Top 250 Songs of 2013
  • Featuring songs from my collection which were first released, broadcast or streamed in 2013.
  • One mix per song.
  • Reworkings of tracks from earlier years are only eligible if I rate the new version higher than the old.
  • video-problem.png Any video problems please let me know ;-)

No.1

DEFENESTRAZIONI

Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld featuring The Balanescu Quartet

(Teho Teardo, Blixa Bargeld)

10.0.png


• “Defenestrazioni” set to a fan created picture video. Clearly, Teho & Blixa are completely bowled over by the whole affair. As am I. Thanks to weeleetube.

TJR says:

“Utterly perfect Slowcore from Italy, Germany & Romania”

“Defenestrazioni” was the stunning finale on the duo’s brilliant collaboration album, “Still Smiling”. In the creation of the work, it seems that both multi-instrumentalists played as an equal partnership straight down the line. The album was written and recorded between Blixa’s Berlin and Teho’s Rome, and was nearly two years in the making. They worked next to each other choosing carefully every sound, every word - and every silence. Pure theatre in fact – and the front-man of the show leads with a cultured authority, an act cultivated to perfection over the last 35 years, alternating between English, German and Italian, with his evocative use of language and famous dry wit to the fore. The track, a multi-lingual masterwork, reflects the travelling musician’s soul-less single-room hotel experience in three movements; the boredom, the bland interview and the search for something more. It’s all crappy mini-bars with dodgy chocolate and bad wine. “Room service or masturbation?” You don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window. Those who would conduct a meaningless Q and A with the in-town Blixa would do well to take heed. An “Interview at the hotel bar” kicks in after two minutes. The voice of Elisabetta Pacini provides the Italian accent which, presumably, re-enacts a mind-numbing real-life experience. “Are you going back to play with Nee-eek?”; “I think since FM Einheit has left your music has sof-tenned a lot”; “wasn’t it teree-bell to be en-clo-zed by a wall?” Oh my god, what hell is this? We need to be shaken from this slumber. Enter stage left, the Balanescu Quartet - their appointment was inspired. Adding a touch of class to this particular track were Nick Holland (cello), Katie Wilkinson (viola), Alexander Balanescu (violin) and James Shenton (violin). They play within themselves of course – but the piece is all the more exquisite for it - and they afford our hero a classy bed of excellence, over which he seizes the opportunity to rise above the mediocrity of the hotel mini-bar. In this final passage, Blixa paints a heavenly, hopeful and idyllic picture of how it could all be. At this stage, I imagine him on the balcony at St Peters Square. Every word of his public address is cheered by a throng, at least quarter of a million strong. “We will all live forever, Forever and ever, We’ll be able to fly, We will drink honeyed wine, And eat clouds for breakfast, We’ll sleep sound on the moon, Night for night, For ninety nights, Sometimes a little longer and in the daytime too” LOL! What a dreamer. Roses from the balcony and a standing ovation for this absolute masterpiece. Glorioso! Only one question – who ON EARTH is the ubiquitous Kaputos?

No.2

SAVED THESE WORDS

Laura Marling

(Laura Marling)

10.0.png


• “Saved These Words” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to Ruan M.

TJR says:

“Utterly perfect Songwriter from England”

The supreme cut from “Once I Was An Eagle”, the fourth album in six years from the hard working 23 year old, who seemed more earnest and more intense than ever before as she explored, what I take to be, the eternal “Love Wars” theme. On the album, Laura saved the very best ‘til last with “Saved These Words”, a track which served to summarize the whole. Lyrically stunning, beautifully phrased, all at once our leading lady plays the dove and the eagle, cowering then towering in equal measure. It’s a sheer thrill. The assembled cast roll brilliantly with the programme, building up and breaking down as the mood demands. Laura Marling seems to be improving her craft with every passing year – and this magnificent work is undoubtedly the absolute pinnacle of the Marling story to date.

No.3

CATACLYSM

Sunken Seas

(?)

9.9.png


• “Cataclysm” set to a picture of the housing EP cover. Thanks to Sunken Seas.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Trance Rock from New Zealand”

Issued in September, their “Cataclysm” EP almost served as a State of the Nation address from Wellington. The press release explained: “Leaders standing down, strongly opposed bills passed through, main sources of export viewed as tainted along with the image of a country. These almost seem to prophesize some form of upheaval, and a violent change to the surface of New Zealand’s social fabric. A cataclysm, if you will…” The EP’s title track was a real grower that, once it got you, hit damn hard - the illegitimate offspring of a dalliance between 6AM Jullandar Shere and All Along The Watchtower (listen out for those buried slides towards the end). “There’s a cataclysm, and no place to run”… “the cracks keep growing”… These lyrics and vocals were set lowdown in the mix with an air of despair – but those who would dismiss them as sad-sack did so at their peril. There was a slow-burning intensity from Ryan Harte’s delivery, and it was all set to a dense, cacophony of sound – a wall of guitars served up by Luke Kavanagh and an industrial-like timbre from drummer Craig Rattray, who bowed out from the band on this high. These boys were totally fired up for this one. Truly, a work of mighty proportions.

