Howdy Interwebs! Welcome to the business casual end of the year when all of humankind slows down to celebrate the good things in life, takes stock of what is important to each and every one of us and gradually expunges the word twerking from our collective consciousness. Except in Syria, South Sudan and CAR, where misery and slaughter continue on a daily basis.
Many other websites will seize upon this time of year to slow their creative output and instead spit out a series of review posts designed to make you want to punch them in their smug skinny faces. Here at Moist Graffiti we are not beholden to the wishes of our corporate payola masters and therefore will do no such thing. Instead we have compiled for you a carefully-curated, scientifically-derived, mathematically-proven agglomeration of the music we enjoyed most in the year of our Lorde 2013. Please enjoy our meanderings and look out for some more posts in the coming weeks as our holiday gift to you dear reader. SB
#10. MG Rating 78.957
Ayo Schnitzel B. is technically the captain of this “G.O.A.T. Subject Only to 2013” joint, which I guess makes me some kind of much drunker Chewbacca. That said, it’s time to drop some roars and headbutt Billy Dee Williams b. Depending what type of hip-hop fan you are, 2013 was either really weird for you in a somewhat unpleasant way — like seeing naked pictures of Christy Carlson Romano or some shit– or it was so awesome like OMG I ❤ ❤ ❤ Drake, sugar cookie scented candles, and Terms of Endearment. If you’re the latter, please feel free to put your iPad Air down and resume moisturizing your cuticles. For the former type of stan out there, My Name is My Name (an unofficial sequel to the Rats of NIMH series) was easily the best dope record of the year. Put this joint your microwave, hit the “AYO DEFROST MY PIZZA” button and smell the Newport smoke wafting into your kitchen b. Without spoiling our track of the year list like the ending of Breaking Bad Season 7,* Imma just say there is a strong-to-very-strong contender on this album. DS
*Jon Snow has a filthy ménage with Walter White and Donald Draper. The next morning everyone claims they were too drunk to remember. As they drive back to Albuquerque in Walter’s R.V., Don knowingly winks at the audience. Scene.
#9 MG Rating 81.111
As far as pop music goes 2013 was host to some major bullshit, the remnants of which will undoubtedly discourage alien races from ever making contact with Earf. But, out of the Miley-stained mist there were some cute little joints that made one think that not all has been lost to the forces of auto-tune. Chief among them were the musical stylings of the half-elf Ella Yelich O’Connor, who successfully spliced the breathless minimalism of The XX with a timely critique of the Instagram set. Here at the Mysterious Mazes of the Moist Graffiti we enjoy a steady diet of vegetables and doom metal, but occasionally even we get a hankering for something a little sweeter. Lorde hits the spot quite well and doesn’t give us diabetes in the process. Ella if you’re reading this please respond to my tweets. I just want to know how your hair smells. It’s for a bet. I swear. Yeah. DS
#8 MG Rating 81.228
Everyone’s favorite Missouri natives (FU Laura Ingalls Wilder!) went to Russia, lost a member, gained a few new members, printed a bunch of t-shirts and somehow found the time to drop this bedroom pop classic on a deliriously waiting world. It remains to be seen however, exactly what the world was deliriously waiting for, as the album was soundly ignored by the blogs and taste makers who first championed the band back in the hazy days of the internet-driven pop-cultural explosions of circa 2005. Ah well, such is life. As long as the boys (and now girl too) continue to pump out catchy, heart-felt jangly power pop, internet-based bloggers will continue to inflate their grades to ensure they land toward the pointy end of end-of-year review lists. SB
#7 MG Rating 81.253
Light Up Gold is what happens when a sharp pair of raconteurs gather a big wad of indie tropes, trim the vestigial shit away, and pump the rest full of unyielding energy (and HGH). With fifteen tracks strewn across thirty-three some odd minutes, Andrew Savage and Austin Brown never slow down long enough to let any cracks in their punk-y façade show through. I imagine seeing them live requires an asthma inhaler, and that’s not a bad thing. Lyrically, the kids deliver punchline after punchline regarding the realities of modern ennui, but it never feels too obtuse or morose. What do you call something that’s just enough of everything sweet and never too much of anything forced, trite, or esoteric? A pretty fuckin’ good album, and for the Gentleman Geographers of the Moist Graffiti, quite the fresh joint when compared to the veteran offerings this year. One can only hope this Super Ball isn’t a one-off. DS
#6 MG Rating 81.253
It has been a hell of a year for these Seattle surf rock girls. Release an album of sweet surf-rock gems, go on tour with Of Montreal, get involved in an horrific car accident that destroys all your gear, and finally get selected as album #6 in the MG albums of the year countdown. Wow. The album has been described as surf-noir, by one of our competing minor indie blogs, and with our compressed publication deadline, I really can’t come up with any better than that. ALthough we are paid by the word word word over here, so I might add neo surf-noir, just to make it sound like I’m contributing to the conversation. They sound sort of like the Vivian Girls but with less fuzz, more harmonies and much more whammy bar. In a world that celebrates both flamboyant excess and “difficult” wankery, there is something to be said for just unwinding and allowing the soothing sounds of autumnal pop to wash over you. SB
#5 MG Rating 86.985
When an album drops in mid-Jan, it needs to be pretty special to still be remembered come end-of-year-list-making-time. True Hallucinations is that kind of record. This album is jam packed full of more hooks than one of those crazy Hindu kavadi pilgrims (apart from the instrumental album opener, which for some god unknown reason seems to portend a throbbing industrial record). On first listen, the album is pretty decent dream pop, with hints of Beach House and TPOBPAH but with repeated listens (over the course of a year – perhaps there is something to be said in releasing early after all…) other influences unfold; the Doors, the Beach Boys, the VU, the Smiths – basically it’s as if someone took your entire music collection to an origami master and instructed them to create a giant, Defensor-type omnibus album. Ultimately greater than the sum of it’s parts and distinct enough to intrigue your ears long after you first hear it, this is an album for music fans and record collectors everywhere. Even on Cybertron. SB.
