Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 in Vinyl

Thanks for checking us out here at Vinyl Vagabonds for another year full of variety and record hunting.  Please try to check out some of the albums that we wrote about; we think it will be worth your time.  Also, make sure to "follow" the site so you never miss a post.

Now, the list.

New Album We Plan To Spend a Lot of 2014 Listening To
Savages Silence Yourself
We got this one from VVer #2's brother for x-mas.  He's typically pretty low key, but he has a great ear for new tunes.  He picked us out a few winners over the years and this one might be the new top banana.  Silence Yourself evokes elements of Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, and Sonic Youth.  It's dark and rageful at times; not exactly a "FUN" record, but certainly a lot to chew on.
Silver Medals - Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood Black Pudding, The Julie Ruin Run Fast, Kurt Vile and the Violators It's a Big World Out There (and I am Scared)

Most Local Album
Charlie Byrd Trio Travellin' Man at the Showboat, Washington DC
VVer #1's parents used to go check this guy out when he played at a now defunct Silver Spring basement club named "The Birds Nest."  From the performance you can tell he's a classy guitar man, adept at jazzin' it up.  At times he gets way up on the Django scale.  Oh, by the way it's a suitcase.  Also, how can you be a "Trio" and a "Man" at the same time?  It's impossible... or is it?
Silver Medals - The Shirks Action Men/Gimmie Less/Chinese Heels, Trouble Funk Live in DC, Deathfix self-titled

Album Your Parents Will Hate
Melt Banana Fetch
Haha.  VVer #2's mom: "Why do they sound like chipmunk's?"  Hardcore, long form, sing-a-long, Japanese, punk, experimental... MEOWCH!  Take that, face!
Silver Medal - Melvins Live at Third Man Records

Album Cover Most Likely To Offend Your Grandma
Devo Hardcore Devo Vol. 1 and also Vol. 2 
Deep hurting.  These are two rich collections of rarities and early takes of some of Devo's biggest early hits.  It's a mixed bag of punk, experimental sound effects, and goofballery.  Very catchy too.  What's with the crazy album covers?  Bondage sex weirdness.  Are we not men?
Silver Medal - Big Band Polkas Helena Polka Band
VVer #1 thought with a cover this awful there would be some redeeming value hidden within.  Total fail.

Best Album to Complete the 10 for 1 Purchase
Stevie Wonder In Square Circle
It's true, on occasion Joe's Record Paradise will have an insane sale.  All records priced $2 and under: 10 for $1.  The best way to finish off your booty?  Buying a Stevie Wonder album only because it has "Part-Time Lover" on it.  Hooray for synth 80s!  In truth we were stocking up on (choke) Christmas vinyl for the holiday visit of VVer #2's brother, aka "MR. CHRISTMAS."

Most Embossed Cover
Antibalas self-titled
We caught this world-music ensemble at the Black Cat a few months back.  Not bad. Album cover is beautiful!  Strikingly staged and lovingly embossed.  Shiny even!  Exceptional tactile-ness!
Silver Medal - Europe The Final Countdown, Stevie Wonder In Square Circle

2012 Album That We Forgot About Until Just Last Month
Neil Young Sleeps with Angels
VVer #2 snagged this rare disc on a business trip to Northampton and we sort of lost it.  Most likely because the plastic sleeve got wedged too far back on our shelf (but more likely it's that we just have way to many Neil Young records!) it's been hiding in the shadows.  Thanks to some recent house cleaning it was unearthed.  Sleeps with Angels is a dark toned and resonant album with several long form compositions loaded with ambient distortions and feedback.  It's pristine Crazy Horse sonic territory, though not as crushing as their last few 80's collaborations.  It has a bit of that early After the Gold Rush feel.  Next to last track "Piece of Crap" is more of a punk sort of thing, weird.

Best Basement Find
A Tribe Called Quest Revised Quest for the Seasoned Traveller
Hippity-hop remixed and found in a basement in Brooklyn; does it get any better?

Album that Caused the Most Arguments
The Muppets The Frog Price
VVer #1 is too close to this record to be partial.  It is damn adorable.  VVer #2 isn't interested in a second spin.  Let us never speak of it again.

Best Cover to Feature Wings & Things
Johnny Hodges & Wild Bill Davis Wings & Things
The finest in slouch-core jazz.

Best Moral Quandary Record
The Black Angels Indigo Meadow is a stellar album.  Problem is, thanks to the digital download card that came with the vinyl, VVer #2 find herself listening to it mostly on her pod instead of on the VVers obvious preferred format.  This little, evil card that now is ubiquitous with newly released vinyl is neat-o to have and allows you to enjoy music EVERYWHERE, but is this really necessary?  It doesn't sound as good as the format you intentionally bought it on.  When looking for a record to play, Indigo Meadow often gets skipped over because it was just listened to it on the bus on crappy headphones.  But, when it does get put on the spinner, it sounds amazing!  Quandary!

Best Anchorman Reference
RDGLDGRN self-titled
This local band from VA who's 45 features "I Love Lamp" and "Million Fans" is a nice combo of hip-hop and pop.  Kudos for the Anchorman shout-out, but in truth the B-side is the preferable song.  Strangely the band wants us to play their 45 at 33 1/2 speed, at least that's how it is printed on the label.

Best Handmade Cover
Barkitecture Quarry
Beautiful hand screened cover for local band playing some serious instrumental jazz/rock.  The vinyl itself is white/green marbled.  Purty.
Silver Medal - Static Eyes/Drugs Dragons

Most Rewarding Record
Judas Priest Rocka Rolla
Prepared for some drudge metal and we ended up with something altogether different and richer.  A surprise.

Best Find of the Year
Manu Dibango Soul Makossa
The VVers already wrote about this one.  Read it.  Listen to the record.

If you're still reading you might be asking yourself "did these guys just list the records they bought this year and come up with awards for them?"  The answer to that is, sort of.  Many albums came into our possession that we did not write about this year and of these most were put immediately back out into the world through trade, sale, or donation.  Some are still in the house waiting for another spin; their fate is uncertain...

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