Monday, July 15, 2013

Best Music of the 2013 Second Quarter

As I'm prone to do four or so times a year, I like to highlight some of the best music to come out in recent months. While I was really high on the first quarter of the year, the spring season of releases honestly left quite a bit to be desired. While we got a great song out of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," I feel as if it's been slim pickings on the music front as of late. Even if the new Jay-Z and Kanye albums are interesting, that doesn't necessarily mean I rank them as great, after all.

With that said, some highlights beyond the jump.

* Allison Weiss - Making It Up: I'll usually give any female-fronted alt-rock a listen, and Allison Weiss is a total 90s power-pop throwback. She's toured with Jenny Owen Youngs, which makes sense, and she makes some of the catchiest songs I've heard in some time. If you're a fan of Fountains of Wayne, or Veruca Salt, or excellent guitar-based rock with a female singer (or heck, even a good singer), you're not going to do much better than this. An early favorite to be near the top of my year-end list, for sure.

* !!! - Thr!!!er: I've loved !!! for some time, and while their more recent album didn't wow me, Thr!!!ler is a step in a great direction for them, in my mind. It's great, groovy dance-worthy rock with more than a few hooks that stay stuck in my head for days and days and days.

* Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends: Portugal. The Man is exactly the type of band Spotify is made for, I think. I've never really liked a lot of what they did, it felt like alt-rock that wasn't going anywhere for me, but in a slow new release week, I added their new album and fell in love. "Creep in a T-Shirt" in particular is super-catchy, and the rest of the album has a lot of staying power. If this is a band that needs a breakthrough, this might be it for them.

* Jason Isbell - Southeastern: Of the albums on this list, this was almost certainly the most anticipated for me, and I'm extremely glad I got to hear it. It's great folky/rootsy music, just the right balance between the slower stuff and more rock-oriented stuff. Easily my favorite thing Isbell has done so far, and it's absolutely worth a listen if this is your genre.

* Aoife O'Donovan - Fossils: Coming out of nowhere for me was this solo debut from Aoife O'Donovan. It's a great folky Americana album, and only when I was doing a little research for this post did I realize that she is the lead singer of one of my favorite bluegrass groups, Crooked Still. Thus, it makes sense that this album is so good. It's got the perfect mood, the melodies are beautiful, and O'Donovan has a great voice. Highly recommended.

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