No.4

KINDER OF SPINE

The Fall

(Mark E. Smith, Tim Presley)

9.8.png

No YouTube video available.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Proto-Punk from England”

Fourth track from their “Re-Mit” album to feature in my “250” for the year. Former guitarist Tim Presley gets a co-writer credit on this one. In an interview in Bowlegs, Tim said: “I recorded a song, and every time I tried to put vocals to it, it sounded like The Fall. So, I gave it to them instead, and I think it’s going to be on their new record. Mark is singing something about a spider on it.” Spiders are shit, let's face it. Have you ever seen one trying to walk up a ceramic bath? Pathetic. I’ve always got to help them into a cup before escorting them from the premises. Spiderman my ass. The wonderful annotatedfall website tells me that “Spider” was the working title of this song when it emerged in the live sets in 2012, with a different riff (to Presley’s) and the horrifying line “Spider—liquefy me!” There seems to be a degree of lyrical inspiration from the Moncles’ tune from 1967, “The Spider and The Fly”, which in turn was inspired by the 1958 Vincent Price movie “The Fly”. The latter concerns a man who develops a transporter device, but when a fly gets into it they get mixed up and he emerges as a man with the head of a fly. We do not discover what happens to the head until the end, when it appears (suitably shrunk) on a fly, trapped in a spider’s web. Mercifully, a police officer crushes the whole works with a rock. Price’s last words in the movie are “Help me! Help me!” which made it into the Moncles song and, subsequently, appear here on the Fall’s “Kinder Of Spine”. This is an outright classic – and puts me firmly in mind of “Extricate” era Fall. The group makes out like Monks “I Hate You” vs Kinks “Dead End Street” whilst MES proffers a vocal which breaks new ground for the homosapien. Which is probably very apt, what with him trying to communicate with spiders and all. Truly outstanding work from truly extraordinary people.

No.5

MISTER RODE [ALBUM VERSION]

The Fall

(Mark E. Smith, Peter Greenway, Keiron Melling, Dave Spurr)

9.8.png


• “Mister Rode” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to xelders.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Indie Pop from England”

Hot on the heels of “Re-Mit” (May) came “The Remainderer” (December), the first time we’ve had a double helping since “The Frenz Experiment” / “I Am Kurious Oranj” way back in 1988. “The Remainderer” was a 6-track mini-album, clocking in at just under 27 minutes and packed plenty of punch within its short time span. “Mister Rode” was the killer album highlight. 50 seconds of red herring noodle doodle dissipates to reveal an intense rhythm section with a crazily infectious repetitive melody, and the lively double drumming and double tracked vocals are as glorious as they are imperious. Daren Garratt, formerly of The Nightingales, is the guest drummer who’s alongside Keiron Melling for this one. This is completely vintage Fall – and a great reminder that they are at their blazing best when they get down to some hard graft in the studio - these in-house results stand as giants over the live versions I’ve heard. The “lazy” swing reminds me of “Mountain Energei” (Real New Fall LP, 2003), although the track is underpinned by lots of electro wizardry adding a fabulous sense of discord. The vitality is stunning and I’m grinning like a Cheshire cat. It even comes with another great slogan to shout… “THE LEMON FRESHNESS”. Many Fall observers are surprised at the longevity of the present incarnation – but there’s no seven year itch here. Fall 2013 bristle with a creative energy and there’s a cocksure swagger from the entire gruppe. How long can we tolerate this? Forever! Fall sound has not yet reached cessation. “THE LEMON FRESHNESS!”

