Best of 2013... Courtney's Choices for 2013

Looking back on 2013 has been great. I am fond of a lot of music released this year and my annual "Best of" playlist accumulated over 300 tracks before I slimmed it to the top 100. Here is a short list of my personal favorite tracks and albums, among other favorites from this year. Enjoy!

Favorite Tracks of 2013:
  1. Matthew Dear - "Fighting Is Futile (Laid Back Remix)"
  2. Emancipator - "Valhalla"
  3. Jamaican Queens - "Water" 
  4. Earl Sweatshirt & Tyler, the Creator - "Whoa"
  5. Eskmo - "Buffalo"
  6. Pascal Pinon - "Ekki Vanmeta"
  7. Simian Ghost - "Be My Wife"
  8. Cayucas - "High School Lover
  9. Blue Hawaii - "Try To Be"
  10. Dutch Uncles - "Flexxin"
Favorite Albums of 2013:
  1. Emancipator - Dusk to Dawn
  2. James Blake - Overgrown
  3. ADULT. - The Way Things Fall
  4. Jagwar Ma - Howlin
  5. STRFKR - Miracle Mile
  6. MillionYoung - Variable
  7. San Cisco - San Cisco
  8. Ducktails - The Flower Lane
  9. Ejecta - Dominae
  10. Toro Y Moi - Anything In Return
Most played song of 2013

Emancipator - "Dusk to Dawn" 
I can't say I'm totally surprised. As of this posting, has the play count for the Dusk to Dawn  album at an even 200! I managed to snag a free download back in January and have loved to play it all the way through each time I hear any of the songs. Through and through it is a journey that flows like a lazy river... with some minor rapids when appropriate! Even though the album was released early in 2013, nothing  else released this year seemed to be able to keep my interest with such consistency and strength.

An old album I rediscovered this year: 
Lemon Jelly - Lost Horizons (2002) 
Holy sheeeiiiitttt I love this album! Pardon my language, but each song is a home run in my book. The spoken word lyrics he uses are tantalizing and poignant... mostly ("Nice Weather for Ducks" comes to mind!). The music is stunning and never ceases to keep my interest. I'll never get enough!

Musical Highlight: Treasure Island Music Festival
Treasure Island Music Festival will probably take the cake every year. It's become a bit of a tradition of ours as you get a massive amount of quality acts for an arguably cheap price. The 2-day event includes various genres including indie, folk, electronic, rap, prog-rock... there's no limit, really, and with no overlapping sets, you can see them all! With such a wide range of tastes between Brandon and I we bounce between the two stages--one wisely utilizing the gorgeous SF skyline as a backdrop, and the other (main stage) that features a more impressive light fixture and can support artists' specific stage props. 
This year's lineup didn't really have me impressed until I started seeing each act live. Wow did a lot of my impressions of artists change! IO Echo did nothing but boost my already considerable admiration of their music. Seeing Adult. perform "New Frustration" live was my highlight of day 1. Not to be shown up, Disclosure and Major Lazer both rocked the main stage later that day. On day 2, it is tough to say what the best part was. IO Echo as I mentioned was a killer show, but I didn't have to wait long to be wow'd by Cayucas, STRFKR, Real Estate, James Blake and Sleigh Bells. Whew! Like I said, tons of great artists!

Musical Highlight Honorable Mention: LXMP at Bottom of the Hill
Even though I had never heard of them before that November night, they instantly piqued my interest. I have a love-hate relationship with really experimental music sometimes, but LXMP's charisma and chemistry between the duo, and then with the crowd was something to behold. Now, I should tell you guys: you really have to see them live to understand why they are great. Really. Their recorded stuff is tough to get through simply because a lot of the best parts of LXMP can only be experienced live. Their set up includes a base guitar, two MS-20 synthesizers, and a drumset, and they are constantly toying with the crowd and each other, laughing when there have sudden stops or drops. They manage to synchronize with such precision it is really quite startling. Kudos, LXMP. 

Musical Lowlight of 2013: Miley Cyrus
Yeah, yeah, yeah... I'm jumping on that bandwagon. I can't help it. Although I didn't witness her foam hand fondling live, I certainly certainly saw the media storm it caused. It's become perfectly clear that she doesn't give a damn about her public image and just wants to live her fantasy life. It's sad to see a child actor so lost because of not really having an identity growing up. From what I can recall, she was primarily in her "Hannah Montana" persona during her Disney phase. In any case, the sooner she falls into the background or stops making overproduced, horribly tone-deaf music (see: "Wrecking Ball"), the better.