Sunday, January 12, 2014

Heartworn Highways - Best albums of 2013.




1. Jonathan Wilson - Fanfare (Downtown/Bella Union)
For me the undeniably best album of 2013. This album has so many elements that fits perfect with my own taste. You can pick the album apart and find all of Wilsons inpirations, but for me that's part of the genius about it. He makes something new out of all the music from the past that he loves - and even get quite a few of his heroes to guest on the album as well. Hats off mr. Wilson.

Favourite song: Love to Love.

2. Dawes - Stories Don't End (HUB Records)
Ah, Dawes. Where shall I start. I absolutely love this band. They are so completely uncool, that it kinda makes them cool. Like with Wilsons album this album also wears it's inspirations on its sleeve. The sounds of Jackson Browne is all over it - but like with Jonathan Wilson, the songs are so good that it doesn't matter.

Favourite song: From A Window Seat.

3. Linda Thompson - Won't Be Long Now (Pettifer Sounds/Topic Records)
It's hard to wrap ones head around that this is only the fourth album from Linda Thompson since she and Richard Thompson parted with Shoot Out the Lights back in 1982. Six years have passed since the brilliant Versatile Heart - six years well spent it seems - this one is even better. Her voice ages with an beauty its hard to explain. One of few albums this year that has moved me to tears. Stunning stuff.

Favourite song: If I Were a Bluebird


 4. Steve Gunn - Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors)
The best discovery I made in 2013, and a really late one it was as well. I first heard this album after reading about it in Aquarium Drunkards best of 2013 lists. As they wrote, it's an instant classic. The album has been a mainstay on my turntable since I first heard it. Really really good psychedelic folk with hints of John Fahey, J.J. Cale and Grateful Dead. That Gunn's voice on album opener 'Water Wheel' sounds like the ghost of the late Shannon Hoon didn't hurt either.

Favourite song: Water Wheel

5. Mikal Cronin - MCII (Merge Records)
Feel good hit of the summer. No doubt about it. I can't imagine anyone hearing this album and not loving it. At least not if they remember the nineties, or better yet, the nineties indiescene. The best powerpop album I've heard in years. I absolutely love this album. He's a really nice guy as well.

Favourite song: Shout it Out

6. Laura Marling - Once I Was An Eagle (Ribbon Music/Virgin)
Laura Marling is one of those artist that's almost to good for their own good. Marling is only 23 and this is her fourth strong album in a row. Probably even her best. This is real emotional music, there's no doubt that the words and feelings on this record is lived through. Heartbreaking and stunningly beautiful. And her guitar playing.. wow.

Favourite song: Undine



7. Foxygen - We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (Jagjaguwar)
This is probably the most fun album on this list. So much tongue in cheek, so much stolen melodies, so many funny oneliners. "There's no need to be an asshole, you're not in Brooklyn anymore.." will stand as one of my favourite lyrics of 2013. We also need to talk about the tune 'San Francisco' - the best 60s sounding poptune since the height of Belle & Sebastian. Psychedelic pop music. You gotta love it.

Favourite song: San Francisco

8. Veronica Falls - Waiting For Something to Happen (Bella Union/Slumberland Records)
I just love indiepop, and this was probably my first favourite album of 2013. It's filled with great pop tunes that sounds like they always have been around. More jangly and less noisy than their first album. Twee indeed.

Favourite song: Teenage

9. Kurt Vile - Wakin On A Pretty Daze (Matador)
Along with his Violaters Kurt Vile made the slacker-album of the year. With one of 2013s best songs as an album opener - how can you go wrong? Well, you can't. Kurt Vile has stated that he was influenced by reading Barney Hoskyns - Hotel California: Singer Songwriters & Cocaine Cowboys in the L.A. Canyons when he recorded this album. I can relate to that, since that's my default music. I certainly also love Kurt Vile's own take on it.

Favourite song: Wakin on a Pretty Day




10. Phosphorescent - Muchacho (Dead Oceans)
Phossy, oh Phossy. Matthew Houck is one of my favourite artists of the past decade, still I had hoped that this album would have been even better that it was. 'Song For Zula' is hands down the best song that anyone released the last year, so I ain't complaning. The concert on the Øya Festival was 40-minutes of goosebumps. I still love you Phossy!

Favourite song: Song For Zula

11. The Good, The Bad & The Zugly - Anti World Music (Fysisk Format)
What the hell? A punk record on Heartworn Highways? Well, what can I say. A brilliant album, and the first norwegian entry on my list. These guys make punk fun again - and damn good at the same time.

Favourite song: Nowhere to Go

12. Ducktails - The Flower Lane (Domino)
Real Estate-guitarist Matt Mondanile continues were that band left on on their last record, and it's probably even better. Lovely jangly guitarmusic in the vein of 80s heroes like Felt and House of Love. This album I fell back into in the fall and it has been in constant rotation since.

Favourite song: Under Cover



13. Bendik Brænne - How to Fake it in America (Snaxville)
The debutalbum of Bendik Brænne is an album that really deserves a wider audience. Great song after great song in an album that sends my thoughts to early Wilco and Bright Eyes around I'm Wide Awake..  Brænne is best known for his work as a sax-player for various bands - but I say quit the dayjob and make solorecords full time. Can't wait for his new album which is on its way in 2014.

Favourite song: Northern Sky

14. The Milk Carton Kids - The Ash & Clay (Anti)
I was certain that this was some kind of alias that Dave Rawlings had made for himself the first time I heard it. Up-close near harmonies and jawdropping good guitar playing. These guys are playing in Oslo in February and I'm really looking forward to it. This is music that's good on record, but even more stunning live I would say. Impressive stuff.

Favourite song: Years Gone By

15. Nathan Salsburg - Hard For to Win and Can't Be Won (No Quarter)
Keeping it in the acoustic folk corner on the end of the list. Nathan Salsburg is an curator of the Alan Lomax archive - and I would say that mr. Lomax would have been in awe of listening to Salsburg. A mostly instrumental album which should place Salsburg on the top of the list of anyone who loves american folk guitar. Tastefull and inspiring.

Favourite song: Coll Mackenzie