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WXDU Best Albums of 2013 -- The Individual Lists!

With 2013 coming to an end, here's a look at the individual "Best of the year" lists from just a few members of WXDU's music staff.  Each week, these DJ's & genre directors work hard to review & prepare the dozens of CD's, LP's & 7" that we add to our playlist every Sunday. Click above to see what 2013 sounded like to them!




Top 13 releases of 2013:

Sect Pig - Sect Pig (Nuclear War Now!)
Carl Kruger - Lazy Metal (Blue Spectrum)
Jaap Blonk - Lifespans (Kontrans)
Ashley Paul - Line the Clouds (R.E.L.)
No-Neck Blues Band - Gitanjali + The Nascent Stigma (Ri Be Xibalba)
Framtid - Defeat of Civilization (Crust War/Black Water)
Tiger Hatchery - Sun Worship (ESP Disk)
Black Sun Roof - Feral (VHF)
Suppression / No Comply - Suppression / No Comply (To Live A Lie)
(Unknown Artist) - r-15 demo (Rhinocervs)
RU-486 - Romanian Abattoirs (Destructive Industries / Fusty Cunt)
Bahru Kegne - In memory Of Ethiopia (Terp)
Tashi Dorji - Tashi Dorji (Headway)

Top 13 live performances:
Revenge @ Maryland Deathfest
Jaap Blonk w/ Jeb Bishop @ Squidco
15 Minute Roadkill Explosion @ The Soapbox
Venom @ Maryland Deathfest
Carl Kruger @ the UNCW Outdoor Amphitheater
The Three-Brained Robot @ Sam Martin's 4th of July house party
Sete Star Sept @ Soundstage
Semisolid @ Squidco
Merzbow @ Kings
The Caucasians @ the Cucalores Film Festival show at 108 Market Street
Catharsis @ Chapel Hill Underground
Ashley Paul and Ben Pritchard @ Squidco
Abuse. @ In the Groove Records show w/ Coke Bust



Top 15 New Releases:
- Bryan and the Haggards featuring Dr. Eugene Chadbourne - Merles Just Wanna Have Fun (Northern-Spy)
- Desert Heat - Cat Mask at Huggie Temple (MIE Music)
- Circuit des Yeux - Overdue (Ba Da Bing!)
- The Body - Christs, Redeemers (Thrill Jockey)
- Body/Head - Coming Apart (Matador)
- Felix Obelix - The Ringtone Album (Potluck)
- Drug Yacht - Way Up Firm and High (self-released)
- Danny Paul Grody - Between Two Worlds (Three Lobed Recordings)
- Matana Roberts - COIN COIN Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile (Constellation)
- Subrosa - More Constant Than the Gods (Profound Lore)
- Thee Open Sex - Thee Open Sex (Magnetic South Recordings)
- Whatever Brains - Whatever Brains (Sorry State)
- Wooden Wand - Blood Oaths of the New Blues (Fire)
- Wooden Wand & the World War IV - Wooden Wand & the World War IV (Three Lobed Recordings)
- Richard Youngs - Summer Through My Mind (Ba Da Bing!)

Top 10 Reissues, Collections, and Compilations:
- Abelardo Carbonó - El Maravilloso mundo de Abelardo Carbonó: Psychedelia, Afroroots & Champeta in 1980s Barranquilla (Vampisoul)
- Doris Duke - I'm a Loser (Alive Naturalsound)
- Alastair Galbraith - Cry (MIE Music)
- Michael Hurley - Hi-Fi Snock Uptown (Light in the Attic)
- I Signori Della Galassia - Iceman (Medical Records)
- Jook - Jook (Sing Sing)
- Monitor - Monitor (Superior Viaduct)
- Natural Snow Buildings - Daughter of Darkness (Ba Da Bing!)
- Rodion G.A. - The Lost Tapes (Strut)
- Various Artists - Choubi Choubi! Folk and Pop Sounds From Iraq, Volume 2 (Sublime Frequencies)



