Opinions about the best albums of the year are nearly as diverse as the local music community itself.
For several years now, we’ve asked notable musicians, writers, music professionals and fans to give us their top albums. And as has been the case for a long, long time, no single album has emerged as the year’s consensus best or favorite.
A few names and titles show up on several lists. And two of them are recordings by local bands: the Grisly Hand, for its “Country Singles” album, and PedalJets for “What’s in Between.”
Other names you’ll see more than once or twice: Neko Case, King Khan the Shrines and another local band, Dead Voices.Tim’s favorite albums of 2013 The Grisly Hand, “Country Singles”: Kansas City band issues collection of finely crafted pop songs with country and soul flavorings. Brims with melodies, harmonies and grooves. PedalJets, “What’s in Between”: Another local gem. Mike Allmayer re-emerges as one of the craftiest songwriters on his band’s first album in decades. It’s all riff-roaring hard rock with pop sensibilities. Mikal Cronin, “MC II”: My favorite pop record of 2013. He takes it to some exciting and endearing places. Suuns, “Images du Futur”: Because it feels like a collision between Clinic and the Black Angels. Valerie June, “Pushin’ Against a Stone”: Old-school soul with some country-blues trimmings. King Khan the Shrines, “Idle No More”: Garage rock with some brass, funk and soul. Midlake, “Antiphon,”: Atmospheres, melodies, harmonies and grooves — it’s all here. Brandy Clark, “12 Stories”: A dozen songs about love, marriage, infidelity, divorce, smoking weed, all written in ways too smart and candid for mainstream country. Neko Case, “The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You”: Because she keeps growing and evolving, and I keep following her. Dead Voices, “Dead Voices”: A gumbo of country, rock and psychedelia with some light jazz accents from a local super group. David Regnier’s voice penetrates and transcends, and his all-star band is stellar.