Top Albums of the Year 2013: Staff Picks

Out with the old, no matter how good it is! Here’s our comprehensive list of Top Albums of the Year 2013, schizophrenic as always to reflect the diverse tastes of our staff, though there is some overlap. It’s highly recommended you check out every release here, as each has its own creative strengths.

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Jimmy Edgar Artist Interview: Building Rainbow-Colored Bridges Between Music, Aesthetics & Metaphysical Ideas

“We read a lot of books on meditation – a lot of books on magic, numerology, astropsychology; quantum physics… and one thing that we always find is that the visuals are always really cheesy… so we feel that we have this duty to create this space or domain of knowing that has a really interesting and modern visual side to these philosophies we find really interesting…” - Jimmy Edgar, on his record label, Ultramajic

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The Belle Game – River Music Video (w/ Band & Director Interviews in 日本語 & English)

After their collaboration on The Belle Game’s first music video proved natural and compelling in narrative, director Kheaven Levandowski and the band decided to once again work together on the music video for “River”, from their debut album, Ritual Tradition Habit. Much less upbeat than the previous track, “River”‘s finds its setting moving from Western countrysides into Japanese cityscapes, as it follows a male sex worker – also known as a rent-boy – through neon-lit streets and into a realistically-documented underbelly of the city. The result is both sensual and raw, leaving viewers curious to know more about the subculture. Levandowski and The Belle Game’s Adam Nanji discuss the formulation and execution of the music video, as well as the social ideas it stirs up, in this bi-lingual English-Japanese Q&A interview.

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Iceland Airwaves 2013 Festival Preview: Managing an Overwhelming Schedule of Icelandic & International Musicians

Iceland Airwaves started back in 1999 in an airport hangar outside of Reykjavik. Since then, it has grown into one of Europe’s premiere music festivals, showcasing the insane amounts of musical talent coming from the land of few people and many sheep. Each year, the festival curates some of the best up-and-coming international talent to supplement the Icelandic artists, and introduces a ton of off-venue shows. The total schedule is 10 pages long, and the whole festival turns Reykjavik into a musical paradise for five nights. It is all incredibly overwhelming, so let’s break it down for you.

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The Body – To Attempt Openness Music Video (w/ Band & Alexander Barton Artist Interview)

This audio-visual collaboration between Portland-based avant-garde metal outfit, The Body, and NYC mixed media artist Alexander Barton has been a long time coming, a homage to an enduring friendship. Combining their mutual shared interest in intensity, abstraction, and religious themes, the music video for “To Attempt Oneness” pits The Body’s guttural, distorted screams and noisy, rumbling guitars against Barton’s bleeding ink painting — an extension of his earlier performance which used real pig’s blood. The final product holds a viewer’s fascination with its impressively slow and minimal unfolding, the most entertaining way possible to watch paint dry.

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CMJ Music Marathon 2013 Live Show Review & Festival Recap: Caveman, Grandchildren, Porcelain Raft, Speedy Ortiz, More

CMJ Music Marathon 2013 yet again saw a convergence of hundreds of bands and thousands of fans on the clubs of the Lower East Side, East Village, and Williamsburg in New York City. Coincidentally, many of the bands we were most looking forward to were female-fronted (Speedy Ortiz, Eternal Summers, Hunters), and they did not disappoint. While times have certainly progressed, female-fronted bands still have something to prove, and it was good to see several super-talented guitar players and songwriters, as well as singers and performers, show themselves to be just as good as their male counterparts. All-dude groups Caveman and Grandchildren both had solid performances that left me with a good “I-discovered-something-cool-at-CMJ” feeling as well, and electropop groups were

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China’s Indie Music Scene: Transforming Contemporary Chinese Culture From The Bottom Up // 中国独立音乐现状剖析:从底层跃升并改变中国当代文化

Hidden beneath the gargantuan, State-driven China that is emphasized over-and-over again in news coverage lies an artistic day-to-day that few people see. As in any developing country, China has become a breeding ground for new and often innovative ideas – and included in that are an increasing number of musicians searching for their own identities. Many of them are following and documenting their own creative impulses, thereby bringing some musical change to a society otherwise dominated by mainstream Asian pop.

尽管中国一直以来都以庞然大国,国家统治形象示人,她所蕴含的日渐浓重的艺术氛围与文化发展却往往为人忽略。如许多发展中国家一样,中国正孕育着许多新颖,极具创造力的艺术思想 – 这些思想都来自于那些努力发声,力求为大众所见的艺术家、音乐家们。众多音乐家正跟随记录着他们自己的艺术脉搏,运用着他们的创造力,努力为日渐单一、主流化的亚洲流行音乐市场带来不一样的声音及改变。

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Moodoïd – Je Suis la Montagne Music Video (w/ Band & Director Interviews in French & English)

In the music video for “Je Suis la Montagne”, psychedelic art rockers Moodoïd have collaborated with director Jérôme Walter Gueguen a true work of surrealist-inspired art. With a relatively minimal budget and ample film school training, they’ve turned childhood recollections of mountains into a Magritte-coloured world of soil-covered faces and tasteful (as well as tasty) object manipulation. In this two-sided, bilingual Q&A interview, we speak with fast friends Jérôme Walter Gueguen and Moodoïd’s frontman Pablo Padovani on their friendship, collaboration, and shared inspirations. Moodoïd’s self-titled EP is now out on Entreprise, a division of Third Side Records.

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Natasha Kmeto Interview: From Crisis To Growth Cycles

“It was my career that facilitated me traveling more and starting to experience different things in my mind, [so] that I kind of realized that the trajectory I was on was not the one that I wanted to be on. I kind of did a 180 and had to get really honest with myself and figure out what I wanted, because I wasn’t happy.” - Natasha Kmeto

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Little Boots – “Crescendo” (Larry Gus Remix) – MP3 Premiere & Ticket Giveaway!

MP3 premiere of the remix for Little Boots’ “Crescendo”, by DFA’s Larry Gus. Win tickets to see Little Boots live in Seattle and Portland this week!

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Seasonal Timeline: Summer Sounds Mixtapes

September 22nd officially marks the end of summer 2013 in the Northern Hemisphere — and to celebrate the passing of time, we’ve decided to create a timeline to forever remember the songs currently trending on our site, as well as take a look back on the music that has colored and given life to our past summers, dating back to 2010.

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Rose Windows Band Interview: Remote Viewing The Future (w/ The Sun Dogs Full Album Stream)

“I can say that for Rabia and I, our profound experiences and insights have stemmed from very real oppression and deliverance. Drugs were the initial escape. Music has been the true deliverer. I definitely reject any religion that aims to divide humans by calling some ‘chosen’ and others ‘damned’. I want to feel the pulse of this planet, to enjoy the life it gives, to really find my place in its system and function positively.” - Chris Cheveyo of Rose Windows

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