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[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ecret reveal time: Listing 13 songs, albums or what have you for 2013 hasn’t just been some cutesy play on the stage of the calendar or whatever here at Vanyaland. It’s because there were so much to talk about musically this year that we’re barely able to narrow it down to a more respectable tally. A traditional “Top 10” definitely ain’t gonna work, so with absolutely no triskaidekaphobia until the year 2525, let’s have at it:
13. “Pricey,” Caveman
Having been overshadowed by frontman Diego Garcia in the mid-aughts indie-rock outfit Elefant, bassist Jeff Berrall lends experience and the groundwork for the hypnotic, post-punk instrumentation to this song from the Brooklyn quintet’s second effort.
12. “Already Dead,” Walking Papers
The only reason Walking Papers got any play this year was because Duff McKagan was a part of it. Well thank fuck for Axl’s disillusion, because if not, we might have missed out on the slow-burning, emotional churning of “Already Dead,” with former Missionary Position singer Jeff Angell dropping self-loathe like, “I’m a casualty… of who I used to be/I’m without direction… I can’t stand my reflection, because I can’t stand what I see.”
It’s like Sneaker Pimps were bitch-slapped by Portishead’s Beth Gibbons when it came to “Hurricane” by New York duo MS MR, who helped make Boston Calling a festival force upon its debut this past spring. Looking for full on disesteem? How about “What’s wrong with me/Why not understand and see/I never saw/What you saw in me.” I’ll take that any day…just ask my last five significant others.
These SoCal punkers have done so, so much better, and “Fuck You” could almost be taken as a novelty track, along the lines of Metallica covering Anti-Nowhere League’s “So What?” Like, “Wow, they said the f-word in a song — a lot!” But when BR frontman and university professor Greg Graffin frames it with, “You can even get cerebral if you want to,” it’s like the thinking man’s middle finger to society…kind of like Bad Religion in a nutshell.
Having fallen into an all too predictable yet incredibly disappointing sophomore slump, White Lies rebounded with Big TV which, while not as potent, was still a pretty passable throwback to those days when Joy Division were chilling out on a snow-covered Hulme bridge. “Getting Even” admirably channels Mr. Curtis with a line like, “I can forgive, and we can forget/Even after all this love and other nonsense.”