Whew – What a Quick Ending to a Long Year…[BEST OF ’13]


BEST of 2013

Year-In-Review, by Kent Manthie

I know that every music mag has their “Best of…” issue or column, etc. at the end of each year. It’s just another tradition of the end-of-the-year holidays, like last-minute Christmas shopping, employee Christmas parties and – the best for last: after-holiday sales.

At least one of the differences mine’s going to have from, say, something like a Rolling Stone or Spin “Best of…” editions. Then there are some I’ve seen in small, locally made music press that does have some name-recognition in your city – where they go around to various underground/indie record stores, clubs/bars w/music, people who play in local bands, et cetera and get them all to write up what they’re favorite releases for that year are.

No, I’m not asking anyone’s opinion, since if any of them want to make their favorites known, they can do that!

No, this is specifically the opinions, wishes, subjectivity, etc. of INDEPENDENT REVIEW as well as Kent Manthie, who writes it (and hears it) all down.

I went through a rough draft of something like this yesterday and I tried to make it a “Top Ten” list, since, usually, that’s the nice round number people settle on to make their “rankings”. Well, I tried that, and found that, to try and make all the impeccable, impeachable, unique bands/artists that were miles above the rest who presented with a new release in 2013, I’d have to really stretch it (at least at first, if we were going down the list in order – 10 being the rear and getting to #1 meant that you were the “#1 record – at least in my opinion – for the year). Even just getting 10 of these albums that were SO fantastic that I was transfixed, blown away, had never heard anything like that or it took me back to a better time, erased all the blasé crap going on around me now, was hard – I knew that, to make a “Top Ten” I’d have to pick at least 3, maybe 4, maybe 5 that didn’t really belong there, but because I had to make a “Top Ten” this is what happened. So, I’m just going to flesh out my picks and damn the count. If there are 3, fine; 4,5,6, also fine; but I’m only going to put down what was, in all truth, the releases of 2013 that really added something good, something positive and powerful to the world-at-large.

So…here goes:

  • Lemur: Lemur

  • White Fence: Live in San Francisco

  • Joan of Arc: Testimonium Songs

  • Owen: L’Ami du Peuple

  • of Montreal: Lousy With Sylvanbriar

  • Partner Artifact: A Form Contrast

  • Their/They’re/There: Their/They’re/There

  • The Finer Points of Sadism: Volume 2

  • Heliotropes: A Constant Sea 

This is a list of nine albums that were released in 2013.  It took me a while to come up with these particular titles, they weren’t put there in some quick, slapdash way, rather careful thought went into picking them.

These all have the distinction of being unique, in that no one else was doing whatever one of these guys were doing, at least at the time. They also are tied together by all being excellent CDs by bands whose creativity is empowered and enabled by the independence they enjoy by being on the labels for whom they record.

If you’d like to read the full review of each of these CDs, you’ll find them all below, on INDEPENDENT REVIEW. Just in case you want someone to condense it as far as possible for you, I’ll say that the first three picks are the best – In Order – Lemur’s self-titled instrumental album, White Fence’s Live in San Francisco and Joan of Arc’s musical score for an indie dance company’s dance project. The album is entitled, Testimonium Songs.

Hope you get the chance to check out as many titles on this list as you can – you will be satisfied! -KM.


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