Best 20 Albums of 2013

greatest, favorite, best, albums of 2013

As Austin noted in our introduction to our favorite songs of 2013 list yesterday, it is much more difficult to list a years worth of favorites than one might think. 2013 was quite an interesting year in music. Many big names (or at least big expectations) left a disappointing taste in fans’ mouths (Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, The Strokes, Jay-Z, etc.). This left the door wide open for smaller, and sometimes even unheard artists to really pave the way to a brighter future, and in some cases, all-out overnight stardom (Lorde, Savages, CHVRCHES, etc). This also left a lot of room for controversy. Who is worth the listen, and who is just going through the motions while filling our ear buds with noise? Well the controversy was not absent in making this list. With all three of us at LxL listing out our top 20 albums separately and then combining them into a normalized list, there was bound to be some peoples favorites left off. Mean things were said, blood was spilled, and opinions hotly thwarted. Nonetheless, the list must go on. Here is what we considered to be our favorite albums of 2013:

20. AlunaGeorge – Body Music
alunageorge body music album-cover art
Last year, Alunageorge’s “Your Drums, Your Love” ranked in at #20 on our favorite songs of 2012. This year, the soulful pop R&B duo returned with a full LP to support the single, as well as a grip of other ripe-for-the-shaggin’ type of tunes. The duo now garnered another #20 slot, but this time on our albums list with Body Music.
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Pitchfork Music Festival 2013 Recap

Pitchfork Music Festival, 2013

On the surface level, I think it’s natural to have some preconceived notions of what a festival put on by Pitchfork may be like. Pretentious I would imagine is the first thing that would come to many people’s minds. An uppity crowd filled with music snobs and young folks more focused on style than substance. You’d probably also assume that following suit with any other festival/venue it would provide nothing but overpriced food and beverages that would be moderately annoying to wait in line to get as well. The lineup can also be a bit off-putting for some. Unsure of all the names on the lineup seems to be a problem for even dedicated music followers at times as Pitchfork likes to stick with very highly acclaimed (even if it is themselves in fact acclaiming them) list of acts. Not to mention the staggeringly small number of acts for a three day festival that pales in comparison to that of a Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, or Coachella.

After attending this festival for the second time, I have to say that I am continually amazed at how far off base all of these notions are. Every one of them. The crowd is amazingly genuine. It is smaller than most fests, but people there seem to be genuinely into music. I attribute this largely due to the fact that Pitchfork’s lineup is not conducive for the teenie-bopper types that are looking to attend a three day festival to simply see one show a day whether that be Monsters of Men or fun.. All of the fans at Pitchfork seem to genuinely be there to enjoy all music. As far as price goes, there is hardly a bar in Chicago where you can get craft beers for $5, let alone a spectacle venue. Food is also moderately priced, from local Chicago restaurants, and very delectable. The lineup, whether you know the artist or not, is wonderful. Every act you see there (or at least that I saw there) is someone I would pay a full priced ticket to see as headliners. And the fact that this number of acts on the list is smaller than most, only provides strong set times, and less conflict from overlapping acts. All-in-all it has to be the US festival with the most bang for your buck. Now let’s get down to brass tax shall we?

I attended this year on Saturday/Sunday only. Friday I was at a Pearl Jam concert at Wrigley Field that will be worthy of it’s own post at a later time. So below is my quick few-sentance recap of what was one of the more surprisingly great festivals/weekends of my 2013:
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Top Ten Thursday: Best Bonnaroo Acts of 2013

Bonnaroo, main stage, 2013, Paul McCartney

This one is pretty self explanatory. As our final recap of the event, here is our favorite acts of our favorite festival. I’ll give you a hint, Mumford and Sons didn’t make the list … or did they.

 

10. Tame Impala
Tame Impala, live, Bonnaroo, 2013

Tame Impala’s groovy Aussie vibes translate well to the stage. Especially for an afternoon festival setting. There is no doubt these guys will only be growing in fans as the years progress. I wouldn’t be surprised seeing them graduate to a stage soon enough.
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Bonnaroo 2013: A Full Recap

Bonnaroo 2013

Bonnaroo 2013 was quite the success. This is my fifth year attending what I believe to be America’s greatest music festival, and out of those five years, 2013 goes down as my favorite thus far. This is even aside from the fact I had to miss the entirety of Sunday, a day I know I would have enjoyed immensely, due to a work conflict. A lot of things fell into place very well this year. A great crew of friends, incredibly high caliber acts, a conducive schedule for my taste, more alcohol than I should have consumed, and some of the best collaborations I have ever seen. Paul McCartney shined as an untouchable legend, R Kelly reigned down from the heavens, and artists collaborated with each other in ways that I could never have imagined.

R Kelly Bonnaroo, 2012, fly, crane
I wasn’t lying, he literally came down from the heavens.

As our first recap, I decided to give a full, but quick breakdown of everything I saw last weekend. This is modeled after a successful post written by a fallen member of past Roo crews that could not be in attendance this year. Wes helped cover the acts I missed due to either physical or even mental absence. I don’t know what set me back more this year, work or whiskey. Anyways, onto the breakdown:

Thursday

JD McPherson, live bonnaroo, 2013JD McPherson

Retro rock and roll that will groove into your soul.

 

 

 

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Rolling Stones Show Review

The Rolling Stones
United Center
Chicago, Illinois
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Chicago Show Review

Todd and I went through a flurry of emotions this past Tuesday night when we headed down to the United Center for the 50th Anniversary tour of the Rolling Stones: excitement, anger, frustration, sadness, hopelessness, and then joy and ecstasy.  So let’s start from the beginning.
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Sasquatch 2013 Recap: Finding the Mythical Creature

Sasquatch 2013 Lineup Poster

Something magical happened to me this weekend. I found Sasquatch (or as we like to call it in the Midwest, Bigfoot). However, I am not talking about the mythical (or extremely real and terrifying) creature. I am talking about this glorious stage located on the beautiful gorge in George, Washington.

The Gorge, Sasquatch 2013
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2013 Oscar Predictions: Want vs. Reality

Oscars 2013, awards, 85th

In reality, The Oscars are just another BS award ceremony, but for some reason they are held in high regard; much more than other award ceremonies. When it comes down to it though, like most things in life, The Academy’s final decision is usually based on politics, money, and friends. A few years ago, the category for Best Film was widened from five nominations to ten. If that isn’t a telling sign of what the Oscars are really used for ($$$), I don’t know what is. Also, the simple fact that Stanley Kubrick never won an Oscar in his lifetime, or that Three 6 Mafia won the award before Martin Scorsese, tells you something of the ceremony’s legitimacy. The mere fact that the goal of the award is to pit films against each other based on the year they were released doesn’t make sense when you really think about it. But,all these things aside, it’s still fun to make predictions even if you only end up upset afterward (and then return to your stance of declaring how worthless the award actually is).  So I’ve decided to make some predictions, and by way of completely ripping off a post I saw on Paste this morning.  I didn’t dive into as many awards as they did because I either hadn’t seen enough movies in the respective category to do so or didn’t care enough about the category to list it, so my views are a bit different and a bit less legit. Nonetheless, here is what I think will happen, and what should happen this Sunday.
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