The Well-Played List

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Well-Played List, Best of 2013, Part 4: Grand Finale

The final wrap-up of the year's best music releases.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Music tastemakers who participate in the ongoing listening series (myself and various other CL Staffers along with local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two) have been weighing in on favorite albums of the year — the Best of 2013. Because we're off on consecutive Wednesdays for Christmas and New Year's, and make up such a large group with varying tastes, I've broken up our lists into four parts. The Well-Played List closes in 2013 with Part 4, the final Best of 2013 breakdown, which includes my own list expanded from the one in next week's paper.

Click here to check out Part 1. Part 2 right here. And Part 3 here. Hopefully, all four of these will give you something to fill your ears while you enjoy your holiday breaks... and as always, Spotify Playlists with picks is featured at the end of each post, for your listening pleasure. And on that note, what were your favorite albums of 2013? Tell us in the comments…

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Well-Played List: Best of 2013 Edition, Part 3

The year-end wrap-up continues; Spotify playlist included.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 6:00 AM

The Well-Played List is winding down in 2013, with the music tastemakers who participate in the ongoing listening series (myself and various other CL Staffers along with local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two) reflecting on our favorite albums of the year — the Best of 2013. Because we're off on consecutive Wednesdays for Christmas and New Year's, and make up such a large group with varying tastes, I've broken up our lists into four parts; two ran last week — Part 1 on Wednesday, Part 2 on Friday), and the last two parts go up today and Friday. Hopefully, all four will give you something to fill your ears while you enjoy your holiday breaks... and as always, a Spotify Playlist will be included at the end of each post, for your listening pleasure.

Check out past editions of The Well-Played List here. And on that note, what are your favorite albums of 2013? Tell us in the comments…

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COLIN JOYCE

Dean Blunt, The Redeemer

My Bloody Valentine, m b v

Inter Arma, Sky Burial

Waxahatchee, Cerulean Salt

Alex G/R.L. Kelly, Split

Chance The Rapper, Acid Rap

Drake, Nothing Was The Same

Wolf Eyes, No Answer : Lower Floors

Julia Brown, To Be Close To You

Daniel Bachman, Jesus I’m A Sinner

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Friday, December 13, 2013

The Well-Played List: Best of 2013 Edition, Part 2

The year-end wrap-up continues; Spotify playlist included.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM

For the year's remaining editions of The Well-Played List, music tastemakers participating in the ongoing listening series (the CL Music Team and select staffers along with local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two) will be reflecting on our favorite albums of the year — the Best of 2013. Since we're off on consecutive Wednesdays (for Christmas and New Year's), and make up such a large group with varying tastes, I'll be breaking our lists up into four parts, running two this week (Part 1 ran on Wednesday, the second today), and the last two will be posted next week. Hopefully, all four will give you something to fill your ears while you enjoy your holiday breaks... and as always, a Spotify Playlist will be included at the end of each post, for your listening pleasure.

Check out past editions of The Well-Played List here. And on that note, what are your favorite albums of 2013? Tell us in the comments…

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SHAE K. | Local musician, Y Los Dos Pistoles, writer, poet

Bill Callahan, Dream River

Shannon Wright, In Film Sound

M.I.A., Matangi

Valerie June, Pushin' Against a Stone

Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Serives vol. 10: Another Self Portrait

Phosphorescent, Muchacho

Speedy Ortiz, Major Arcana

John Vanderslice, Dagger Beach

Scout Niblett, It's Up to Emma

Rykarda Parasol, Against the Sun

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Well-Played List: Best of 2013 Edition, Part 1

The first round of year-ending Best of lists from the CL Team & beyond (audio)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 5:00 AM

For the next several editions of The Well-Played List, music tastemakers participating in the ongoing listening series (the CL Music Team and select staffers along with local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two) will be reflecting on our favorite albums of the year — the Best of 2013. Since we're off on consecutive Wednesdays (for Christmas and New Year's), and make up such a large group with varying tastes, I'll be breaking our lists up into four parts, running two this week (today and Friday), and the last two next week. Hopefully, all four will give you something to fill your ears while you enjoy your holiday breaks... and as always, a Spotify Playlist will be included at the end of each post, for your listening pleasure.