No.6

HOLY GHOST

Low

(Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, Steve Garrington)

9.8.png


• “Holy Ghost” set to a picture of the band. Thanks to ayyuktan.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Slowcore from the USA”

“The Invisible Way” registered as yet another magnificent work from the mighty Low – a tiny tour de force which has barely put a foot wrong in twenty spell-binding years. The appealing tremor of Mimi Parker was much more prominent this time around – she took lead vocals on five of the album’s eleven tracks – and three of them proved to be stone classics, nestling into my Top 30 for the year. Whatever she’s got – it chimes in time with my musical DNA. Album highlight “Holy Ghost” perhaps sums up all that’s best with this band – fragile and minimal, yet intense with melody lines that slay. It even delivers with a killer line “feeds my passion for transcendence” – which will surely go down in history as the ultimate Low tagline? Mavis Staples got ON this one before the year was out – she recorded an acoustic version which channels more of the gospel aspect, only gently suggested here. Not a bad quality mark, huh? Pales in comparison to Mimi mind you ;-)

No.7

SIGNAL 30

Public Service Broadcasting

(J. Willgoose)

9.7.png


• A live session version of “Signal 30” recorded in August 2013 for Greenman TV, coolly interspersed with some of the original video footage which provided audio samples for the track. Thanks to GreenManFestival.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Trance Rock from England”

“No drinking and driving”… “Not even beer?”… classic! From their album “Inform-Educate-Entertain”. Festive 50 hipsters reckon this was twelfth best track of the year. Tasteful beggars.

No.8

DEVIL’S RESTING PLACE

Laura Marling

(Laura Marling)

9.7.png


• “Devil’s Resting Place” original music video. Thanks to LauraMarlingVEVO.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Alternative Folk from England”

Laura Marling confirms my suspicions that she IS actually a superstar - the sensational “Devil’s Resting Place” firmly reaffirms the thoughts that have been building over the last few years. It’s the angry finale to the gloom laden first half of her album “Once I Was An Eagle”, and producer Ethan Jones seemed to agree, as he followed on with a 2 minute cello interlude in an attempt to soothe the dark spirits. This the NINTH of TEN Laura Marling tracks to feature in my 250 for the year. Her album holds my ear intently for a full hour. She’s done her job fine well…

No.9

ZOMBIE EYED

The Dirty Nil

(Luke Bentham, Dave Nardi, Kyle Fisher)

9.6.png


• “Zombie Eyed” set to a picture of the split 7". Thanks to dougjnesbitt.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Indie Rock / Alternative Rock from Canada”

2013 got off to a great start way back in January with the appearance of a split 7” between The Dirty Nil and their Onatrio mates, Northern Primitive. The formers’ “Zombie Eyes” jumped out immediately as an instant classic – a wasted, scuzzed up, booze-infused, slack-jawed, head-noddin’, lip-snarling, bona-fide slacker-grunge CLASSIC. Their Facebook has this to say: “The Dirty Nil play rock and roll. Loud, distorted, and out of control, they play like it’s a fever they’re trying to sweat out. Revelling in the din of distorted guitars, pounding drums, and desperately howled vocals, the Hamilton Ontario three-piece makes music for turntables and hi-fi’s - music for dive bars and house parties - for beer drinking and joint smoking - for road trips and barbecues - for fighting and yelling and shouting and singing and screaming and howling - for sweating and bleeding - trying and failing and trying again anyways. Gravel-in-your guts, spit-in-your-eye, staggering, bloodthirsty rock and roll. The Dirty Nil play rock and roll - cause they couldn’t do a damn thing else if they tried.”

No.10

KNIGHTS AND BISHOPS

Ancient Methods

(Michael Wollenhaupt)

9.6.png


• “Knights And Bishops” set to its’ record centre image. Thanks to 0AntN.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Alternative Dance from Germany”

Dancefloor dominance from the German producer, Michael Wollenhaupt. His “Seventh Seal” EP was a stunner this year, with all four tracks ingraining themselves into my psyche – and into my year end “250”. This is the glorious highlight – the most “traditionally techno” track on the EP. All pawns of the game are swept aside in this non-contest.

No.11

I HEAR COLORS (CHROMAESTHESIA)

The Black Angels

(Christian Bland, Alex Maas, Stephanie Bailey, Kyle Hunt)

9.6.png


• “I Hear Colors” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to Mickedelic.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Psychedelia from the USA”

The menacing droned out trance which so hypnotized several years ago evolved into a much more conventional brand of psychedelic blues rock on this years “Indigo Meadow”, their most melodious sounding record to date, with Alex Maas vocals sounding clearer than ever before, even coming on all Bryan Ferry (lyrics aside) on the dramatic “I Hear Colors (Chromaesthesia)”, an intoxicating head swirler of the very highest order. “I feel colors rushing through my veins, making me invincible to pain, I can hear them everywhere, screaming by and growing bright, so bright, I can hear them crawling down my spine, In through me they enter make me shine”. Clearly, someone had too much to dream last night. Like chewing a fruit pastel, it’s impossible to resist bursting into “I see red a red door and I want it to turn black” by the end. What’s your favourite chromaesthesially enhanced pastel then? Can’t beat the purples IMHO.

No.12

WWPRD

Jeffrey Lewis and The Rain

(Jeffrey Lewis)

9.5.png


• “wwprd” set to a picture of the housing EP cover. Thanks to smoke070z.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Rock n Roll / Rockabilly from the USA”

A classic single from a very wise, and very funny, man. Isabel Martin (bass, vocals) and Heather Wagner (drums, vocals) co-star and make this record the classic that it is. Without a shadow of a doubt, these are the greatest lyrics of the year. Lewis says he was sick of coming across the phrase ‘What would Jesus do?’ as a life manifesto, so he adapted it into something more relevant to his life. What would Pussy Riot do? Helluva question J! “Pussy Riot went to prison just to make some people listen. They said church and state’s corrupt, must be true coz they’re locked up. Before you lose democracy, you ask yourself and I’ll ask me, wwprd? wwprd? Put in jail for two years each, just for Punk Rock public speech. What is this? The middle ages? Let those women out of those cages! Before you choose complacency, you ask yourself and I’ll ask me, wwprd? wwprd? Minds can open in a flash when hit by art or hit by cash. Money wins, as like as not, imagination’s all we’ve got. So let’s just have the decency for you to ask yourself and I’ll ask me, wwprd? wwprd? Coz progress is not guaranteed, I say Pussy Riot’s what we need. This ain’t the old Red Army faction, this is bold, non-violent action. Let’s change the world, the biggest hint is – art is really what convinces. That’s why they always try to buy it - but they couldn’t buy-off Pussy Riot. So when you see bands on TV, you ask yourself and I’ll ask me, wwprd? wwprd? Hey Nadezhda and Maria and your other friends who got off free, we might not share all your beliefs and we might even have some beefs, but some things are just undisputed – you’re so brave to do what you did. No drums, bass or mics or amps, two years in two prison camps? Those women are my heroes and the world needs Punk Rock heroes. Dancing, rock n rolling, yelling, hand in hand in with real rebelling. Bands who break through walls with speakers, not just try to sell you sneakers. You want bands who want to sell you things? Or bands who want to tell you things? Before you don’t say what you see, you ask yourself and I’ll ask me, wwprd? wwprd? Coz Pussy Riot went to prison just to make some people listen, Judge Syrova gave them two, for what they had the guts to do. Minds can open in a flash, when hit by art or hit by cash. Money wins, as like as not, imagination’s all we’ve got, so let’s just have the decency for you to ask yourself and I’ll ask me, wwprd? wwprd? Coz isn’t culture all we know to fight against the status quo? So what’s the scoop here in the States where culture just collaborates? When I see Beck selling cars and I see Best Coast selling booze, all this so-called counter-culture offers no better world for us to choose. A better world to live in, not the same one that we’re given. Better speeches, better sparks, not just all leeches and sharks. Heart inspires. Art inspires. Pussy Riot shows me why. Coz inspiration’s still the one resource the one per cent can’t buy. So listen people, artists, bands, before you get close with those brands. Before you think it’s cool to go record free at Converse Studio. Before SXSW showcases with free Ray Bands on your faces. Before you think doing a TV ad’s the best exposure your band had. Just think how much strength you lend them, every slight way you befriend them. YOU’RE the power, YOU’RE the biz, the world is what YOU say it is. The art YOU make, the things YOU say. Define what is or ain’t ok. Not shoes or sodas. YOU’RE the stars. YOU define what values are. I know you need to eat it, so screw it, just ask yourself before you do it, WHY they give these things to you. No strings attached? That’s so untrue. No strings attached? That’s so naïve. You’re shaping what we all believe. So when’s the last time you said one thing that lent strength to meaning something? Each day that things look so unbalanced, each day that we sell short our talent. Each day our stars get chewed to bits and used for corporate benefits. Each day I still don’t have a clue. Each day I still don’t have a clue. At least somewhere out in the world, there’s some artists I still CAN look up to. They might be far between and few. It might be sad, it might be true, but at least I can ask me and you can ask you. What would Pussy Riot do?”