Best new records of the year:
- Automelodi - Surlendemains Acides (Electric Voice)
- Barn Owl - V (Thrill Jockey)
- Circuit des Yeux - Overdue (L-U-V)
- Deepchord - 20 Electrostatic Soundfields (Soma)
- Peter Evans - Zebulon (More is More)
- Chris Forsyth - Solar Motel (Paradise of Bachelors)
- The Haxan Cloak - Excavation (Tri Angle)
- Tim Hecker - Virgins (Kranky)
- Huerco S. - Colonial Patterns (Kemado/Mexican Summer)
- Felix Kubin - Zemsta Plutona (ZickZack)
- Sean McCann - Music for Private Ensemble (Recital Program)
- The Necks - Open (Northern Spy)
- Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven (Warp)
- Prurient - Through the Window (Blackest Every Black)
- Pharmakon - Abandon (Sacred Bones)
- Tropic of Cancer - Restless Idylls (Blackest Ever Black)
- Umberto - Confrontations (Not Not Fun)
- Daniel Wohl - Corps Exquis (New Amsterdam)
- Wooden Wand and the World War IV - s/t (Three Lobed)
- Mika Vanio - Kilo (Blast First Petite)

Great reissues:
- Ashrae Fax - Static Crash (Mexican Summer)
- The Dentists - Some People Are on the Pitch They Think It's All Over It is Now (Trouble in Mind)
- Cleaners from Venus - The Cleaners from Venus v.2 (Captured Tracks)
- Various Artists - Electroconvulsive Therapy v. 1 (Medical Records)
- Martin Rev - Martin Rev (Superior Viaduct)
- Victrola - Maritime Tatami (Dark Entries)



1. Circuit des Yeux – Overdue

Overdue is an album I’ve had trouble pinning down, an outstanding mix of string-driven, morose pop, acoustic folk, heavy dirges, and studio experimentation. Through its stylistic wanderings, one thing remains constant: nothing else I heard this year packed as much emotional weight.

2. Destruction Unit – Deep Trip and Void

I saw this band so many times this year that I started to take them for granted. Going back and listening to these LPs again has cemented their greatness for me.

3. Birds of Maya – Celebration

As bands that started out as side projects (Spacin’, Purling Hiss) eclipse it in popularity, the world’s greatest heavy rock and roll band gets wilder and sloppier, and I couldn’t be happier.

4. Sungod - Contackt

A cassette-only release from a project that barely plays shows lays waste to a scene overflowing with limp psychedelia. Chalk it up to these guys spending most of their time in hardcore bands. Someone put this out on LP, please.

5. Musiccargo – Harmonie

Harmonie sidesteps the endless motorik jams of modern krautrock imitators in favor of transcendent, solo Michael Rother-esque explorations. My companion for countless nights of reading research articles.

6. Obnox – Corrupt Free Enterprise

Getting enough stylistic mileage out of garage punk to keep a full LP sounding fresh and exciting is too great a challenge for most musicians; making a double LP that doesn’t drag is a task only for someone of Bim Thomas’s caliber.

7. Steve Gunn – Time Off

A Sunday morning record for this year and every year after.

8. Oblivians - Desperation

The Oblivians’ legacy would have been fine without a new album sixteen years after they called it quits, but there will always be room in my life and on my turntable for more Greg, Jack, and Eric.

9. Chui Wan – White Night

A gem of modern psychedelia from China that sounds closer to the warped, Arabesque surf rock of Kennelmus than it does to any of the band’s contemporaries.

10. Mordecai – College Rock 

A union of musical exuberance and ineptitude unlike any other in 2013. Like 70s Cleveland proto-punk slop if you replaced the artsy misanthropy with goodwill toward mankind. 

Great records I didn’t hear until the tail end of the year: Impalers - s/t, Murderedman - Love in Danger, Cheap Time – Exit Smiles, Bardo Pond – Peace on Venus

Labels that took the reissue landscape to new heights in 2013: Superior Viaduct, Macchu Picchu, In the Red



Best of 2013

Crime & The City Solution "American Twilight" (Mute)
The Men "New Moon" (Sacred Bones)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds "Push The Sky Away" (Bad Seed Ltd.)
Wooden Wand & The World War IV self-titled (Three Lobed)
Hiss Golden Messenger "Haw" (Paradise Of Bachelors)
Golden Gunn "Golden Gunn" (Three Lobed)
Date Palms "The Dusted Sessions" (Thrill Jockey)
Mountains "Centralia" (Thrill Jockey)
Magik Markers "Surrender To The Fantasy" (Drag City)
Rose Windows "The Sun Dogs" (Sub Pop)
Nadine Shah "Love Your Dum And Mad" (Apollo)
Mount Moriah "Miracle Temple" (Merge)
William Tyler "Impossible Truth" (Merge)
Daniel Bachman "Jesus I'm A Sinner" (Tompkins Square)
Ben Goldberg "Unfold Ordinary Mind" (BAG Productions)
Black Host "Life In The Sugar Candle Mines" (Northern Spy)
The Necks "Open" (Northern Spy)
Sightings "Terribly Well" (Dais)
Guerrilla Toss "Gay Disco" (NNA Tapes)
Chelsea Wolfe "Pain Is Beauty" (Sargent House)
Zola Jesus "Versions" (Sacred Bones)
Disappears "Era" (Kranky)
Windhand "Soma" (Relapse)
Black Skies "Circadian Meditations" (self-released)
Chrome "Half Machine From The Sun: The Lost Chrome Tracks 1979-1980" (King Of Spades)



