Lists are a necessity of one’s life. If we all stopped making and displaying lists for all to see, I’m sure all would collapse, a string of numbers and names which act as the intangible string keeping our heads glued together. So to keep everything in check, here’s Channel Static’s first list; a top ten of 2013’s best albums. Because there just aren’t enough of these out there. Fill the void, we’re saving the world from total destruction, one list at a time.
10. Pond – Hobo Rocket
Psychedelic rock made by a homeless person dressed in tin foil riding around in space. Well, it sounds like that (or The Flaming Lips). The cheer up tape of 2013, we all need a psychedelic breakdown on a terrible Tuesday. And ‘if you motherfuckers don’t like it, you can all get out’, Pond would say, or at least sing.
Track of choice: Giant Tortoise
9. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
Slacker’s not dead! Parquet Courts ‘Light Up Gold’ is like a hybrid combination of early Beck and Half Man Half Biscuit, yet the end product comes out feeling fresh and totally their own thing. Every cynic of the world should have this album injected into their veins, the moody wit tastes so fine.
Track of choice: Stoned And Starving
8. Death Grips – Government Plates
Government Plates is another intense bout of heavy electronics and shout rap, but this time the anger occasionally subsides, sombre moments adding weight to the thumping industrial beats. Death Grips virgins may find it similar to being hit in the face with a hammer, but it only hurts the first time. The ears harden to the noise and it becomes a head banging rave.
And it’s currently FREE to download! Click the album art above to be whisked away to a world of grime, fear and loathing. But the dance-able kind.
Track of choice: Birds
7. The Flaming Lips – The Terror
In a year were most bands wanted to sound like apocalyptic wastelands, The Flaming Lips beat everyone out by sounding the bleakest. Which sounds like an awful compliment, doesn’t it? Haunting psychedelic wastelands, with lyrics which linger. Better.
Track of choice: Turning Violent
6. Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus
It sounds inhuman, and for about an hour the savage synths drone on, numbing the body and sending the mind off into alien worlds. And when it fades out, emptiness resides. Only venturing back in makes sense. Live shows end with a wall of ear-splitting noise to fill the void. It was the last thing I heard for days. Instrumental electronica which absorbs the minds of all who venture near.
Track of choice: Brainfreeze
5. Darkside – Psychic
Psychic is the album which I just couldn’t get sick off, no matter how hard I tried. It blends the ambient with pop (or Blade Runner meets disco), a mix which soothes and invigorates simultaneously, and while tracks can go on for as long as eleven minutes, the pace never feels sluggish. It’s so warm yet distant, contrasts forever colliding. I’d sleep in it if music was a tangible object.
Track of choice: Freak, Go Home
4. Deerhunter – Monomania
A catchy indie rock record taken into the alley for a good beating. When it comes back its hair is fuzzy, legs bleeding and a scooter engine has been stuck to its back, still running. Now it’s ready to rock. The bands fragile dream pop is still there, it’s just coated with a thick layer of noise and fuzzy production. And it works so well, it made my ears bleed.
Track of choice: Monomania
3. The Knife – Shaking The Habitual
The blinding cover is probably the least striking thing about Shaking The Habitual, an album which managed to frighten the shit out of me when I first listened to it in the early hours one April morning. It feels feral, as tribal beats bang along to industrial menace, be it ambient or stomping. After a feverish first half, the album descends into a cold dark room, the sounds of creaks and groans filling the head with dread for twenty minutes, before bursting into fracking fluid injections in the second half. An incredibly refreshing experience, it shook me right up. Let’s talk about gender baby.
Then they shook me up again when they cancelled their Manchester show in October. It’s what they do.
Track of choice: Full Of Fire
2. Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
… Like Clockwork had won me over before I even listened to the whole album. It wasn’t a bout of blind fanboy loving, but from an excellent series of shorts appearing up to the release. These shorts covered small portions of select songs, playing to twisted stories in a screwed up comic world designed by a guy who calls himself Boneface. A fan of violence. Click here to see it!
When I finally got hold of the full release, a world had already been formed. The snippets of music displaying fragile beauty and dirty guitar sounds expanded into completely different beasts all together, with surprise guest appearances popping up at each turn (Elton John, Trent Reznor, Alex Turner, Jake Shears are a select few who turn up for some heavy breathing). Each track feels unique without breaking the consistent atmosphere the album creates. A bleak and sexy atmosphere. Mmm, yeaaahhh.
A showcase that you can go from hard rock to ballads without sucking ass.
Track of choice: Kalopsia
1. My Bloody Valentine – M B V
You could claim that My Bloody Valentine churn out release after release, never stopping to take a break between releases, but when the quality remains this high, who’s complaining? 22 years is no time at all.
Dropping on the net after a sudden announcement M B V took everyone by surprise. And it starts directly were Loveless left off, pop and noise colliding to create a sonic sound storm. Which was a hell of a lot better than the snow storms going on around release. It sure made the trip to work a lot cosier, losing myself to the soundscapes rather than to the cold. It starts in familiar territory but ends up taking a sudden turn to the future, with an end track which sounds like a sausage being thrown through a wind tunnel. No, that’s to describe something else… just take out the sausage.
The albums which stick are the ones which impact our personal lives, and M B V is one of them. Even if it did come out a bit too soon after the last one.
Track of choice: Only Tomorrow
Honourable Mentions: After Dark II, Atoms For Peace – AMOK, Boards Of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest, Body/Head – Coming Part, Chelsea Light Moving, Deafheaven – Sunbather, Kanye West – Yeezus, Lee Ranaldo And The Dust – Last Night On Earth, Pinkunoizu – The Drop, Savages – Silence Yourself