Even though I've been involved in the music blogosphere for nearly five years now, 2013 was the year that I listened to the most music. At least, I made more of an effort to do so.
One thing I do know is that I saw more live music this year than ever before. I went as far as keeping a spreadsheet of the 161 artists I saw perform – a list that's complete with relatively detailed notes. You can check that sheet out HERE. And yes, earplugs are my best friend.
Below, I've selected my favorite shows (from the spreadsheet), favorite songs and favorite albums of 2013; as well as a Spotify playlist of all the songs that I enjoyed most this year. Feel free to comment below and let me know what your favorites were.
Top 10 Favorite Shows1/25 - Chelsea Wolfe at the Chapel of the First Unitarian Church
It was a cold, snowy night and Chelsea Wolfe had two sold out shows in the intimate 50 person chapel. She had just released her acoustic album so the venue was perfect for her dark and slow burning acoustic tunes.
3/13 - Iggy & the Stooges at the Mohawk in Austin, TX during SXSW
I wasn’t around when Iggy Pop & the Stooges were in their prime, but I did obsess over “Search & Destroy” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog” as a skateboarder in high school. To see them perform those two songs live was f**king amazing. Excuse my French, but really; there’s no other way to describe it.
4/12 - Autre Ne Veut at Making Time at Voyeur
The first time Autrue Ne Veut played in Philly, it was in February 2013 at Johnny Brenda’s. There album had just come out that day and no one really knew who they were. Flash forward to when they peformed at Making Time where the venue was packed and everyone was singing along. It was amazing to see and experience.
4/20 - Rhye at the upstairs of World Cafe Live
Rhye’s lead singer Mike Milosh has one of the most majestic voices in all of music and he sings all of his songs about his wife, in a very loving, and at times, sexual way. For this show, his wife was sitting in the front row where he sang to her for the majority of the show. Aside from them, he and the rest of the band pulled off their music extremely well live.
5/15 - Phoenix at the downstairs of World Cafe Live
These French rockers have gotten so big over the past few years that they normally play in large stadium-like venues. However, WXPN brought Phoenix in for their 2013 NonComvention and had them play downstairs at World Cafe Live. Seeing a band of their caliber in such an intimate venue was amazing.
7/24 - The Districts at Girard Hall
These four dudes are literally straight out of high school. They moved to Philadelphia from Lancaster with slight intentions on going to college, but decided to pursue music instead. They made the right choice because they just signed to Fat Possum records. Big things are coming for these kids. Over the summer, they played a pop up show for Out Of Town Films to a select handful of fans. They carry themselves like seasoned veterans even though they literally just turned 18. 8/31 - Beyonce at Made In America Festival
There’s really not too much to say, that hasn't already been said, about Beyoncé’s show at Made In America. The woman put on a performance like no other. Everything she did was spot on and her voice carries a power like no other. She’s a Goddess.
9/10 - Majical Cloudz at Kung Fu Necktie
This was my fourth time seeing the band perform live this year, but this was my first time seeing them as a headliner. I spent so much time listening to their record that it was very personal for me. I spent most of the very dimly lit show with my eyes closed just listening to Devon Welsh’s voice resonate through me. Afterwards I spoke to Devon, who I’ve gotten to know over the year, and thanked him for his music and the show.
10/20 - Miguel at Ortlieb’s
Miguel was set to open for Drake at the Wells Fargo Center in front of 20,000 people. However, that show was canceled due to technical issues so Miguel ended up performing inside the tiny Northern Liberties Bar playing for 100 people for an hour at 1 a.m. It was one of those special shows that will likely never happen again.
11/16 - Kanye West at Wells Fargo Center
I don’t care how many crazy rants Kanye West went on this year because the guy is a musical genius. Sure, lots of people will disagree but I don’t care about that either. His show at the Wells Fargo Center was a two and half hour Broadway master piece. From the opening noise of “On Sight” to the closing bit of “Bound 2”, Kanye put on one of the most creative and energetic shows on 2013 and one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
Top 10 favorite tracks of 2013
- Majical Cloudz "Notebook"
- Kanye West "New Slaves"
- Drake (featuring Sampha) "Too Much"
- Disclosure (featuring London Grammar) "Help Me Lose My Mind"
- Autre Ne Veut "Play By Play"
- RAC (featuring Kele & MNDR) "Let Go"
- Thee Oh Sees "Toe Cutter - Thumb Buster"
- Rhye "Major Minor Love"
- Janelle Monae (featuring Miguel) "Primetime"
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra "From The Sun"
Top 10 favorite albums of 2013
- Majical Cloudz - Impersonator
- Kanye West - Yeezus
- Disclosure - Settle
- Speedy Ortiz - Major Arcana
- Rhye - Woman
- Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold + Tally All The Things That You Broke
- Autre Ne Veut - Anxiety
- The Districts - Telephone (This album techinally came out in 2012 but since signing to Fat Possum, it's now considered a 2013 release so I'm including it cause these kids are awesome.)
- Drake - Nothing Was The Same
- Earl Sweatshirt - Doris