Guitar World Staff Picks: Damian Fanelli's Top 10 Albums of 2013
I'm not exactly sure how to describe my take on the music that came out in 2013.
Did I simply take a year off — a vacation, if you will — from listening to new stuff? Did I intentionally focus on old stuff, reissues, box sets and new albums by artists who have been on the scene for decades?
Simple answer? Yeah, that's pretty much what I did. And I had a good time.
That said, I'm looking forward to a ton of new albums that are scheduled for 2014, including the Reverend Horton Heat's Rev and a new one from Jeff Beck.
On that note, here are my top 11 (yes, 11 — call it a bonus!) albums of 2013. See you next year!
For the rest of Guitar World's Year End 2013 content — including Brad Tolinski's 10 Best Albums of the Year, Guitar World's 30 Best Albums of the Year, a Tribute to the Rockers We Lost in 2013, Paul Riario's top gear picks and more, head HERE.
10. THE BEATLES, Live At the BBC Volume 2 — Completists will appreciate the inclusion of "Beautiful Dreamer," a new addition to the Beatles' catalog. The Beatles' version, which was recorded January 22, 1963, at the Playhouse Theatre in London, is a cover of a 1962 Tony Orlando single. The rest of the album is packed with previously unreleased versions of Lennon/McCartney classics, including "She Loves You," "There's a Place," "Ask Me Why," "You Can't Do That" and more.
09. STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN AND DOUBLE TROUBLE, Texas Flood 30th Anniversary Collection — The latest version of SRV's debut album features a bonus live show recorded at Ripley’s Music Hall, Philadelphia, on October 20, 1983. The result? An excellent new live album by SRV that pretty much made my year.
01. SON VOLT, Honky Tonk — "Don't let the barricades of life keep the wild spirit still," sings Jay Farrar over a meaty-sounding acoustic guitar. There's no beating the two-album streak these guys are on, although HT is decidedly more acoustic and "country" than 2009's American Central Dust. The album's main lead instrument is pedal steel guitar, but live, Mark Spencer and Gary Hunt break out the six-strings and put the pedal to the metal.
08. THE BEATLES, Bootleg Recordings 1963 — This pricey but historically important 59-song download-only album was released in December. It captures the young band in the process of recording their first album and is packed with studio outtakes of everything from "Hold Me Tight" to "One After 909." Forty-two songs are live takes from BBC appearances; highlights include "I Got to Find My Baby" and "The Hippy Hippy Shake."
07. PAUL McCARTNEY, New — New is McCartney's best studio album since 2005's Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard and a welcome change from his useless (or shall I say pointless?) 2012 album, Kisses on the Bottom. My top picks include "New," "Alligator" and "Queenie Eye."
06. RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS, Just For Today — Ronnie Earl is my favorite living traditional blues guitarist in the universe. His Strat tone is beautiful, and he's been playing gut-wrenching guitar solos for more than three decades. You'll find a nice assortment of gut-wrenchiness on this top-notch album.
05. SAVAGES, Silence Yourself — My way of putting it: "These guys are like Sonic Youth with a pulse, a 'fun' Sonic Youth, if you will." Brad Tolinski's way of putting it: "Like an evil wind, guitarist Gemma Thompson’s noisy, jagged clatter seems like the only thing furious enough to blow away all the airbrushed, over-produced bullshit I get exposed to on a daily basis." No matter how you slice it ...
04. THE BAND, Live At the Academy of Music 1971 — Around this time of the year in 1971, the Band played four shows at NYC’s Academy of Music, ushering in the new year with some seriously great performances. The shows included new horn arrangements by Allen Toussaint and a surprise appearance by Bob Dylan. For the first time, all four multi-track recordings of the shows have been revisited, and the results are staggering.
03. THE CLASH, Sound System — Sometimes box sets remind you of how great a band is or was. This is one of those box sets. It includes all the band's music, Paul Simonon's cool boombox packaging, three discs of demos and rarities; a DVD of live footage, the Armagideon Times, a poster and more. It's everything a box set should be!
02. THE SADIES, Internal Sounds — Although more produced and cinematic than 2010's Darker Circles, the Sadies — Canada's alt-country stalwarts and the torch bearers of the Clarence White-era Byrds — still supply twangy, bendy solos (minus the B-Bender), plus pithy power pop and some dark magic.
11. MY BLOODY VALENTINE, mbv — Some people waited a lifetime — and a few lunchtimes — for this album, and it was very much worth it. mbv, My Bloody Valentine's first album in 22 years, finds these geezers making the kind of noises they invented all those decades ago.