Quantcast
 Everett True

Everett True’s 100 Favourite Songs of 2013. Yes, one hundred, and every last fucking song is genius.

Everett True’s 100 Favourite Songs of 2013. Yes, one hundred, and every last fucking song is genius.
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Last year was sensational for music. Here, reacclimatise yourself. As was 2011. (Here.) This year is shaping up to be the most awesome yet. Such an embarrassment of riches. I can’t even hope to shoehorn it all in, so here… here is just a taster. (And don’t forget the one inviolate rule – one song per band.) I’ve listed them by the month to help give a little context. To try and keep the list under 100, I’ve avoided including reissues. Both June and July were helluva months, it seems. August too. And the rest of ’em.

JANUARY (1-7)

Priests – Personal Planes

This is burst-open milk cartons. This is I-can-get-satisfaction. This is abrasion and challenge and the knowledge that the jerk in the back seat of the bus will remain a jerk in the backseat of the bus even when he gets off the bus. It’s the knowledge that the best forms of friendship are virtual and transient, that moles never stayed whacked for long. It’s garage doors that never close, it’s the joyous fear that repeating a riff too many times can bring. It says nothing to me about my life that I didn’t know already but why should that bother me, for that statement is clearly a lie. Here’s the link to the single.

noon: 30 – French Song

Consider my tiny mind blown. Three videos I played, trying to get a fix on noon:30 – three (two?) sisters from DC, so I’m told – and each time, they threw up something entirely different. The first one is totally eviscerating, brutal. The guitar keeps distorting, the mood builds, the voice keeps chiding until… whoa! PUNK ROCK!

Francolin – When I Get To Heaven

This song bubbles and froths and has such a wonderful buoyancy, lightness of touch, playfulness, the brass and the vocals and melodies and guitars all colluding to make the most delirious delicious pop music. This is the only Francolin song I’ve heard to date – first tipped off by the redoubtable Jake Cleland – and I’m torn between kind of never wanting to hear any more because the anticipation of discovering yet Another Great Pop Crush is so overwhelming I want it to last forever, and spoiling that anticipation and gouging every last melted chocolate from the bottom of the Quality Street tin.

Zebra Hunt – Only Way Out

Zebra Hunt is the name of this delightful pop confection, and their Bandcamp describes them as rock garage pop psych Seattle, which makes me think there might still be room for the occasional music critic. It’s like the mid-80s indiepop backlash never happened. At the Bandcamp, you can download their 5-track EP for free, and why the fuck not? It’s like having your own personal Bats, your own personal Clean, your own personal Jesus in your living room.

Nina B – Streets Talk To Me

It ain’t in your face, it’s laden down with those sweet strings you know you just love to have this shit laden down by, it never quite escapes its parameters but that’s fine because that’s where it’s existing, it’s a little bit too upbeat in its praise of being alive for my liking (shit, why be grateful, why do every rapper have to have their own ‘It Was A Good Day’?) but … wait, Nina B was born in the Bronx and raise in Brookyln? She ain’t a rapper, she’s a living comic book character. This song has grace, and charm, and a piano. If only everything had this much grace, and charm, and a piano.

Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys – Any Day Now

Just fuck man. I was going to write, just fuck man and enjoy yourselves and get wasted and listen to sweet, sweet music all life long because this fucking sweet, sweet music is going to last you all life long.

And that is the WORD.

Tame Impala – Elephant

It’s The Darkness rolled into the JAMMS isn’t it? But slicker and more disposable (not an insult).

FEBRUARY (8-10)

Scrabble – Brisbane

This, to me, is David Bowie riding out with the stars. This, to me, is Kate Bush swooping through the lower echelons of motherhood. Mountains tremble. Guitars pretend to be violins.“Chaos, noise, No Wave – fuck the post-prog!” Spontaneous, beautiful and anti-belligerent. A bit of feedback, a basement-load of humanity. I’m sorry but this shit is important. Right now, this shit could be the only shit convincing me to stay in this Fuck You Outsiders, One-Horse White Shirt of a Town.

Greg Boring – Fine Find Fined

This music does not stay static long enough for you, me or Dom Alessio to be able to describe. Not that all of it is good. Are you crazy? Of course not all of it’s good. Define ‘good’. Some of it sounds like off-cuts from a particularly stoned session playing around with Primitive Motion’s keyboard sets. Some of it is squelchy just for the sake of being squelchy. But none of it is dull.

Verity Susman – The Philip Glass Ceiling

Robot love. Robotic love. Love in the void. Clinical and retro-futuristic and – bam! It’s called ‘The Philip Glass Ceiling’. Pornographic poetry with hairy 70s mustaches and oil-slicked thighs attached. Thin, like Berlin. Call it what you will, all I know is I love the way it strangely disturbs and arouses me. Maybe that’s the ‘Homosapien’ element.

MARCH (11-16)

Screaming Match – $40

Sometimes, people ask me if I get starstruck – bearing in mind the stellar quality of people I meet. Yes. Yes, I do.

Someone has already described this Brisbane trio as being… damn it. I really don’t want to bring in parallels. I’m back in the pool room in an Islington pub, hiding from the members of Galaxie 500 because I don’t want to tarnish the varnish. I’m trembling like a leaf backstage at the ICA, about to introduce Daniel Johnston on stage. I’m Wayne and whatever the hell that other guy was called, on my knees in front of J Mascis in 1987, “We are not worthy”. Bands like this make me feel my age, leave me floundering and scarred. So good, so natural.

