Top 10 albums of 2013 critics' picks: Adrian Mack
I made a long list and then thinned the numbers by eliminating anyone who wore a mask or accepted $3 million to perform for the family of a murderous Kazakh despot. Here are the results.
Priestess frontman Mikey Heppner takes his prog-inspired time changes back to the garage, accompanied by Jethro Tull–vintage flute. Too ridiculous to be anything but a masterpiece.
Come Cry With Me
Pastiche meets deep reverence on Romano’s third album of trad country. Meanwhile, the exact coordinates between Hank Snow and Gram Parsons have finally been mapped.
My Bloody Valentine
m b v
Book-length treatises have already been written on why the 22 years between Loveless and m b v should have spelled disaster, but didn’t. These kids are gonna go a long way.
Even with 45 years as a professional musician and dozens of releases behind him, Thompson seems to be approaching yet another peak. The songwriting on this album is honed to a diamond point, but the playing is something else. Drenched in live atmosphere and swing, it’s the album you need if you wanna hear one of the world’s best guitarists rip it up.
On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2
The Beatles, without frills, overdubs, or double-tracked vocals, playing electric rock ’n’ roll music. These newly unearthed recordings contain a trove of revelations, most good (Ringo’s gritty vocal on “Boys”, George on “Glad All Over”), some shitty (“Memphis”), all welcome. Sorry—not bored yet, not even close.
Super low-budget, retro-flavoured bubblegum drone from Tennessee. This year’s best argument for retiring the third chord.
J. Roddy Walston and the Business
In the early ’60s, the blues travelled to Britain, got weird, started wearing a dress, and crashed, finally, like a tired old Led Zeppelin. Baltimore-based J. Roddy Walston brings it all back home on this southern-glam stomper, finally producing the record that Leon Russell might have made if he'd hooked up with T.Rex.
Cate Le Bon
Proving that even Hollywood is no match for Wales, the psych-folk songstress’s L.A.–based third album is like a lace doily flung from the sitting room of a terraced house in Penboyr, landing somewhere in Laurel Canyon.
Manic Street Preachers
Rewind the Film
Taking their traditional place in my Top 10, the Manics return with a quiet but deceptively ambitious set that includes, in its title track, perhaps the most inspired six minutes in their 28-year career. And true to perverse form, they hand it off to a guest vocalist.
World Psychedelic Classics, Vol. 5: Who Is William Onyeabor?
The title’s a little misleading. This Nigerian superstar produced something closer to Afrofunk-with-synths during the transition from the ’70s to the ’80s, as much Cabaret Voltaire as it is Funkadelic. The results, predictably, are like nothing else you’ve ever heard.