Month: December 2013

A.R. TALLO brings you his 2013 faves

It’s been another banner year for music. There’s been some amazing and memorable records and songs, and some absolute kitsch as well. 2013 brought us some new, exciting artists like Lorde, Haim, and Chvrches. We’ve also seen, for the first time in 22 years, new music from My Bloody Valentine. Who could forget all of the over-hyped albums from the likes of Arcade Fire, Jay-Z, and Daft Punk? We’ve seen Miley twerk more times then we wanted to, we’ve heard Kanye complain more times than we’ve wanted to, but outside of those atrocities, not a bad year.

I, personally, had a great year of music discovery. Although my year has centered on rediscovering and discovering for the first time some electronica, dance, vintage Italo-disco, and new wave music of yesteryear, I’ve also heard some fantastic new music too. I’ve put together a list of my very favorite albums of 2013 and I’d like to share that list with you today. These are the albums I spent the most time with this year and the ones I believe are the best of the best.

I can’t believe the year is already over. In the words of the great Rich Homie Quan, “Got me feelin’ some type of way…”

These are my Top 10 Albums of 2013.



This year we’ve seen a reemergence of the EDM genre. Every pop artist out there is using hard, electronic dance music as the backdrop for sugary pop nuggets but Guy and Lawrence Howard of Disclsoure took us back to the UK style two-step and Detroit house music of the 1990s with this outstanding record. The lads used some little known artists to sing on the tracks with vocals and also used some amazing sampling and production techniques to churn out deliciously danceable song after song. I’ve listened to something off of this album almost every day this year since it came out. To me, this was the very best album of the year because there is not one bad song and it is truly a very unique piece of music. I’m going go ahead and say this: “Settle” is a better album then Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories”. Sorry, not sorry.



ducktails flower lane

Matt Mondanile is the brains behind Ducktails and the guitarist from the amazing band Real Estate. On his second full length album “The Flower Lane”, Matt found his way out of the bedroom and into a studio to polish up his sound and write some of his best music. The title track sounds like a Steely Dan b-side while the hit single “Letter of Intent” is smooth and groovy like a late ‘70s yacht rock song. Matt’s influences shine through on this great record. This is another one I wore the grooves out of this year.




Another of the great dance records of 2013. Chaz Bundick went back to the dance vibe of his early record “Causers of This” but maybe added a few more beats per minute. This album is filled with familiar sounds of the days of Italo-disco and funk music. Not to mention Toro puts on one of the bangingest live sets around. I’m always excited about a new piece of music from Chaz and Toro y Moi and this year they did not disappoint. Put this one on your turntable at a party and watch people start moving.




After only really discovering White Fence in 2012 and wearing down my copy of “Family Perfume, Vol. 1 and 2”, White Fence dropped another amazing collection of psych-rock songs this year. Influences like The Kinks, The Byrds, T. Rex, and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd shine through this freaked out record. Tim Presley, man behind the band, legitimately writes and plays like its still 1969 which is totally amazing.




I wrote a bigger piece on this album when I first started writing for and you can go back in the archives and read that. Although this is only an EP and I’m slightly cheating, I don’t care. I loved this record. New wave genius all the way around.




If Disclosure put out the best EDM record year, the Mercury-prize winning producer Jon Hopkins put out the best electronica record of the year and he’s up for another Mercury this year too. I saw a tweet from Purity Ring that mentioned Jon’s name and album earlier this year and I looked it up. I was captivated by the heavy base lines and static synth sounds. This album is intense, dark, and eerie at times but beautifully produced. I put the opening song “We Disappear” on one of our Mixtapes this year and that song is easily one of my favorite songs of the year.




