ‘n’ roll of the past 30 years as it is an expression of the underground’s future.  With a sound that is nearly impossible to nail down to any one genre or sub-genre, what is crystal clear is that this is a band that is steeped in music history.  Right from the outset Memory Loss hits you with its power and its patience.  These songs are determined but not burdened with an abundance of urgency and that is not an easy feat to pull off.  While the record is full of energy, it’s not in a rush.  Each song is like a single resolute step on a long journey.
My Review



19.  Like I Belong by Great Cynics
From my review –
Great Cynics sophomore full-length Like I Belong is a brilliant romp that mixes the best elements of 1990s indie rock, power pop, and pop punk.  In other words, this band writes songs that are ridiculously catchy with lyrics that tackle topics like life, youth, and love, drive by some great hooks.
My Review



18.  Bullfighter by Wringer
From my review –
The band plays ridiculously high energy and catchy punk rock that mixes elements of pop, street, 77, and Midwestern punk.  In other words, this record sounds like it was recorded by a band that grew up on and thoroughly studied the catalogues of Lookout, TKO, Fat, Cruz, and Dr. Strange Records.  On any given song you can hear hints of everything from Swingin’ Utters to Avail to Off With Their Heads to ALL to Pegboy to Sinkhole to The Truents to The Riverdales.  Seriously this band has done their homework and has masterfully blended together all of the best elements that punk rock has to offer. 
My Review



17.  New Drugs by Druglords of the Avenues
From my review –
Druglords of the Avenues sophomore full-length New Drugs is a brilliant blast of ’77 inspired punk rock that incorporates aspects of ska, country, and pop punk.  Druglords’ lead singer, and primary songwriter Johnny Bonnel has created a band that not only reminds listeners of his other bands (Swingin’ Utters and Filthy Thieving Bastards) but creates a distinct personality that can easily stand on its own. 
My Review



16.  Bound for Glory by Green Corn Revival
From my review –
Primarily known for playing Red Dirt country, GCR has put together a record that mixes elements of gospel, roots rock, funk, and goth rock (with a hint of Hawaiian guitar for good measure) and does so with an ease and grace that makes these seemingly divergent styles sound perfectly natural together on the same album (and often in the same song).  One of this band’s strongest suits is the vocals.  Lead singer’s Jared Deck’s southern and soulful croon harmonizes beautifully with keyboardist Jacy Deck’s and Cora Gutel’s backing vocals, resulting in a band that packs one hell of a punch with their pipes.  Bound For Glory is a fascinating record that defies categorization and dares the listener to only listen once.
My Review



15.  Dead End Streets by The Ducky Boys
The Ducky Boys is one of those bands that should be huge.  There is no reason why fans of bands like The Gaslight Anthem and The Hold Steady shouldn’t love Dead End Streets.  From my review –
The Ducky Boys’ sixth full-length record Dead End Streets is a fierce blast of catchy, hook filled, Springsteen and Replacements inspired, punk rock ‘n’ roll.
My Review



14.  Northcote by Northcote
From my review –
Northcote’s sophomore self-titled full-length is an earnest and honest collection of singer-songwriter rock ‘n’ roll tunes that perfectly meld elements of classic rock, alt country, and folk punk.  In other words, this is a great record for fans of Dave Hause, The Gaslight Anthem, Austin Lucas, Bruce Springsteen, and Tim Barry (just to name a few).  [...]  The 12 song album deals with life through catchy and moving hooks and lyrics, on ballads and rockers, resulting in powerful example of how great rock ‘n’ roll can be.  
My Review



13.  Two by Dan Vapid & The Cheats
From my review –
Dan Vapid and The Cheats’ sophomore album Two is that perfect blend of pop punk, power pop, and doo wop that one would expect from the songwriting genius of Dan Vapid.  From the opening chords of “I’m a Contrarian” to the closing swaying of “A Long Way” Two, like its predecessor Dan Vapid and The Cheats, sounds like a trip through the career of Mr. Vapid.  Being a long-time fan of Vapid’s career makes Dan Vapid and The Cheats that much more enjoyable.  Now that’s not to say that one needs to be a fan of or familiar with Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, The Methadones, and Noise By Numbers to enjoy Two, because you don’t, this record clearly stands on its own.  But for those familiar with the aforementioned groups, when listening to Dan Vapid and The Cheats, you can hear the different pieces that made those bands great, all in one spot.
My Review



12.  Poorly Formed by Swingin’ Utters
From my review –
Poorly Formed is an exceptionally tight and cohesive record that is quintessential Utters while at the same time displaying a growth and added dimensions to the band’s signature sound.  What makes this record work, and makes it better then its predecessor Here, Under Protest is that cohesion.  While Here, Under Protest was a great collection of songs, it felt more like a collection of songs than an album; I’m sure some of this was the result of it being their first full-length record in nearly a decade, during which time they were all busy with other projects, resulting in a record that sounded more like an assortment of songs from said side-projects than a Swingin’ Utters album.  That is not the case with Poorly Formed.  Any dust that had collected during that hiatus has been completely cleared off and the band is now tighter than ever.  
My Review



11.  Stay Reckless by Austin Lucas
From my review –
Austin Lucas’ latest record Stay Reckless is the quintessential alt country / Americana album.  Lucas melds elements of rock, country, folk, and punk into a perfect and passionate mix.  The record has ballads (“Splinters”), rockers (“Let Me In”) and everything in-between.   From start to finish this is a nearly perfect record and easily Lucas’ best work to date.
My Review

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