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Music

Listen up: Our 20+ best albums from 2013

Setting the record straight

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FUCK BUTTONS

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MORNINGBELL


Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus
ATP Recordings
The most obscenely named band to ever be played at an Olympics opening ceremony (London 2012) has finally made the transition to more structured designs that work to their peerless strengths as masters of epic electronic music. – BLH

Gambles – Far From Your Arms EP + Trust
GMBLS/Secretly Canadian
Matthew Siskin’s one-man project strikes like a bolt of tragic lightning. Sure, it’s clearly indebted to Cohen and Dylan. But Gambles’ gut-wrenching personal perspective, laid bare in 2013 across an EP and full-length, feels far more honest. Like immersing yourself in evocative, often painful folk minimalism? You’ve found your latter-day savior. – NM

Grave Babies – Crusher
Hardly Art
This Seattle band may wear its gothic post-punk influences without shame, but they do it with really great fuzz. But, most importantly, they do it with excellent taste and superlative pop chops. And they, well, crushed it with this record. – BLH

His Electro Blue Voice – Ruthless Sperm
Sub Pop
Purveying terror rock that powerfully blends punk, post-punk, death rock, noise rock and shoegaze, this Italian band blitzed from out of nowhere and awed enough to grab one of only three five-star reviews I gave out this year. – BLH

Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God
ATO Records
Consider Jim James the Man With the Golden Voice. Fifteen years after his soaring, reverb-cloaked falsetto first wowed the world with My Morning Jacket, this solo debut stands as James’ most complete offering. Tender acoustic balladry, futuristic shades of gospel, theatrical psychedelia … this is rock & roll at its most exultant. – NM

Midaz the Beast – AU: Another Universe
Hippnott Records
Despite the album’s name, it’s the rich storytelling depicting a gritty reality that made this essential local hip-hop album sing for me. – AB

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