Dial – On Game

This new album, this new album that this song is taken from, is called Western Front. (I had a song called ‘Western Front’ once also: before UT entered my life and altered my entire perception of what music could be.) It’s bruised. It’s beautiful. It’ll scrape and scour away at your very soul if you even give it a quarter of a fucking chance. LISTEN to the music. Listen to it.

Nicki Minaj – Stupid Hoe

I played this song to my Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll class in Caboolture, and it sure attracted some extreme (negative) reactions. “This is shit,” was the common consensus… all except me and this one girl sitting at the back who the previous week had revealed herself to be a Royal Headache fan and was sitting there with her jaw dropping, like me. It was the first time she’d heard it too. “I’m going to be buying the album tomorrow,” she said. More hardcore than Throbbing Gristle, more extreme than most ‘extreme’ punk hardcore and metal hardcore I’ve heard, and… wait. The video to ‘Stupid Hoe’ has been watched by 71 million people? What the fuck is going on? The alternative and underground is getting seriously left behind by this wanton and determined deconstruction of sound happening within the ‘mainstream’.

Blank Realm – Cleaning Up My Mess

Go Easy is a radical jukebox. Alan Vega, wearing pink vinyl pants and an asteroid belt, swings his pelvis into our solar system looking through his aviators for the mad sounds he vibed on when the Voyager Golden Record hit his star  bearing such tunes as ‘The First Tools’, ‘Brandenburg Concertos’, an hour of the brainwaves of a woman meditating on violence and love, and ‘Johnny B. Goode’.  It shot straight to number one there because they didn’t realise it was a compilation, their species having no hang-ups about bands needing a narrow sonic identity. When Al passes Saturn he picks up a thought that Sun Ra left floating, directing him to Brisbane, Earth. (Ben Green)

The Drones – Why Write A Letter That You’ll Never Send

Regret and defiance and wit will only get you so far. As will the melancholy blues, baby.

Blanche Blanche Blanche – Rich Man

Creney has updated his Facebook status even as I type: “Hey E. P4K gave it a 7.0 yesterday. Said it sounded like Devo. Or Ariel Pink. To quote you, ‘Bangs wept.'” Probably P4K were irritated by the fact it was ladeeez on stage having fun. (Dudes on stage having fun? Sure. But the ladeeez still have something to prove, right?) Jerk-offs. Worth a 7.1 at least.

Dick Diver – Water Damage

Openness is one of the strengths of this album. It’s less of a single journey than their stunning debut New Start Again and most sadly it’s missing the extended instrumental flights, but the benefit of this series of short trips is that we see more places and people. The first album, with songs largely written by guitarists Ru Edwards and Al McKay, apart from the two separate (but important) contributions by Steph Hughes and Al Montfort, came close to establishing a Dick Diver sound: delicate, Television-gone-rural twin guitars and an overall sepia tint. Calendar Days, by contrast, sounds like a confident band flexing and stretching its collective muscles, playing with different colours because it can. (Ben Green)

APRIL (18-20)

Ashley Eriksson – Ett Stilla Regn

The whole album resonates with an easy (not neg.), effortless beauty: I can hear old but never lost friendships in there, and bake sales by the water, and To Market To Market, I swear.

The Pastels – Summer Rain

It makes me yearn so achingly for friends in Glasgow and friends in Brighton, and for the past… and possibly for the future… that it becomes a physical sensation. I want to be wandering through half-empty and austere art galleries, sheltering from the rain. I want to be wading into lochs. I want to be stuck on a British Rail train halfway between nowhere and nowhere, impossible to see anything in the grey murk outside. I want to be racing against Christmas lights as the darkness falls. I want to be held close, nuzzled. I want to be searching through rack upon rack of lovingly collated vinyl. I want a sense of belonging.

Hot Fruit – Falling Off The Grid

It’s Divine, when she was at her most sensual (Hairspray, bam!). It’s Jane Bond And The Undercover Men, shed of the spying allegations. It’s Cristina, falling apart and bringing down whole phalanxes of perv admirers as she goes. It’s Gravy Train!!!! with an extra exclamation mark. It’s three women expressing, and reveling in, their own sexuality, so unafraid and with such good humour and so untied to conventional ways of expressing sexuality they can’t help but intimidate great heaving sections of the population simply by existing. Feminist queer rap from Olympia, WA. Damn, I fucking wish they would move over here to Brisbane and FUCK SHIT UP.

MAY (21-23)

Marsheaux – To The End

This is a really lovely sweet song. (Damn! Damned again.) There again, I’m speaking as someone whose first free single was ‘Dreaming Of Me’ by Depeche Mode. Whatever. This will sound good on my next mix-tape.

Scout Niblett – What Can I Do?

Sometime soon, I need to wake myself up. This abject surrender, this kissing with my eyes open, serves me no good whatsoever.

La Luz – Call Me In The Day

Nice. Parkas pulled over heads, guitars twanged like we’re regretting the music of choice for Slackers. Lost in the woods, but not for long. Analogue organs. Analogue guitars. Analogue vocals. Analogue surf beach party frenzy. Point and counterpoint, stroll and counter-stroll. Saturated sound filler. No edges to scuff your dirty knees on.

JUNE (24-40)

Shopping – You Are A Sort (Don’t Call Me)

“I bet you’d love a bit of Shopping,” my contact writes. And they’re right! I do. This Shopping sounds … well my contact’s description of them being a cross between Gang Of Four, Au Pairs and The Slits ain’t that far adrift, except that this would (by reduction) make them either Delta 5 or ESG, neither of which I’m going to object to. I mean (shrugs), to these ears it sounds like this Shopping sound a fraction too reverent of post-punk (I’m always suspicious of any band that can be so obviously categorised), but give ‘em time, I reckon. They’ve got energy, attitude, a spark. Let’s see if they turn into a Savages or a Divorce.* I know which side of the line I’ll be cheering from.

