Aaron’s Best of 2013

I bought quite a bit of music this year, as usual, but only a small portion of it was actually released in this year. Still, of the 22 releases listed below, there was a shit-ton of greatness filling my ears in 2013. And, once again, I had a hard time making up my mind which one I liked best. It happens to me every year. I take this choice very seriously. I still stand fully behind all of my previous years’ winners. It’s getting to be quite a list…

So, 2013? I have always loved GBV and Mr. Pollard in all of his many projects (he, and related projects, has 41% of the list, this year). My lovely wife suggested having a separate category for him and, unremarkably, this is not the first time this idea has been on my mind… And Sloan, well. Sloan. It just goes without saying, and they had some super-cool releases this year! I love them all unconditionally (thank you immeasurably again, James)! Any year with a new Jack Johnson release thrills me, no question… I loved the Bad Religion show we saw in Toronto, and the CD’s fantastic… The new Pearl Jam was an absolute fucking monster, and continues to get better with every spin. I swear, that band just gets better and better. It almost took the top spot… But it hasn’t had as much time to seep into my blood as my final choice has, this year. Maybe if it had come out in the summer… Anyway, if I had to be honest…

Aaron’s Best of 2013: 

Black Sabbath – 13

For all the hype, hope, expectation… for all the everything that went with it, I just cannot get enough of this album. It’s just great, start to finish. Totally solid, carved of the heavy metal from which it is hewn. I got the bonus tracks edition, though not the super-de-duper version (Mike made sure I got a preview of the other necessary track, thanks buddy!), and you know what? The extra tracks are as essential as the album proper.  Everything clicks, here. It gets better as it plays on, too. I like all the songs, but it really kicks into gear in its later tracks (for me). It’s bluesy, it’s creative, it’s heavy as hell, Tony Iommi laid down countless killer riffs… Simply put: It’s the sound I wanted to hear (and I play it bloody loud). It’s the record that shook me. Hell yeah!


Here are 21 other superb 2013 releases I heard this year:

Robert Pollard – Blazing Gentlemen
Sloan – Hardcore 7″
Guided By Voices – Down By The Race Track
Sloan – Club Quattro, Shibuya, Tokyo 2002 (ltd. vinyl)
Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt
Circus Devils – I Razor
Jay Arner – Jay Arner
Newsted – Metal
Sunflower Logic – Clouds On The Polar Landscape
Jack Johnson – From Here To Now To You
Guided By Voices – English Little League
Pick A Piper – Pick A Piper
Teenage Guitar – Force Fields At Home
Ghost BC – Infestissumam
Circus Devils – When Machines Attack
Skydiggers – All Of Our Dreaming
Robert Pollard – Honey Locust Honky Tonk
Ghost BC – If You Have Ghost EP
Circus Devils – My Mind Has Seen The White Trick
Renny Wilson – Sugarglider
Bad Religion – True North


There were many albums I wish I had bought but never got around to buying them in this year… I consider this a shopping list for future because I really want to hear these:

Elvis Costello & The Roots – Wise Up Ghost (And Other Songs)
Atoms For Peace – Amok
Billie Joe and Norah – Foreverly
Watain – The Wild Hunt
Marnie Stern – The Chronicles Of Marnia
Neko Case – The Worse Things Get…
Blue Rodeo – In Our Nature
Yo La Tengo – Fade
Throwing Muses – Purgatory/Paradise
Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away
Superchunk – I Hate Music
Motorhead – Aftershock
Newsted – Heavy Metal Music
She & Him – Volume 3
Mudhoney – Vanishing Point
Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
Tegan & Sara – Heartthrob
Belle & Sebatian – The Third Eye Centre
Metallica – Through The Never (live)
Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
How To Destroy Angels – Welcome Oblivion
Iron & Wine – Ghost On Ghost
Sebadoh – Defend Yourself
Hayden – Us Alone
Iggy & The Stooges – Ready To Die
Meat Puppets – Rat Farm
Black Flag – What The… (for curiosity’s sake)
Flaming Lips – The Terror

And from the year end lists over at Mike’s site…

Deep Purple – NOW What?!
David Bowie – The Next Day
Steve Earle & The Dukes – The Low Highway
Clutch – Earth Rocker
Sadies – Internal Sounds

… and I’m sure there were many, many others I’ve still missed listing here…


 Previous Years’ Winners:

2012  Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
2011  Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton – Play The Blues: Live From Jazz At The Lincoln Center
2010  Jack Johnson – To The Sea
2009  Leonard Cohen – Live In London
2008  Metallica – Death Magnetic
2007  Carolyn Mark – Nothing Is Free / Immaculate Machine – Fables (tie)
2006  Sloan – Never Hear The End Of It


One other thing, something weird about 2013: there was not one release on CD from Henry Rollins this year. At least, not that I saw. I know he’s a busy guy. He’s got his fingers in a million pies and he’s always looking outward. It’s what we love about Henry, that’s he’s so restless and curious and energetic and smart (not to mention fucking relentless). But for all the everything he did this year, this may be the first year in, well, ages that he hasn’t put out some kind of release. No talking show, no reissue of an older release (unless The End Of Silence Demos on coloured vinyl was this year – I can’t tell, but I don’t think so? Anyone know?). I know he’s doing a lot, but I miss having Things Henry Did to collect. I heard rumour he’ll have a new book out, but that’d have to be a 2014 release, now. It’s odd and I noticed, is all.


Happy New Year, everyone. Look for a helluva lot to happen in these pages in 2014. Like I said to Scott: yer gonna feel like you’ve been ridden hard and put down wet. YEAH BABY!

8 thoughts on “Aaron’s Best of 2013

  1. Heavy Metal Overload says:

    Interesting list dude! You know I didn’t get much out of the Sabs new one but I’m glad you enjoyed it. I did finally get the Ghost album and it is better than I expected. The debut is even better though so you should definitely find that asap.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks! Yeah, my list never seems very focussed, all over the genre map. But that’s OK, I like lots of stuff. I know you weren’t as into the Sabbath, and that’s cool. Maybe down the road it’ll grow on you. Or maybe it never will, who knows. I hope it will!

      I’m currently looking for a reasonably priced copy of the Opus Eponymous. I will have it. Oh yes.


  2. keepsmealive says:

    Also interesting to note:

    Of the 8 years I have been doing these year-end lists, some interesting things are emerging…

    1) Four of those years (HALF!) are Canadian artists (with 2007 containing two Canuck bands tied as winners) and…

    2) Leonard Cohen is the only repeat winner… and…

    3) Only two of the winners are heavy metal (Metallica and Sabbath)… and…

    4) Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard/myriad other projects has never won top spot. Why? They’re all winners. Seriously. It’s like I include them all in the lists every year, but I have to give top spot to someone else because otherwise every year would be something Mr. Pollard did. Hence my lovely wife’s argument that he should have his own category… and…

    5) Sloan has only won once. I love Sloan. They have had other records since 2006’s winner. Somehow they’re only winning once seems odd to me.


  3. mikeladano says:

    Also re: Sabbath

    “The extra tracks are as essential as the album proper.”

    Agreed, and I believe Sabbath must agree since Methademic is being played on tour and the new live album. Stronger “bonus” tracks I have not heard in ages. Basically, 13 is their double album. It’s probably equal in length to Physical Graffiti or close.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Hooray! I really liked the Ghost (both of them), though it’s oddly not what I think of when I think of metal. I don’t know why, but when I put them on all I think of is them.

      Yep, the Sabs take it. What a gigantic record. Absolutely phenomenal.


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