No.13

PRAY FOR ME

Laura Marling

(Laura Marling)

9.5.png


• “Pray For Me” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to Ruan M.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Songwriter from England”

The eighth track from Laura’s “Once I Was An Eagle” album to feature in my 250 for the year. The sadness prevails in the second half of the album, although the tone is noticeably more optimistic. Professionals will no doubt confirm the chords have changed. I’m playing it by ear. “Pray For Me” is a big highlight, coming from the folky Led Zep style with ever rising crescendos, sweeping strings, hand played toms, and a yearning, soulful vocal sung with more abandon than normal – it’s uniquely Laura Marling all the same. Marling had this to say about this song: “This one’s a series of unanswered questions, but there are no answers to them because it’s just a kind of fascination with human behaviour, which should be rational and logical but it’s so often not. For me it’s more about the things you can’t rationalize. And I suppose love and desire are the two biggest catalysts for that kind of behaviour.”

No.14

SO BLUE

Low

(Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, Steve Garrington)

9.5.png


• “So Blue” set to a classy Low picture slideshow. Thanks to Sub Pop.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Folk Rock / Americana from the USA”

Fair play to them, they had a bloody good go with that “Fernando”, and “The Name Of The Game” got closer still. But for all their fame, all their gold records, and all their acclaim, Björn and Benny never reached anywhere near the heights ascended by Alan Sparhawk’s musical atmospherics. Nor, for that matter, can Frida or Agnetha hold a candle to Mimi Parker for purity and dexterity of vocal. “So Blue” is yet another Low masterpiece – and it’s not even the best track on their “Invisible Way” album. It’s ridiculous how talented this group are. And a sad indictment of popular tastes that super-shiny triple platinum discs are not being delivered to their Minnesota HQ by the UPS truckload. When he got a hold of the track back in February, Steven Hyden at Pitchfork had this to say: “The second track to surface from Low’s forthcoming, Jeff Tweedy-produced The Invisible Way is another showcase for Mimi Parker, who elicits an emotive, emotionally stirring moment on the hymn-like "So Blue." After a brief fanfare of pounding piano and grinding bass, "So Blue" pulls a tight spotlight on Parker, who sings a prayer about forgiveness and transcendence that’s both hushed and gripping in its intensity. When the music begins to swell around her, it’s so powerful it takes your breath away for a moment, and yet Parker never loses her air of tranquilty at the centre of it. It should go without saying that Low doesn’t oversell the moment— it sounds like there are three instruments at most on this track— but Tweedy is able to make this classically understated band sound enormous.”

No.15

SOMETHING MORE

Makthaverskan

(?)

9.5.png


• “Something More” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to LovingAnxiety ReportingIn.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Indie Pop from Sweden”

It almost seems like a crime to pick out a favourite on such a classic album but “Something More” gets my vote from the astounding “Makthaverskan II” album – and is the eighth cut to feature in my “250” for the year. It seems so simple and direct – yet it chimes with such glorious melody and is delivered with such carefree abandon that it ends up being so darned irresistible. Singer Maja Milner says: “Musicians try too much. They sit too long and try to make it rhyme, or find this really deep meaning. Then it becomes flat and sounds dishonest. If you just do it really quick with the first feeling you have and try to build on that, it’s going to be a better song. Otherwise you lose the energy and the mysterious thing about it.” She makes a great point. Another great girl singer once sang “I would like to climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holi-dee, maybe swim a mile down the Nile, all of these things I do, to get away from you”. The simple ones are very often the best ;-)

No.16

HERE COMES THE NIGHT TIME

Arcade Fire

(Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury, Will Butler, Jeremy Gara)

9.5.png


• “Here Comes The Night Time” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to Luis Sanchez.

TJR says:

“All-time classic Caribbean from Canada”

It starts with your feet, then it goes to your head – there’s an amazing carnival glory realised in “Here Comes The Night Time”. I recognise the 60 seconds burst towards the fifth minute as akin to the sebene of the Congo’s soukous music which I love so much, itself rooted in the Cuban Rumba. What a rush! Multi instrumentalist and co-vocalist Régine Chassagne has roots in the Caribbean as her Haitian parents emigrated to Canada during the tyrannical dictatorship of Papa Doc. The band had travelled there on several occasions in recent years, including a trip to Haiti’s Carnival in Jacmel. The song starts with Butler singing: “When the sun goes down, when the sun goes down, you head inside, cause the lights don’t work.” He explained in an interview with Macleans magazine: “There’s a crazy energy in Port-au-Prince when the sun goes down, because there is no electricity in a lot of the city. A lot of parts of the city are pretty dangerous, and people are rushing around trying to get home.” The authentic flavour of their incredible performance is aided by three percussionists from the Haitian band RAM, who lent their expertise. Chassagne, and Will and Win Butler spent two weeks in New Orleans with the drummers working specifically on rhythm. “We just recorded beats” Chassagne told The Guardian. “We were interested in doing hybrid beats that could translate stuff that I know from my family background in Haiti. I was always interested to try to find rhythms that mean something, to communicate emotion through rhythm and music. Because rhythm is almost like a vocabulary.” Keep talking Régine - more of this language please!

