[Kira Wisniewski is a contributing editor for Punknews.org.]
Hi there. Thanks for stopping by.Personally, 2013 has been pretty perfect. I did a fair amount of traveling including a west coast road trip with some girlfriends that included KAYAKING WITH KILLER WHALES (What!? I know.) I coordinated the inaugural "Paddlestar Galactica: A ping-pong tournament benefitting 826DC" (and recruited John Gentile as a ref!). It raised over $30,000 to support free creative writing programming for DC youth. I drank around the world in Epcot with dear friends. And my heterolifemate since high school moved into the same apartment building as me and lives on the same floor! Despite what you may have heard, being 30 rules.
2013 has also been a pretty great year at the âOrg. I've taken on the responsibilities of coordinating interviews. We posted over 130 interviews in 2013! Big ups to our copy editors and staff interviewers for making that possible (and thanks to you for reading at least some of them, I hope!). It's also been a pretty rad year for music! However, every year I say to myself, "This is the year I'm going to keep better track of things that I like so this task isn't so hard come the end of the year." I've failed. Again. So unfortunately, I can't give you an honest top twenty, but for you, dear reader, you get an honest top ten. I'm sure I'll look at other editor's lists and be like "Oooooh right!" So I apologize in advance.
Terror: Live By the Code
I know a lot of people tend to talk a lot of shit about "tough guy" hardcore, but have you actually ever seen Terror live? Honestly, they're one of the best live acts you'll ever see. The sheer energy of a Terror crowd is unreal. And this year's release brought the same brand of hardcore they've been consistently delivering for years. As a very cool bonus, the vinyl version comes with a neat zine style booklet on newsprint. Choice track: "Most High"
There's something about Dave's voice that I just love. I too, loved The Loved Ones, but think we should all agree to put a moratorium on statements like "This album is fine, but what I really want is new Loved Ones stuff." This is a really solid album, y'all. Let's enjoy it, without any "but" modifying statements. Choice track: "Before"
Chvrches: The Bones of What You Believe
For those of us that were involved with college radio in the early to mid-2000s I think this album really struck a chord with our Postal Service/Rapture/Hot Hot Heat loving selves (or is that just me?) I want to have a dance party every time I hear it. Choice track: "The Mother We Share"
I was just delighted that Chris McCaughan was back for a third time with fresh material. The tone of this album is certainly different from its two predecessors, but it's a maturing, more full band sound that I am into. Just like many of us, I LOVED the shit out of Four One Five Two; but let's be real, a lot of that was because it was basically pared down acoustic Lawrence Arms stuff. With Neon Fiction, I feel like Sundowner has arrived fully with its own personality and texture. Choice track: "Life in the Embers"
Bars of Gold: Wheels
It took me a while to stop comparing this to Bear vs. Shark, but once I was able to get past thatâ¦ guys, this is a great album! It still has Marc Paffi's signature vocals and I really love the mathy guitars on songs like "Hey Kids." Choice track: "Coffee with Pele"
What a wonderfully, earnest album this is! I want to be friends with her. Choice track: "Making It Up"
Lorde: Pure Heroine
I'm sorry (but not really) that I just love pop music. There was a period of time this year when I just played Royals on repeat. It's just such a perfect pop song. I can't get over that she's only 17. I'm looking forward to more from this young lady. Choice track: "Royals"
Things I didn't like about this album: How long it took to receive it on vinyl when I preordered it. Things I like about this album: Pretty much everything else. This is a tremendous follow up to The Dangers of Standing Still. I'm sad that I missed them when they played in Baltimore in November. Come back, y'all! Choice track: "A Joke with No Words"
Dismemberment Plan: Uncanney Valley
It pleases me to no end that they're back together. It's like they just picked up right where they left off over a decade ago. This album continues to carry the torch of that brand of absurdity that is so classically the Dismemberment Plan. Unrelated to this release, but if you go see them live, when they play "You Are Invited" start spraying silly string gleefully into the air at the part when the whole band kicks in. They love that. Choice track: "Waiting"
Geez, there's so many great moments on this album. My dear friend, Bryne Yancey eloquently and concisely characterized this album by calling it triumphant. I couldn't agree more. This album certainly doesn't help put Restorations in any sort of genre, but let's all just embrace it for what it is - album of the year.
A list of ten magical shows I was lucky enough to witness this year (in chronological order).
|January 22||Hot Water Music||9:30 Club||Washington, DC|
|February 1||Terror/H20||Rock and Roll Hotel||Washington, DC|
|February 16||Desaparecidos||9:30 Club||Washington, DC|
|April 5||Restorations||First Unitarian Church||Philadelphia, PA|
|May 11||"Murdercastle" Baltimore Rock Opera Society||The Autograph Playhouse||Baltimore, MD|
|June 10||Menzingers/Fake Problems/Restorations||Rock and Roll Hotel||Washington, DC|
|July 21||R Kelly||Pitchfork Music Festival||Chicago, IL|
|August 4||Beyonce||Barclays Arena||Brooklyn, NY|
|August 16||Kid Dynamite||House of Vans||Brooklyn, NY|
|October 21||Dismemberment Plan||9:30 Club||Washington, DC|