2013 Year Enders

A probably-incomplete list of some records released in 2013 that I really liked a lot by Martin Pavlinic

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Martin Pavlinic is the guitarist and song-writer for the great Cambridge garage rock/art rock band REPORTS. He also plays guitar in the beloved and amazing indie pop band CUFFS. Both bands and Pavlinic himself have long put Boston on the map as a place where smart indie pop and garage rock is appreciated and grows.

Its been over a decade since I played as little music as I did in 2013. If I recall correctly, there were two, perhaps three Reports shows, and two or three Cuffs shows (and one of those was in disguise), and its very possible that I actually didn’t see a live show outside of that small handful. Having a beautiful new daughter while in the heat of grad school will do that to a fella. In any case, despite being almost entirely removed from the “human interaction” aspect of music, I still jammed a lot of records and here is a probably-incomplete list of some I really liked a lot.

Holden – The Inheritors (Border Community) A lot of people are up in this vintage style kosmiche/kraut biz, like a big collective trip back to 70’s Dusseldorf, but The Inheritors is the only album I’ve heard that embraces that sonic space and stays right in 2013 and looks forward. “Blackpool Late Eighties” might be the track of the year too.

Rashad Becker – Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. 1 (PAN) Probably the most exciting impulse-buy of the year for me. Total synth/concrete wonder, beatless, tuneless, and totally playful, moving, terrifying and everything else. Hard to describe, one of the most enjoyable and human “abstract” records I’ve ever listened to.

Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven (Warp) Danny does it again. He wrote his own language and keeps adding to the dictionary, its just an unstoppable parade of choppy vignettes that control the air around you.

Oval – Voa (self-released) I lost track of Oval about a decade ago and in that time Markus Popp seems to have turned the project from a subliminal glitchy meditations into a crazy collage tropicalia machine. At least a half-dozen mostly-Brazilian guest vocalists feature on top of scrambled guitars and ctrl-x-ctrl-v drums. Someone get Tom Ze on the phone with this guy.

Surface To Air Missive – Surface To Air Missive (Leaving/Stones Throw) One of two rock albums I got this year, weirdly coming from the Leaving/Stones Throw world of outsider hip hop and beats. Pretty much the opposite of anything on those labels, this kid from Florida mixes his baroque psych pop with serious guitarmony odysseys that the delicate tunes barely seem structurally sound enough to support. Teeth-chattering good time.

Mount Kimbie – Cold Spring Fault Less Youth (Warp) Two British beat merchants figured out what post-rock should sound like in 2013 but probably didn’t think of it that way. More songy and live than their debut a year or two ago, this record holds together as a unit more cohesively than most I heard this year, but also has a mix tape gem with “You Took Your Time” with King Krule, who should do an entire record with MK.

Connections – Body Language (Anyway) The other rock record I got this year. Times New Viking (RIP?) spawned a coupla new bands, but this is the one I heard, with drummer Adam and his brother Kevin (formerly of 84 Nash for you old people) and some buddies. It is exactly what an indie rock record from Columbus needs to be. Someone get them to play a show in town and have us play too.

Mohammad – Som Sakrifis (PAN) My favorite drones of the year. Deep bowed arco bass and synth tones teaming up for subterranean melancholy from Greece. Simple, funereal, heavy as all get out, awesome.

Ashley Paul – Line The Clouds (Rel) Raw, exposed and fragile songs with a guitar being played as quietly as possible through a loud amp surrounded by clattering metal and a piano on the other side of the room.

Demdike Stare – Testpressings 1-4 (Modern Love) Less of the “soundtracks for an imaginary horror film” vibe, more “remember jungle?” This series of 12″s seem to be their playful sketchbook where they indulge every questionable idea that didn’t seem like it would fit on their actual albums. Blasting Dn’B breaks, “fantastic glissando” style tension exercises, acid beats, a pretty searing and awesome brain dump from a band I’ve been unreasonably obsessed with for a coupla years now.

Native Cats – Dallas (Ride The Snake) Obvious bias here, but I wasn’t ready for how strong the 3rd album by our Tasmanian buddies would be. As tuff as ever, with more bravado and subtlety at the same time. Its awesome seeing a band top itself every time.

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