Monday, December 23, 2013

STN Top 50 Albums Of 2013: 6-5

6 Sky Larkin - Motto
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
If Sky Larkin, now three albums and three lineups down, have sometimes seemed a little like the band that got left behind, this is the album where they reared up and kicked out. Raised on nervous tension and nervous energy alike, the addition of a second guitar beefed up the punch and spiked tautness of their sound while bringing out the best of the pair that were there all along, Nestor Matthews kicking seven shades out of his kit while Katie Harkin's lyrics play with phonetic sounds and meanings while retaining a personal truth and standpoint at their core, unafraid to bring out the dark, sung like she still feels the emotional strain. They feel that much bigger for the experiences, charging for their lives.

5 Joanna Gruesome - Weird Sister
[iTunes] [Spotify] [Amazon]
Every year this list includes an album like this perhaps surprisingly high up - a record that's not groundbreakingly original or interestingly developed but roars with the passion of youth, the "sort of band you'd want to be in" gambit. Weird Sister, a record that straps rocket boosters to fuzzbomb janglepop, is just such an album. It's because they've got the knack of building a dreamy lo-fi melody - and there are strong melodies, hooks, choruses, all that - and then letting a distorted, spiky riff slash it apart from the centre outwards while Alanna McArdle (un)comfortably handles both dispassionate sweetness and feral screaming. It's not big, though it can be clever, but right here and now it seems impossibly exciting.

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