Column by Annelise Tarnowski
Last week, I gave you the first five albums from my Best of 2013 list. The next five albums are …
“ … Like Clockwork” – Queens Of The Stone Age
This band has been together since 1996 and has put out a total of six albums. In 2013, they put out this album that featured Dave Grohl from The Foo Fighters on drums. “ … Like Clockwork” is easily one of the best heavy rock albums of last year, and is surprisingly melodic. The album features contributions from former members of Queens, Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner, Elton John, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears. The successful retooling of the group for this album still features their signature inta-classic riffs.
“Modern Vampires of the City” – Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend’s third album starts off with a slow track that instantly grabs your attention. You half expect it to build into something bigger as it goes, but while it adds multiple layers, it stays pretty even, ending in a simple piano melody. The rest of the album, though, starts to build right when the second track begins. The group’s frontman, Ezra Koenig, is known for his outstanding lyrics and Internet presence (follow him on Twitter now @arzE). He has the ability to bring many seemingly unrelated ideas and unrelated kinds of music all into one song album, and that’s evident in this album, being the best one that the band has released. They’ve finally stopped writing about college years.
“Once I Was An Eagle” – Laura Marling
If you haven’t heard of Laura Marling, and you enjoy female vocalists, this is your album. She spins her life stories into early-folk melodies. The album actually evolves, as its own bigger story, too, as the tracks are ordered as they were written. Much like “Modern Vampires of the City,” Marling muddles through what it means to move into adulthood. It’s a surprisingly self-deprecating album, lyrically, coming from such a sweet-sounding voice (the same way Joni Mitchell does it).
“Overgrown” – James Blake
On his second album, the boyish brooding British man, shows the world of electronic-based music what he can really do. His first self-titled album featured simple keyboard tunes turned into masterpieces and a minimal amount of vocals. On this perfectly-titled second release, Blake fills the space that existed on his first album with melodic lyrics, and he steps up his electro R&B background, too. While it’s not the same kind of good as his first album, “Overgrown” pushes the limits of the digital beats we’ve gotten sick of in dubstep by pairing them with the longing of his singer-songwriter voice and lyrics.
“Pushin’ Against A Stone” – Valerie June
Produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Aurbach, her first album as a signed artist gained her national attention. She has an unconventionally high voice, although still a strong one, that takes on folk, country, blues and gospel all at once. Her ukulele adds another layer of genre-bending awesomeness.
Tarnowski is a junior radio/TV producing and sociology double major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org