Making Marks – Ticket Machine

It’s like when I used to go down the ICA in London in 1982 and watch boys in long shorts perch on bar stools and pluck dolefully at acoustic guitars. You’re looking at me like that’s a bad thing. Normally, I’d agree with you. Of course, normally I’d agree with you. But today? Today we’re just going to have to agree on nothing.

The Cosines – Hey Sailor Boy!

You’ve heard and loved this song before. There’s absolutely no reason not to hear and love this song again.

Camera Obscura – Fifth In Line To The Throne

I love cats.

I’m not sure you know that about me. I love cats, and so badly achingly yearningly STILL miss my main feline, Carla. There’s a picture of her on our wall, right over there. She would make this funny little noise in her throat when we blew bubbles, and had a habit of convincing my mother that only cream (not milk) would satisfy. Of course she would chase my feet in bed. She died while I was in Seattle (’98) after a very long and wonderful life. I can’t recall if it was her or another kitten that once jumped on top of my Dansette record-player just after I’d placed my brand new import version of Too Tough To Die on it, which resulted in a merry old chase through the shared house. I wrote one of the saddest songs I ever wrote about another of my cats, the Little White Kitten – no, not the one that crawled into the washing machine and died after my girlfriend failed to spot it and put the machine on spin (although that was unbelievably fucking sad). This one, I had to take to the vet’s to be put down and while I was walking back home in Willesden Green I composed the whole of ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’ in my head. Here, have a listen and remember my cat.

I love cats, but today my love for cats is nothing next to my love for the new Camera Obscura album.*

Black Sabbath – God Is Dead?

I love the first Black Sabbath album cos it feels so amateur: unfinished and clunky and full of ridiculous couplets, and (vitally) not scared of ridicule. Songs don’t fit together, most the time. The joins are so obvious you’re afraid you’ll slip through the door jambs. It sounds so raw and half-assed and full of space, silences that – by the time the 80s rolled along – almost all of Black Sabbath’s spawn were too scared not to fill in (mostly with drum fills). The voice, once an abortion, became a code. The Satanic leanings became Satanic earnings.

The French Pop Dream – Eurostar, The Musical

The record label reckons that folk will like the 1st single & video from The French Pop Dream if they also like Eliza Doolittle, Kirsty MacColl, St Etienne. Why yes. Yes I do (with some reservations). And yes I do.

CocoRosie – Child Bride

Please don’t get me wrong. I’ve listened to the new album several times over now, always attracted and ensnared by the two aforementioned songs above all, but increasingly caught in its sweetly tangled web of dissolution and despair, continually surprised by previously unheard sounds and snippets of lyrics. I’m not trying to avoid describing it by mentioning the past: just hoping to provide a little context.

Go Violets – Teenager

This is an absolute belter of a pop song. It’s way fucken better than anything Best Coast ever managed (he says, at random). If you wanna go for a Yank dream-pop band, go for Neverever, not bloody Bethany Cosentino anyway. (I know, I know. You have no idea who Neverever are, they were so 2010. Ah, how quickly time forgets. Ah, how quickly folk wanna be like the newest folk.)

Johnny And The Fembots – Hey! Don’t!

Well. This is absurd. I really need to wake up to myself.

You Me & Us – Swim Or Sink

Ooo, ooo I have a crush on you! The new Song of the day is a song for the day from the eminently adorable Palm Springs trio You Me & Us. Like curling up in bed under the covers on a chill winter’s night with a flickering torch-light, a well-loved copy of Cider With Rosie, and a never-ending stream of buttered, salted popcorn. And the opening 30 seconds of Ramones’ ‘Do You Remember Rock’N’Roll’ and Jonathan Richman’s ‘That Summer Feeling’, Moe Tucker’s ‘After Hours’ and Madder Rose’s ‘Swim’ stuck on delicious repeat and shuffle inside your head. (Or indeed perhaps this five-song debut EP from You Me & Us.) Like all the most special, haunting moments of 1993 never dissolved into the ether. Like your first love (but not like your first love at all, because that always turned sour). Magical, like the word has just been used for the first time.

Songs – Boy/Girl

“I am earth and air and fire and water,” she said softly. “I come from the Dark where all things have their beginning. I come from the seas and its tides. I come from the sky and its stars; I come from the sun and its brightness…” – ‘The New One’, Mary Poppins Comes Back, P.L. Travers

The Boy Least Likely To and Gwenno – It Could’ve Been Me

This, my friend, is what some of us call pop music. School yard crushes, minor key melodies (I’m guessing here), call-and-response vocals. A duet, no less. Bags of chips, semi-deserted cafés, grey Welsh days. Suitcases. Train stations. Instruments that burble along merrily to themselves: nostalgia is the calling card of choice. Gwenno was the Pipette that I didn’t know. (See a recent Collapse Board reference here.) The Boy Least Likely To used to write me lovely handwritten letters back when I did the Careless Talk Costs Lives radio show with Jon Slade. So I always listen out for him, despite the beard.

Pins – Say To Me

Music like Pins comes dressed in layers. It’s chilly out there: chilly and unwelcoming, and we all need some form of uniform against the furnace of cold and disinterest. There’s a hint of menace. Menace, and fishnet stockings (the two have always been linked in my mind: not an unwelcome association, not at all). Someone is smoking. Of course someone is smoking. Someone is wasting milk. Of course someone is wasting the milk. Look closer. You won’t see anything because that’s not how it works. “Stay true,” someone whispers during the ad breaks in Game Of Thrones and a growing groundswell of support calls back. Stay true! STAY TRUE!

