Best of 2013 (Todd’s List)

2013 was a great year for music. Below are my top 20 albums of 2013 and mix of my favorite songs from those albums. Happy new year!

20. BOOM! – Get A Grip (Burger)
19. Dim Peaks – Time of Joy (Gold Robot)
18. The Limiñanas – Costa Blanca (Trouble In Mind)
17. Lloyd Cole – Standards (Tapete)
16. Bill Callahan – Dream River (Drag City)
15. RUMTUM – Mystic Wonders (1320)
14. Crocodiles – Crimes of Passion (Frenchkiss)
13. The Go – Fiesta (Burger)
12. Johnny Marr – The Messenger (Sire)
11. Mikal Cronin – MCII (Merge)

10. Gap Dream – Shine Your Light (Burger)
9. Veronica Falls – Waiting For Something To Happen (Slumberland)
8. Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record (Merge)
7. Jacco Gardner – Cabinet of Curiosities (Trouble In Mind)
6. Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze (Matador)
5. Yo La Tengo – Fade (Matador)
4. Wooden Shjips – Back To Land (Thrill Jockey)
3. Monster Rally – Return To Paradise (Gold Robot)
2. Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin (Castle Face)
1. Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (Jagjaguwar)

Best of 2013 from simco1974 on 8tracks Radio.

Veronica Falls

It’s embarrassing to tell you how much I love this band. It’s embarrassing to admit that I listen to this band over and over and over and over again. I admit that I completely give up my critical faculties when I listen to Veronica Falls. Pure bliss! The melodies! The harmonies! The boy/girl vocals! My son, who just got his driver license and with whom I now share a car, had to eject their album out of my CD player’s cold…dead…slot. Speaking of death and coldness, this band has a reputation for being into death and dark and cold, but au contraire! All I can do when I listen to Veronica Falls is dance around, strum my air guitar, and sing my lungs out. Sure, the opening track to their first album is called “Found Love in a Graveyard” and the follow-up track’s refrain is “Take your hands off me,” but graveyards can be cheery places if you’re dancing on someone’s grave to the right soundtrack and you can always ask your dance partner to remove their mitts politely, respectively.

And besides, on their new album they ditched the dour song titles and replaced them with names like “Shooting Star” and “My Heart Beats” so you can tell your parents your new favorite band sings songs about hope and life (just don’t tell them about “Buried Alive”). I love Veronica Falls so much I don’t even miss Velocity Girl and if you know me, that’s saying something. And guess what else? This is the quickest post I’ve ever written because I can’t even think straight when I hear Veronica Falls and this all comes gushing out and I can’t wait for their tour and even though they’re currently in Europe (they’re from the UK) VERONICA FALLS IS COMING!!! [pace Will Farrell as Elf when he hears the news that Santa’s coming to town] and I’m gonna stop typing and go buy my tick—

Veronica Falls – Teenage [MP3 via Boing Boing/Soundcloud]


This track has become a staple on the ol’ show lately, and I was about to mention how well they sound after The Raveonettes. Good thing I did a bit of fact checking, because in fact the only bands that have preceded them are Ratatat, Sonic Youth, and CSS. Being from Sweden, Liechtenstein probably don’t want to be compared to those aforementioned Danes, but I didn’t make that comparison. Liechtenstein play sugar-free, bubblegum bedroom pop: not too sweet, but instantly endearing. No nonsense. No frills. Just charming vocal harmonies and a steady beat, all sounding like it’s coming from the garage of the girl next door.

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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Slumberland is putting out some great pop these days from New York bands. Recent releases from Crystal Stilts and Cause Co-Motion! will be followed up this month with the self-titled debut from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. POBPAH continue the Slumberland tradition of fine noise-pop, in the mode of Velocity Girl, the Ropers, Black Tambourine, with boy/girl harmonies, choice bits of fuzz and jangle, and crisp drums, all wrapped together by clever songwriting. Said debut album will be out February 10th, in the middle of their East Coast tour.

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Crystal Stilts

The perfect companion to last week’s post on Cause Co-Motion!, since the two Brooklyn bands are currently touring the West Coast together. (I had planned on seeing them tonight in Oakland, but alas, I’ve got torn knee ligaments.)

The Slumberland page for their new album Alight of Night makes reference to a whole slew of bands: Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators, Red Crayola, the Gun Club, the Mary Chain, and also bands from Flying Nun, Rough Trade, and Factory Records. I’d also throw in early Walkmen and the Recoys. Feel free to add your own.

