The Moist 100 – Just when you thought that 2013 couldn’t get any moister…

Oh the new year!  Rebirth!! A nu start!!!  Here beneath the Moist Graffiti overpass we’ve had a torrid holiday season, what with the Polar Vortex going south, momentous interpersonal relationship developments and infantile ambulatory revelations.  Still, we are committed to bringing you, dear reader, an even moist-er year than the previous dampness.  As such we cannot wait to get cracking on bringing you the freshest album reviews, the funniest haiku and the feistiest gigs reports from the greater Houston area.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Sadly, the lumbering beast that is the music industry is even slower to respond to the changing of the calendar than the MG corp.  So, given the dearth of hot new music (seriously Béyönçé?) and absence of touring bands through the area and the ever ticking deadline from our corporate overlords at the IRS, we present to you the 2013 Moist 100.  These are the top 100 albums as voted on by our contributing writers and then synthesized by the magic of Google Docs.  Let us know in the comments what we’ve missed, where we are wrong and what we should be listening to in 2014…

100 Bun B Trill O.G.: “The Epilogue” 55.42

This would have been approximately an 75.XX, but after reading in the news that Justin Beiber has a verified addition to lean I have been forced to re-evaluate the genre from the ground up. In other news, the Bun is allegedly considering a run for major of Styrofoam City. Does this mean we call him Mayor B? Does anyone know? Seriously. I’m asking.

99 HAIM Days Are Gone 55.555

Listen, we Sagacious Seers of the Moist Graffiti exist in the realm of bent space that lies between hype chasing and hipster contrarian-ism. As Schnitzel B. mentions below, our mission statement is to call it like we see it. An occasional consequence of this reality is that we thoughtfully disagree with the combined weight of the blogosphere, NPR, and all the girlies who routinely wear high-waisted shorts. This is one of those times. I won’t bore you with an explanation, except to say it couldn’t be more boring than this album.

98 Jimmy Eat World Damages 55.555

97 The 1975 The 1975 56.975

96 Savages Save Yourself 57.483

95 Darwin Deez Songs For Imaginative People 57.817

It’s no big secret that the Moist Graffiti crew are big fans of the D.  Boy, do we love the D.  We will just get down on our knees and suck up every last drop of goodness that he spews our way.  So it came as a bit of a shock that this year’s release didn’t match up to the previous high standards. All the elements were there, the lyrical minutia, the funky guitar lines, the minimalist drum tracks; but the hooks, the hooks were sadly missing. The album passes pleasantly enough, but leaves no mark when it is gone. Sort of like a Landshark lager.

94 Golden Grrls Golden Grrls 58.192

93 The Black Hollies Somewhere Between Here And Nowhere 58.453

92 Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP 2 58.666

91 The Stepkids Troubadour 58.837

90 Atlas Genius When It Was Now 58.858

89 Camera Obscura Desire Lines 58.934

88 Wooden Shjips Back To Land 59.029

87 The Avett Brothers Magpie and the Dandelion 59.354

86 These New Puritans Field Of Reeds 59.477

85 Los Campesinos No Blues 60.111

84 Blitzen Trapper VII 61.242

83 Jagwar Ma Howlin 61.273

82 Smith Westerns Soft Will 61.322

81 The Dodos Carrier 61.435

80 Trentemøller Lost 61.679

79 Blood Orange Cupid Deluxe 62.134

R.I.P. Cupid the Dog, who tragically passed away in an apartment fire shortly after this album was released. We like to think that Devonte Hynes faked his inspirational pooch’s passing in order to get him out of the limelight and back to a more pastoral existence. At any rate, Cupid never quite soars like Coastal Grooves, but grooves well enough thanks to the considerable breadth of Mr. Hynes’s talents. Much like British television shows, he’s wise enough to know that ending it in the middle of a good note is far better than lingering on into mediocrity. Thus, we expect a new incarnation of his work in the near future.

78 Oneohtrix Point Never R Plus Seven 62.176

77 Ola Podrida Ghosts Go Blind 62.264

Ola Podrida have made a nice little career for themselves making widescreen cinematic indie rock with intimate and keenly observed lyrics.  However, with this latest album they have dialed down the atmosphere and cranked up the jams.  One jam in particular.  “Speed Of Light” must rank as the dumbest, most straight, 4-on-the-floor rocker they’ve ever written, and yet… I can’t get it out of my head.  Well played sirs, well played…

