Monday, December 16, 2013

STN Top 50 Albums Of 2013: 25-21

25 Widowspeak - Almanac
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
Having emerged as spaghetti western dreamers their second album headed further into the misty woods, forgoeing the twang in favour of wood crafted floating American gothic, finding a decaying heart in the pastoral, aided by Molly Hamilton's vocal similarities to the Hope Sandoval/Margo Timmins archetype. But that's not all, as inscrutable uncoling guitars of a Warpaint bent merge with charging rhythms and the odd heroic solo. It can handle a cinematic grandeur, but it can also sound like FM classic rock getting lost in the haunted forest well after dark. More relatable and romantic than before, the fog of emotions suits them well.

24 The River Cry - The River Cry
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
If she'll forgive me for opening like this, who knew the bassist out of JJ72 had this in her? Having retreated to the Irish coast, Hilary Woods took to the piano and in her own time crafted a record of haunting lushness, looking out to sea and seeing lands lost and hope where once there was actuality. The reverb laden minimal instrumentation gives an extra spacious feel to the desolation, a trembling filmic reach that evokes coastal place and autumnal time just as well as the similarly piano-led PJ Harvey's White Chalk, marinaded in long dried tears and the sweat cost chasing lost causes.

23 Trips And Falls - The Inevitable Consequences Of Your Stupid Behavior
[iTunes] [Spotify] [direct]
The third UK-released album by the Montreal collective is just as jagged around the edges and tricky to pin down to simplistic terms as the first two, but there's been a paradigm shift from ornateness into the ramshackle. Songs turn from tentative to charging in a heartbeat, overlays folkified vocal stylings as likely with circling, itchy electrics as hushed acoustics, occasionally straining for the anthemic only to plunge an icy dagger through its own Psychedelic Furs in a blender ambitions. Amid all of this it still retains a heartfelt core, tying its jumping bean ambitions and its attendant noise and collapsing structures together with frayed heartstrings.

22 His Clancyness - Vicious
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
Having progressed through the ornate bite of A Classic Education and the drifting quasi-chillwave of his early solo material, Jonathan Clancy morphed into something akin to the psychedelia revival-of-sorts, still with hints of drifting, dreaming dreampop but rooted in something fuzzier and earthier, starting in lo-fi bedroom pop range but firing off in all directions, semi-acoustic fragility one minute, retro synth patterns the next, glossy technicolour or rough edged, making sure it always maintains a similar grounding wherever the quixotic arrangement impulses pull and push. Never taking the simple route, always questioning what and where its narrative point is, there's potential to grow within its questing confidence.

21 Spectral Park - Spectral Park
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
If this was the year neo-psychedelia started swallowing itself whole, at least it's given people like Luke Donovan full reign to try and reshape their peculiar overflow of ideas and crates of offbeat samples into pop songs. In his case the influence is in the mono joy of confusion stemming from the Zombies and early Pink Floyd, recorded in just short of full fidelity as hooks, scraps of melodies and bits of something intangible fall on top of each other to create actively teetering monuments of exotica-flavoured fantasias, bubblegum melodies for choruses attempting to sit atop a mania on the edge of motion sickness.

No comments: