Well, it’s that time of the year again to select those bands that make your jaw drop because the music they make, the quality of their sound, their songwriting, the vocals, and total dedication…  Pearl Jam, Alter Bridge, Primal Scream, The Strypes, MGMT, MBV, Alice in Chains, Dawes, The Naked and Famous, Shadowboxer… are only a few in our list of Best Albums of 2013, what we consider the best and brightest. There are some bands and solo artists we had the pleasure to follow for several years, and continue to do so, Tame Impala, Flaming Lips, Grizzly Bear, Lamb of God, Muse… and many, many others. Some have gone on to greatness, and others have slipped away into obscurity, but they’ve all deserved a few minutes of your attention.  Either we understand the music they create and appreciate and admire their creativity, musicianship, the quality of their sound, the brilliant songwriting, the vocals…  or we don’t. This year we made the decision to make our list in alphabetical order (band/solo artist name), not ranked, and with links to the artists’ official website. It’s been a year in music we have fully enjoyed thanks to these artists.  No hype, no bullshit – just good music!  It’s been a lot of work but now that we’ve finished the list,  we wish you enjoy discovering and arguing about all the artists we’ve selected for this year’s list.

The Best Albums of 2013

Alice in Chains – ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs There’ / Capitol

Alter Bridge – ‘Fortress’ / Roadrunner

A Perfect Circle – ‘A Perfect Circle Live’: Featuring Stone and Echo [A Perfect Circle Entertainment]

Arcade Fire – ‘Reflektor’ / Merge Records

Arctic Monkeys – ‘AM’ / Domino

Bryce Dessner and The Kronos – ‘Aheym’

Chelsea Wolfe – ‘Pain Is Beauty’ / Sargent House

Chvrches – ‘The Bones of What You Believe’ / Glassnotes Records

Daft Punk – ‘Random Access Memories’ / Columbia Records

Dawes – ‘Stories Don’t End’ / Relativity Records, HUB Records

Dinosaur Pile-Up – ‘Nature Nurture’ / SO Recordings

Flaming Lips – ‘The Terror’ / Warner Bros (U.S.); Bella Union (U.K.)

God Is An Astronaut – ‘Origins’ / Rocket Girl (RGIRL98) / Playlist

Grizzly Bear – ‘Shields'(B-sides) / Warp Records

Kid Cudi – ‘IndiCud’ / Wicked Awesome, Republic (current)

Jake Bugg – ‘Jake Bugg’ / Mercury (UK), Island (US)

Janelle Monae – ‘he Electric Lady’ / Bad Boy Records

Kurt Vile – ‘It’s a big world out there’ [EP] [Matador]

Lamb of God – ‘As the Palaces Burn’ / Prosthetic, Epic, Black Market Activities

MBV – ‘m b v’ / Self-released

MGMT – ‘MGMT’ / Columbia

Nine Inch Nails – ‘Hesitation Marks’ / Polydor Records

of Montreal – ‘Lousy with Sylvianbriar’ / Polyvinyl Record Co.

Palma Violets – ‘180’ / Rough Trade Records

Pearl Jam – ‘Lightning Bolt’ / Monkeywrench Republic Records

Primal Scream – ‘2013’ New Album ‘More Light’ Full Length Official / Ignition Records

Savages – ‘Silence Yourself’ / Matador Records

Shadowboxer – ‘Deaf Dumb Blind and Mute’ / Avalve Rec

Stone Temple Pilots – ‘High Rise’  / Rhino

The Killing Floor – ‘High Output’ EP /

The Naked and Famous – ‘In Rolling Waves’ / Somewhat Damaged

The National – ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ / 4AD

The Strokes – ‘Comedown Madhine’ / RCA Records

The Strypes – ‘Snapshot’ / Virgin EMI Records

Vampire Weekend – ‘Modern Vampires of The City’

My Bloody Valentine concert @ Hammerstein Ballroom w/ Opening Act Dumb Numbers

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Live review for My Bloody Valentine first concert in NYC this month.

My Bloody Valentine famously end their sets with 1988 single “You Made Me Realise,” with its jet engine, tinnitus-inducing “holocaust” section. Like when James Franco cuts his arm off in 127 Hours, you know it’s coming, and people prepare themselves for it. When they launched into it last night (11/11) at Hammerstein, people held up their arms, wiggling their fingers, like they were about to go over the first big drop on a rollercoaster. It is, admittedly, a hell of a ride. Some people throw up!

