These are my favorite tunes from 2013. And this is the obligatory tip of the hat to Chaz Felix for introducing me to the "annual greatest hits" format many years ago.
Sadly, I didn't attend any memorable live performances this past year. I actually bought a ticket to see The Sword in Raleigh back in the Fall but ended up flaking out because I was so damn tired. This is what happens when you have 2 young children and you're working your guts out to build a new business.
I did, however, start jamming with some guys a couple months ago and suspect that we might turn into a "band" that plays a "show" at some point. We're working up some 90s era alternative covers and I'm the lead singer -- it is hilarious and fun.
Here are my 2013 jams. All the links go to Spotify or YouTube.
I've loved Jason Isbell for a long time -- see here for a blurb I wrote about Dress Blues, which I think is the greatest anti-war song ever written. I'm glad that his 2013 record Southeastern and his new-found sobriety are helping Jason finally the attention he deserves. He's easily one of the best songwriters in the business today. Flying Over Water is one of my favorites, though the entire record is more or less perfection.
VT's Our Own Masters record was a strong effort, much better than the band's previous record Strangers. No Strings Attached is actually quite a bit different than everything else on the record, but I love that it is such a positive and uplifting song. It is a strong reflection of a great band that has been in the trenches for many years and has developed a hard-core following.
Not much I can say about Haim that hasn't already been said. They've got lightning in a bottle.
I'm not quite old enough to be in the Superchunk demographic, though I remember people talking about them in high school. I never actually followed up on the recommendation in part because I was too busy trying to learn to play Jimmy Page licks on my Fender Squire at the time. (It is actually a little embarrassing to publicly admit this considering my personal connections in Durham/Chapel Hill and my shared acquaintances with the members of the band.) I Hate Music prompted me to listen to the rest of the back catalog, so I'm up to speed now...just several years late.
I can't remember how it happened, but I was addicted to Harry Nilsson for a couple months this year. I started listening to him in college but never really ventured beyond the greatest hits. Digging deeper into his catalog is well worth it.
I listened to this record a lot driving back and forth from Cary. I'm pretty sure that this is the only song in history based on The Secret of NIMH. I only realized after the fact that Colossus is from Raleigh -- they're a great classic metal band.
Thomas LOVES Mighty Machines, a CBC show that we let him watch on Netflix. He sings the hilariously over-the-top theme song all the time. And he goes bananas when I sing it for him in my best Creed voice with a rousing guitar accompaniment.
My daughter Catherine was born on May 14. I listened to this song quite a bit before she was born -- its a beautiful song about a father and a daughter. It moved me to tears more than a few times, including once in a Holiday Inn in Akron, OH when it happened to pipe through the lobby music.