Check out past editions of The Well-Played List here. And on that note, what are your favorite albums of 2013? Tell us in the comments…

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GABE ECHAZABAL
David Bowie, The Next Day

Arcade Fire, Reflektor

Johnny Marr, The Messenger

Arctic Monkeys, AM

Daft Punk, Random Access Memories

Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City

Joan Jett, Unvarnished

Elvis Costello & The Roots, Wise Up Ghost

Mavis Staples, One True Vine

Manic Street Preachers, Rewind the Film

More selections after the jump...

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Well-Played List, 11-27-2013: Aceyalone, Bob Dylan, The Limiñanas & more

Music we're jamming this week; audio, video & Spotify playlist included.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Before you get your Thanksgiving on, take a listen to some of the most listened-to, jammed-out songs, albums and artists of the week as submitted by the CL Music Team along with a rotating crew of tastemakers — local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two; check the past several week’s worth here. Audio and video included, along with any applicable show information. And on that note, what are you jamming this week? Tell us in the comments…

LEILANI

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Trying to narrow down my Best of 2013 album nominees, and taking a last listen to some music I missed or only briefly skimmed before narrowing down my shortlist contenders. So far, the self-titled third album from groovin' post-punkish/psych pop outfit The Features and vet rapper Aceyalone's Leanin' on Slick go directly onto the shortlist, while I've been able to give a definitive 'no' to pop rock sisters trio HAIM (I dig the single "Forever" but not completely sold on the rest), Janelle Monáe's The Electric Lady (great first single, "Q.U.E.E.N." with Missy Elliott) and Local Natives' Hummingbird (got bored two songs in, same as the last few times I listened), and am still on the fence about Foals' Holy Fire and the new What If It Is EP from hip hop songstress K.Flay. Much more listening to do in the coming weeks...

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Well-Played List, 11-20-2013: Cate Le Bon, Nitemoves, Townes Van Zandt, Cocteau Twins & more

Music we're jamming this week; audio, video & Spotify playlist included.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 7:00 AM

It’s that time of week again, folks — time to get your jam on, that is. The ongoing listening series otherwise known as The Well-Played List features the most listened-to, jammed-out songs, albums and artists of the week as submitted by the CL Music Team along with a rotating crew of tastemakers — local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two; check the past several week’s worth here. Audio and video included, along with any applicable show information. And on that note, what are you jamming this week? Tell us in the comments…

LEILANI

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Queens of the Stone Age, ...Like Clockwork (2013) Pretty stoked that the grinding psych-stoned West Coast alt rockers are stopping through town and virtually playing in my backyard (more info about that right here, tickets on sale Friday). So I've been jamming their darkly brooding lightly grungy latest, on my Best of 2013 shortlist to be sure...

Cate Le Bon, Mug Museum (2013) Been seeing this songstress' name pop up alot lately, took a spin of her just-released third full-length, and feel drawn to her odd lilting vocal phrasing (she's Welsh-born and apparently sings in that Celtic language, too), which kinda reminds me of Stereolab's Lætitia Sadier when she hits the lower-reaching registers. Her sound has a post-punk/art rock/folkadelic vibe ala Velvet Underground or Television and modern Brit invasion Blur-ishness. I need to listen to this some more... video for first single "Are You With Me Now?" after the jump.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Well-Played List, 11-13-2013: Harry Nilsson, Darkside, The Paley Brothers, Action Bronson & more

Music we're jamming this week; audio, video & Spotify playlist included.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 6:45 AM

It’s that time of week again, folks — time to get your jam on, that is. The ongoing listening series otherwise known as The Well-Played List features the most listened-to songs, albums and artists of the week as submitted by the CL Music Team along with a rotating crew of tastemakers — local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two; check the past several week’s worth here. Audio and video included, along with any applicable show information. And on that note, what are you jamming this week? Tell us in the comments…

LEILANI

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Harry Nilsson, Pussy Cats (1974) Nilsson's vastly underrated 10th studio album was recorded with John Lennon during the latter's "Lost Weekend" period (the 18 months he and Yoko Ono were separated and he was having a fling with filmmaker May Pang). Critics talked lots of trash about the album at the time, mainly because while recording it, Nilsson and Lennon raised alot of hell around LA — drinking and drugging, banging the ladies, heckling Smothers Brothers and punching photographers — when they weren't raising hell and making magic in the studio. In the 2010 documentary about the late singer-songwriter, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?), you get a really good idea of just how much Lennon and Nilsson played off and provoked each other. They seemed to have a creatively dysfunctional relationship; Lennon helped produce this amazing album, and yet it was also Lennon who helped Nilsson shred his pipes by its end.

