After many, many months, I’ve finally wrapped up my Retrospective series for the 2010s. By Retrospective, I mean collecting 100 songs that essential were the soundtrack to the year as it happened to me. Songs that I listen to and immediately a memory or two from that period of time comes flooding back.
In the case of 2013, it was a real year of “growing up”. I got my first smartphone, I moved out of the dorms, I got my first “real” jobs (at my college radio station + archival library), I celebrated one year of my relationship, and my taste continued to balloon. The header photo I make for each one ideally is made from pictures I took from that year. I found that I either didn’t take many pictures in 2013, or I’ve deleted most of them. Instead, it’s made from a shot in the stacks of the archive library, a shot out the window of Bug House, and a cool picture I took on a foggy day on campus. Then I put it into a grid, because 2013 was also the year I discovered the app that I use to make all the art for the blog. Eight years of using this dang app! Crazy!
You can see the full suite of Retrospective posts HERE.
Listen along to the full playlist HERE.
- ECO VIRTUAL – “Cumulus Fractus”
Yes, I’m starting off 2013’s retrospective with a vaporwave track. Music that sounds like it should be in the radar segments on the weather channel – what a concept!
- Grouper – “Living Room”
And thus, my obsession with Grouper came to be with the release of The Man Who Died In His Boat. “Living Room” is an incredible track.
- The Radio Dept. – “Where Damage Isn’t Already Done”
One of the best guitar hooks ever. EVER. The Radio Dept. are GOATs for this one.
- Beach Fossils – “Shallow”
Speaking of great guitar lines, “Shallow” is still one of my favorite songs ever. Such a crushing guitar line and entertaining song as a whole. I remember when Pitchfork panned this record – it was the start of me being like “you know what? Maybe they’re wrong most of the time.” Clash The Truth is a kickass record, one of the best of the 2010s.
- The Angelic Process – “Million Year Summer”
- Dive – “Reverberation”
- Asobi Seksu – “Strings”
Downloaded this .zip file from a forum that had like, 10 gigs of shoegaze music and it took probably a full day to download. I remember leaving for the day and coming back and having all this shoegaze to listen to. At this point I’ve deleted most of it from my computer, but that was a moment. These are some highlights.
- FaltyDL – “She Sleeps (feat. Ed MacFarlane)”
What an awesome song and shout out to Friendly Fires’ Ed MacFarlane for coming in with an understated vocal feature. Listening to this while I walked around in the snow was such a perfect pairing. Glittering fragments of micro sounds floating around the listener.
- Geinoh Yamashirogumi – “Kaneda”
I think I watched Akira for the first time late winter break 2013. That was an experience, of course.
- ONRA – “Take A Ride”
I had a world music show in 2013 and used a lot of ONRA as the bed music. That was probably my first real introduction to non DJ Shadow or J Dilla instrumental hip hop, now known as “lo-fi chill hip hop study beats”.
- William Basinski – “dlp 1.1”
Yo dude you ever heard of Disintegration Loops? I’m very cool.
- Iceage – “Morals”
“WHERE’S YOUR MORAAALLSS??”
- My Bloody Valentine – “Who Sees You”
Was watching The Godfather with some friends when news of MBV surprise-releasing a new album. My friend’s internet at his place was so abysmal I almost didn’t get a copy. I did though. I then sold it in 2016 or 2017 when I wasn’t making any money. Do I regret it? Partially, but I may not have survived. Let’s be real. Who knows.
- Buke and Gase – “Hiccup”
Why does no one I know care about Buke and Gase? They’re great!
- Shlohmo – “Later”
BIG 2013 energy. Where did Shlohmo go? Is he still making music? This is a good song!
- Neutral Milk Hotel – “Two-Headed Boy”
- The Music Tapes – “The Minister of Longitude”
Seeing Jeff Mangum perform in a train station in Hartford was an experience I’ll never forget. I’m so glad I got to see him here so when I saw Neutral Milk Hotel at Pitchfork the year after I could say “ok, I don’t need to risk my life plowing through hordes of people here. The amount of song request heckling was off the charts (just let the man play his songs!) and the fact that it was in a cavernous train station (why) weren’t ideal, but singing along to all the iconic NMH songs was an experience college me will always treasure. Hell, even current me. I remember I even called the friend that got me into NMH during “Two-Headed Boy” and she was elated. She was like “I was really stressed studying for a midterm in a coffee shop and all of the sudden I’m at a really bitcrushed Neutral Milk Hotel concert!”. I also have to shout out Julian Koster, who put on a great show as The Music Tapes. I bought a shirt that I don’t think I ever wore. But it’s a relic of indie rock’s past. Hell yeah.
