The Best of 2013 Thus Far!
I'm amazed to report that by April 7, I had a solid 25 albums to bring to your attention. Usually I don't get here until late June, so either my standards are completely crap and I'm getting soft and stupid in my old age or the decline of the music industry and its butchering at the hands of the entertainment industry is actually a very good thing for musicians. Once you assume you cannot crossover to people who don't already like your kind of music, you stick to doing what brings you pleasure and it shows. Though I also fear by that measure that artists will become too complacent and play to the prejudices of their cult, this year it seems to be working.
To scare you further, the weeks following April 7 have brought me even more interesting albums, but I shall hold them for when I have another full 25 and can make it the blog of the century!
Ahh, what can you do? Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
We make excuses for the voice of Bob Dylan. We pretend Lou Reed's solo albums aren't mostly crap. We're glad Paul McCartney can reproduce his hits with enthusiasm. Neil Young…well, live he still nails it down, even if his first thought, best thought has been failing him for decades. But Bowie, we'd written off. He was sick. He was hurt. He was retired. Then the cheeky bastard releases a single on his birthday and to everyone's surprise he has an entire new album -- done! It shows up and it's Bowie showing not a shred of rust, still exploring. Game on, oldsters!
24) Country Mice -- Hour of the Wolf:
There are tons of bands in Brooklyn and there's enough Americana out there to repaper your rec room seven times over, but Country Mice have a drummer who hangs back and a band that leave space and aren't afraid to snag the four chords of "Kill Your Sons" for their purposes. Play this mutha loud!
He still has his politics. He's Billy Bragg, for Rachel Maddow's sake, but he also has the "heart songs" that make him human and force him to sing like a singer and not a visiting lecturer from Communist University. He's much better than he sounds.