Dogtower – Fireworks

You and me sister, we share a dirty little secret.

This is how we like our music. Female and pulsating with emotion. Harmony-laden but not those harmonies you thinking of, brother. Full of false starts and even falser endings. Gaps that bridge gaps that aren’t there. Menacing and severely intimate, humorous and brilliantly alive. If you don’t tell anyone else, I won’t either. I formed a band in 1981. I say a ‘band’. I use the term loosely. It was a guitar and two voices. I wasn’t able to give vent the way I saw females giving vent, and hence despised myself. One line ran, “See that boy/Huddled in a sleeping bag/Got to keep out the cold”. It was based on real life – sorta. I didn’t have the money for a sleeping bag. Another line ran, “See that boy spend his whole life dreaming/Got to do as he is told”. It was directed at everyone I know, especially my future 51-year-old self. The one living in The Gap, listening to the ladies using gaps to bridge gaps that aren’t there.

Secret Valley – The Night Life

The third song on this cracked golden delight of a cassette album – available for free download RIGHT NOW – is called ‘Streets Of Fitzroy’ and it bears even less resemblance to The Thin Kids‘ ‘Streets Of Brisbane’ then I do to your lover. It borders on romantic, inasmuch as failed hedonism always flatters itself that it borders on romance. There’s feedback and borderline pretension. And if everyone sings like they’re hungover, and if all the instruments sound woozy and splatted with alcohol, it’s because they very probably are.

Kanye West – Send It Up (feat. King L)

However great you think the next song sounds, it sounds even greater when you have six identical versions playing simultaneously, separated by a few-second delay. A veritable West Wall. Would someone mind recording it, and upping it on YouTube for those unable to understand the multi-functionality of Chrome windows?

Heart Beach – Holiday

I’m sorry. Am I confusing you? Here. Have some of this. No no. That’s fine. I know you ain’t gonna listen to any of this, anything which isn’t Grimes or Kanye. I know you’ve just come to laugh at the freaks, the outcasts, those who don’t like their Weet-Bix smothered in sugar and full cream milk, those who pride themselves on searching out routes for themselves. Ah, just throw me the new Game Of Thrones box set and I’ll be as happy with this world of shit as anyone else. Happier. Fucking happier.

Maybe that’s why I’m increasingly turning to Tasmania. I know what it’s like to be ignored.

JULY (40-51)

Janelle Monáe – Q.U.E.E.N. feat. Erykah Badu

I never had anything against disco, ever. If my fellow (we didn’t call ourselves hipsters then) hipsters had something against ‘chart pap’, the invective was rarely aimed in the direction of Niles and Rodgers, Moroder… Gloria Gaynor even. Everyone loves to dance. Everyone loves to strut their funky stuff, white boy. Don’t they?

Les Morts Vont Bien – Das Leben Ist So

Laconic, repetitive, dryly humorous and WRONG. I don’t know why it feels humorous and I don’t really know why it feels wrong. All I know is that one time I sat down for a beer somewhere in the north of Germany and in unison, the whole table started to drink. *The fact that Les Morts Vont Bien are actually French detracts not one jot from the thrust of my argument.

Jenny Hval – Innocence Is Kinky

There’s a vulnerability and self-assurance and intimacy about this performance (this interpretation of the song) that I find very appealing. Also, the music is sexually charged, all tiny thrusts of emotion and whispered entreaties. Perhaps this isn’t the intention, in which case I apologise for any inappropriate interpretations. As I say, a statement like “the sexiest video I’ve seen in years” reveals more about me than the music. Here. Another clue. Two other videos I find erotic (and yes, it’s totally linked to the music).

The Julie Ruin – Oh Come On

It’s a fist pumper of an anthem, a lip pouter. It’s as meaningless and filled with meaning as, “Wave your arms in the air/Wave them like you just don’t care”. The difference is in the detail. Fierce and dorky but militantly joyful. (No, not dorky that way, you dullard.) Female empowered. Fierce staccato stutter. Fierce and human and fun and… fuck this, I’m going outside to jump around. You could play this 20 times straight and still end up massively smiling.

Dog Legs – Cobra Snake

It’s like Brighton’s beaches covered with Daniel Johnston and 5,6,7,8′s fans, having shivery trash can party madness at 1am. It’s a delirious sliver, the slightest of delights. It’s a pop song, it lasts 1.42 minutes and it’s by Dog Legs.

Hop Along – Sister Cities

This is what I would’ve called grunge but no one else understood the term: loose, laconic, emotionally charged, the feedback and joy at playing music spilling over into the sound, a female voice sometimes cutting loose but never shaking free of its moorings and never wanting to either: the song stops for a while but then starts up again even more rampant. It’s Bettie Serveert of course. Everything is Bettie Serveert. It’s also immeasurably American – sometimes I wish I’d never gotten off that random Greyhound coach in the middle of Massachusetts and stayed, flitting from floor to floor, birthday party jar filled with whiskey upon birthday party jar filled with whiskey, until eventually someone had stumbled across my lifeless body wreathed in smiles and bruises, indecipherable messages scrawled across my bloodied brow. Classic rock, but classic rock doesn’t automatically equate with stasis.