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Cause Co-Motion!

Only one minute and thirty four seconds for you today, but it’s brilliant DIY pop from Brooklyn’s Cause Co-Motion! (or alternately caUSE Co-MOTION!) doing their take on the early Television Personalities, or what the Buzzcocks would have sounded like if they had formed in the USA in the heyday of 50’s sock hop. It’s Time!, a 14 song singles compilation is out on tomorrow on Slumberland, and they’re also starting a West Coast tour with Slumberland’s the Crystal Stilts this week.

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The Lodger

Has it really been a year since The Lodger released their first album Grown-Ups? Here they are again with their new LP Life is Sweet, not even twelve months later, turning it up a notch with crisp production to further refine their Yorkshire pop sensibilities. Let’s just hope that they can keep up this pace!

Original Post 6/17/2007:
I’m starting to worry. Maybe cause it was my birthday recently I’m getting all nostalgic. Yes, I know things go in cycles, and the past few years of music have been heavily borrowing from the 80’s, but that was my decade. I would hold a tape recorder up to the radio to record Wang Cheung. I bought Tears for Fears on tape, Joy Division on vinyl, the Smiths on CD, Camper van Beathoven on a t-shirt, and the Cure on a poster. I saw the Descendents live and Dance Craze and Athens, Ga, Inside/Out on VHS. The 80’s were good to me. But it’s the next cycle that’s starting to worry me. Don’t tell me you haven’t seen the kids starting to sport long stringy hair and flannel shirts. We’re on a fine line between the next “scene” going hippie or retro Pearl Jam. Let’s just get it out of the way before my kids hit their teenage years.

The Lodger and their fine Yorkshire guitar pop, though, ain’t going down without a fight. While influenced and even motivated by the songwriting of such guitar pop stalwarts as the Wedding Present and the Housemartins, this Leeds band’s debut album Grown-ups, adds their own personal touch and a host of modern sensibilities, like crisp melodies, high-energy honesty and reverb-free drums, all evidenced in the outstanding “Let Her Go.” Just what an old fella needs to feel young again.

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Sarandon’s new LP is titled KIll Twee Pop!, out April 22nd on Slumberland. And after listening to their feisty pop, you’ll actually hope they will.

Original post 10/8/2007:
My documented love affair with Slumberland Records continues with Sarandon, the South London pop, post-pop, post-punk noise outfit and not the American actress. Led by sole remaining founding member Crayola, Sarandon are irrepressibly catchy with slightly bizarre lyrics. They’re simple and possibly quite mad, to use the British meaning of the word, which explains why my seven year old says “The Linguist” makes her feel like wiggling.

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The Crabapples

Yes, OCD, you don’t need to tell me. “Hi, my name is Clay, and I’m obsessively compulsed with Slumberland Records!” Hey, the first step is admitting you have a problem. And my problem is the self-described “loud but melodic…catchy tunes played with sloppy abandon” that are Slumberland Records and the Crabapples. Continuing with the self-descriptions, the Crabapples rush “along in a breathless blur, fuelled by lager, explosive tunes and a love of great pop.” I’ll be sure to bring that up at my first meeting…

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Henry’s Dress

Slumberland Records changed my life. My first Slumberland purchase was the compilation Why Popstars Can’t Dance, which introduced me to Rocketship, whose 7″ “Hey, Hey Girl” I have completely worn out. My second Slumberland purchase is still the most prized piece of vinyl that I own: Henry’s Dress “1620.” (My failure to obtain the Henry’s Dress/Rocketship split single released on Slumberland in 1996 and re-released in 1999 still haunts me.) Slumberland also introduced an entire new world of bands to me, many of whom have been my “favorite” band at particular points in time. The aformentioned Rocketship and Henry’s Dress, plus Lilys, Small Factory, Velocity Girl, Honeybunch, Swirlies, The Ropers, Jane Pow, Boyracer, Beatnik Filmstars, Hood, The Aislers Set, and The How.

I’ve mentioned Henry’s Dress several times in my last few posts, so with the rebirth of the Slumberland website, it was time to finally get my beloved Henry’s Dress on 3hive. Henry’s Dress is my favorite band of all time, cause I simply keep coming back to them over the years, and each time it’s like discovering their feedback-drenched, bass-heavy, punk-pop songs that could rarely reach three minutes all over again for the first time. I’ll spare you a long history of the band and even more of my sentimentality, other than saying that former members can be found in The Aislers Set and The How so you can get on with the downloading.

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