Best albums of 2013 number 15 to 6

bestalbums_15_6

Part one: The best albums 2013 25-16 

15. The South – The Further Inside You Go…

the-south the further

Musically The South are even more at “the west-coast” of USA this time, the country aspect is toned down (but there are traces of it still – great steel-guitar and some honky-tonk piano, I like that they haven’t abandoned it all.) It has that very recognizable guitar sound (“The South-sound”), but it has more “space” and is more dreamy in a way.

“We didn’t have that specific discussion this time, we told him (Bent Sæther, producer) a bit about what we wanted, in what direction we would like to go. “A bigger canvas” was an expression that came about early on. We wanted not to rush it, to give the songs more time.”
– Alexander Pettersen

The South is also an incredibly good live band, catch them if you get the chance!

I know you wanted me to grow up tall
Not sure that I am man enough just yet to face it all
I know this isn’t what you had in mind  at all
I hope it helps to know I’ll pick you up each time you fall
(Dad)

– Hallgeir

Highlights
Hallgeir: Different Eyes, The further inside you go…, Dad
Egil: The further inside you go…, Dad, Different Eyes

The South – The Further Inside You Go… (live in studio):

14. Mavis Staples – One True Vine

mavi staples one true vine

One True Vine, is Mavis staples’s  second record with Jeff Tweedy (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo) and it is better than their first attempt. Her singing is as strong as ever but the material she has to work with are stronger, the lyrics are better and the melodies suits her singing even more. It really shows us that Tweedy is not bound by genre, he can do soul/gospel just as well as indie/americana. Let us not forget Mavis, her voice has matured to great hights, when we thought she could’t get any better – she comes up with this! It can very well be the best vocal work she has ever done.

It is a different album than it’s predessesor, calmer, more subdued. Or at least it starts on a calm note, it then becomes a journey from doubt and questions into faith, The One True Vine. Marvelous stuff.

Side streets I have worn
Through late summer storms
I should have told you
I could live without you
But I don’t want to
But I don’t want to
Oh I don’t want to
(Jesus Wept)

– Hallgeir

Highlights
Hallgeir: Jesus Wept, Far celestial shore, One true vine
Egil: Holy Ghost, Every Step,  One true vine

 Mavis Staples – Far Celestial Shore (Live at WFUV):

13. Lars Winnerbäck – Hosianna

lars winnerback hosianna

Vi satt en kväll på Stora Hotellet
Lasse Winnerbäck kom in genom dörren
Vi bjöd honom på vin
och vi pratade en lång stund
Det var inget särskilt med honom
Han var som vem som helst
(Vem som helst blues)

Lovely album from “the Swedish Springsteen”. Some writers have been pointing out that this is Great, but uneven album.. I do not agree. It’s got a couple of fillers, but 80% of the songs are just very good-to-great. Vem som helst blues, Et slags liv, Vi åkte aldrig ut till  havet and Skolklockan are all some of the strongest songs he’s written in my opinion. And one one this years greatest concerts was for me his concert in Stavanger in November.

Jag har aldrig drömt om diamanter
Jag har aldrig drömt om guld
Jag har drömt för att få vila en stund
Från ärenden och skuld
Från en kall och blåsig vinter
Från ett inarbetat mönster
Jag är ingenstans på väg här men det lyser i ditt fönster
(Ett slags liv)

-Egil

Highlights
Egil: Vem som helst blues, Et slags liv, Vi åkte aldrig ut till havet, Skolklockan
Hallgeir: Utkast til ett brev, Et slags liv, Skolklockan

 Lars Winnerbäck – Utkast till ett brev:

12. Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze

kurt vile wakin

This album is full of warm melodies and sonic textures that constantly changes as the dynamics swell and ebb with a perfectly organic feel. It’s the most assured, most sophisticated, and strongest work of Kurt Vile’s relatively short (but productive) career.

It is an ambitious work and ,to me at least, it is a companion album to Jonathan Wilson’s Fanfare. They both have that “care free” windy sound and I can hear the influence of 70s Pink Floyd in both records.

This is an album that may sound simple on the surface, but listen to it and the astounding attention to detail will baffle you.

 

you can say i’ve been most all around
but honey i ain’t goin nowhere
don’t worry bout a thing
it’s only dying
i love along a straight line
nothin always comes to mind
to be frank, im fried
but i don’t mind
(Wakin’ on a pretty day)

– Hallgeir

Highlights
Hallgeir: Wakin on a pretty day, Too Hard, Snowflakes are dancing
Egil: Wakin on a pretty day, Too Hard, Goldtone

Kurt Vile – Wakin’ On A Pretty Day (Live on Radio K):

11. John Moreland – In The Throes

john moreland in the throes

One for the money, four on the floor
You were born last week with your foot in the door
I heard truth is what songs are for
Nobody gives a damn about songs anymore 

A Great Great album. Strong songs & superb lyrics. The music is dominated by a lovely rugged vocal & Moreland’s acoustic guitar. Organ, electric guitar, bass, harmonica and piano are also present sometimes, but the overall sound is sparse & effective.

First time I heard the album (this month!) it hit me hard (only no.1 on our list hit me harder on first listen) & and it’s been growing ever since. Had I started listening earlier (it was released 11 june) it would probably had been a strong contender for top 3 on my list, as of writing this I already regret not rating it higher.