Thee Open Sex – Light Of Love

Listen to it. Go on have a listen. Righteous. It’s like the ghosts of Spacemen 3 only not. It’s like The Black Angels, only even more so. It’s claustrophobic and compelling and repetitive and hypnotic and a solid gone blast. Fuzz-drenched. Circular. Mesmeric. Compelling. Have I said that already? You could listen to this chainsaw-good music for hours on end, hook it up through your veins, and it still wouldn’t be enough. You never want this glorious coruscating mess ‘a noise to stop, don’t want the oscillations to quit them oscillating, don’t want them guitars to quit them trembling, don’t want those vocals to quit them calling, don’t want them drums to quit them pounding, don’t want for nothing ‘cept more of the groove, more of the righteous groove. This, my friends and errant dog-lovers, is maximum rock’n’roll, maximum escape velocity but with such a steady relentless gravitational pull. Trad as fucking Dave Graney’s underwear but… you know. That ain’t no insult, not at all, not round these parts sister.

Hookworms – Away/Towards

Bangs fuck. However great you were thinking that Thee Open Sex track is… and Bangs alive, it is it is… then… Wait. Let’s not reduce Song of the Day to mindless “better than” stanzas. Thee Open Sex rock as hard as The Black Angels, and Hookworms rock as hard as Mudhoney. And all four bands rock as hard as 13th Floor Elevators and Spacemen 3 and Boo Frog and… Wait. Let’s not reduce this to a simple litmus test. Hookworms are that nagging insistence deep inside your head that you will NEVER hear all the great music that’s going to be made, that you will never quit experiencing that buzz, that wonder that drew you fatally in towards rock’n’roll in the first place, that you will NEVER lose faith no matter how grim and sunny the world outside is, that actually the grimmer the world becomes and the more mundane, the more magical music like this will sound.

Ballet School – Heartbeat Overdrive

‘Heartbeat Overdrive’ occupies the fertile middle ground between early Kate Bush, 80s Madonna and the portion of Cocteau Twins’ back catalogue I’m familiar with. To be honest, until I heard ‘Heartbeat Overdrive’ I had no idea there was any particular middle ground between those three artists, let alone that it was so fertile. But there is and it is. It clearly is. The type of song you’ll hear in a year’s time and go… wait, who the fuck is this again? This is totally WONDERFUL.

Mirror Parties – Bear Vomit

In this great game of smoke and cowards, everything reminds me of something else, and today it’s the turn of The Wolfhounds, a deadpan-smart sardonic band from Romford, Essex to be dragged mewling into the light, there to blink a few precarious times in the faded spotlight as everyone admires the cut of their jib, the thrust of their fret-boards. The emotional pull of the music. The lanky heckling.

Fat Creeps – Daydreaming

his takes on new dimensions, played louder. Played louder it’s like I’m transported out of these grey (green) surroundings and away from listening out for the garage door opening to some dingy backwater club on the East Coast (America), where I’m huddled uncomfortably on a bench listening to drums belch out during soundcheck, shuddering but not caring because I know that in an hour or two, a shot or 10, life is going to start over and become vivid again. Close harmonies like the Vivian Girls showed the world once more existed and heavy guitars, a thudding back beat.

Blludd Relations – Even Steven

This passes the Kid Koala test. So laidback it’s beyond horizontal. Chilled. Woozy. Wonderful.

AUGUST (52-63)

Ill – Breasts

A well-educated female intones eloquently the advantages of having a larger breast size over a (Farfisa?) keyboard that easily passes the Electrelane test. And that’s about it, except to mention the ebbs and swells, the latent repetition, and the hilariously deadpan delivery.

Eleanor Friedberger – That Was When I Knew (live at Sydney Festival)

I LOVE THE NEW ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER ALBUM! It is, by some distance, my most-played album of 2013, and not just cos I’m a wannabe menopausal disjointed disillusioned forgotten irrelevant and bitter male music critic in his early 50s. I love the Herman Dune too. And this is the same golden mile. I refuse to be cowed! I refuse to be embarrassed! There are no guilty pleasures, only self-image problems. Thank you, Ms Friedberger, thank you. You have made this disjointed redundant hack happy. Every time he listens to you, you make him happy.

The Rutabega – The Shamen (live at Pete’s Place)

This is some damn fine music right here. Throaty vocals and BIG choruses. Choruses as big as Liverpool.

Pony Time – Lori & Judy

This video disturbs me. There’s something quite WRONG about it. Maybe it’s the idea of ascribing sexuality to a genre that has its roots in what Simon Reynolds doubtless would’ve called something like an “almost virginal romanticism”. A genre that The Legend! was inextricably tied up in (excuse the pun).

Chastity Belt – Seattle Party

Makes me want to huddle with myself tightly in a corner of crowded bar, and burn a whole sheath full of Bauhaus B-sides. Makes me think of space and distance and 3am hangovers (Hobart, say). Makes me want to hug famous columnists decades before they got famous and tell them yes it’s OK in 20 years time you’re gonna be way famous and I’m gonna be spitting into thin air.

Dog Party – Sunny Days

Awkwardness and awesomeness in equal measure. And yes. Shonen Knife.

The John Steel Singers – State Of Unrest

On the one hand, this new song sounds like a Britpop band circa 1993, eyes struck WIDE OPEN by a sudden influx of Neu! albums, all fuzzed-out bliss and motorik know-how.

Courtney Barnett – History Eraser

This song is so great. It doesn’t break any rules, but not everything has to. It sounds like someone’s heard Bob Dylan but that’s OK. I have, too. Main difference is that I could never, not in a million Kimya Dawson years, create a song as beguiling and full of chutzpah and misery and whirling abandon as this. At a YouTube commentator puts it, this is a “total breath of fresh air next to the billion Mumford & Sons wannabes, the post-disco synths and girls singing with that quasi vulnerable Julia Stone whisper”.

Amen, brother and sister. Amen.