- Fear of Men – “Seer”
I think I saw Tiny Mix Tapes give this album a 5/5, which kind of shocked me because I had only seen them give stuff way above my taste level good scores and “indie pop” lower scores. Aside from that, Fear Of Men came out with one of the strongest debuts of the 2010s with Early Fragments – every song is a classic. If you like twee or stuff like that, you owe it to yourself to listen to Fear Of Men’s first two records. They’re damn near perfect.
- Grave Babies – “Over and Under Ground”
This Grave Babies record is super overlooked. If you want some real grimy, sludgy gothic rock, this is your game. It sounds like the audio files are decomposing as the song progresses. Great drum machine, disgusting violent guitars, real hooky songs.
- clipping – “guns.up”
Hearing Clipping for the first time was a moment. I don’t think I had heard any “harsh noise” before this, so it was incredibly jarring.
- Merchandise – “I’m Still Right”
Shout out to the period of time where Merchandise had everything they’d done up for free download on their website. Their debut LP is mad underrated.
- Waxahatchee – “Noccalula”
Haha – ouch!
- Swearin’ – “Kenosha”
This album kicks so much ass. Holy smokes. Just one of the easiest things to listen to on repeat.
- Waxahatchee – “Dixie Cups And Jars”
I had some friends at the radio station that were really psyched about Waxahatchee getting mainstream press attention for her work, since they had played a few shows with her bands in the past, they had slept on their floor when the Crutchfield sisters came to CT… the punk scene, you know. This album still holds WAY up.
- Quality Cinema – “Fleeting”
Shout out to Levi’s friend. This is a legitimately great dream pop song.
- The Underachievers – “Herb Shuttles”
Where did The Underachievers go? Are they still around? This tape was pretty great. Shout out to DatPiff.
- Sun Araw – “Horse Steppin”
Shout out to Hotline Miami. Very college guy thing to feel like the coolest dude on campus, listening to the Hotline Miami soundtrack and walking around. I knew of Sun Araw before this, but this really started my obsession with his late 00s / early 10s output.
- Slow Warm Death – “SLEEP”
2013 marked the one and only year I tried to get into emo music. It didn’t stick. This song is pretty great. For emo fans, it’s a side project of the guy from Snowing.
- Jay Reatard – “It’s So Easy”
I forgot what spurred it, but there was a period of spring 2013 where I was listening to Jay Reatard’s Blood Visions at least once a day for two or three weeks. Still a near-perfect rock record.
- DJ Rashad – “Rollin”
Gotta shout out the Rollin EP for introducing me to footwork. Long live DJ Rashad.
- Merchandise – “Anxiety’s Door”
Very happy to get new Merchandise music after getting obsessed with them the year prior.
- Jürgen Müller – “Sea Bed Meditation”
Only recently learned that the so-called origin story of this record being made by some marine biologist in the 1970s and being lost to time… was fake. Either way I used many songs on this record as my bed music on most of my radio shows throughout 2013.
- Laura Cortese – “Life Is Good Blues”
Got this to review at the radio station. Turns out this was the roommate of my old violin teacher! And this song is a cover of a Laura Veirs song. I like this version leagues better. The biting violins and chopping are soooo sick. This song gets so intense. It’s so sick. I’m a fiddle nerd. It’s still in there, somewhere.
- James Blake – “Retrograde”
Here’s a question – does anyone go back and listen to any James Blake albums aside from his debut? I haven’t listened to his sophomore LP probably since 2013, but this song still goes.
- Deerhunter – “Vox Celeste”
Getting hyped about the upcoming Deerhunter album Monomania so I decided to loop back around to their older catalog. Justice for Weird Era Cont. and especially “Vox Celeste”!!
- Kurt Vile – “Wakin On A Pretty Day”
I don’t really care for this song anymore, but man it was the jam back in 2013.
- Deerhunter – “Sleepwalking”
Justice for Monomania!
- Todd Terje – “Inspector Norse”
Whenever anyone discovers this song, it’s a moment.
- Jai Paul – “Str8 Outta Mumbai”
Where were you when the Jai Paul demos leaked?
- Sweet Valley – “Chaos Speed”
I don’t like that Wavves guy anymore, but I sure did listen to Sweet Valley that spring and summer. Anything that incorporates music from my favorite video games is usually pretty good in my book.
