Sunday, June 30, 2013

Top 6 Albums of the First 6 Months of 2013

And trust me, it was hard to narrow it down to 6.  It's been the best six month stretch in quite a while, and I could easily have stretched it out to 10.  But we'll save that for a year end list.

Jake Bugg

A 19-year old kid, for crying out loud.  Sounds like he's ready to take over the world.

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

If you still listen to the car radio, good luck not hearing "Get Lucky" if your drive lasts more than 15 minutes.  Fortunately for all of us, it's one of those rare songs that just gets better with repeated listens.  But that's just the tip of the iceberg - this is a remarkable album, one that sounds fresh and new at the same time that it is paying homage to some of the most popular sounds of the seventies.  "Giorgio by Moroder" gives the great producer his due, and "Touch," featuring Paul Williams of all people, is a 9-minute epic that shouldn't work, but does - and to great effect.

John Fogerty - Wrote A Song For Everyone

Only two new songs, but when the covers are some of the best songs that the best American rock ban ever recorded, it's hard to quibble.  The best proof that Fogerty has come to peace with his days in Creedence shows up at the end of the record, when you realize that the opening to the new version of "Proud Mary" owes a lot more to the Ike and Tina version than it does the Creedence original.  The album is full of highlights, and Fogerty isn't afraid to tinker with the originals a bit.  It's hard for me to imagine anyone not liking this album.

Patty Griffin - American Kid

As I wrote a few weeks ago, definitely Griffin's best album since "1000 Kisses," her 2002 masterpiece.

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

I liked their debut a lot, the follow up quite a bit less.  But listening to the new album, unquestionably their best, it's obvious that they were stretching themselves on the second, and that without it the third might not have been possible.  Everything they try on this one - slow, mid-tempo, fast - works.

Yo La Tengo - Fade

Can an indie cult band make their best album after nearly 25 years in the business?  Apparently so.

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