Kim Deal – Are You Mine

Kim Deal has a new single out. God damn, but it’s beautiful.

Ruby Pins – Chameleon

Spooky and dislocated and with a circular guitar refrain that calls down images of… wait. There’s a Grass Widow connection. Is it me, or this a new sound going down in 2013? Some sound better. Some sound far worse. There’s shades and light and shadow: shade and lights and shadows that mean Ruby Pins feel partly hidden from view, scratching out her art in the half-light of companionship and…

James X. Boyd & The Boydoids – Elissa Says

Of course I can hear The Velvet Underground influence. Why deny it? Let’s embrace it! It shoots right through this song, from the title to the slices of pizza to the mournful slices of guitar and ramshackle drums, and bits of silence. It’s the wistful malicious enjoyment of melancholy, the arrogance of youth, the self-consciously laconic drawl. It’s Zarjaz Baby brought up to battle with the blonde surfer boys. It’s Jonathan Richman, down the front, dancing to Ramones before anyone danced to Ramones.

Josephine Foster – All I Wanted Was The Moon

Every time I hear a new song from Josephine Foster’s new album I’m A Dreamer it’s my New Favourite Song in the World Ever – and then I do a quick Google for the new album from Josephine Foster and it doesn’t seem to exist anywhere, and I’m falling to wondering whether I’m imagining some most delicious phantasm in the mind, one that calls down images of an analogue future and transistor past, one where all music is proud, impassioned, deeply human gestures, shaded and coloured by sweeps of piano and a deep female voice, and I think to myself damn I never want to stop imagining such phantasms if that’s true.

SEPTEMBER (64-70)

Tangerine – Feel This Way

Every time I play it, I want to play it even more. I want to play it in double time, triplicate, stop after 3 seconds and play it immediately, stop after 30 minutes and play it instantly.

Everything about this. Everything.

Tell everyone.

The Moonrakers – Trashwhore Panties!

The Moonrakers are great if you enjoy listening to bands rehearse when half the members are stoned and railing against the injustice of the local bussing system and the other half are trying their damnedest to drown the whining fuckers out … but. There again (the writer shrugs, and tries to see the bright side of everything), the splendidly titled ‘Inferior Television/Superior Television’ sounds like that bonus Subway Sect track at the end of The Slits’ second (‘bootleg’) album – you know, the one without a title or cover – and, fuck, I love that bonus Subway Sect track at the end of The Slits’ second album. A righteous TORRENT of noise. They say, “rock garage rock new zealand rock rock and roll seafoam the moonrakers New Zealand.” I say, FUCK YEAH TURN UP THE MOTHERFUCKING VOLUME YOU MOTHERFUCKING MOONRAKERS.

Cutss – Odeto

A problem I have, when discussing sexual attraction, is that frequently I don’t have the slightest idea of what people look like that I’m attracted to. I’m forever projecting. Another is that… I was going to type “don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable”, but that’s clearly bollocks. OK then. I don’t wish to dive into the septic tank marked “the banality of male sexuality”. Although now I think about it, I have no real idea what male sexuality is, and suspect it MUST vary from useless drudge to useless drudge. I have been toying with an answer post to that great one Wallace wrote around that sexist throwback Robin Thicke, entitled “the sexuality of male banality” – it would feature artists like The Vaccines, Kings Of Leon, J-Lo and yes, Robin Thicke. I only mention it here as some form of oppositional touch point to the attraction I feel for everything Cutss. Everything Cutss is, by necessity, distorted and repetitive, sensual  and a little blurry. I’m not sure this equates with great sex but I’d like to think it does.

Body/Head – Actress

And then there’s the noise. When the guitars scrape, when they gurgle and pulse and squeal and revolt back against the song in noise, it’s as exhilarating, as jarring, as downright ugly fun, as anything that band ever did. (Scott Creney)

Bitch Prefect – Better Next Time

Beautifully laconic awkward pop from Adelaide: all crushed violet and failed romantic leanings. Guitars jangle morosely but so plaintively. It’s like a whole world grew up defined by loneliness and The Velvet Underground and the comfort of hoodies and Dunedin ’85: suburbia – so little to answer for.

The Native Cats – Cavalier

This is music that is designed to be played live to emptying clubs, the deserted moonscapes of Tasmania. The Native Cats know that the mainstream is turned elsewhere. It doesn’t matter. That’s not the motivation. The Native Cats turn failure into an art-form – their colour-by-numbers electronica might sound unsophisticated when compared to Kanye West, and retro next to Grimes but this is still extraordinary music. (Everett True, from an unpublished Guardian review)

The Creases – I Won’t Wait

There’s a part of me that always likes music like this. It’s the part of me I despise.

OCTOBER (71-80)

Bushwalking – No Enter

It’s mesmeric, sure. It doesn’t know when to stop, and resonates with the same stoned, drowsy resonance as half the floor of the Esplanade in 2000. It reminds me of the clatter and smart din of early 80s prog rock/electronica/post-punk pioneers This Heat – without all the shouting and the skinheads waving knives in your faces. At one point, it stops and then realises its mistake. Oh no, wait. That’s another track. At one point it stops, and you feel mercilessly sad the same way you felt mercilessly sad stuck at Flinders St with no train remaining.

Smile – Cuntry Lyf

Today, we live in Australia surrounded by the haze and the heat and the dirt that can’t even be arsed to get really fucking dirty cos it’s too fucking hot, and we’re all about your Twerps and your Dick Diver and your Bitch Prefect and your shimmering molten guitars played with simmering molten fervour and your inward-turned tributes to your Velvets (the first – and weakest – track on Smile’s debut album Life Choices is called ‘Still Waiting For My Man’, for C’rrisakes) and your eucalyptus gum trees that smell just like dope resin.

