|1. Nightmares For A Week — Civilian War
Local heroes deliver their best yet, bringing a nuance and rootsy depth to their usual winning sing/shout along choruses and melodic muscle. “Bloodshot Monday” is by far the song I played the most this year.
|2. Superchunk — I Hate Music
I grew up with these guys from a “slack mother fucker” to my forties, where my couch looks as good on a Saturday night as the local used to, both a beacon. Whatever, they still sound terrific and “Me and You and Jackie Mitoo” is an all time great song.
|3. Neko Case – The Worse Things Get…
This may be my favorite of her albums, which is saying a mouthful. The voice as always is the main attraction but there’s an aura, or an ambience, or another word that doesn’t really mean any thing deeper at work here.
|4. The Replacements — Live 8/25/2013 Toronto Riot Fest
I was supposed to be at this show. Had my tickets and the car was all packed for the long haul north, but like an idiot I didn’t notice my passport had expired until two days before the show. Not an official release or it would have topped the list. Just one of those things I found on the interwebs. Can’t believe I missed this and chance to party with Rob Ford. They sounded so amazing. Uggh!
|5. Wilco- The Covers Show Mass MoCA 7/21/2013
Oh joy, another show I missed! An all “request” all covers concert that forges in stone my opinion that Wilco is The Great American Band of the last few decades. Thin Lizzy, Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Dead, Velvets, among many others all masterfully done. Even an excellent Uncle Tupelo cover.
|6. Elvis Costello & The Roots Wise Up Ghost||Sometimes I listen to this and think it’s a transcendental work of brilliance. Other times I don’t even make it all the way through before thinking, “next.” I believe the truth is somewhere between.|
|7. Robbie Fulks Gone Away Backward||In all truth this should rank ahead of the above. Flawlessly executed Americana with wit, compassion, and an incredible level of talent. He played in Stone Ridge this summer. Guess what? I missed it. Sensing a depressing trend.|
|8. Avett Brothers Magpie & The Dandelion||Too precious for some but right in my wheelhouse.|
|9. Various Artists Gram Parson’s Record Collection||Curated by our fearless leader Mark Rosen, original versions of songs covered by Gram. This thing was on constant summertime back yard rotation.|
|10. Spider Bags Singles||I just blatantly stole this off of Lefsky’s list. He had me at, “Westergbergyyyyyy.” I’ve only heard these songs once or twice but some are already among my favorite of the year.|
|11. Steve Earle The Low Highway||No surprise this, no problem that.|
|12. Billy Joe & Nora Jones Foreverly||Loverly|
|13. Kurt Vile Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze||What drugs sound like.|
|14. Pissed Jeans Honeys||Not sure I even like this just happy someone is still making such a cacophonous din.|
|Macklemore & Ryan Lewis The Heist||“Thrift Shop” is hilarious.
“Same Love” heroic, heartfelt, and historic.
|Although I missed my fair share of concerts I did make a few:||Elvis Costello – UPAC Among the handful of greatest shows I’ve ever seen. A mesmerizing tour de force, a dazzling dig deep into the catalogue. Engaging, enrapturing, charming, and virtuoso whistling. This is why I go see live music.
Nightmares For A Week – The Anchor This band always brings it live. The highlight for me, however, was The ‘Mats cover sung by, um, me.