Part three of our favourite 100 tracks of 2013. Today we’re counting down from 50 – 26.
50 Hanni El Khatib – Nobody Move
In Hanni El Khatib’s biog on Wikipedia he says that his “…music is for anyone who has ever been shot or hit by a train“. I think that this is a good way to describe this tune as it hits you flat out, ballsy, raw and aggressive in its lunge for your ears. Cracking bit of uptempo rock with a good nod at 70s punk. (Dr R)
49 Vandaveer – Omie Wise
From Vandaveer’s outstanding reinterpreting of traditional murder ballads came the tale of the particularly nasty Omie Wise. He gets his comeuppance in the end.
48 Waxahatchee – Swan Dive
The rhythmic drumming and finger picking guitar counter balance Katie Crutchfield’s rich, husky vocal in this short, melancholic lament: you hold on to the past, you make yourself miserable/and I’m ruled by seasons and sadness that’s inexplicable. So there. (MM)
47 Public Broadcasting Service – Signal 30
Brilliant and mesmerising combination of high octane guitar riffage, retro public information film samples and electro beats. (MM)
46 Tired Pony – All Things All At Once
Boasting quite a line up Tired Pony have got it all going on. All Things At Once has a pure, unpolished feel to it, like they all just happened to be together and decided to start playing and recording and here it is. Country? Folk? Americana? Who knows. Whatever it is, it sounds bloody good to me. (PP)
45 Caroline Rose – Six Foot Woman
You don’t get more honky tonk than Caroline Rose’s self-effacing tale of the mighty six foot woman. Sounds like it was dug up in a 1970s Tennessee roadshack.
44 Parquet Courts – You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now
Stoned and Starving would have been our song of the year, but for its minor self-release in 2012. No matter scrappy, swaggering, nihilistic NY punks Parquet Courts gave us this gem instead. A highlight of their performance at the Green Man festival and our undoubted gig of the year. (MM).
43 Jus Post Bellum – It’s A Shame
Cowboys! Gunfight! This is an upbeat folky number with a wicked drum backbeat that pulls it all together like a rolling canter. He’s a bad ‘un and it’s a shame. (Mrs M)
42 Haim – Falling
A last minute change around has put Haim into my Top Ten for the year. Every time I hear this song I am reminded of just how good I think it is. Very polished, really well produced, love those harmonies and that retro feel. Haim are like marmite. I like marmite. (PP)
41 Drenge – Backwaters
I love this powerful two piece out of Derby. Sort of Henrys Funeral Shoe meets The Smiths. I have always been a sucker for this sort of sound – you’re just towed away on the riptide of noise. This is the kind of song you turn up to eleven when people are in the middle of talking to you about some inane shit. (Dr R)
40 Alela Diane – Colorado Blue
Sharply observed lyrics float over a gently strummed backdrop, this song is plumbed from the emotional depths of her divorce album. Might not get you in the Christmas spirit but is sure to bring a lump to your throat. (Mrs M)
39 Willie Nile – Life On Bleecker Street
Second entry for Mr Nile and another evocative ear worm, this time the observations on life on a certain street in Manhattan that was once a major center for American bohemia.
38 Deptford Goth – Union
It’s the simplicity of this tune that first got me hooked. It’s also a song I would have been in love with as a teenager. It might be electro pop but there is a fair amount of misery and sorrow in there too, so what’s not to love? (PP)
37 Wooden Shjips – Everybody Knows
Channeling Neil Young by way of Hawkwind, Wooden Shjips gave us this hypnotically evocative and brilliant slab of psych rock on latest album Back To Land (MM).
36 Night Beds – Even If We Try
It starts off acappela, and finishes somewhere around dawn. Yes, this is indeed a late night/wee small hours tune if ever there was one. Recorded Bon Iver-style in a self-built studio, this is an intimate song of longing and reflection: As you watch the colours/Fleeting with the cover/Nature set on fire/Truth found in the mire. There’s space under my wing, Winston.
35 Shovels & Rope – Johnny 99
Yes, it’s a Bruce Springsteen cover, but quite frankly, so what? This is a damn fine tune and that’s one hell of a Marlboro red voice she’s got there. And did I mention the piano (again)? (Mrs M)
34 Water Liars – Fake Heat
I kind of loved this song despite trying not to if you know what I mean? In the end I gave in gracefully (which wasn’t difficult, there’s a fair bit of imploring in this one) as the heart should always overrule the brain when it comes to music. It does have an undeniable glory to it as well though which can’t help stirring even this most cynical of souls. (CP)
33 King Krule – Easy Easy
My friend bought me the King Krule album for my birthday this year. It was an inspired choice that lived in the CD tray for some weeks, I think they had started to bound molecularly. A gruff and untempered voice guides you through a cultural landscape that sounds empty and barren, all emphasised by the production on the lonely guitar that accompanies King Krule’s lament. (Dr R)
32 Agnes Obel – Fuel To Fire
This beautiful song stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it a couple of months ago. All a bit haunting and full of melancholy. The album is a treat but Fuel To Fire stands out at the front for me. A great find for 2013. Lovely. (PP)
31 Laura Marling – Master Hunter
A raging calm of Dylan referencing vitriol set to a rollicking backdrop.
30 Telekinesis – Ghosts And Creatures
There is something familiar and comforting about this indie tune. Love all that distortion and a beat that makes me want to dance, or at least sway a little in a kind of early 90s way. Turn it up and you will feel uplifted. (PP)
29 The River Has Many Voices – If You Gotta Go (Go With Me)
Poetically beautiful song of love, loss, sorrow and melancholy.
28 Big Haunt – Burn Me Up
We received an e-mail. It said, “We are a Portland, Oregon band called Big Haunt. We play spooky, gospel infused big beat indy folk. This is our first single, “Burn Me Up.” It’s a song about ritualistic fire sacrifice and murder. We thought you might like it.“ We did. We liked it very much. (MM)
27 Savages – She Will
Highlight from their Mercury Prize nominated album Silence Yourself. She Will is a peerless combination of icy post-punk cool and brutal hardcore.
26 Thee Oh Sees – Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster
With a opening sound filthier than a night out with Jimmy Saville, this track has been a staunch favourite since my first listen. The bass line and guitar riff are simple, but massively addictive and unwavering in ferocity as the song crescendos during the chorus. It is the one song this year that, whenever anyone hears it for the first time, they sit there quiet then at the end, without fail say “That was awesome. Who was that?” (Dr R)
Why not check out our picks for 100 – 76, and 75 – 51 too.