It’s that special time of year again! Most major publications have published some sort of year at list at this point, and so it’s time I find myself throwing my own hat into the ring. Last year I did a Top 100 and it was an exhausting, painstaking process. This year was no different. I urge you to check all those releases and give ‘em a listen, there was a lot of cool stuff to come out this year. Without further ado, here are the 100 full length releases I enjoyed and spent the most time with in 2013.
100.) Primitive Man - Scorn - Relapse Records had a banner year this year. Really, the last few years it seems they really can’t do any wrong. This doom sludge masterpiece comes to us from Colorado and features members of Death of Self and Clinging to the Trees of A Forest Fire, and if you know anything about those 2 bands, you know this sounds like pure sonic horror committed to tape. Grueling, loud, brash metal. It’s not a sit-down-with-a-cup-of-coffee type record, but it certainly gets the blood flowing. Great stuff.
99.) State Champs - The Finer Things - Pop punk has obviously undergone a pretty major renaissance in the last few years, and while we’ve definitely hit that saturation point where there a lot of bands that don’t need to exist, New York’s State Champs are just fine by me. Great record for eating pizza on a road trip with your bros wearing crew necks and snapbacks. Seriously though, Derek Discanio’s voice has come a looooong way in the last couple years, and “Nothing’s Wrong” is the best example of that.
98.) Cult of Luna - Vertikal - Despite being one of the first things I bought this year, Vertikal is still a record I’m trying to figure out. There is A LOT going on here, from the borderline proggy to the overbearingly crushing, but CoL never seem to phone it in or add any fat into the mix. There’s even a little dub step wobble part on here. Absolutely crazy record you need to hear.
97.) The Story So Far - What You Don’t See - I have to qualify this with a bit of a back handed slap: This was one of my utmost anticipated releases for 2013, and it fell drastically short of the mark I had set for it given its predecessor, Under Soil & Dirt. That being said, a mediocre TSSF record is still better than 99.9% of things you’re going to hear. There is growth here, and Parker Cannon still has the best Wonder Years by way of Terror easy core hybrid voice on the market.
96.) Baptists - Bushcraft - Like Relapse, Southern Lord just can’t miss these days. This Vancouver unit offered up a steady diet of thrashy, core-y dirt and bones laden tunes this year, and I gotta say I like every one of ‘em. This would fit nicely on a playlist with label mates Black Breath, and that’s some pretty high praise. Moreover, this may have been the best album art 2013 had to offer as well. Hoping for more from these guys in the near future.
95.) Sainthood Reps - Headswell - Everybody’s favorite band containing that guy who’s kind of sort of in Brand New, Sainthood Reps found themselves a nice, cozy home on No Sleep Records this year. The 90’s revival thing is really, really awesome, and these dudes are among the best in the fuzz worship community. Stoney, swirling guitars and vocals over a throbbing rhythm section with just the right amount of quiet/LOUD trailing off parts. What’s not to like? It’s catchy as hell and it sounds awesome in headphones. Kudos to these guys.
94.) Oathbreaker - Eros/Anteros - Belgium cranks out some seriously aggressive tunes. Oathbreaker, along with countrymen Rise & Fall, are top notch purveyors of all things furious and seething. This one was a huge leap forward for them; The songs are longer, more dense and better constructed than anything before, and lead throat Caro Tanghe sounds positively terrifying every step of the way. A necessary journey to take.
93.) The Swellers - The Light Under Closed Doors - The Swellers are undergoing a bit of rebranding in recent months. They got off the Atlantic Records distributed Fueled By Ramen and hopped onto No Sleep, becoming a bigger fish in a smaller, more befitting pond. They played some house shows. They became more of a punk band than they ever have been before. This is a little darker than previous releases, but all the hooks are there. Nick Diener’s voice is so endearing and instantly recognizable. I love that about this band.
92.) Reggie & the Full Effect - No Country for Old Musicians - Good ole Dewees. Get Up Kids/My Chemical Romance keyboardist and general eccentric human James Dewees reprised his role as one man band Reggie & the Full Effect this year, to the surprise and joy of many. The whole Reggie saga kind of ended on a horrible note, with 2008’s horrific Last Stop: Crappy Town, so it was good to see James writing ridiculous songs about aliens and chicken again. The Bruno Mars lyric on “37” will have you cracking up as you sing along.
91.) Transit - Young New England - I feel like EVERYONE except me hated this record. While I admit it’s not their strongest offering and it is, at times, way over the top cheesy, I actually thought Young New England was pretty cool (although maybe that’s partially because I’m from the area). The title track was the most lambasted in the press, but it’s actually my favorite on the record. Boston is a town I have a lot of good memories in, and so that song is really near and dear to me. Not bad, Transit, not bad.