- Young Galaxy – “Pretty Boy”
Alright here’s a story time. For the last quarter or so of my sophomore spring semester, I felt like I had a really bad cold that just wouldn’t go away. I was constantly coughing up goops of phlegm, but some days I would feel totally fine. After my last final I decided to pop into the university doctor’s office to get checked out. I was totally checked as normal… until they listened to my breathing. That was all kinds of messed up. They determined I had asthmatic bronchitis – not great! Got prescribed two different inhalers, a steroid and an antibiotic. Shit is crazy! Had to take those meds all summer. Anyways, I was listening to this Young Galaxy album while I waited in the hallways and while I walked back to my dorm. Fun times!
- Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”
One of the first LPs I reviewed when I became music director (I ran unopposed). Still a great track!
- The Knife – “Full Of Fire”
If Shaking The Habitual and the first single “Full Of Fire” didn’t blow your mind when they dropped, damn you must have some pretty next level taste then huh. This song also coincides with me getting Vine (and my first smartphone) so for some reason it always reminds me of early Vine. A strange time,
- Bibio – “À tout à l’heure”
What a sweet little tune! Reminds me of the spring and good times.
- Vampire Weekend – “Unbelievers”
Hard to pick just one Vampire Weekend song, but “Unbelievers” had me jumping out of my seat the first time I heard it. It may have been the first vinyl record I received as music director as well, so that was a pleasant surprise.
- HEALTH – “We Are Water”
GET COLOR was another album I was really obsessed with in the summer. This song in particular I finally got to see live in 2019 and it was electric. Just absolutely unhinged track.
- J Dilla – “Time – The Donut Of The Heart”
Had a BIG Dilla / Donuts moment in the summer, listening to it over and over again while at work.
- Mikal Cronin – “Weight”
A song of the summer in 2013. Just an instant classic. It’ll always bring me back to this time.
- Dean Blunt – “Demon”
Good times blasting this song in the radio station music director office. Somehow got this album sent to me? To review and add to rotation? Has a Dean Blunt album been sent to college radio since?
- Laurel Halo – “Supersymmetry”
After getting super into Laurel Halo’s Quarantine, I decided to look back into her previous material. The King Felix EP has some anime intro-sounding cuts like this. It’s sick.
- Anamanaguchi – “Planet”
Maybe the first Kickstarter I ever backed was for Anamanaguchi’s Endless Fantasy. Hearing a clip of “Planet” in the teaser trailer was all I needed. Still an amazing cut. In the summer of 2013 I lived in a real old house in the woods with my friend who also worked at the radio station. The house would regularly be full of bugs, so I started calling it “Bug House”. Either way, the house was at the bottom of a MASSIVE hill. Like this was just some true sicko stuff right here – the hill was stupid. I remember trying to ride my bike up this hill while listening to this album, trying to capture its mystical energy, and man did it not work. Sweat city, baby. Shout out to Bug House – you creepy old place you.
- Daft Punk – “Doin’ It Right (feat. Panda Bear)”
Had this as my alarm clock for most of 2013. Still not sick of it.
- Deafheaven – “Dream House”
Where were you when you heard “Dream House” for the first time? I was on the floor of my room, totally into it. I definitely killed a massive cricket that had infiltrated my room while listening to this. Woops.
- Tobacco – “Constellation Dirtbike Head”
Got WAY back into Tobacco’s 2010 album, and almost serendipitously we booked him for a show at UConn later that year. When I met him and told him I had been listening to this album on repeat this year, he looked genuinely happy to hear that and said that it was the work he’s still the most proud of. Lovely guy.
- Disclosure – “Voices (feat. Keable)”
Disclosure’s debut – summer-defining tracks! I went running a few times that summer to try and stay active (it didn’t last) but running around in the woods and backroads of Northeastern CT was nice.
- Jon Hopkins – “Open Eye Signal”
Pro-tip – this is a really fun songs to push a metal cart down narrow passageways between stacks in an archival library. I’m speaking from experience here.
- Boards of Canada – “Jacquard Causeway”
- Boards of Canada – “1969”
I wasn’t even THAT big of a fan of Boards of Canada when they announced a new album, their first in nearly 10 years or so, along with reissues of their previous material. However, I was stoked. I pre-ordered the bundle and currently have all BoC releases on vinyl. That summer though Geogaddi became my favorite album of all time and Tomorrow’s Harvest was a Top 10 album for the year. I’d listen to Geogaddi at my job at all times. It was so sick.
