2013 | Kyle's Top Records 5 - 1

5. Okkervil River – The Silver Gymnasium

[S]o Will Sheff gave up the reins on this record after producing the last record, I Am Very Far, which had quite a bit of a different soundscape. What’s great about this album? It gets back to what these guys do so damn well. Make a record for songs, not just sounds, and as I’m a huge huge fan of 07’s The Stage Names, one could only guess that if they go back to that that it will sit very high on my list. I think Sheff is one of the best songwriters in the indie-folk-insert genre-rock-pop game. The guy writes great songs, and on this record, he hits it just right. The Meriden, NH in the 80s setting for the record sits on every layer, in the writing of the stories, the production style, and its done really really well. This is an album you should own. Please do so. The tracks > Down Down the Deep River, Pink Slips

Buy The Silver Gymnasium

4. Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside – Untamed Beast

[S]allie Ford is pure fucking rock & roll. Unfortunately, the band has broken up since this record was made, but Untamed Beast does something with the rockabilly genre (though she’d like to not be not for that) that is pure joy. The record is just song after song of total jams, rough and rollicking by nature, these songs in music show her aggressive, powerful side, and it is juxtaposed by songwriting of lovelorn, lost confidence, and bad relationships. This has been one of my absolute favorite records of the year, and I listened to it again and again, whether it was in the car, dancing around in the house, or train music. It’s a fun record, that begs to be played again and again. The tracks > Devil, Paris

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3. Jonathan Wilson – Fanfare

[I] think it’s Jonathan Wilson’s producing background that seems to influence his music in interesting ways. He finds a way to create music that is so impossibly tasteful, adding just the small bits here and there, he must be one of those tinkerers that just continues to make things just right. With Fanfare, he does that across thirteen sprawling songs that sometimes soar sometimes float, with a dusty psychedelic 70’s vibe that makes for a perfect slow listening album that transports the listener from place to place. He’s done the amazing task of making something new that is instantly classic and timeless, and it seems has gained the admiration of peers as well as luminaries like David Crosby & Graham Nash (who are on the record) that probably were once taped onto Wilson walls. This record is validation of hard work, great taste, and masterful creation. The Tracks > Dear Friend, Love to Love

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2. J. Roddy Walston & The Business – Essential Tremors

[R]ock & Roll needs bands like J. Roddy Walston & The Business, they make every band look lazy and totally lame. These guys know exactly how the fuck to rock. On Essential Tremors, J. Roddy and crew sonically explore blues, rock, rockabilly, and a hair of R&B this record sees them expanding as J. Roddy explores quite a bit more lyrically, and let’s a lot of himself hang out. Songs like “Heavy Bells,” “Sweat Shock,” and “Black Light” turn the record up to 11, the really special moments are when J. Rod takes it down a notch on “Midnight Cry,” and “Boys Can Never Tell,” where you start to feel the soul of this band and this record. It’s true this band is 100x better live, and it will only enhance the music that lies on the record, but this record has been an absolute treasure since the day it landed in my hands. The Tracks > Midnight Cry, Take It As It Comes

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1. Typhoon – White Lighter

[M]y choice for best record of the year could probably have been derived a long while back, I haven’t shut up about it since the day I started listening to it. To me, this record is a triumph, it’s got spirit and soul, and seriously is emotionally “A”ffective. The basis for writing it is the near death issues singer and principal songwriter Kyle Morton went through. You can certainly hear death on this record, but you also feel pure joy, and it doesn’t hurt that there’s no need for faking gang vocals, and multilayered sounds, with the near dozen people in the band, the sound is huge at times and tiny at times. This record very much seems to feel like it could have been the struggle between Morton writing his own epitaph, and then progressing back to health, and feeling the joy of life. For that, it hits like a ton of bricks, huge so on songs like standout tracks like “Young Fathers,” “Dreams of Cannibalism,” and one of my favorites the heavily percussion based, “Prosthetic Love.” It’s a huge record, that seems to have grabbed a lot of people, and to me its unavoidably my favorite of the year. From me to the band, thank you so much for making this record. The tracks > Young Fathers, Prosthetic Love, Common Sentiments

Buy White Lighter