Nix Cooper’s 10 Albums of 2013
My top ten features the melodic edging to the demonic and black and white creepers to cowboy hats and swimwear. Six of my top ten albums are fan-funded efforts. Most of which took next to no time to meet their pledge target.
It’s been so painful difficult to pick my top ten this year, however I present to you my list. Enjoy.
10. DAVE HAUSE – “Devour”
This solo effort from The Loved Ones main man is a beautiful offering. It’s a very honest, emotional album. His 2011 effort “Resolutions” was a fabulous leap in to solo material. “Devour” is another organic step forward in Hause’s development as one of the next great folk punk songwriters. Watch this space.
9. NIGHT VERSES – “Lift Your Existence”
Stunning debut album from this post-rock outfit following their fab self-released EP “Out of the Sky”. I saw these guys for the first time at Hevy Festival 2012. They had a bit of a tough deal being pretty early on in the day but their melodies, technical ability (and the crazy heights their drummer could reach on bouncing from the kit) caught our eye. Stand-out tracks are “Pull Back Your Teeth” and “Yours”.
8. BLACK SPIDERS – “This Savage Land”
Black Spiders have yet again created something hard hitting and filthy. This is a solid party rock album choc a block with meaty riffs and hooks. For a part, the album prays at the altar of Turbonegro in themes and style then they will surprise you with a “KISS style” chorus. However much like their 2011 effort “Sons of the North” the quality in production and replay value is there. Top tracks are the daft “Balls” and the fast paced “Teenage Knife Gang”.
7. PEARL JAM – “Lightning Bolt”
Backspacer saw Pearl Jam “grow up a bit”, in places fitting in nicely with Vedder’s solo material. With Lightning Bolt, Pearl Jam have still “grown up a bit”. But there is a but more fire in the hearth with Lightning Bolt, more hit material. “Mind Your Manners” is a hard hitting stonker whilst “Sirens” is just utterly beautiful. They’re still making good noises, don’t rule them out yet.
6. OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE – “Seculo Seculorum”
Obsessive Compulsive have pretty much been a staple in gut of the Underground / DIY scene for almost a decade now. Seculo Seculorum is angry, dark, sexy and freshly liberating. It’s the record to smash “The Man’s” face in with.
One noticeable thing on this record is just how beautiful and versatile lead vocalist Kelii Compulsive’s voice is. At times, she’s spitting angry venom and letting out powerful yells that would make even Brode Dalle look dull and other times her voice shows an intensely raw and vulnerable side. Get it now.
5. JONNY COLA AND THE A GRADES – “Spitfire”
Another fan-funded venture. London’s glitter-eyed, sharp (often quite shiny) dressed Jonny Cola have produced a stunning glam-pop offering. It’s catchy and whilst nods to the Bowie, Suede et al, there is no mimicking here. You can tell they’ve been growing up listening to certain artists but manage to twist what they really loved from that era in to a delightful collection of tracks relevant in the 21st century. “Tropical Beach” and “Out Of The Woods” are my favourites on ‘Spitfire’. More please!
4. HEY! HELLO! – “Hey! Hello!”
Upbeat, hook laden, joyous pop rock goodness from the man who can never creatively sit still – Mr Ginger Wildheart. This is a jointly sung record from the sweet tones of New York based singer, Victoria Liedtke . “How I Survived The Punk Wars” is my record favourite about bands and artists trying to make it in the world. Full of anthems. Makes me smile, nuff said.
3. VOLBEAT – “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies”
Volbeat have had a consistent track record for bending the rules of rock and metal so to hear that their latest release had a Spaghetti Western theme didn’t surprise me. However, what did surprise me was having King Diamond (Room 24) guesting on this record! Volbeat have always been an odd band (in the nicest possible way). They’re not afraid to experiment with styles and constantly battle genre boundaries and are a bit of a ‘Marmite’ band. As you can see from their appearance in my top 10, they’re very much loved. “Pearl Hart” is the top track on the album for me.
2. EXIT_INTERNATIONAL – “Our Science is Golden”
This ridiculously mental fan-funded album from those two bass, no guitars (one drum) dudes from Wales met it’s funding target in two hours. Unlike their previous material, there is a lot more focus on the melody and structure of the tracks. From the huge vocal rise in “Weird Card” to the angry “Sod off Punk” shouts, Our Science is Golden has all the ingredients to create the creepiest, angriest, noisiest album I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in a long time. Unnervingly good.
1. EUREKA MACHINES – “Remain In Hope”
End to end brilliance from Leeds heroes, Eureka Machines. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that we are a bit fond of them. It was always going to be difficult to release a third album based on their previous material but Remain in Hope surpasses expectations. Catalyst and co manage to churn out these catchy as hell, happy on the surface tunes every time. The sickeningly catchy stonker, “Pop Star” is THAT song you wish was on the radio all the time. Pop rock at it’s finest and 2014 needs to be the year of switching more EM lightbulbs above folks heads.