- The Mighty Hannibal – “The Biggest Cry”
I think watching some video with King Khan talking about The Mighty Hannibal got me to check this out. BIG summer 2013 repeat-listen. Awesome soul + funk music. Look the dude up.
- Kanye West – “I’m In It”
Wasn’t a huge fan of Yeezus upon release, but I did instantly appreciate “I’m In It”, which is still my favorite song on the record.
- Todd Terje – “Strandbar (Disko Version)”
How do you follow up “Inspector Norse”? With another badass single, I guess.
- Young Fathers – “Freefalling”
Beautiful tune to symbolize my obsession with Young Fathers’ Tape Two back in the summer of 2013.
- Pity Sex – “Honey Pot”
This record is a ton of fun, even still! Emo-touched shoegaze / dream pop. Although when I met them they were not nice. Ha.
- Kirin J Callinan – “Embracism”
Kirin!! What a debut. One of my favorite songs from that year. Wild music video too.
- Julianna Barwick – “Pyrrhic”
Was listening to this album almost every day that summer. Just beautiful, shocking music.
- Beck – “Defriended”
One of THE best Beck songs EVER. One of my biggest life questions is why didn’t the dude make a full album with songs like this + the other singles that he released in 2013. I think it would have been so much better than the three he dropped from then until now.
- T. Rex – “Cosmic Dancer”
Not sure why but I had a stretch of time where I’d listen to T. Rex’s Electric Warrior at least three times a week. Gotta get back to that one, honestly.
- Fuji Grid TV – “black horse / white bitch midi”
In the summer of 2013 I had a radio show called Virtual Sushi Radio, inspired by James Ferraro album titles Far Side Virtual and Sushi. Original, I know. Unfortunately I didn’t play music at all as groundbreaking as Ferraro or his contemporaries, mostly just new music out at the time, with themes for each episode. However, I did all my mic breaks with Apple Text-To-Speak, writing out scripts in TextEdit and having my computer read it, sometimes purposefully typing gibberish so it would sound like a computer crashing. I would also fade between a burned CD of this Fuji Grid TV album, full of pitch-bent Japanese TV & radio commercials combined with vaporwave. The goal was that the show was actually a brainwashing program to encourage capitalism and erasure of the self. Did a lot of hard cuts cutting out music to let the computer voice talk, as well as peaking audio. This was a late night show, so I doubt anyone tuned in, but I hope people liked it. Wish I recorded a single show of it, but that’s my bad.
- Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire – “Noble Drew Ali”
Justice for this Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire album!! Don’t know anyone talking about this anymore, probably because it’s not on streaming. Seek it out!
- Hunx and His Punx – “You Think You’re Tuff”
A favorite of the summer, probably just because Shannon & The Clams.
- Aye Nako – “Cut It Off”
Does anyone listen to this old Aye Nako record anymore? I feel like because I was friends with a few northeastern punks that played shows with this band they were more on my radar. Not on streaming, but man this song is SHARP.
- SOPHIE – “Bipp”
Ok the simulation of PC Music starts here. Was like woah, nothing sounds like this. RIP SOPHIE.
- Van Morrison – “Sweet Thing”
Looking back at my last.fm listening log, I apparently had a big Van Morrison Astral Weeks phase in the summer of 2013 that I do not remember at all. Ah well, this dude’s an ass but his music is pretty darn good.
- Postiljonen – “Skying High”
Lovely late summer jammer. Why does no one I know talk about Postiljonen? This is a great dream pop record! Brings “Midnight City” vibes without being that song.
- Julia Holter – “In The Green Wild”
Have you ever been on a double-decker train real early in the morning after a weekend spent with sweet friends and everyone’s all sleepy so you put this on in your headphones and you drift in and out of sleep along the way? I don’t wanna say that’s the ideal environment to listen to Loud City Song but for a first impression it floored me.
- Arca – “Knot”
Completely and totally demolished my brain and made new futuristic developments where things once lived. Never heard anything like it then, and I kinda haven’t heard anything like it since. At that point it was just a Soundcloud stream that I had found a rip of with separated tracks. Just amazing.
- Oneohtrix Point Never – “Zebra”
I had no idea how to process this OPN album at the time. Walking around on campus listening to this felt like I was separating layers of reality and exposing it all to be a simulation. Just getting straight up goosebumps by the chem building for no reason. Fall, rainy weather, surrounded by people rushing around campus. Amazing.