Top albums of 2013:

1. Kurt Vile & the Violators - Wakin on a Pretty Daze
2. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
3. Sonny & The Sunsets - Antenna to the Afterworld
4. Cass McCombs - Big Wheel and Others
5. Mark Mulcahy - Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You
6. Kirin J. Callinan - Embracism
7. Richard Youngs - Summer Through My Mind
8. Circuit des Yeux - Overdue
9. Whatever Brains - Whatever Brains
10. Bo White - Adornment
11. Naomi Punk - The Feeling

Top 10 Things I Found Through WXDU:
1. The #1s - "Sharon Shouldn't" 7"
2. Cian Nugent & The Cosmos - Born with the Caul
3. Thee Open Sex - Thee Open Sex
4. The Love Triangle - Clever Clever
5. Bed Wettin' Bad Boys - Ready for Boredom
6. Strapping Fieldhands - "Impossible to Say" b/w "Sitting on Her Whiskers" 7"
7. Circuit des Yeux - CDY3
8. The Invisible Hands - The Invisible Hands
9. Felix Obelix - The Ringtone Album
10. The Ex & Brass Unbound - Enormous Door



Best Albums:

Yo La Tengo - Fade
Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw (Paradise of Bachelors)
Kurt Vile - Wakin on a Pretty Daze
Futurebirds - Baba Yaga
Patty Griffin - American Kid
Jason Isbell - Southeastern
Mount Moriah - Miracle Temple
Neko Case- The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
Superchunk, I Hate Music
Waxahatchee, Cerulean Salt

Top Musical Moments of 2013:
Sylvan Esso @ Hopscotch
Spiritualized @ Hopscotch
Hiss Golden Messenger @ Motorco Music Hall
Yo La Tengo @ Cat's Cradle
Big Star doc "Nothing Can Hurt Me"




West-coast supergroup of black & doom metallers dipping into their shared history with/fondness for hardcore & D-beat to make the most exuberant hardrock album of the year. This literally spent a solid 6 months in my car CD player with no breaks.

2. Goner - Faking the Wisdom

These Raleigh indie-rock lifers have been writing gripping character studies of aging townies in a college town for a decade now, but this album is where everything finally exploded fully into multiple dimensions.

3. Savages - Silence Yourself

If you’re not still obsessed with UK postpunk, I don’t know what to do with you. If you are, and you haven’t heard Savages, then … .

4. Scout Niblett - It’s Up to Emma

I never paid that much attention to Scout Niblett, but this one’s such a throat-grabber there was never any question of attention: She demands it from the first note of the first song. She also put on the show of the year at Hopscotch.

5. Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw

This is the sort of gospel music I can fully embrace: slow Southern country gospel with a strong agnostic streak.

6. Gorguts - Colored Sands

Given that I never really got into death metal the first time around, it’s a little bit baffling even to me that I have two absurdly complex technical death metal albums in my top-20 this year. This is such astonishing music.

7. Audubon Park - Crazy Crazy for Feeling

Audubon Park are scattered across at least three different states, and apparently no longer bother even practicing before recording. And yet their skewed 5-things-at-once indie-rock is better than ever on this album.

8. Lorde - Pure Heroine

You can be cynical & call it electro-pop for middle aged white former rock critic dudes. Or you can be non-cynical & just enjoy her amazing voice.  I determined during her run at #1 that the last time I was unabashedly in love with a #1 single, it was “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which makes too-perfect sense.

9. Midnight Plus One - Midnight Plus One

Such urgently weird rock music, like all the best snippets of 80s/90s Kim-sung Sonic Youth songs distilled down to 2-minute bursts.

10. Desert Heat - Cat Mask at Huggie Temple

The more Steve Gunn & Cian Nugent collaborate, the closer the universe gets to achieving oneness. Another band whose Hopscotch show is solidly in my top-5 for the year.

11. Inter Arma - Sky Burial

When I finally heard this album, I began endlessly kicking myself for all the times I missed these guys at Slim’s.

12. Sylvan Esso - Hey Mami

Just a tiny-but-perfect taste of what this duo has in store for us in 2014, I hope.

