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The End of Year Top Three.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds | The National | The Polyphonic Spree

“Our staff picks their top three records of 2013 and shares them with you.”

-By Dustin Blocker –

I would say this year was pretty incredible. There were babies being born, cities being built and music exploding from hither to yon; with new independents stomping into the national landscape (Haim, MS MR, Chvrches et al.) and old guys stretching their rock legs back out (Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Black Sabbath, MegaDeth).

This year in music was as unpredictable as it was satisfying, so when asked to compile a “Top Three” list of my favorite records for the calendar year, I was more than hard-pressed to condense down. But hey, I did it, and you’re welcome.

"Yes, It's True." by The Polyphonic Spree // Artwork by Tim DeLaughter

#3. “Yes, It’s True.” by The Polyphonic Spree

Buoyant, bouncy and full of the most rock ever laid down on a Spree record, Yes, It’s True., makes the argument that perhaps DeLaughter and company could condense its notoriously large choral façade into a more manageable size. Not that it needs to—the band’s live performance is a spectacle of the highest order—just saying that this record rocks, and it’s hard to hear that harp, even if it is turned up to eleven.

"Trouble Will Find Me" by The National

 #2. “Trouble Will Find Me” by The National

Vocalist Matt Berninger is polarizing; his faded baritone weighted with so much significance that it’s hard to know whether to despise him or follow him into the clouds. I happen to like clouds, and being a man of low-register myself, I feel oddly drawn to the man’s detached tone. To be sure, Trouble Will Find Me is full of lows, but it’s the intricacies in the chasms that really make this record shine.

"Push the Sky Away" by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

#1.  “Push the Sky Away” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Push the Sky Away is a triumph in minimalism; impersonating a hushed dream the long-play record creeps towards predictability before exploding into something else, something unexplainable. Cave is as angry as he is pensive, and the pulse of the record bends in so many inextricable ways that you come away from the headphones as if you learned something.

That’s what music is all about, right? Being challenged, challenged to think, challenged to feel.

Thanks a ton 2013, you were a good one.

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