76 Crocodiles Crimes Of Passion 62.736

75 She & Him Volume 3 63.215

74 Low The Invisible Way 63.299

73 Tarmac Adam The History Effect 63.374

72 The Dismemberment Plan Uncanney Valley 63.768

71 Holy Ghost! Dynamics 63.888

70 Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of The City 64.102

It has not escaped our knowledge that Vampire Weekend have pretty much run the table on the end of year awards, 2013.  However, that does not mean that Moist Graffiti will bow to pressure and add our shiny crown to their bulging heads.  Nor does it mean that we are on a knee-jerk, more hipster than thou reactionary haterade streak, condemning it to the lower reaches of the Moist 100.  Rather we are calling it like we see it – a fairly underwhelming album by a band that seems to be trying too hard.  The debut VW album was an effortless and hook-filled masterpiece that sparkled with ingenuity and yet dazzled with laid back charm. However, Contra and MVOTC try to pack in too many words, appropriate too many genres and generally over-egg the twee-world pudding.  While we appreciated the level-headedness and humor with which the lads have grown into their Grammy-level fame, we just wish there were more songs like “Ladies Of Cambridge” or “Walcott” pumping out of their pipes…

69 Waxahatchee Cerulean Salt 64.212

68 The Head And The Heart Let’s Be Still 64.264

67 Primal Scream More Light 65.153

66 Foals Holy Fire 65.253

65 Splashh Comfort 65.325

Splashh may lack a functioning spell checker, but they made up for that deficiency in 2013 by pumping out a surprisingly descent collection of shoegaze-y, reverb-y, psychedlic-y indie rock songs that grew like a fungus in my earholes throughout the year.  Don’t worry, I went to the doctor and she gave me a cream and it should be gone in a month or two.

64 Small Black Limits Of Desire 65.934

63 Iceage You’re Nothing 66.182

62 Holden The Inheritors 66.343

61 Toro Y Moi Anything In Return 66.412

All the major lights from the Chillwave movement appear to have moved on from the narrow confines of that moniker.  Washed Out added more organic instruments and a laid back tropical paradise vibe; Twin Shadow wrote song songs that didn’t revolve around dancing; Youth Lagoon appropriated creepy circus music, or possibly did a lot of ear fracturing LSD; how could Toro Y Moi top that?  Well, by hewing more closely to the structures of more traditional dance music, or EDM if you will.  Longer songs, more repetition of samples and a heavier reliance on trance-y grooves made this a compelling album, if not perhaps quite as memorable as Underneath The Pine.  Case in point, the repeated vocal sample in second single “Say That“.  Pure genius, or taking the piss?  That’ll do…

60 Swearin’ Surfing Strange 66.767

59 Lord Huron Lonesome Dreams 67.217

58 Cut Copy Free Your Mind 67.342

57 William Tyler Impossible Truth 67.364

56 Villagers {Awayland} 67.384

55 Ski Lodge Big Heart 67.393

54 The Wilderness Of Manitoba The Leslieville Sessions 67.412

53 Diane Coffee My Friend Fish 67.465

52 Kopecky Family Band Kids Raising Kids 67.676

51 Danny Brown Old 68.317

Danny Brown returns to form here with some magnificent pillars of fire. Although he relapses into his old yelp-y self at times, when Old burns it’s some of the most intense hip-hop of the year. It’s not gangster, backpack, or luxury, but something beyond. When the Kickstarter to fix his grill starts I’ll be the first to throw in half a pack of menthols and a bottle of Boone’s Farm.

50 Superchunk I Hate Music 68.354

49 Beach Fossils Clash The Truth 68.435

Beach Fossils have been knocking at the door of self discovery for a few years now and this was the year they finally made it over the hurdle.  What got them into the Moist 50?  Well, frankly it was the improved production values (“Bass goes here..”) and the improved hooks.  Take note number 50 through 100, sounding good and writing good songs are the way to our heart.  Simples, right?

48 Janelle Monáe Electric Lady 68.762

47 Surfer Blood Pythons 68.798

46 Phantogram Voices 69.556

45 Islands Ski Mask 69.696

44 Franz Ferdinand Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action 69.898

43 The Blow The Blow 69.986

42 Iron On Wine Ghost On Ghost 70.001

Pity poor Sam Beam.  The more he changes, the more his audience complains.  Once just a bearded folkie with a gently strummed acoustic guitar, a Bon Iver that you didn’t want to punch in the face, Sam expanded his repertoire and continued to improve over a series of great albums.  Ghost on Ghost is his most musically diverse album yet, and although the acoustic guitar purists cried “Judas!”, the songs are as strong as anything he’s ever done.  As anyone who has ever seen Breaking Bad can attest, New Mexico’s No Breeze.  The defense rests.