Kælan Mikla – Umskiptingur

As ever, the spaces reveal more than the detritus. Theatrical and a little threatening, the bass lines laid bare and sparse, like friendship. In Iceland, they call this ‘poetry punk’ and I’d like to think it’s been influenced by my old pal Patrik Fitzgerald or the 00s E London antifolk scene, but it’s too Anne Clark (Gothic, insular, coldwave) for that. You can near taste the vehemence, the alienation.

Lorde – Royals

There’s so much I don’t want to say about this song. Let it linger. Let it last. Don’t bring me down with your clumsy metaphorical grasp of a language which never should have been given to you in the first place, the way you keep disabusing it. The way it lulls, the way it entreats. The way it beats; the way it beats. The lack of shouting, the subtle point and counterpoint. The directness of the lyrics. The fact it doesn’t remind me of Kate Bush or Unwound or Van Halen.

Tiny Migrants – Mork Talk

So faint, they’re almost not there.

It’s the familiar rattle and chug of a band grown up listening to what the grown-ups listened to. Man, that sounds patronising. (I don’t even mean grown-ups: I mean, folk not over the age of 23.) The vocals are so way down in the mix, they sound like they’re almost embarrassed to be there. I like the effect: it helps colour in the spaces, adds a pleasingly abstruse pop effect to the whole… wait, there’s the riff to ‘Teen Spirit’, barely disguised, and those faint vocals rooting for their side, all genial bonhomie and swagger but nowhere near annoyingly so cos they’re keeping the distance.

Hand Job Academy – Shark Week

Sometimes, this shit is just so righteous there’s little else to add.

The fact those clear fucktards at YouTube have seen fit to ‘ban’ such a good-natured humorous video and allow… oh I don’t know, can’t think of anything right now… racist, sexist shit like this or rape culture-promoting shit like this on their site, is a bit of an indictment of mainstream U.S. and Internet society, don’t you think? I mean, seriously: all gloves off. How is ‘The Period Song’ more offensive than ‘Asian Girlz’?

Bloods – No Fun

Just a great fuckin’ rock’n’roll song from Sydney. Sometimes, you don’t need to know any more.

Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals

I just like to bounce up and down, and sledgehammer my head until there’s even less sense happening in it than normal. Bed goes up. Bed goes down.

Woolf – Jane

This album came out – when? More days ago then I have memories. And you know what? 13.4 minutes. That’s all it’d have taken me to listen to the entirety of fiery angular brittle and brutal bricolage London art-punk Riot Grrrl quartet Woolf’s debut album The Right Way To Play from – when? 200 and fucken’ ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ you dozy cosy – and if you remove the thudding menace and sparky attrition of ‘Witch’ from the equation (although why the fuck you’d want to do that when it snarls and bristles like a fertile cassowary) then we’re talking nine songs in – what? FUCK OFF WITH YOUR SNIDE ASSERTIONS – 10.1 minutes. Music ain’t a race, of course – but there’s too much to say, too much grabbing the attention for these ladies to linger any longer then needed. Already the album’s finished twice as I fumble for the right words and beat myself solidly round the head with an errant collection of the works of Susan Hill. (No, don’t ask.) This is the one I’m loving more than loving itself. Right now, for sure.

Oh fuck, it’s finished already.

U.S. Girls – 28 Days

Great video, great song: acid-tinged 60s Motown female empowerment bedroom isolation. I love shit like this.

NOVEMBER (81-92)

Astro Children – Jamie Knows

The second song on this new single from this Dunedin NZ duo is way better than the first, cos the second song on this new single from this Dunedin NZ duo clatters and scatters and unsettles because it knows how loneliness and paranoia are at the heart of most everything we hold dead. Dear. I mean, oh dear. I like this, because it’s not fully-formed and will dissipate into nothingness rather than let you come closer: I like the clattering and the nerve-end scowling. I like the psych rock traces, of course. And I particularly like the way everything reminds me right now of ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’, a song I didn’t even know the full title of until about three minutes ago.

Etao Shin – A Solitude Sheer

Love this. Sometimes it’s like back when I was drunk and used to leave deliberately encrypted messages on my computer screen just to fuck with my (spit) sober self. Either that, or send offensive emails to everyone I could think of and then delete all traces, so my drunk self could later deny all knowledge to my sober self.

All that I wrote here a few days ago was “via Facebook messages”.

Yoko Ono – Bad Dancer

It’s fun, it’s ridiculous, it’s arty, it’ll wind a bunch of meatheads up AND you can dance ridiculously to it. It’s Yoko. And Bangs alive, that’s way enough for me today.

Silver Fox – Arosa

Silver Fox are agitated and scratchy and nervous, and help me itch the same itch I’ve been scratching at for decades now. It will never go away. It will never go away.

Charlie Boyer And The Voyeurs – I Watch You

Is that bad? That music can be so neatly categorised? Yeah, I guess. But… well, ain’t that a lot of the point of writing about music (whether it comes from critics or comes from the record label), that it can entice the undecided to have a listen. Aren’t we all waving our little red flags of enticement, the while? This is repetition and noise and art-punk and Lou and bruised velveteen crushes. Dude also sounds like the dude from Supergrass but in these parts that’s a ferocious plus. They got a groove, a sure-gone groove.

