Sunday, April 20, 2014 · 4:14 a.m.

Let's Talk Music!: Sean's favorite songs of 2013 thus far

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A bit of a different approach this week: Instead of a comprehensive review of a few albums, I’ll instead give you critical blurbs about some of the many albums released this week. My hope is to introduce you to something you haven’t heard and might enjoy checking out. Album releases will pick up as we enter spring. What are you enjoying? Let's talk music.

Tweet your current favorite albums to @SeanMPhipps or email them to seanphippster@gmail.com.

Here are my five favorite songs of 2013 so far:

Yo La Tengo, "I'll Be Around"

Foxygen, "Shuggie"

Mark Kozelek, "Young Girls" (Bruno Mars cover)

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, "Holy Roller"

Caitlin Rose, "Waitin'"

Apparently, I'm on a bit of a country/acoustic kick in 2013 so far. I've enjoyed much rock/indie stuff, but it still appears I'm a sucker for a good song. That probably won't change. What are your favorite songs of 2013 thus far?

Notable releases this week:

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, "Old Yellow Moon" (Americana/singer-songwriter)
“Almost 40 years after their first pairing, the duo is still just like a shot of apple pie moonshine on a cold winter night.”—Policymic

KMFDM, "Kunst" (industrial)
“KMFDM and former touring partner Skinny Puppy are keeping the genre alive for the scene’s elderstatemen and women to enjoy after they drop their children off to witness the new sounds of dark electronic music.”—Spectrum Culture

Mount Moriah, "Miracle Temple" (Southern/country?)
“Mount Moriah is absolutely music for the country—it’s uninterested in the square blocks and steel and concrete, with the rebar-embedded structures of cities and businesses and suits—but it’s not country music. It’s music that is deeply Southern, that borrows from country and soul traditions but refuses to wallow in the past."—Popmatters

"Young Girls" cover by Mark Kozelek

Sally Shapiro, "Somewhere Else" (indie disco)
“While previous albums bounced with hooky pop jubilance, undercut with disco beats, much of 'Somewhere Else' exists in what sounds like the hours after the party.”—Under the Radar

Shout Out Louds, "Optica" (indie pop)
“Four albums in and Shout Out Louds have taken the time to polish their strain of saccharin, synth-driven, dream pop. Behind 'Optica' is a band with confidence in their sound, certainly more so than previously heard on albums such as 2010’s 'Work.'”—Leedsstudent.org

Woodpigeon, "Thumbtacks + Glue" (indie)
“Woodpigeon have the building blocks to break into indie’s big leagues, but after spending some time with 'Thumbtacks + Glue,' it’s clear they still have a ways to go.”—Consequence of Sound

Ivan & Alyosha, "All the Times We Had" (folk pop)
“'All the Times We Had' took a while to get here, but it was well worth the wait. If you consider yourself a fan of The Head & The Heart or Lumineers, you’d be wise to add this to your collection.”—Hearya.com

"Holy Roller" by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Girls Names, "The New Life" (pop/rock)
“The result is a stylish, intelligent record that does exactly what it set out to do: Girls Names have reinvented their sound and come up smelling of roses.”—BBC Music

Autre Ne Veut, "Anxiety" (Pop/Rock)
“In between that polarity of desire and disappointment is fully explored by Ashin's erratic and ecstatic voice. Describing its tone doesn't quite convey its appeal, nor does it demonstrate how much of an acquired taste it is. His glass-shattering falsetto runs and chesty bleats transform 'Anxiety' from a great pop record into something powerfully therapeutic, more about casting off inhibitions than actually hitting those high notes.”—Pitchfork

Atoms for Peace (Thom Yorke, Flea), "Amok" (electronic rock)
“Yorke sounds as rattled and woeful as he does when fronting Radiohead, with some bonus raving-lunatic muttering thrown in for dramatic effect. The setting, though, is much different—Radiohead's majestic grandeur is replaced by slicing, almost spastic rhythms. It's glitchy, unsettled stuff: electronic dance music as hacked by free-jazz revolutionaries.”—NPR

Notable releases next week:

The ACB’s, "Little Leaves"*

Autechre, "Exai"

Caitlin Rose, "The Stand-In"*

The Cave Singers, "Naomi"

Josh Ritter, "The Beast in Its Tracks"

Kate Nash, "Girl Talk"

The Men, "New Moon"

Sigur Rós, "Valtari Mystery Film"

Son Volt, "Honky Tonk"

Suuns, "Images Du Futur"

Youth Lagoon, "Wondrous Bughouse"

*I'm really excited about these!

You can contact Sean Phipps via email and Twitter with comments and questions. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.

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