No.17

WHAT ARE THEY DOING IN HEAVEN TODAY?

Mogwai

(Charles Albert Tindley)

9.4.png


• “What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to Krundfunk.

TJR says:

“Classic Slowcore from Scotland”

Mogwai go negro spiritual… never seen that coming… sensational! The song was originally published in 1901 and was notably recorded by Washington Phillips in 1928 – a wonderful artist who deserves to be investigated by all musical adventurers. Mogwai’s powerful version is to be found on their “Les Revenants” album and was tastefully placed at No.17 in this years Festive 50. DJ notes: Play back to back with “Mull Of Kintyre” for maximum impact at your local tea dance.

No.18

HITTITE MAN [ALBUM VERSION]

The Fall

(Mark E. Smith, Pete Greenway)

9.4.png


• “Hittite Man” very nicely set to an image of the world’s finest rock gruppe. Thanks to KlipKultur5.

TJR says:

“Classic Proto-Punk from England”

“Hittite Man” is the third of four tracks from “Re-Mit” to feature in my “250” for the year. So what’s this classy wrumbler all about? One of the key ideas seems to be that the Hittites (an ancient civilization, mostly centred in what is now Turkey) have something to tell us about debt forgiveness. “Hittite Man, Hittite Man emerges, White robes to the ground, into sand, says, debt does not exist, And you can’t hear me, You don’t hear me”. I shall refrain from developing a thesis on the subject – but that political issue is equally conspicuous in our time, nearly 4,000 years later. The group get into the spirit majestically, evoking just a shade of the ancient region. Dick Dale and Link Wray were brilliant at this sort of imaginative guitar work. The Fall venture two steps left and one step beyond.

No.19

HAPPY SONG FOR AMSTERDAM MAN

JD Meatyard

(John Donaldson, Steven Lindley)

9.4.png


• “Happy Song For Amsterdam Man” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to Various Artists - Topic.

TJR says:

“Classic Alternative Folk from England”

Quite possibly, John Donaldson is the most criminally under-rated folk star of our time. Who else is singing songs about Palestine? His scathing anti-poverty works rewrite the protest song. His love songs are everyday and bullshit free. So what the feck is Amsterdam man bumming his gums about? The highlight track on this years “Northern Songs” answers some random from the ‘dam who bemoans the fact that the JD has no happy songs in his repertoire. “I guess he was right” sighs John. “Amsterdam Man said I’d no happy songs, I guess he was right, my life’s sad songs, it’s easy to write when you’re down, self pity is fertile ground, to WRITE yourself into the ground, but stop, stop no more, so this is a happy song, this is a happy song, this is a happy song, this is a happy song, so if you come, if you come, will ye never go away, if ye come, if ye come, will ye come hear to stay, we’ll lie in bed with the papers, we’ll lie in bed with red wine, oh we’ll lie in bed with the papers, we’ll lie in bed with red wine” Amsterdam man can do one. Classic.

No.20

NOTHING MATTERS

Tricky

(Adrian Thaws, Nneka Lucia Egbuna)

9.4.png


• “Nothing Matters” original music video. Thanks to Trickyofficial.

TJR says:

“Classic Alternative Dance from England”

The fifth of five tracks from his “False Idols” album to feature in my “250” for the year. On the highlight track, “Nothing Matters”, Tricky gives up the mic to Nigerian singer Nneka – and he is upstaged. Who does that on a Tricky album? Wow. Who’s Nneka please Mr Wiki? “Nneka Lucia Egbuna (born 24 December 1980) is a German-Nigerian hip hop/soul singer and songwriter. She sings in both Igbo and English. Even though Nneka sings more than she raps, she names hip hop as her primary musical root and most important source of inspiration, while citing artists such as Fela Kuti and Bob Marley as well as contemporary rappers Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Lauryn Hill as key influences in her own pursuit of musical recognition. Her lyrics reflect much of her history and life in Nigeria as well as her time spent in Western Europe. Her songs stress the issues of capitalism, poverty and war and are often loaded with moral and biblical messages and references, with some music commentators comparing her to Erykah Badu, Neneh Cherry, and Floetry.” I think I’m love.

No.21

NOBODY THERE

Veronica Falls

(?)

9.4.png


• “Nobody There” set to an image of the band. Thanks to Héctor BalaClava.