#4 MG Rating 87.421
Despite being deep within the confines of the Second Dark Age of Rap, 2013 featured several sexcellent collabs, including but not limited to Party Supplies and Bronsolino’s return in Blue Chips 2. As always, Bronson filets the shortcomings of luxury rap by plating them with esoteric sports references, pop culture nostalgia and culinary mixed metaphors. Party Supplies delivers a series of One-Inch Punches by brilliantly matching Dr. Baklava’s sepia-toned reality with minimally-edited beats threshed from the best (worst) of the 80’s. Everything is marinated in hash oil and garlic. Put this shit on loud enough and your couch will sprout royal purple velour, your Hamburger Helper will amalgamate into “six ducks in the wood burnin’ oven,” and your cat will transform into Phil Collins. No lie b. If you find yourself too sober at a New Years’ Eve party in a few weeks, crank up “A Contemporary Man” and “Pepe Lopez.” Shit will get real in a hurry. BRONSOLINO. DS
#3 MG Rating 90.438
Veronica Falls are indie rock crack. Slumberland Records? Check. British? Check. Twee As Fuck? Check check check. There are some forces in this world that we are powerless to resist, like gravity, magnetism and cheesecake. To these, let me append Veronica Falls. If you haven’t heard them yet, go and sit down in a dark room right now and let the jangly goodness wash over you. Feel the fuzz. Allow the sweetness to melt your cynicism, rot your teeth and exacerbate the diabetes that you contracted from eating too much cheesecake in the first place. Waiting For Something To Happen is their heart-breakingly beautiful second album. You should feel grateful that sweet little baby Jesus lying in the manger has seen fit to allow you to be alive at the same time that these monsters of pop are active. The least you can do is buy a few thousand copies of their album on vinyl to distribute to all your twitter followers in honor of His birthday. Or Festivus. Or the Queen’s Birthday, or Boxing Day, or whatever crazy holidays they celebrate over there. SB
#2 MG Rating 91.321
So how do you summarize the year in music, 2013? What overall themes tied together the stuff that people listened to this year? Using our proprietary MG word cloud maker we analyzed the most-frequently used terms and phrases that our favorite/least favorite web sites used this year to describe our favorite/ least favorite music. If this were one of those fancy web sites, I’d insert a giant word cloud here. However, since the IT guy disappeared at the Washed Out show/riot, we’ve been on our own. Anyway, this year’s key words were skeletal, minimalism and precise. Joanna Gruesome are the complete opposite of all that shit. Ripping out of your speakers wearing a ski mask like R.Kelly just got parole, JG are sloppy, shouty, fuzzy and fun. While most popular music this year sounded sterile and formulaic, JG are the reciprocal of The Arcade Fire times Daft Punk. They might not be bothering the charts, Grammys or international diplomacy, but they sound like they’re having a good time and they make me want to set fire to stuff. What more can you ask for in a band? SB.
#1 MG Rating 94.444
When you hear about a band whose name is reminiscent of a crustacean but is actually an acronym for “Fuck it dog, life’s a risk,” expectations become less than positive. But hey, you put the record on anyway. After all, you’d hate to be one of those [series of expletives deleted]s who review shit they haven’t actually listened to. So you hit Shuffle and take a sip of your Capri-Sun. “Blackout Stout” starts. A murderous horde of skid row scum bursts out of your closet, bars, bottles, and boards in hand. Your blood turns glacial in your veins. You brace for a crowbar hit to the pelvis that never comes. Instead you’re in the horde. You try to scream but your face is buried in a meth addict’s Every Time I Die hoodie. There is no escape. Your life fades. Your vision dims. All that remains are memories. You try to remember a time before chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land.
But the song ends, and you awake in the crowd. Bleary-eyed and an inch from being broken. You’re so thirsty, but your Capri-Sun is long gone. Just as your throat cracks, “CHEAP BEER” roars over your speakers.
It is quite refreshing. DS