There’s a scar on my soul, so let me down easy
Break my heart sweetly, like you always do
I guess I can’t let go til you wreck me completely
Break my heart sweetly, drape me in blue
(Break my heart sweetly)

– Egil

Highlights
Egil: Nobody gives a damn about songs anymore, Break My Heart Sweetly, Gospel
Hallgeir: God’s Medicine, Gospel, Break My Heart Sweetly

John Moreland – God’s Medicine:

10. Phosphorecent – Muchacho

phosphorecent muchacho

Matthew Houck is pushing the envelope on this album, they go from a, fairly, traditional indie/americana sound into this exiting new soundscape. Phosphorescent doesn’t rest on their laurels, they reinvent themselves and now they’re a band who stretches the “Americana” sound in even more new and unusual directions.

Great band, great sounds, fantastic voice!

It is an incredibly layered album, and I expect to find new stuff in it’s grooves for a long time.  it’s almost exhaustingly beautiful and achingly sad.  I think this is Phosphorecent’s/Houck’s defining album and very close to a masterpiece.

Some say love is a burning thing
That it makes a fiery ring
Oh but I know love as a fading thing
Just as fickle as a feather in a stream
See, honey, I saw love,
You see it came to me
It puts its face up to my face so I could see
Yeah then I saw love disfigure me
Into something I am not recognizing
(Song for Zula, with a little nod to The Man In Black at the start)

– Hallgeir

Highlights
Hallgeir: Song for Zula, Ride on/Right on, Terror in the Canyons, A New Anhedonia
Egil: Song for Zula, Terror in the Canyons, Down to Go

Phosphorescent – Song For Zula (Live on KEXP):

9. John Grant – Pale Green Ghost

john-grant-pale-green-ghostsJohn Grant is a confessional artist, his music documents his attempts to overcome all his trials.  You can not separate his music from his personal life. He has suffered abuse, rejection, agoraphobia, depression and addiction, and was recently diagnosed HIV positive. This is heavy stuff, but Grant infuses his great lyrics with a solid dose of humor, something that is also very present at his concerts.

you could probably say i’m difficult, i probably talk too much
i overanalyse and overthink things, yes, it’s a nasty crutch
i’m usually only waiting for you to stop talking so that i can
concerning two-way streets, i have to say that i am not a fan

but i am the greatest motherfucker that you’re ever gonna meet
from the top of my head down to the tips of the toes on my feet
(GMF)

This album is almost as good as his masterpiece, Queen of Denmark, and that is quite an accomplishment!

– Hallgeir

Highlights
Hallgeir: GMF, It Doesn’t Matter, Glacier
Egil: Vietnam, GMF,  It Doesn’t Matter To Him

John Grant – GMF (Jools Holland):

8. Ashley Monroe – Like A Rose

ashley monroe like a rose

I was only 13 when daddy died
Mama started drinking and my brother just quit trying
I’m still bouncing back, heaven only knows
How I came out like a rose

This one was released back in early March and I’ve been listening to it on and off most of the year. It’s a wonderful “Traditional Country” album with nice & sometimes spicy lyrics.. all songs co-written by Ashley Monroe (Guy Clark contributed on the title track).

Give me weed instead of roses
Bring me whiskey instead of wine
Every puff, every shot, you’re looking better all the time

– Egil

Highlights
Egil: Like a Rose, Weed Instead of Roses, Two Weeks Late
Hallgeir: Like a Rose, Two Weeks Late, You Got Me

 

Ashley Monroe – Two Weeks Late (Live at the Grand Ole Opry):

7. Son Volt – Honky Tonk

Son-Volt-honky tonk

Every road has a story to tell
The dreams that have soared, the dreams that fell
Of finding that level that says out of control
Prospecting riches that reside in the soul
(Down the Highway)

This has to be Son Volt’s best album.. at least for me it is. Brilliant hot stuff. On this album, as the title do suggest, they’re more into the country territory, and Bakersfield (Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, etc…) in particular. Jay Farrar’s singing style might not be for everybody, but if your in… you’re really in. His singing here is really heart-felt & passionate. And on this one he’s written lot’s of great songs delivered with a sound filled with fiddles, pedal steel & acoustic guitars.

“Honky tonk music is about heartache, heartbreak & the road”
~Jay Farrar

 “Honky Tonk” (the album) is about all of this. A lot of pain & Great art.
The album is a triumph, and it is indeed a scandal that Hallgeir didn’t place it higher on his list (number 3 on mine).

-Egil

Highlights
Egil: Down The Highway, Angel of the Blues, Tears of Change, Hearts and Minds
Hallgeir: Down The Highway, Angel of the Blues, Hearts and Minds

Son Volt – Heart And Minds:

6. Patty Griffin – American Kid

patty griffin american kid

There’s ghosts that follow me around
Things I’ve seen and did
But I am not a bad man
Just an American kid.
(Not a Bad Man)

Listen to “Not a Bad Man” & you will hear a passionate & characteristic Griffin vocal. This is a wonderful quiet song is a strong contender for “Best new song in 2013”. But there is of course much more to this lovely album; 10/12 songs is written by Griffin alone, one co-written with partner Robert Plant & one classic Lefty Frizzell. Robert Plant also shares vocal on two great songs: Ohio & Highway Song.
This is just a brilliant Folk/Americana album that will live with us for a long time coming, at least the one’s who’s “Found the key”…

Everyone in this room wanted to be somewhere else
So tonight I found a key
And drive away a little early
Is the last time I wanna be that kind of lonely.
(That Kind of Lonely)

– Egil

Highlights
Egil: Not a Bad Man, That Kind Of Lonely, Don’t let me die in Florida, Ohio
Hallgeir: Don’t let me die in Florida, Wild old dog, Not a bad man

Patty Griffin (w/Robert Plant) – Highway Song:

Also check out:

———

– Hallgeir & Egil

4 thoughts on “Best albums of 2013 number 15 to 6”

    1. Thanks for your comment, will definitely check out your suggestion 🙂

      …and yes it has been a strong year for americana/country women this year

      – Hallgeir

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