13. Schooner - Neighborhood Veins

All of Reid Johnson’s competing pop/non-pop instincts finally fuse into a fully cohesive & brilliantly realized whole.

14. Arnold Dreyblatt & Megafaun - Appalachian Excitation

I don’t listen to that much experimental pulse/drone music, because when I do, I want it all to be this good, and it rarely is.

15. Inquisition - Obscure Verses for the Multiverse

The most distinctive & unholy black metal racket, all from just two dudes. Dagon’s crazy interstellar demon frog vocals & his utterly unique bend-heavy guitar style are like nothing else in the multiverse.

16. Golden Gunn - Golden Gunn

I love living in a world where two heroes can dream up a goofy 70s boogie haze back-story *and* write & record an amazing album to go with it, all more or less on a lark.

17. Wormed - Exodromos

I only bought this album a few days ago, but it has blown my mind so thoroughly in that time that there’s really no question about its inclusion here. Outer-space tech death with unearthly overtone throat-singing vocals? YES.

18. Bryan & the Haggards featuring Dr. Eugene Chadbourne - Merles Just Want to Have Fun

Eugene Chadbourne has been exploring the overlaps between jazz and country for well over thirty years now, but rarely before has he found such sympatico partners-in-crime as Bryan & the Haggards.

19. Airstrip - Willing

Proving definitively that all krautrock-influenced electropop needs to involve the services of a top-flight heavy metal drummer.

20. Janelle Monáe - Electric Lady

I like the first “suite” on this one better than the second one, and overall it could probably stand to be shorter, but the highlights here are so high that it hardly matters. There is NOBODY else on earth making weirdo futuristic soul music on this level.



Top 20 Live Shows of 2013, Chronological Order
- NARAL Benefit: The Mountain Goats / Blooz Travellerzz / Creedence Queerwater, January 20
- Yo La Tengo @ Cat's Cradle, January 23
- The Music Tapes (Traveling Imaginary) @ Cat's Cradle, January 28
- The Residents @ Carrboro Arts Center, February 6
- Mission of Burma @ Cat's Cradle, March 15
- Parenthetical Girls / Cassis Orange @ Local 506, March 22
- J.Kutchma and the Five Fifths / Drug Yacht / Beloved Binge @ The Pinhook, March 28
- William Tyler / Loamlands @ The Pinhook, April 11
- Mount Moriah / Mac McCaughan / Airstrip @ Cat's Cradle, April 12
- Dessa / Aby Wolf / Sylvan Esso @ Local 506, May 12
- Chuck Johnson / Jenks Miller @ The Pinhook, May 23
- The Bats / Mac McCaughan @ Local 506, June 7
- Superchunk / The Parting Gifts @ Cat's Cradle, August 24
- WXDU/Three Lobed Hopscotch Day Party @ Kings, September 6
- Schooner / D-Town Brass / See Gulls @ The Pinhook, September 24
- Bill Callahan @ Cat's Cradle, September 29
- Quasi / Jeffrey Lewis @ Local 506, October 9
- Half Japanese / Lud / Polyorchard @ Kings, October 24
- Pine State / Jett Rink / Torch Marauder System / Blue Green Gods / Malt Swagger @ Duke Coffeehouse, November 9
- Janelle Monáe / Roman Gianarthur @ The Ritz, November 19




Favorite Albums of 2013, alphabetical order:
+ Bad Noids - Everything From Soup to Dessert (Katorga Works)
+ Circuit des Yeux - Overdue (self-released / Ba Da Bing!)
+ Desert Heat - Cat Mask at Huggie Temple (MIE Music)
+ Exhaustion - Future Eaters (Aarght!)
+ Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw (Paradise of Bachelors)
+ Chuck Johnson - Crows in the Basilica (Three Lobed Recordings)
+ Joint D≠ - Satan is Real Again, Again, or: Feeling Good About Feeling Good About Bad Thoughts (Sorry State)
+ LAZY - Obsession (Moniker)
+ Okkyung Lee - Ghil (Ideologic Organ/Editions Mego)
+ The Love Triangle - Clever Clever (Sorry State / Static Shock!)
+ Magik Markers - Surrender to the Fantasy (Drag City)
+ Mordecai - College Rock (Richie)
+ Letha Rodman Melchior - Handbook for Mortals (Siltbreeze)
+ Native Cats - Dallas (R.I.P. Society)
+ Raspberry Bulbs - Deformed Worship (Blackest Ever Black)
+ Sagan Youth Boys - Annotated Universe 12" (Tone-Log)
+ Thee Open Sex - Thee Open Sex (Magnetic South Recordings)
+ William Tyler - Impossible Truth (Merge)
+ Una Bestia Incontrolable - Observant com el Mon es Destruix (La Vida Es Un Mus)
+ Various Artists - Ground Zero (Toxic State/Always Restrictions)
+ Various Artists - Land of Nod: Atlanta Punk & Hardcore Omnibus (Scavenger of Death)
+ Whatever Brains - Whatever Brains (LP3) (Sorry State)
+ Nate Young - Regression "Blinding Confusion" (NNA Tapes)