- Chelsea Wolfe – “Sick”
Was fully obsessed, submersed, etc with this song. It affected me in wild ways. One of the best songs of the decade for sure. What drama!
- Infinity Shred – “Void Ripper”
Shout out to the Infinity Shred crew. They’re chill as hell. Booked them a show at my university. It was soooo sick.
- Crying – “Bodega Run”
A friend of mine offhand mentioned seeing / playing a show with this band called “Crying” that made video game music rock. Sounded cool. Checked them out and “Bodega Run” instantly became a college staple. Although I didn’t live in the city with bodegas, we did go to the one 7-11 on campus drunkenly and bought snacks. Good old times.
- Ovlov – “Where’s My Dini?”
Another landmark record. Lucky enough to bring these guys to play at UConn and they ripped it apart. It was so sick. Bought the LP + a shirt I still wear then. Just fantastic. Thinking back to Exploding In Sound Records in 2013, what a juggernaut.
- FKA Twigs – “Papi Pacify”
Head completely broke open upon listening to EP2. Totally rewired my brain.
- Machinedrum – “Don’t 1 2 Lose U”
Shout out to co-sign for sending me this record. Big walking around on campus LP.
- DJ Rashad – “She A Go (feat. Spinn & Taso)”
RIP DJ RASHAD. Double Cup has bangers!
- Kelela – “Bank Head (Extended)”
I posted about this album/mixtape on the blog in class. This was when I was really back into my blog, posting about stuff all the time. I remember being like “oh people must be like ‘woah that’s cool'” but I was definitely being obnoxious. Either way, this was on heavy rotation in 2013.
- Courtney Barnett – “Avant Gardener”
I remember getting this as a music director (I THINK) before all the hype started and was like “huh this is probably gonna be a big thing, huh”.
- Diarrhea Planet – “Lite Dream”
Went and saw Diarrhea Planet in New Haven with a friend. I remember getting home from class, heating up a microwave burrito, chugging two beers and getting in my friend’s car and driving an hour to his parents house and having a nice pizza dinner before the show. At the show, I saved a future friend’s glasses from being stomped on, and Diarrhea Planet blew out the sound system so the show ended early. Still a good night.
- Aphex Twin – “Tha”
A case of me downloading a random .zip file of an album that I didn’t realize had a track missing for maybe two, three years? Either way, I heard “Tha” for the first time in 2013 after listening to SAW 85-92 for like three years prior. The song is good.
- Cut Copy – “Let Me Show You Love”
Very few showers were spent without this Cut Copy album in the last quarter of 2013.
- Blank Banshee – “Eco Zones”
After being constantly spammed with Blank Banshee’s early albums, Blank Banshee 1 was one of my favorite records of 2013.
- M.I.A. – “Warriors”
Woof – one of the few M.I.A. songs I didn’t fall in love with because of the music video first. Don’t get me wrong, I like loads of M.I.A. tunes, but she has very good videos that undoubtedly enhance already good songs. This song is just bangin’ on its own.
- Death Grips – “Feels Like A Wheel”
In 2013 my Death Grips fandom was maybe at its peak. I don’t really care for this album now but at the time it was all I could listen to.
- The Range – “Telescope”
Justice for The Range! Both his albums are fire!
- Tim Hecker – “Virginal II”
I think I got really into Tim Hecker this year, so it’s convenient for me that his 2013 album was really really really good. Another thing I would play on the air studio during my late night show and just BLAST it.
- Blood Orange – “Chamakay”
Had this as my alarm clock for a while. Didn’t get tired of it! Came very close to meeting Dev Hynes a few times throughout 2013. Dang!
- Tirzah – “Inside Out”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tirzah’s “Inside Out” is the song I had the most people come into the radio booth asking what the song was. It’s perfect.
- Joanna Newsom – “Sawdust & Diamonds”
Hadn’t hit my Joanna stride until probably 2013 when I really started listening to Ys. Holy moly. What was I missing all my life?
- Hop Along – “Kids On The Boardwalk”
Same goes for Hop Along. I had gotten into the record at the tail end of 2012, but went back to it a year later and haven’t looked back since.
- Burial – “Come Down To Us”
Classic Burial end-of-the-year slammer. One of the best in his discography.
- Clams Casino – “Crystals”
Vividly remember BLASTING this song in my friend’s car, packed full of high school buddies, drifting around snowy streets of Ann Arbor. That was one of the cooler moments of my life.