TJR says:

“Classic Indie Pop from England”

The highlight track from “Waiting For Something To Happen”, and the fifth from the album to feature in my “250” for the year. “Nobody There” is another sublime offering from one of Planet Earth’s leading purveyors of wistful pop beauties. Could someone please explain to me why songs like this don’t sell ten million copies and top charts in 50 different countries? Lead singer Roxanne Clifford sings: “Hey, can you hear me? Are you listening? Is there anybody there?” I can’t speak for the other seven billion – but I’m picking up the Veronica Falls signals loud and clear here in Scotland. Sweet like honey.

No.22

IN HAZE

Iceage

(Dan Kjær Nielsen, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Jakob Tvilling Pless, Johan Suurballe Wieth)

9.4.png


• “In Haze” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to falsepunx’s channel.

TJR says:

“Classic Post-Punk from Denmark”

Another ferocious classic from Iceage. The frantic but melodious “In Haze” could well be the greatest tune Hüsker Dü never wrote. It’s the last of the NINE tracks from their excellent “You’re Nothing” album to feature in my 2013 “250”. As far as I’m concerned, Denmark is now well and truly on the map. I’m all ears.

No.23

JETPLANE [ALBUM VERSION]

The Fall

(Mark E. Smith, Dave Spurr, Kieron Melling)

9.3.png


• “Jetplane” set to a picture of the single cover. Thanks to xelders.

TJR says:

“Classic Indie Pop from England”

From their thirtieth album “Re-Mit”, and the second of four tracks to feature from it. This is killer Fall – rhythms marching proudly, guitars which paint rather than pluck or strum, supreme multi tracked vocal cut-ups – it’s all happening. Fall lyrics, especially those of the cut up variety, mean nothing or everything of course. Whatever you want them to be really. Personally speaking, “Jetplane” strikes a chord with my extreme disapproval of the way that financial and governmental institutions have almost obsessively set out to control, to examine and to be privvy to every aspect of our personal lives, finance being one key area which is addressed here. “Anyway, Diane with the cooperation of Dr. Dave opened a bureau which not only tattoed your return number to Heathrow on your arm, but also squeaks if you are carrying more euros into Heathrow. (Suddenly, certainly, sullenly…), And people who had cash, bringing it back, would be persecuted to the fullest extent.” Quite clearly, big brother’s intrusion is getting out of hand. Long live the carrier bag men.

No.24

SPLINTERS

Tyrannosaurus Dead

(The Hundreth Anniversary)

9.3.png


• “Splinters” via bandcamp set to a picture of the housing EP cover. Thanks to Tyrannosaurus Dead.

TJR says:

“Classic Indie Pop from England”

Five of the six tracks from their magnificent “Pure // Apart” EP made their way into my “250” this year – “Splinters” is the last of the five to appear. I admit to a certain degree of guilt by this decision, this being the sole cover on the EP. According to their bandcamp, this one was written by their pals, Brighton quartet The Hundreth Anniversary, the identities of the individuals involved unknown to me. From what I can gather, TD are first to actually release the song which, were there any taste in the record buying public, would be generating gigantic royalty revenues for their pals. Nice dream.

No.25

ANTABUS

Makthaverskan

(?)

9.3.png


• “Antabus” set to a picture of the housing album cover, together with a crafty ad. Quite right. Thanks to runforcovertube.

TJR says:

“Classic Indie Pop from Sweden”

“Antabus” had first appeared on 7” back in 2011 and was re-recorded in 2013 for their “II” album, being deemed strong enough to open up proceedings. And what a tune. A little bit Cure, a little bit Altered Images, a little bit Wedding Present – yet very distinctive and already they are recognisable as Makthaverskan. Lead singer Maja Milner sounds pissed off. What’s going on with her? A little bit of investigation reveals that “Makthavaren” is a Swedish word that means “ruler” or “the man with the power”. Hmm. “Antabus” is named after a drug which elicits a violent reaction in alcoholics when they relapse. What can it all mean? It’s a scream from the screwed-over “I don’t know what to say, fuck you, fuck you”. Maja sounds like Clare Grogan on the edge of a breakdown. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned – and this girl is FURIOUS. The artistic result hits the jackpot. Teen angst must never be allowed to die.

No.26

MATTHEW

Tyrannosaurus Dead

(?)

9.3.png


• “Matthew” via bandcamp set to a picture of the housing EP cover. Thanks to Tyrannosaurus Dead.

