I admit that my local music coverage last year was lacking. My one resolution for the new year is to make sure this year is better. I do think it was a slower year than usual for local music, but I won’t use that as an excuse. I’m excited to start the 2014 blog in earnest. Album of the Year will always be a local album, but I will have a non-local AOY feature. It’ll be an unranked list and should be out in another week or so.
The best album of the year, objectively speaking, was probably Lizzobangers. Everybody loved it and so did I. Lizzo should be a national name pretty soon. Although if you include Duluth as local music (which I don’t for simplicities sake), Invisible Way by Low would be a common challenger. I’m not sure how you’d even compare the two, so I’m glad I don’t have to.
One of the great things about so many “best of” lists is that reading a few dozen of them gives you a great idea of the diversity of what’s out there and how different sounds apply to different tastes. For 2014 I hope to include member feedback in determining the Album of the Year. In the meantime I’m going with the local album I most recommend: Shoot the Dog by The Cloak Ox. It’s as close as you’re going to get to Bends-era Radiohead. Outside of the jazz scene these are the best musicians Minneapolis has to offer and they’re hitting their stride as a band. It’s a little on the jam/prog side but this isn’t your uncle’s rock band. Give a few listens and it will really sink in.
Here’s the rest of the top 5 in alphabetical order:
Attack of the Heart By Lucy Michelle: Caroline Smith garnered a lot of acclaim for her album Half About Being a Woman and rightly so. But not being as much as an R&B fan as the average listener I personally preferred Attack of the Heart by Lucy Michelle. I believe it may have been overlooked due it’s adherence to traditional rather than modern music trends. It may not blaze any paths but I believe it stands on its own as some of the best songwriting, arranging and execution to be released out of Minnesota during 2013.
Give In By On an On: Of all local albums this is the one I listened to the most last year. This was mostly due to my infatuation with Every Song which was my favorite but there are a lot of good tracks on here. This is mid-tempo electronica at its best.
Shulamith by Polica: There’s been plenty written about Shulamith already. If you take away all the hype and counter-hype you’re left with an intriguing band of creative veteran performers that a made a few moderate but critical advances to produce a sophomore effort that improves on a strong debut.
Wolf Lords Aby Wolf: It can be easy to lose track of albums released early in the year. That’s why I keep a spreadsheet. As a fan of both Grant Cutler and Aby Wolf it was great to hear them exceed the sum of their parts on Intentions. Incidentally I was also a fan of Weird Visions, Grant’s collaboration with Holly Hansen of Zoo Animal.