Best Albums of 2013 by Rachel Wetzel
Here at the Zakka Shop we love to turn up new music and assemble our store mix by hand. We regularly look forward to compiling our list of faves for the year and have invited a few of our friends to share theirs as well!
We called up our friend Rachel, guitarist in hazy shoegaze band Dreambook, who gladly accepted the challenge, stating “I haven’t made an end of the year list since working in my last record store job”. She’s put together a list of albums that were the soundtrack to a year that saw her volunteering at Girls Rock Philly summer camp and releasing her first LP with Dreambook this summer. Check out the album, Only Shadows, here.
In no particular order…
Jesu- “Homesick” on Avalanche Records
The second track on this record, Comforter, was enough of a selling point for me to instantly purchase this limited edition LP from the UK. Justin Broadrick (of Godflesh fame) has struck a musical balance by successfully overlapping his usual distorted, slow dirge with a Sigur Ros-like creepily-warped electronic sound. Beautiful and brutal.
True Widow- “Circumambulation”on Relapse Records
The third, and arguably best, LP from this Texas trio has been glued to my turntable since I pre-ordered the deluxe edition LP package from their new label. The vocals are clearer and more upfront on this recording than their previous LPs and the heaviness has been ramped up a notch- mainly by a distorted bass guitar (so cool) that takes the “stonegaze” and “doomgaze” genres, for which they are known, to new heights.
Speedy Ortiz- “Major Arcana” on Carpark Records
I discovered this band at a West Philly house show accidentally and snagged up all of their merch. As someone who listened to tons of Helium in the 90s, I can fairly say that this band does a stellar job of recreating that style of bendy, melodic twang without being a total rip off. The lyrics are catchy and clever in a Steven Malkmus kind of way. Lucky for you, this limited edition, out-of-print LP just got repressed. Go shopping.
Bleeding Rainbow- “Yeah Right” on Kanine Records
Yes, they’re from Philly. And no, I’m not friends with them- so this review is totally legit. I love this couple’s old stuff (Reading Rainbow) but this LP is far superior. They added a guitarist who bends, distorts, shreds and messes with feedback in a way that blows my mind. This LP is a perfect mix of upbeat pop and shoegaze,with the same sweet, dueling male and female vocals these two lovebirds have always provided.
My Bloody Valentine- “M.B.V.” self-released
I’ve been waiting 20+ years for this and it didn’t disappoint. So many old 90s bands are crawling out of the woodwork to reunite, only to make a watered-down version of their past sound. However, MBV did not take that queue on this self-released LP (or live even). In fact, they made a record that could have easily come out in 1993, retaining their timeless quality of washed-out vocals over a wall of noise. For a guy with hearing impairment, Kevin Shields surely didn’t lose his sense of sound aesthetic. Well worth the four hundred refreshes on my computer necessary to pre-order it the day it came out.