TJR says:

“Classic Indie Pop from England”

Five of the six tracks from their magnificent “Pure // Apart” EP made their way into my “250” this year – “Matthew” is the fourth of the five to appear. Sixty seconds of teasing are followed by a soar-away 90 seconds of pop-punk that shoots for the stars and kisses the sky. I particularly love the boy-girl vocals on this one but hey, listen, this WHOLE band are just freakin’ ace. They line up: Billy Lowe (Guitar & Vocals) Eleanor Rudge (Vocals) Thomas Northam (Bass) Martin Edwards (Guitar) Rupert Willows (Drums). This is indie pop of the very highest order.

No.27

ECSTASY

Iceage

(Dan Kjær Nielsen, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Jakob Tvilling Pless, Johan Suurballe Wieth)

9.3.png


• “Ecstasy” original music video. Thanks to ddogmeatt.

TJR says:

“Classic Post-Punk from Denmark”

The eighth Iceage track in my “250” – with one more yet to come. It would be fair to say I found their second album, “You’re Nothing”, to be an out and out stunner. “Ecstasy” was the opening track – and it set the dread-laden tone as Elias Rønnenfelt screamed “Pressure pressure oh god no” over the top of a chaotically driven band who seemed set to fall apart at any given minute. We got the message. The frontman described the sentiment as being “the pressure that brings you back down to drab reality.” I wonder whatever became of the ecstasy generation? The spirit of Ian Curtis lives.

No.28

RODFÆSTET

Iceage

(Dan Kjær Nielsen, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Jakob Tvilling Pless, Johan Suurballe Wieth)

9.3.png


• “Rodfæstet” set to an Iceage slideshow. Thanks to wovenlion.

TJR says:

“Classic Post-Punk from Denmark”

Totally unhinged and ready to fall apart at any given moment – FREAKIN’ LOVE IT! This is the seventh of nine tracks from their excellent “You’re Nothing” album to feature in my “250” for the year. “Rodfæstet” was a late album belter – an exhilarating thriller, made all the better by being sung entirely in Danish. Rodfæstet translates as rooted, the general sentiment would seem to be “I don’t know the way, I’m rooted”. The vocals from Elias Rønnenfelt are stupendous – he conveys his message no matter the language barrier. LOVE IT! Did I say that already? Ok, ‘AVE IT!

No.29

JUST MAKE IT STOP

Low

(Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, Steve Garrington)

9.3.png


• “Just Make It Stop” original music video. Thanks to Sub Pop.

TJR says:

“Classic Folk Rock / Americana from the USA”

The third of five tracks from “The Invisible Way” album to make my "250" for the year. Low are celebrating their 20th Anniversary in classic form. It’s a wonder after 14 albums how they manage to sound so consistently vital. When asked what was different about this album, Alan Sparhawk pointed to the inclusion of “piano, lots of piano … and an acoustic guitar” as well as the fact that drummer Mimi Parker sings lead vocals on five of the songs. All of these elements coalesce beautifully on “Just Make It Stop”, with Parker’s gentle vocal guiding the song for the first two minutes before the whole thing is lifted onto another plateau with Steve Garrington’s pounding piano and Mimi’s multi-tracked harmonies. There’s a gorgeous moment when the music falls away briefly and Parker sighs: “Now I’m looking up from a 10ft hole, seeing nothing but blue sky shining on my soul.” Exquisite.

No.30

JESSE JAMES

JD Meatyard

(John Donaldson, Steven Lindley)

9.3.png


• “Jesse James” set to a most suitable slideshow. Thanks to jdmy1888.

TJR says:

“Classic Alternative Folk from England”

The fifth of six tracks from his “Northern Songs” album to grace my “250” for the year. Made this years Festive 50, all the way to no. 6. Dandelion Radio’s Mark Whitby had this to say: “JD Meatyard lives in a world in which governments have witnessed the spectacular collapse of an economy driven by greed, plugged the gap using public money, and then blamed public spending for the crisis in the first place. And they look like they’re getting away with it. It’s the same world you live in too. “Jesse James” is an irresistibly forceful retort to the crisis in modern capitalism that’s always been there, and which those with an interest in sustaining it, are hell-bent on covering up. The need for an outlaw figure to take back, literally in these times, money that’s been taken from the poor and given to the rich becomes, in John Donaldson’s hands, a political move so urgent that it’s disturbing there’s a shortage of similar voices – a suggestion lent force by this sparse yet powerful guitar-driven clarion call.”

Top 250 Songs of 2013

  • This year's chart in full, sortable by clicking on any header. Page refreshes return chart order.


Song Charts

by year…

1857 1859 1860 1862 1865 1874 1878 1881 1884 1885 1888 1889 1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Comments…