Some Best-Of Albums from 2013 You May Not have Thought Of

Lists are popping up all over the internet, as they always do in December, a nonstop onslaught of opinions, items, films, music, and art ranked for your easy consumption and delight.  Being a music guy, i too succumb to the unwitting desire to tell the masses what i think of albums and songs that come out year after year after year.  But, i’m not necessarily doing that here (for those, head over to heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com).  Instead, here are some random albums (compilations, reissues, new soundtracks. and free online mixtapes) that i think deserve your attention…and maybe your dollars too.  And so…

iamthecenterBest Compilation Album:  “I Am the Center (Private Issue New Age Music in America 1950-1990″

God bless Light in the Attic Records for a seemingly endless parade of awesome compilations and reissues every damn year.  In 2013, the label topped themselves with this beautiful, deluxe 3LP set of private press new age, ambient, drone, classical, and experimental music.  Each track moves through lulling and hushed ambient drone, classically structured piano tinkering, analog synthesizers crafting soundtracks to the heavens and planetariums, minimalist experimentation, and other sounds that all too often get a bad rap.  I had never heard of any of the artists on this compilation, but have found myself loving each and every one.  And now, being the vinyl junkie that i am, i’m attempting to hunt some of these rare treasures down in their original form.  I’m looking forward to my upcoming bankruptcy.

Notable runner up:  “Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound” on Numero Group.

 

thefogBest Reissue:  “The Fog” OST by John Carpenter

While i’m espousing the awesomeness of different record labels, an eternity of tips of my hat are due to Death Waltz Records, and the consistent array of soundtrack releases the label puts out on a regular basis.  Death Waltz (along with Mondo, Waxwork Records, One Way Static, and more) have really created a niche market for those who dig on old school horror soundtracks.  So, with a year of so many excellent releases, i’m just going to go with John Carpenter’s score for his 1980 film “The Fog,” because the artwork, packaging, and unique vinyl coloring are just amazing.  It’s a beautiful record, and should be on any discerning collector’s shelf.

Notable runners up:  Everything else these labels put out, but specifically the “Day of the Dead” OST on Waxwork; Chance – “In Search” on Paradise of Bachelors Records.

 

evildeadsoundtrackBest New Original Score:  “Evil Dead” OST by Roque Banos

The “Evil Dead” remake from earlier this year has gotten plenty of ink, both good and bad, but i’m not here to write about the film (i liked it).  Let’s talk about that score huh?  Roque Banos’ soundtrack is perfect for this movie.  It’s haunting when it needs to be.  Intense when called for.  Ominous throughout, and above all, it’s scary.  And to top it off, Unseen Forces Records released a beautiful, blood-splattered vinyl edition that is easily one of my favorite releases of the year.  Hooray horror soundtracks!

Notable runner up:  “Only God Forgives” OST by Cliff Martinez on Milan Records.

 

deathgripsgovplatesBest Free Online Mixtape:  “Government Plates” by Death Grips

Honestly, could there be another answer for this one?  Over the last three years, Death Grips have become one of the most interesting, controversial, and all around unique groups out there.  Be it their tiffs with record labels, penis album art, live show absenteeism, or sheer intensity of their uncategorizable music (hardcore punk, hip-hop, metal, electronic, noise rock), the duo certainly do turn heads and open ears.  Latest opus “Government Plates” continues the trend.  One of my favorite albums of the year, and it’s free, free, free!

Notable runners up:  Tree – “Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out”; Action Bronson and Party Supplies – “Blue Chips II”

 

So, there’s some non-traditional albums of the year for you to get your grubby mits on.  You’re welcome.

 

Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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