41 bEEdEEgEE SUM/ONE 70.265

40 Arctic Monkeys AM 70.646

39 Foxygen We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic 70.813

38 The Bishops All Lost Time 70.868

The chronically underrated Bishops return with a cute coffee table book of an LP. Despite a line-up shakeup, they carve a delectable series of strong jams that are lush, mathy, and occasionally both. I’ve tried to get them to come to the States but there seems to be a language barrier. Ahem, I’ll try again. Ay m8 u ogt 2 come 2 d United States Merca. Slags look gud her m8. I swur. We’ll see if that gets their attention.

37 Disclosure Settle 70.954

36 Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr The Speed Of Things 70.999

Everyone’s favorite indie popsters named after a Nascar legend who is also the son of another Nascar legend came back with an album of consistently danceable, slightly off-kilter fractured pop music.  Also, and I realize that Moist Graffiti has consistently concerned purely itself with the audio side of things, if we did have the time and energy to compose a video artist of the year list, these boys would definitely be near the top of the list… Claymation FTW!

35 Sky Ferreria Night Time, My Time 71.123

34 Wild Nothing Empty Estate EP 71.124

33 Unknown Mortal Orchestra II 71.889

32 Nine Inch Nails Hesitation Marks 72.001

31 The History Of Apple Pie Out Of View 72.354

30 Summer Camp Summer Camp 72.756

29 Local Natives Hummingbird 73.183

28 Jake Bugg Shangri La 73.283

27 Black Hearted Brother Stars Are Our Home 73.373

26 Tegan And Sara Heartthrob 73.599

25 Kurt Vile Walking On A Pretty Daze 73.863

24 Touché Amoré Is Survived By 74.121

23 Kate Nash Girl Talk 74.367

22 The Duckworth Lewis Method Sticky Wickets 74.491

21 Junip Junip 74.618

Junip is a band I guarantee you’ve heard but not heard of. After materializing out of the indie abyss, their spacious, ethereal joints suddenly appeared on commercials, Youtube spots, and the trailer for the final episode of Breaking Bad. I had the privilege of seein’ em at ACL this year and was not disappointed by the quality of their live translations… and sunburns.

20 London Grammar If You Wait 74.68

19 Yo La Tengo Fade 74.813

How can you judge something like a Yo La Tengo album?  How can we, as mere mortals, sitting at one point in time, possibly weigh the sum total of an album like this an create a compelling, objective opinion that encompasses both the history and the present day, while placing it in the context of the other music released this year?  Simply, you can’t.  I’ve listened to this album a lot, and I’m pretty certain it’s not as good as some of the previous YLT albums.  It’s a lot more mellow, a lot more controlled. There are no sprawling 30 minute jams.  But the song writing is still top notch and the hooks are still undeniable. So, 74.813? Does that condemn the album against what has gone before, without celebrating it for what it is?  These are the dilemmas that keep us up all night under the Moist Graffiti overpass.  That and some high grade PCP that Dr Sox got his hands on recently…

18 The Men New Moon 75.42

17 Generationals Heza 76.125

When Generationals first penetrated the Moist Graffiti’s fragile ear holes they sounded like a lost 60’s nugget, exhumed from someone’s grandmother’s tomb during a particularly laidback mung session and lovingly reconstituted for the digital age.  Two albums of that have proved to be enough for the boys from New Orleans, and for their third album they delve into some particularly anachronistic instruments, such as synths, samplers and sdrum machines.  All of which takes a little while to get used to, but when you overcome the shock of fast forwarding 40 years in 40 minutes, the songs remain the same hook-laden short and to the point jams that we first began to groove to.  Recent body language between the duo on stage suggest they might have had enough of this rock and roll malarkey, but if this proves to be their legacy, it’s a pretty damn fine one.

16 Grizzly Bear Shields B-Sides 76.214

15 Washed Out Paracosm 76.427

14 STRFKR Miracle Mile 76.432

13 Chvrches The Bones Of What You Believe 77.414

12 Devin The Dude One For The Road 77.42

11 Pusha-T My Name Is My Name 78.956

——and of course you’re already familiar with our Moist 10——-

10 Mikal Cronin MKII 79.998

9 Lorde Pure Heroine 81.111

8 Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Fly By Wire 81.228

7 Parquet Courts Light Up Gold 81.232

6 La Luz It’s Alive 81.253

5 Ex Cops True Hallucinations 86.985

4 Action Bronson/Party Supplies Blue Chips 2 87.42

3 Veronica Falls Waiting For Something To Happen 90.438

2 Joanna Gruesome Weird Sister 91.321


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