Gaptooth – Enduring Freedom

This series is all about queue-jumping. I hear something, I like something, I write about something. It can be a mutated Euro-beat feminist anthem full of big blowsy choruses and tricky couplets that recalls the heady days of Republica. It can be joyous infectious pop music from East London. It could start, “I only just fell from the womb/All wet and screaming/Now I’m supposed to be a functioning adult”. It could recall the intersection of dance and homespun recordings carved out by the folk who inspired St. Etienne during the 80s. (Uh, The Pet Shop Boys then.) It could be angry, questioning. It could sound a little like The Boy Least Likely To. It could be all of these things and more.

It could be Gaptooth.

Laura Mvula – That’s Alright

I know this will surprise precisely no one, but I don’t have a fucking single clue who Laura Mvula is. Just that I think this song is fantastic: fluid and elastic and playful and possessed of an easy, assured grace that reminds me of Nina Simone a little (and trust me, I don’t use that reference point often). It’s also very 2013 – and I guess that’s what I love most about it.

Edible Arrangements – Catholic Quilt

Within about half-a-second of tuning into this haunting glittery wonderland, I knew I loved this: it’s like Veronica Falls only not so much so. No hanging ’round graveyards for these devotional kinds from Brighton, UK: the spooky horror-show keyboard refrains owe more to the system-maligned cadences of early Fall spin-off band Blue Orchids than to any echo-chamber 60s revivalism.

Alba Lua – When I’m Roaming Free

Beautifully underplayed. A strange kind of quietened beauty from French four-piece Alba Lua.

Mean Bikini – I Cannot Play Guitar

Stumbled across this while looking for something else, and it made me smile. Smile and tap my feet. Smile, tap my feet, waggle my head from side to side and do a couple of quick shimmies on the imaginary dance floor inside my head.

Sky Ferreira – Boys

I love most everything about this. The over-saturation and distortion of sound. The way she intones her words, never helpless. The layers of noise crashing upon waves of noise. The fact Blondie hold still such a clear influence even in 2013. The fact I’ve never felt less like a character in a Brett Easton Ellis novel. The fact the song shares a title with The Shirelles. (Man, that song sounds so clean, so refreshing next to Ms. Ferreira.) The fact I stumbled across a message board two days ago still debating whether I was dating Courtney Love around the time she met Kurt Cobain. The fact that 2013 has been determined by the second-hand neon and twilight. The fact Lana Del Rey’s influence has clearly and abundantly transcended her own acquiescence and experience. The fact that these people are living dreams (read that the other way). The fact rock’n’roll is still alive in 2013. The casual, brutal repetition. The recognisable Nick Lowe influence. My half-full cup of coffee, just the WRONG side of too strong.

The Fireworks – Runaround

I can’t choose between the following songs. They all make me feel deliciously wantonly spookily wonderfully happy. They make me feel justified, a little less alone. The rumble of drums and the tingle of toothpaste send a rush of blood up through my toes as soon as they start up. Every time. I really can’t choose. I think that Emma’s vocals on the third song *just* tip it. Her vocals. The way Isabel holds the bass. Her style. Matthew’s chunky guitar. His guitar.

DECEMBER (93-98)

King Champion Sounds – El Problemo Grande

A blast from the past, but existing in the present.

I use the word blast. I refer to the bursts of clarion-call brass that punctuate this uplifting, insurgent noise. I refer to the chiding, aware vocals. I refer to the refusal to succumb to the undeniable fact that cunts are still running the world and will continue to do so long after our children’s children are dead unburied, suffocating in the fierce unavoidable heat. I refer to the throbbing, pulsating beat. I refer to the snatches of rebel music, heard here and there and especially on ‘El Problemo Grande’. I refer to the cleansing power of the music. I refer to the excitement, the thrill of being alive. I refer to all the above and more.

Dot Wiggin Band – End Of The World

This is wonderment, like entering Disneyland as an open-eyed twenty-something in the company of a scuzzy L.A. grunge band for the first time. This is like watching my four-year-old son Daniel work himself into a delirium of excitement and happiness because he’s able to type up to the number 105. (Each single number, it’s an epiphany.) This is like discovering a great lost Daniel Johnston/Kramer Shimmy-Disc session. Only it’s not. It’s Dot and so clearly Dot. It makes me miss dead friends so badly just suddenly, that they could have lived so I could have played them this and see their faces light up.

Britney Spears – Work Bitch

Judging Britney the same way you’d judge Dylan or Elliott Smith is like taking a baseball bat to a cricket game.

The New Sound Of Numbers – Complete

I mean, what the fucking fuck? If you ain’t gonna be convinced by all that and – way more importantly – by the buoyant motorik female groove itself, then there ain’t shit I can do to convince you any way further. You know, in 20 or 10 or 50 years when I’m dead, all you fuckers will be falling over yourselves to proclaim the Gospel of Collapse Board. Like it will matter shit then.

Childbirth – I Only Fucked You As A Joke

Damn, ladies. You know round these parts that counts only next to pity as a way to get laid.

THREE BONUS FUTURE SONGS OF THE DAY
These have all been on my list for a few weeks now, and they totally merit being included under “2013” but I never want to feel that writing this series is a chore… so I’m taking a breather, and waiting for the right moment.

The Wharves

Slum Of Legs

Frankie Cosmos

2 Responses to Everett True’s 100 Favourite Songs of 2013. Yes, one hundred, and every last fucking song is genius.

  1. Lee December 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    ARGHHH. CocoRosie was my first assignment at GoldFlakePaint, and I was cold and lukewarm and kinda nasty. But I totally forgot about that track. I’m so dim.

  2. kardbored December 22, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Well, Everett, you just lengthened my Top Twenty Five Singles to Fifty…..and I thought 2013 was all Melbourne’s. Silly me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *