So 2013 is drawing an end. The sheer flood of releases is ebbing away and as per usual, people are compiling lists of their favorites throughout the year. For me it has been a very exciting year. The blog has grown over the first year of its existence. So happy birthday little baby. But it’s not only my baby anymore. I have the pleasure of welcoming two writers aboard who will help me publishing more stuff and will give you an additional angle to my boring self-loathing. So say hello to Matthias (who’s first review was already posted here some time ago) and Daniel (you’ll read some things from him in the near future!). I am very thankful for all the people who took their time reading the articles, sharing them or getting in touch through their bands, labels or promoters. We cherish you all!
Before I am going to give you my top 5 + 5 of the year, here’s the breakdown of the blog:
More than 3’000 readers from 59 countries visited the blog.
Record for a day was 430 in April!
The most read article was the piece on David Bazan, followed by the review of Casper’s ‘Hinterland’ with Piles and Piles Review/Interview coming in on 3!
Most viewers came from the USA, followed by our local Germans and Austrian readers! We can safely say, we have managed to go global in this past year!
Carlo’s Top 5+5 (no particular order)
1. Turbostaat – Stadt der Angst (Clouds Hill/Rough Trade)
I hate going to gigs by myself, but I’ll never forget an evening in November 2010, when the band toured their last album in Hannover. I got drunk before the show – the opening band was horrible – but Turbostaat blew me away. One hand holding on to my beer, while the other constantly in the air screaming every word. The new album, the first on Clouds Hill and their first since parting ways with Warner is the very essence of the band distilled in 12 gorgeous songs between northern German poetry and rumbling staccato guitars and rhythms!
2. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse (Warner)
Bands from Scotland are amazing. There must be something they put in their whiskey (or is it Irn Bru?) that makes me fall in love with so many of them. Pedestrian Verse was an early contender for album of the year, maybe it even came a little too early, but when I go back now, I realise it has been a loyal companion over the whole year. No matter what mood I was in, no matter the weather or temperatures, it was always there. I guess it will be there come 2015 or 2016 or 2020.
3. Rah Rah – The Poet’s Dead (Devilduck/Indigo)
When a friend tipped me off for this band at this years Reeperbahn Festival, I wasn’t expecting much. There was time to fill before Built to Spill played at another venue but the small bar that was host to the Canadian music export office was already filling up nicely. The next 30 minutes felt like everything I ever wanted Arcade Fire to be like. Distortion, urgency, female/male vocals, a merry-go-round at the instruments, nice stories and yes, a fiddle! The album is a little less powerful than the live show, but still a golden nugget!
4. Deafheaven – Sunbather (Deathwish/Indigo)
It is not your typical record for a drive down the Californian West coast. But when I slipped this album into my car’s stereo (I had just bought it a few days before in Portland) it hit me like a tuck. It’s a perfect tour de force from start to finish. It still gives me chills and to this point I am clueless to how 2(!!) guys can make such a racket. Definitely up there with the best album artworks as well!
5. Touché Amoré – Is Survived By (Deathwish/Indigo)
How do you follow up on a brilliant album that not only wins over the hearts of thousands of hardcore girls and boys but also the critics? How do you follow up on a record so intense that every word is worthy of being forever inked in forearms, calves or shoulders? I guess it wasn’t easy but somehow Touché Amoré managed. I really like the quieter moments (the La Dispute moments) as they make the blasts hit you even harder. Definite highlight!
1. The National – Trouble Will Find Me (4AD/Beggars)
Funny enough, this turned out to be the album we could all agree on this year. A logical step forward from ‘High Violet’ and for me it’s the album for those quiet hours and nighttime strolls around Berlin.
2. Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt (Wichita/PIAS)
Found her debut on bandcamp, fell in love with her 2nd album, totally in love when I saw her in a dim-lit room after a few beers.
3. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork (Matador/Beggars)
The first time Josh Homme managed to get me for a whole album since Songs for the Deaf – and that has been some time.
4. Title Fight – Floral Green (Side One Dummy/Cargo)
Also a very early entrant. Rougher than their debut and thus a little more down with my taste. Brilliant punk with a slight grunge edge!
5. Casper – Hinterland (Four Music/Sony)
Probably the most indie a rap record has ever been. Probably the most anticipated for critics in Germany. And it became a truly remarkable masterpiece!