Favorite Reissues of 2013:
+ Afflicted Man - I'm Off Me 'Ead (Permanent)
+ High Speed & The Afflicted Man - Get Stoned Ezy (Guerssen)
+ Scorched Earth Policy - Going Thru' A Hole in the Back of Your Head (Siltbreeze)
+ Ashrae Fax - Static Crash! (Mexican Summer)
+ Natural Snow Buildings - Daughter of Darkness (Ba Da Bing!)
+ Alastair Galbraith - Cry (MIE Music)
+ Devo - Hardcore Devo Vol. 1 + 2 (Superior Viaduct)
+ Really, anything Superior Viaduct released. They were untouchable this year.




Favorite Jazz releases of 2013, in alphabetical order:

- Bryan and the Haggards featuring Dr. Eugene Chadbourne Merles Just Want to Have Fun (Northern-Spy)
- Joseph Daley The Seven Heavenly Virtues (JoDa Music)
- Kris Davis Massive Threads (Thirsty Ear)
- Miles Davis Quintet Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 (Columbia)
- Beonit Delbecq and Fred Hersch Double Trio Fun House (Songlines)
- D-Town Brass Golden Belt (s/r)
- Nohome Nohome (Trost)
- Evan Parker / Craig Taborn / Sam Pluta / Peter - Evans Rocket Science (More is More)
- William Parker Wood Flute Songs (AUM Fidelity)
- Matana Robers Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi - Moonchile (Constellation)
- Wayne Shorter Quartet Without a Net (Blue Note)
- Kristin Slipp + Dov Manski A Thousand Julys (Songlines)
- The Whammies Play the Music of Steve Lacy (Driff)

And an entirely incomplete classical list:

- John Luther Adams Inuksuit (Cantaloupe)
- Nicholas Cords Recursions (In a Circle)
- Jeremy Denk Ligeti/Beethoven (Nonesuch) [I realize this came out in 2012, but it's rocked my world this year in the way that few other recordings have]
- Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom Daytime Viewing (Unseen Worlds)
- Nadia Sirota Baroque (New Amsterdam)
- Laurie Spiegel The Expanding Universe (Unseen Worlds)
- Dan Trueman/So Percussion neither Anvil nor Pulley (Cantaloupe)

Both of these lists are totally incomplete and totally subjective. I didn't get to listen as deeply this year as I would have liked to because I was finishing my dissertation. Hopefully next year I'll be able to say more.



- Bill Callahan - Dream River (Drag City)
- Bill Orcutt - A History Of Every One (Editions Mego)
- Chuck Johnson - Crows In The Basilica (Three Lobed Recordings)
- Demdike Stare - Testpressing 001/002/003/004 (Modern Love)
- Duane Pitre - Bridges (Important)
- Endless Boogie - Long Island (No Quarter)
- Fuzz - Fuzz (In The Red)
- Glenn Jones - My Garden State (Thrill Jockey)
- Helm - Silencer (PAN)
- Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw (Paradise Of Bachelors)
- Jenny Hval - Innocence Is Kinky (Rune Grammofon)
- Lee Noble - Ruiner (Bathetic)
- Lonnie Holley - Keeping A Record Of It (Dust To Digital)
- Lubomyr Melnyk - Corollaries (Erased Tapes)
- Mammane Sani - La Musique Électronique Du Niger (Sahel Sounds)
- Marissa Anderson - Mercury (Mississippi Records)
- Micah Blue Smaldone - The Ring Of The Rise (Immune Recordings)
- Mohammad - Som Sakrifis (PAN)
- Molly Drake - Molly Drake (Squirrel Thing)
- Mountains - Centralia (Thrill Jockey)
- Sidi Toure - Alafia (Thrill Jockey)
- Steve Gunn - Time Off (Paradise Of Bachelors)
- Steve Gunn + Mike Gangloff - Melodies For A Savage Fix (Important)
- William Tyler - Impossible Truth (Merge)
- Yo La Tengo - Fade (Matador)