This album kills me, it's so ridiculously good, and I pretty much love every single track on it. You get a taste of both Nilsson's cleaner vocals along with the grit, and there's a mix of originals (like the bouncy rambling "All My Life" and the bittersweet loveliness of "Don't Forget Me") and covers ("Save the Last Dance for Me," "Subterranean Homesick Blues"), though his take on Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cros" hits me straight in the gut. On a side note, the album cover features children's letter blocks "D" and "S" on either side of a rug under the table where the duo sit, code for "drugs under the table."

Chet Faker, "No Diggity" (2012) A sick and slinky cover of an already fine song by an electro music-making artist, Chet Faker (real name Nicholas Murphy). He's been touring with Bonobo, so that should give you an idea of his style, though he's got a little more hip hop to his grooving production and lovely soulful husk-rubbed vocals where Bonobo's Simon Green doesn't sing a lick. vocals adds his own to his songs. Chet Faker plays Crowbar this Fri., Nov. 15. Check "No Diggity" after the jump...

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Well-Played List, 11-06-2013: Midlake, White Trash Blues Revival, Drake, La Luz & more

Music we're jamming this week; audio, video & Spotify playlist included.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 7:00 AM

And here we are again. The ongoing listening series (formerly known as MusicMonday) continues in its re-imagined form. The Well-Played List features the most listened-to, jammed-out songs, albums and artists of the week as submitted by the CL Music Team along with a rotating crew of tastemakers — local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two; check the past several week’s worth here. Audio and video included, along with any applicable show information. And on that note, what are you jamming this week? Tell us in the comments…

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Midlake, Antiphon (2013) The new album from Midlake sounds good to me. Although, admittedly, I didn't really follow the Denton, Texas outfit before this, so I'm not sure how much the departure of frontman Tim Smith has changed their sound. Could they have been so much better than they are on this album? If so, I must hear. If not, maybe it was good to have let Smith go on his merry way. Antiphon — now led by and guitarist Eric Pulido — is lush, psychedelic folk and easy rambling indie rock finely arranged and produced to get to that sort of 1970s orchestrated drama; what you might hear riding an alpaca through a snowy mountainside in some sort of expansive film epic.

Le Trouble, Reality Strikes EP (Lava Records, 2013) I have alternate feelings of pleasure and puzzlement with this release from a newish Montreal quintet. The EP is a pop-catchy mix of post-punk revival and indie garage rock grind with twinkling embellishments, moments of sneering, grinding and grooving, and there's something retro yet fresh about the way they approach rhythmic time signatures. Plus the lead singer has tuneful croons and can hit a good velvety falsetto. The lightly offbeat strut of "Help You Out" is solid starting point, while "Fine Line" is easy going folk rock that almost recalls Harry Nilsson; in fact, there is something very "Everybody's Talkin'" about the backing guitar harmonies. And the band fairly reeks of Meatloaf here and there. Check "Real Talk (Part 2)" after the jump.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Well-Played List, 10-30-2013: The Stepkids, Pearl Jam, The Dismemberment Plan, Minor Alps, Sharks & more

Music we're jamming this week; audio, video & Spotify playlist included.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 7:00 AM

The ongoing listening series (FKA MusicMonday) features the most listened-to, jammed-out songs, albums and artists of the week as submitted by the CL Music Team along with a rotating crew of tastemakers — local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two; check previous week’s here. Audio and video included, along with any applicable show information. And on that note, what are you jamming this week? Tell us in the comments…

