Tom Whalen Poop 2013

Top Ten

Buy Burial Rival Dealer EP New or Used from Amazon   Buy New or Used via Amazon
1. Burial – Rival Dealer (Hyperdub)
Burial made his anti-bullying, transgender-empathetic message clear in his text to the BBC and in this EP’s spoken word coda, but on Rival Dealer the theme of identity flux is also a deep-seeded musical element. “Do you know who I am?” wonders one sample; “You know my fuckin’ style!” taunts another (Raekwon, I believe). We sure thought we knew, but on “Hiders” and “Come Down to Us”, Burial shows us a new side, one so bright and so warm, an unexpected gift.

Buy Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety New or Used via Amazon   Buy New or Used via Amazon
2. Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety (Software)
In truth, Anxiety and Rival Dealer are my 1A and 1B—I’ve awed at Autre Ne Veut all year, but the more recent Burial cut a bit deeper. Anxiety is a masterstroke of modern electronic gospel, sonically ambitious but never too obtuse to undercut its deeply soulful pedigree. For me this album is second only to Burial’s EP in sheer “wowza” moments, not the least of which is the climax of album opener “Play by Play,” my favorite track of 2013.

Buy Wooden Wand – Blood Oaths of the New Blues New or Used via Amazon   Buy New or Used via Amazon
3. Wooden Wand – Blood Oaths of the New Blues (Fire Records)
The restless James Jackson Toth has never sounded more well-rested than on Blood Oaths, an album of grim wit and tender folk balladry that slyly points to the rich dread of Toth’s Vanishing Voice days yet remains bright and inviting—certainly his best stuff since Second Attention, and perhaps his best, period.

Buy Deafheaven – Sunbather New or Used via Amazon   Buy New or Used via Amazon

4. Deafheaven – Sunbather (Deathwish)
A brutal and beautiful black metal record with enough overt post-rock splendor to make it, rather inexplicably, the year’s best-reviewed album (per Metacritic) and, rather predictably, the subject of much cynical reactionary nay-saying. I’m firmly in the former camp here—this album is unstoppable.
Buy Daughn Gibson – Me Moan New or Used via Amazon   Buy New or Used via Amazon

5. Daughn Gibson – Me Moan (Sub Pop)
My nom for the year’s most underrated LP. Gibson’s mode switch (from Nick Cave-sh to Chris Issak-sh) is hardly a fashionable one, but Me Moan is still a treat and a half, sweet and schlocky and achingly sincere.

Buy Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest New or Used via Amazon   Buy New or Used via Amazon
6. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp)
Always different, always the same—the mothership’s unmistakable purr.

Buy  New or Used via Amazon   Buy New or Used via Amazon
7. Iceage – You’re Nothing (Matador)
The prevailing take on Iceage’s 2nd LP is a rote narrative of growth and maturity, one common to groups whose youth is a prominent part of their “aura” or whatever you want to call it (see: Vamp Weekend). And while the sound of You’re Nothing certainly seem a little richer, more fleshed out, if anything this one sounds younger, more open-throated and kid-ravenous than New Brigade—and that’s a good thing!

Buy  KNX – Anthology from Stones Throw   Buy from Stones Throw
8. KNX – Anthology (Stones Throw)—I’m breaking my “no comps” rule here… I just had to get this guy on the list! Since 2009, Knxweldge (or sometimes KNX, for short) has 64 releases to his name, mostly brief eps, all pub’d on his Bandcamp. Anthology is a generous physical release (LP/double tape) sampling the best of his work thus far. Where Flying Lotus and Burial are the modern beat vanguard’s long-form aficionados, KNX is the post-Dilla maestro of the minute, his infinitely loopable 40-second tracks like tiny pregnant droplets that never splash.

Buy  New or Used via Amazon   Buy New or Used via Amazon
9. Pissed Jeans – Honeys (Matador)
Loud, messy punk songs about cat allergies, online dating, health insurance—it’s not exactly profound, but it’s not as dopey or mundane as it sounds, either. Truly harrowing stuff…

Buy The Knife – Shaking the Habitual New or Used via Amazon   Buy New or Used via Amazon
10. The Knife – Shaking the Habitual (Mute)
I hated this album when I first heard it. I’m not by any means allergic to overtly political music, but this one seemed agenda-drive to a fault, difficult for difficulty’s sake, listener-hostile. I’ve really warmed up to it, though. The Knife make such distinctive music, tunes for the body, the heart, and the head, and while I still un-check some of the especially tooth-rattling anti-ambient freak-outs, I continue to find Shaking the Habitual more satisfying with each listen.

15 more
Action Bronson and Party Supplies – Blue Chips 2 (Atlantic/Vice)
Darkside – Psychic (Matador / Other People)
Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams (Infinity Cat)
Dirty Beaches – Drifter / Love is the Devil (Zoo Music)
DJ Mustard – Ketchup (self-released)
Eluvium – Nightmare Ending (Temporary Residence)
Forest Swords – Engravings (Tri Angle)
Majical Cloudz – Impersonator (Matador)
Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus 7 (Warp)
Ras G – Raw Fruit (Stones Throw)
Savages – Silence Yourself (Matador / Pop Noir)
Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed (Prosthetic)
Superchunk – I Hate Music (Merge)
Mark Tempelton – Jealous Heart (Under the Spire)
Volcano Choir – Repave (Jagjaguwar)

Vir fidelis—TW, Jan 2014

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