UMO’s 2011 self-titled debut had everyone on the internet scratching their heads and wondering who this band was. After some major buzz grew around that first album, UMO picked right back up where they left off with “II”. Psychedelic guitar, funky drums and bass lines, and that high falsetto voice are etched into the signature sound of UMO. My favorite song of off

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this album, “So Good At Being In Trouble”, is a majorly sexy R&B song that sounds like it was ripped right out of Stevie Wonder’s playbook.



majical cloudz

Majical Cloudz is the best opening band I discovered this year. I walked into Bottletree early on the night of the Youth Lagoon show in April and saw a medium statured bald guy with a white t shirt tucked into black jeans and another guy behind a grouping of keyboards standing on stage. The crowd was slightly chatty through the opening minutes of the first song, and then everyone got really quiet. Devon, the tucked in lead singer, belted out the songs from this record in the most beautifully haunting way and in between each song bantered and made jokes. Majical Cloudz’ songs are very serious and not terribly humorous so Devon’s stage banter made everyone even more comfortable with the ideals of the music. People were stunned and watched intently as the duo eased through their album and even played some newer songs. After they finished their set I fully expected people to talk about how weird what they just witnessed was, instead they were talking about how amazing. Just listen to this album.



youth lagoon

The most whimsical of my favorite albums, “Wondrous Bughouse” came out in the perfect time of year, spring. Trevor Powers’ boyish vocals and the amazing keyboards and pianos throughout this album make it seem youthful and fresh yet the lyrics are deep and thoughtful. Trevor used every possible inch of room on each song for the listener to explore. So many different sounds throughout the songs, each time you listen you find something new. I would probably describe it as what the Beatles would have recorded if they’d expanded an entire album off of the song “Tomorrow Never Knows”.




Washed Out is one of those bands that, for me, haven’t put out a bad piece of music yet. Each record has its own identity but you recognize the sound right away. I also wrote an extensive review of this album on this website that you can read as well. This was also one of my favorite shows I went to this year. Chillwave isn’t dead yet and that is just fine with me.

I could have probably put down more words for 10 more albums I loved this year but instead I’ll just list out my other favorites in no particular order. You could call these “honorable mention” but I won’t do that because they need to be mentioned no matter what.

I just can’t help myself.

Here are 10 more albums I loved this year:

Vampire Weekend :: Modern Vampires of the City

Free Time :: Free Time

Dent May :: Warm Blanket

Jonathan Rado :: Law and Order

Ducktails :: Wish Hotel (EP)

Earl Sweatshirt :: Doris

Jacco Gardner :: Cabinet of Curiosities

James Blake :: Overgrown

Ty Segall :: Sleeper

Beach Fossils :: Clash the Truth

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see what happens next year.


This is Not a Showcase: Birmingham HipHop Shows Out Tonight for Foreign Exchange Show

1421202_10201839221794504_1245245994_oTonight at 433 20th Street South, there will be a coming together of what might be the best emcees, poets and singers in the city.

Baron Amato is home from NOLA for the holidays and so it’s time to show out.


BHAMFM has done features on the beautiful Jazz’Mine Garfield and Baron Amato, so we cannot wait to see the local artists they’ve recommended (including Indyah, Eugenius, Chris Jay… they’ll all be there). Tonight, for $5 you can see the most soulful artists in town at a cool new venue called the Foreign Exchange Experience.

Next week, we will be interviewing Eugenius & Haruskii, two of the guys on the bill who are also putting the show together.

Need some chill in your life? Time for something new? Head on down. BHAMFM approved for sure.



Watch below for some hints as to how it’s going down tonight.


Justin’s Espresso & Adderall Mix

Draggin’ ass? Need motivation? Wanna fight? Rage? Burn this mutha down? Then you need to tune into this playlist. It’s full of distortion, pedals, riffs, static, greasy hair, sweat, and blood (probably). It’s the perfect combination to kick Friday right in the mouth. Enjoy your weekend, losers! Happy Holidays!