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LEILANI

The Stepkids, Troubadour (2013) This Connecticut trio brews up the sort of music that makes you stop what you're doing, laugh out loud, then wonder, just what the fuck am I listening to, again? I'm suprised I haven't stumbled upon the band sooner. I'm hearing Frank Zappa and Steely Dan influences — weirdo fun prog-jazz clashing and intermingling with 1970s-style soft-and-pretty prog rock aesthetics, disco funkiness, light soul and experimental pop out-thereness, all treated with modern technology tricks and quirks (synth effects, bass pedals, multi-tracked vocal). It has an overall none-too-serious vibe, especially with lines like "Give it all my boy, it’ll be incredible / dreams make the waking life bearable" and other lyrics discussing Google analytics and quantum physics in the same breath via falsetto vocals that are sometimes layered and sampled into broken fragments. This album is all over the place, in a way that I can totally get behind. For fans of Thundercat, Alt-J, and of Montreal - if all three were on one album together.

Blitzen Trapper, VII (2013) Nothing like a fresh Blitzen Trapper album to make the year seem more sunny and mellow. The Portland roots rock band delivers another strong one in their seventh full-length - replete with catchy ambling tunes, well-managed production, fine use of banjo and harmonica, and keyboard and bass grooves that make you want to shake your ass like it's nobody's business. I'm a particular fan of "Shine On" but pretty much the whole album is grade A drawling alt country. Check the track after the jump along with the rest of this week's entries...

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Well-Played List, 10-23-2013: Debbie Harry, casimer&casimir, Roky Erickson, Restorations & more

Music we're jamming this week; audio, video & Spotify playlist included.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 4:00 AM

The ongoing listening series formerly known as MusicMonday continues in its re-imagined form. The Well-Played List features the most listened-to, jammed-out songs, albums and artists of the week as submitted by the CL Music Team along with a rotating crew of tastemakers — local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two; check last week’s here. Audio and video included, along with any applicable show information. And on that note, what are you jamming this week? Tell us in the comments…

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LEILANI
Tim Kasher, Adult Film (2013) Tim Kasher is the frontman of Nebraska indie rock band Cursive that's never really interested me too much; nor, before this album, had I ever given Kasher's solo material more than a surface listen, pretty much enough to write about him the last time he came to town. His sophomore full-length grabbed me via first single "Truly Freaking Out" with its rubbery bouncing synthline (or is it an effected bassline?) and lyrics about the end of a relationship. And the lyrics are smart, too: "I was six years old, learning how to swim and I was 36, wondering how I sunk, it's as if the record jumped";"And I know, I know, I know the end is near, and I know I know it's all down hill from here / we're all cascading to our graves, tugging back at gravity's reins." There's something very earnest about it at times, yet it's somehow also charming and lighthearted, and the out-side-of-box alt rock/post-folk mix of pianos, fuzz, female guest vocals, and Kasher's own sweetly youthful tone come together quite nicely. Kasher hits Crowbar on Fri., Nov. 1...

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Jinx, The Gem in I (self-release, 2013) Jinx is a local emcee with a rhythmic silky flowing rhyme style, and production that is vintage soulful and funky. He's one of those guys who does the hip hop scene proud; you see his name on bills all over town, and his 15-track album features guest singers, emcees and instrumentalists he collabs and performs with frequently, including Gwan Massive and Dynasty. Jinx performs the majority of the album at a CD release show that also occurs this Fri., Oct. 25, at New World. Full review of the album forthcoming...

casimer&casimir, "O Sweet Joe Pye" (2013) I came upon this duo completely at random, on Soundcloud; this song in particular popped up automatically after something else I'd been listening to and it completely won my heart within the first 30 seconds. It's so goddamn delightful, in fact, I don't even remember what it was I was listening to originally. Chicago-via-Detroit's casimer&casimir puts out music they've cheekily dubbed "uncle and nephew pop" - because they are an uncle (Casimer Pascal) and a nephew (Vincent Casimir) who make upbeat indie pop music that can get psychedelic in the vein of early MGMT and of Montreal (check out "Anne Cherchait l'Amour"), and, when paired with their high-toned darling vocals, makes me super excited about hearing their full-length, due out next week. "O Sweet Joe Pye" after the jump along with the rest of this week's entries...

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