Binge Listening 2013

I find it almost impossible to keep up with all the great music that has been enabled by digital distribution.  So I end up waiting for year-end best lists and then binge listening for a few days.  One of the lists I have come to trust as fitting my tastes pretty well is from LA writer and Coyote Blog reader Steven Humphries.  Here is his 2013 list.  I will echo that I really enjoyed the new Steven Wilson album,which I have had for a while based on his recommendation.  But I had never heard of Vertical Horizon and particularly enjoyed their album on the list.

By the way, this is not 2013-related, but if there are those of you out there who are 60's, 70's, 80's classic rock guys who struggle to engage with rap, a fantastic gateway drug is Girl Talk.  Their All Day album can be downloaded free.  This is the only modern album in my household that migrated from me to my kids rather than vice versa.

  • Kevin R

    Vertical Horizon did a few albums in the 90s -- started out sounding a lot like James Taylor, then moved towards an acoustic-jam-band/college rock sound (similar to, say, Jackopierce), then in 2000 had a huge pop-rock radio hit called "Everything You Want", and their subsequent output all sounds kind of like that. For my money their best album was their live album called "Live Stages", released shortly before they made it big. I do have the new album from this year and it's pretty good, though I don't connect with it like I used to when I listened to their music in college. :)

    Also they used to have two very different sounding lead singers, but their post-2000 music all is just the one guy, Matt Scannell, who is also the only one left in the band from the 90s version.

  • morganovich

    if you like girl talk, try their album "feed the animals". hands down their best.

  • http://itsaboutliberty.com/index.php MNHawk

    I'm always notoriously late in buying "new" music. I'm still digging on your last suggestion, Mystery's "The World is a Game." Another Day being one of the finest prog masterpieces ever.

    Brief Nocturnes and Endless Sleep, Spocks Beard's best since Snow, should make any list.

    ~ by Iamthemorning, if you want something completely different...oops, another 2012, along with Big Big Train's English Electric.

    At least I bought these in 2013. :-)

  • http://www.whiterockkitchens.com/ White Rock Mike

    Girl Talk All Day moved from me to the kids too.

    morganovich, I'll check it out.

  • irandom419

    I discovered a whole new genre of music accidentally by googling EPICA to find out more about the ice cores. I found a group with the same name and the whole nutty European rainbow of metal spectrum from folk to symphonic. I enjoy listening to stuff that doesn't have the drums mixed out like the loudness war has done. With the exception of maybe one group, all the albums I buy now are imports.

  • MingoV

    "I find it almost impossible to keep up with all the great music that has been enabled by digital distribution."

    For me, this is a signal to noise ratio problem. Digital distribution is so inexpensive that untalented people who know nothing about music can saturate the internet with crap labeled as music. It is difficult finding great music within that steaming pile of crap. If you're lucky you can find a site that properly categorizes music and filters out the crap. I've had some luck with Pandora and MOG. Any other suggestions?

  • bdaabt

    From your previous comments, I'd suggest checking out a documentary called, Sound City. It's the story of a dumpy studio in a crappy part of LA that ended up producing some of the most important albums of their day. One of the keys to the success of the studio was a beautiful beast of an analog board: a custom Neve. Fleetwood Mac was born there, as was Rick Springfield. Other huge albums created there were from Pat Benetar, Nirvana, Dio, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Nine Inch Nails, the Pixies, etc. Cool story. The film ends with Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters buying the Neve and shipping it to his home studio. He then invites artists with some connection to the studio to come over and play! The album from those sessions is really good... it's called Reel to Real. I was surprised how good Stevie Nicks voice sounded and stunned by how much I enjoy the Rick Springfield track. Good stuff.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    Yes, excellent movie, and Grohl really does a good job of placing the performers and studio in music history context.

  • bdaabt

    Another cool music story: The band called, Death. It's about a group of brothers in Detroit in the early 70's that wanted to be a rock band...something that black guys from Detroit weren't supposed to do, and the brothers following the singular vision of the band's leader. That vision included sticking with the name of the band: Death. Not surprisingly, the band didn't make it. The band actually sounds like a punk band...they were punk before punk was born. The recordings from the early sessions were lost for 35 years. Really amazing story.

  • DC

    You might consider buying a Pandora premium subscription, if you like to listen to music while working. Best $36 I ever spent since the service uses a "seed" of music you like to play random selections of similar artists and genres, and depending on how you add music to your station, you can branch out in lots of different directions.

    For example, my tastes range from classic rock to chamber quartets to classical orchestra to electronica to German metal, and I get 'em all on my Pandora channel. It introduced me to many new artists and my music collection has more or less doubled since I started listening regularly. I usually make a note of a music selection I like and can either purchase it directly from iTunes or Amazon (much preferred!) through a couple buttons right on the Pandora page, or separately...again, I prefer buying the entire album (usually) from Amazon and with the Cloud Storage, I'm not worried about losing my local copies.

    And Happy New Year, all!

  • A Friend

    Thanks, great suggestion! Really good mash ups. My teenager loves it too.