We’ll back up a bit first. This was the first show the shoegaze legends had played in Manhattan since 2008, and first since releasing new album mbv earlier this year. While generally adverse to big rooms like this (I hadn’t been to Hammerstein since New Order in 2006), I thought the sound was pretty good, with Kevin Shields and Belinda Butcher’s vocals reaching above the miasma just enough. Shields, who greeted the crowd with a perfunctory but cheerful “Hi,” took up at least a third of the stage with his wall of amps and the same could be said of the sonic real estate.

That tremelo’d “glide guitar” is what a lot of people were there to see (or hear, a lot of tall dudes were in the crowd), but I spent a lot of time watching bassist Debi Goodge and, especially, drummer Colm O’Ciosoig who played with a ferocity that matched the volume of Shield’s amps. (O’Ciosoig is MBV’s not-so-secret weapon.) Butcher stayed still for most of the show, with more time holding than playing her guitar, but her voice is still honey sweet.

It was hard to argue with the setlist, which gave us the lion’s share of Loveless, three cuts from Isn’t Anything (but no “Soft As Snow,” which they haven’t played in eons), choice EP cuts (“Honey Power” from Tremelo was very welcome), and four tracks from mbv. As much as I liked hearing “Soon,” “To Here Knows When,” and “Feed Me With Your Kiss,” the new tracks were the real surprises of the night, taking on extra gravity live, especially “Only Tomorrow” which was one of the night’s highlights. The intense (occasionally stroboscopic) light show and very cool projections added to the sensory overload experience.

Then of course “You Made Me Realize” where the volume went up to 13 and you could feel it in your chest. Don’t know whether it’s age or the need to accommodate new material, but the “holocaust” only lasted about six minutes. But it was long enough for me.

I missed openers Dumb Numbers that featured old tourmate Murph (from Dinosaur Jr.) on drums, as I didn’t get to Hammerstein till about 8:15 PM and had to deal with a line that went all the way to 9th Ave, thanks to some serious security. Arrive early for that coveted sonic sweet spot. (But I did see Dumb Numbers on Sunday night for their surprise show at The Flat where their sludgy doom went over pretty good.) East Village fixture BP Fallon kept the Hammerstein crowd entertained between sets with a DJ set of rock standards. Pictures from the show are in this post.

Tonight (11/12), My Bloody Valentine do it again at Hammerstein with DIIV opening. This is MBV’s last show of their 2013 tour and tickets are still available.

SETLIST: My Bloody Valentine @ Hammerstein Ballroom, 11/11/13
I Only Said
When You Sleep
New You
You Never Should
Honey Power
Cigarette in Your Bed
Only Tomorrow
Come in Alone
Only Shallow
Nothing Much to Lose
Who Sees You
To Here Knows When
Wonder 2
Feed Me With Your Kiss
You Made Me Realise

My Bloody Valentine adds more dates to their WORLD TOUR, playing 2 nights at Hammerstein Ballroom!

Band members

Band members

Shoegaze legends My Bloody Valentine who released their first album in over 21 years, mbv, earlier this year, have already done some North American dates since (like LA’s FYF Fest), and though those didn’t include any in NYC, now they are set to return and will play Hammerstein Ballroom on November 11 and 12! Tickets are not on sale yet, but check Ticketmaster for updates.

New North America [US and Canada) and European tour dates have been added. Check the gigs page for ticket details!


My Bloody Valentine — 2013 Tour Dates
06-09 Budapest, Hungary – Club 202
06-10 Prague, Czech Republic – Archa Theater
06-13 Copenhagen, Denmark – Vega
06-14 Hultsfred, Sweden – Hultsfred Festival
06-15 Oslo, Norway – Norwegian Wood Festival
07-07 Belfort, France – Eurockeennes Festival
07-13 Balado, Scotland – T in the Park
07-26 Niigata, Japan – Fuji Rock Festival
07-27 Ansan Daebu Island, Korea – Valley Rock Festival
08-04 Katowice, Poland – Off Festival
08-06 Vienna, Austria – Vienna Arena
08-08 Sibenik, Croatia – Terraneo Festival
08-10 Helsinki, Finland – Flow Festival
08-16 Austin, TX – Austin Music Hall
08-17 Grand Prairie, TX – Verizon Theatre
08-19 Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
08-21 Seattle, WA – WaMu Theater at CenturyLink Events Center
08-23 San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
08-25 Los Angeles, CA – FYF Fest
08-30 Laois, Ireland – Electric Picnic
09-05 Cologne, Germany – Cologne Live Music Hall
09-07 Berlin, Germany – Berlin Festival
09-08 Munich, Germany – Munich Tonhalle
10-31 Eindhoven, Netherlands – Effenaar
11-03 Lille, France – Aeronef