Top tunes from early 2013

Wow. What a first quarter. And with the new Tyler, The Creator album, Wolf, dropping today (more on that another time) and the Flaming Lips’ latest dropping in a couple of weeks, it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down in the second quarter. The gems so far …

SONGS

Je Me Perds, Blood Red Shoes – Straightforward, aggressive, grimy punk rock.

The John Wayne, Little Green Cars – I’m reasonably certain this crew owns some CSNY albums. That’s not a bad thing. Not bad at all.

Know ‘Til Now, Jim James – My only real beef with My Morning Jacket is that on albums, their music tends to end up sounding a bit too … stoned. Know ‘Til Now keeps that low-key, ethereal, wake-and-bake vibe, but rides a sweet, loping groove that gives the track a solid base from which to work until beautiful disintegration is achieved.

Loubs, Pissed Jeans – I feel like going all Beavis on this one. “Yes … Yes … YES! YES! YES! FIRE! FIRE!” This track lands somewhere between off-kilter blues rock of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Monster Magnet’s sludgier tunes. Play loudly. As loudly as possible.

Quill, The Last Bison – Newgrass, emograss, whatever. When it’s done well, it’s just plain ol’, damn fine bluegrass, like The Last Bison have done here.

Sail to the Sun, Wavves – I thought of Weezer when I heard this track. Blue album/Pinkerton Weezer, not “Now we’re hanging with the Muppets and trying way too hard” Weezer.

Whoa, Earl Sweatshirt – I love it when I hear a hip-hop single that just doesn’t sound like anything else out in the popular consciousness. Earl creates a track that’s part Wu-Tang, part Dr. Octagon and totally dazed and confused.

ALBUMS

Honeys, Pissed Jeans – I frequently think of the Melvins and Nirvana when I listen to this band. King of Jeans from 2008 was good, and PJ stepped it up on Honeys.

Pedestrian Verse, Frightened Rabbit – I’ve been following these guys since 2008’s Midnight Organ Fight. If you’re into Mumford & Sons, you should test drive these Scots.

Sound City, Reel To Reel, Dave Grohl & company – Loved Nirvana from the start, but since Kurt Cobain’s death, I’ve always cared more for Grohl on other’s projects (Queens of the Stone Age, to name one) than I’ve cared for his own (Foo Fighters). But Grohl’s on to something here, just a bunch of guys (and one woman, Stevie Nicks) rocking, pure and simple.

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