Two thousand and thirteen (said with a drawn out sigh), what a year eh? For most of us this is the thought that every virgin January stirs. No doubt, life’s rhythm over the past 365 days has made us all dance in agony and ecstasy equally as new bridges were built and the frayed burnt, whilst we may have looked on in despair or joy as what we once knew to be our only reality fade into memory like the fog of early morning. Strange don’t you think, how like watching a film, we never fully realise exactly what adventure we’re witnessing before the credits roll and time for contemplation is afforded?
To use a well-known cliché, the world we live in is ‘a fucking crazy place’ and father time’s most recent year long jaunt has only further handed us an excuse to reload the phrase and fire it out, with a little more emphasis, again.
As this floating miracle of habitable mass rotated a full 360 degrees around the sun its unruly tenants (us) have managed to start scores of unjust wars, cripple several countries financially and, as the gremlins at the Kremlin, Downing Street, Egypt’s Shura Council and the White House have highlighted, show how far we have yet to come as a race. There’s been nuclear meltdowns, sport star murders and saddening deaths, North Korea went, and still is, bananas whereas the Pope hung up his dirty boots. Similarly, we found out what Jim really meant by ‘fix it’ and why the phrase ‘mega lolz’ has become the most sickening sound in modern civilization, closely followed by One Direction’s records and the announcement of more The Only Way Is Essex episodes.
Yet, for every second Pussy Riot were incarcerated and for each deadly unmanned drone bullet fired, paradoxically, the resilience and positivity of man has fought to prevail; David Bowie proved himself a seer, as well as a genius, come NASA’s announcement that life on Mars had been found, while medical breakthroughs confirmed that the first girl to be born with HIV was cured. The Higgs Boson scientists were duly awarded the Nobel Prize and Edward Snowden bravely dished the dirt on our ‘trusted’ governments clandestine operations with a wonderful whistleblowers expose. Then of course, there was the MUSIC…
I find it bizarre when publications state their ‘favourites’ of the year; music is so diverse, plentiful and appeals to so many different sides of the psyche, surly this is impossible? Maybe we will have to agree to disagree, but without stating the bleeding obvious here’s a few Far Out (standing) bands from 2013 and a couple to keep your eyes on over the next twelve months:
2013’s Kings and Queens…
Eagulls – Fantastic year for the UK rockers, moving from strength to strength their debut album is highly anticipated. Merchandise – The Floridians graced the British Isles with an extraordinary LP ‘Totale Night’ and a live performance to boot.Temples – A Marc Bolan and 60’s psychedelic garage nuggets infusion, what’s not to like? The Family Rain – Trio of brothers from bath with a cacophony of cattle bone riffs and thunderous drums. Parquet Courts – Spiky punk rock from across the pond. Yes. The Orwells – Scuzzy and filthy rock & roll from the USA… don’t shoot the messenger. Savages – Not much left to say about this lot, just their name speaks volumes. The KVB – Exceptional dystopian sound, extreme visuals, no wonder they rounded the year off supporting the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Psychic Ills – Hypnotic and elusive, experimental rock treasure. PINS – Another punk riddled girl group as sharp as their name suggests. Storming debut album and a mean live show. Hookworms – The UK’s synth drenched psyche rockers have daubed the world in a fine coat of lunacy. Tess Parks – Much coveted on the Far Out site, the sultry Canadian songstress is the pick of Alan McGee’s new artists. Mac Demarco – If you haven’t heard his latest record now is the time! Findlay – Packed with attitude and sealed with a snarl, she knows exactly what she’s doing and it’s done tantalisingly well. Wet Nuns – 2013 would see the blues bashing band’s demise, but man, they left us kicking and screaming. Another live show that will seldom be upstaged. Drenge – Supported the Stones, well, MP Tom Watson said it himself before he resigned. Traams – Championed by the almighty punk pioneers Wire should be enough, if it isn’t get a load of the group’s debut album and that should settle it. Foxygen – A home-made genre bomb. Crazy in all senses. Bill Callahan – 2013 release ‘Dream River’ was a masterpiece delivered by the enigmatic American. Wytches – Wild stuff from the surf doom maestros.
Keep your eyes peeled…
Boardwalk – Los Angeles dream pop due sailed into our conscious with a mellifluous debut album, and we can only expect them to continue making waves in 2014. Twisted Wheel – As successive spates of furious live performances suggest, Twisted Wheel are back on form and may just recapturing the firebrand Rock & Roll magic that caught a certain Paul Weller’s and Liam Gallagher’s eye. With a new record release imminent, the Wheel are ones to keep an eye on. Wax collection – A brilliant infusion of The La’s, Brian Jonestown massacre, Bob Dylan and British life delivered with harmonious aplomb in all manner of ways. Black Casino and the Ghost – With a curated playlist currently up on our homepage, the London based troupe gained critical acclaim with a haunting debut ‘Some Dogs Think Their Name Is No’. Habibi – Another storming group on the fledgling Burger Records label USA. These feline punks show us you don’t need a load of fancy equipment to make top notch tracks. Post Louis – Mellow grunge waltz with a stunning vocal. The Cosmonauts – Californian based garage aces inspired by the powerful jams of Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3 and Sonic Youth. Another Burger band whose latest album, ‘Persona non Grata’ is a pearl. Dissapears – The all-consuming dark cloud from across the water. Punk snarl, shoegaze haze and krautrock groove right out of Chicago. Peak Twins – Joining compatriots Day Ravies in Australia’s excellent rock &roll exports. Telegram – After BBC radio 6’s Marc Riley gave the group airtime, the Welshman soared into acclaim with debut single ‘follow’, landing several high profile gigs along the way. There’s no reason why 2014 can’t continue where 13 left off. The Feeling Of Love – French group evolved from a one man nihilistic approach to old school garage rock. Now a trio, the original essence is maintained but has been injected with contemporary influences. Dead Sons – ‘Gasoline’ was a huge track for the powerful Sheffield based outfit. With promises that 2014 will be their year, we’d be fools to turn a blind eye. Marta Ren & the Groovelvets – A fine harp back to the real RnB and soul of yesteryear. One of Italian label Record Kick’s definitive artists. Delta Mainline – Sonic schizophrenia from Scotland’s seven piece experiment. Sweet melodies turning intense dark psyche is a regularity. Brown Brogues – Manchester’s unique answer to Drenge. Brown Brogues have been kicking up a fuss internationally with their well-rehearsed chaos. Evil Blizzard – Musically, think John Lyndon’s PIL and Mark E Smith’s Fall aesthetically, the Lord of the Rings. Wow. Rent Boys – A live show you will never forget. Sinister sounding rock and roll tinted with a dominatrix fetish. Yes, it’s as mad and enticing as it sounds. criminally underrated. Autobahn – Joining other moody post punk outfits on our list, debut LP ‘Seizure’ was a corker with chords we’d never heard before. Considering the Leeds based shadow merchants had only been together a couple of months, 2014 could be a special one. Black Delta Movement – Unforgiving Rock & Roll from Hull UK, if the city is planning any art installments and the likes with its new ‘capital of culture’ accolade, you can bet that this lots sound will smash it all to smithereens.