Spotify Link:

Track Listing:

1. Titus Andronicus – Titus Andronicus Forever

2. Metz – Get Off

3. Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built

4. Hanni El Khatib – Family

5. Natural Child – B$G P$MP$N

6. Double Fuzz – Mountain

7. FIDLAR – Cheap Beer

8. Zeke – It’s Alright

9. Wavves – Lunge Forward

10. Nightmare Boyzzz – Devil III

11. Jay Reatard – My Shadow

12. Bass Drum of Death – Nerve Jamming

13. The Thermals – Born To Kill

14. BRMC – Conscience Killer

15. The Walkmen – The Rat

16. The Vaccines – Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)

17. Pujol – Mayday

18. Diarrhea Planet – Field of Dreams

19. The Cants – Jack The Ripper

20. The Orwells – Mallrats (La La La)

Ten Dope Ones: The Best of 2013 by Trace William Cowen

lorde10. Lorde – Pure Heroine

My introduction to Lorde, like many, was her (now ubiquitous) single “Royals.” The distinctly Kanye West-circa-808s & Heartbreak undertones of the single’s production (and of the album itself) sold me in less than 20 seconds, but the true clincher was the captivating otherworldliness of 17 year-old New Zealand native Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor’s voice. Possessing a tonal maturity much beyond her years, the world’s introduction to Lorde is – without competition – the pop music blessing of the year.

9. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap

Acid Rap, Chance’s second mixtape, is a dizzyingly satisfying blend of the Chicago artist’s most obvious influences – from Eminem to Kanye West to the Internet at large and back again. Yet, nothing wreaks of copy-and-paste laziness. Instead, Chance cherry-picks from the most important hip hop artists of our generation and infuses their respective identities with a younger, more approachable perspective.

8. M.I.A. – Matangi

I always hope that each new year will bring me a new burn-shit-down-to-the-sounds-of-this album, and 2013 delivered in droves. Specifically, it delivered impressively with Matangi, M.I.A.’s fourth studio album. Like no other, M.I.A. continues to merge politics and pop (“You’re fucked!” and “Fuck you!”) with post-modern expertise. For further evidence of the clarity of M.I.A.’s vision, do some Googling of her appearance at Super Bowl XLVI (and the resulting $5 million lawsuit).

7. The 1975 – The 1975

I refrained from touching this album – and this band, in general – for much longer than I should have. Whenever I miss the pre-explosion of praise waves rippling through tastemaker blogs splashing about a “band of the moment,” I am initially peeved. I don’t surf, but I would imagine it’s the digital equivalent of missing a great wave. This logic is inherently narcissistic and stupid and, thankfully, I realized this before bypassing The 1975 altogether. Ignore the hype and decide for yourself: you’ll be greatly rewarded with a collection of truly cool, almost Prince-like examples of how to make sensuality really work in guitar music.

(Read Will’s BHAMFM piece on their album release here)

6. Pusha T – My Name is My Name

Though Pusha T may remain the unspoken hero of no-frills, words-first, fuck-the-hook style hip hop, it’d be ridiculous to view the production on My Name is My Name as a mere backdrop. Each sonic nuance is engineered to bring forth the clearest interpretation of Pusha T’s dense storytelling.

5. Twenty One Pilots – Vessel

I caught this inspiringly unique “indietronica” duo at WorkPlay earlier this year, by sheer chance. Watching a band without any foreknowledge of their respective work can be a catastrophically bewildering experience. My generation, for better (sometimes best) or worse (sometimes worst), simply isn’t wired to view art without at least a small amount of preconceived notions. I was surprised, then, to find myself anything but bewildered after their set. In fact, I spent the remainder of the year closely following this band’s cultural dints – both big and small. Vessel isn’t a perfect album, but it’s one of the most interesting and identity-sure albums from/for this demographic since, say, Fall Out Boy’s From Under the Cork Tree.

4. Wavves – Afraid of Heights

This is probably the only straight up “rock” album I was able to enjoy this year. Wavves brainchild Nathan Williams is a captivating frontman, sure; but he’s even more captivating when viewed as the proverbial poster-child for accessible grunge pop / lo-fi noise rock. On Afraid of Heights, Nathan shows some truly expert signs of restraint and awareness, something often lacking from previous releases. Some of my friends liken Wavves to a “glossier Nirvana,” which is fair but not entirely accurate. I like to imagine this is what pre-superstardom Blink-182 would have sounded like if Pitchfork, as we know them today, would have been around to love them.

3. Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob

It’s no surprise to anyone who even remotely knows me that I unabashedly adore each Tegan and Sara album with a consistent outpouring of remarkably loyal intensity. After 2007’s The Con, I started to ponder the now surely inevitable evolution of Tegan & Sara into a shiny pop duo, equal parts 80s/90s hyper-gloss and a uniquely 00s sense of endearingly inflated self-awareness. Heartthrob brings all of that to fruition and more. The lead single “Closer” was exactly what I expected, and the album itself follows the same blueprint. This is the sound and look of a band becoming what they already were, but weren’t always brave enough to admit: a pop powerhouse.

2. Childish Gambino – Because the Internet
For my thoughts on Donald Glover’s immersive anti-dissertation on all things Internet, read my BHAMFM review on the album here.

1. Kanye West – Yeezus

I couldn’t say much here about Yeezus that hasn’t already been said. I was lucky enough to attend the Yeezus tour last month in Atlanta (in my eyes, a necessary companion piece to the album itself), but I’m even luckier to simply exist in the same era as Kanye West. Every generation has its Beatles, for lack of a better phrase, and ours has been staring us directly in the eyes since his early production work on some of Jay Z’s biggest hits of the early 00s. Though the

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less culturally informed try vehemently to deny Kanye his place in art history as the mover and shaker he so clearly is (see: the disgusting irony that Yeezus was largely shut out of this year’s Grammy nominations, an awards arena Kanye has commanded a staggering 21 times), they clearly forget that history isn’t written by self-proclaimed experts on such. Instead, history writes itself; meaning Kanye West exists in every paragraph from the year 2000 onward.

Whitney’s 2013 List of Things To Ensure You Have Amazing Party Playlists

Year end lists are probably the last thing you want to read right now. I moan about the internet’s saturation with them myself. Alas, I am a music editor and spend alot of the free time usually reserved for being productive or building things to daydream about listening to music.

I promise not to be boring. I promise not to push anything fed to me by others that I was just “meh” about. And finally, I promise to explain my reasoning behind every choice.

I anticipate alot of this is new to y’all because I seek out alot of things that aren’t Southern music made good, faux bluegrass or YEEEEEEEEEEZUS  because there’s an entire internet dedicated to that, mmkay.


“Holy Fire” – FOALS

This past summer, I stood in with some studio & session musicians in town and was asked to suggest and sing “indie” songs in a more soulful Southern style.

My first choice was Foals “Bad Habit”. It was a no brainer for me. The other two were “Destroyer” by The Stills and “Cheat On Me” by The Cribs, both ineligible for this list.

That’s yet to be released so I can’t share (meehhhhhh) but I think that gives you a glimpse into my love of Foals. I’ve been with them ever since their first single “Cassius” and have all three albums on vinyl. Their lead singer famously declared that math & indie are dead in NME magazine, going on to say that their band was “unashamedly funk”. See? That shit’s enough to turn you off, but please don’t.

It’s glorious and cinematic and allows you to embrace that last little bit of math rock you’ve been embarrassed to enjoy since freshman year of college.

The have a long history of sweeping sounds and kickass videos. Get after it.


“6 Feet Beneath The Moon” — King Krule

I wrote a piece on King Krule when we first relaunched this site, so take a read and then listen below. The kid will blow you away. I have a feeling this is the album from this year that will stick with me for a looooooong, long time. Warning though: you’ll get caught up in your feelings so hard with this one.


“AM” – Arctic Monkeys

Again, my long and obsessive unrequited relationship with the Arctic Monkeys is well documented. This year, they snuck their 5th studio album on us and it was amazing. Josh Homme (QOTSA, Them Crooked Vultures) had a heavy hand on this record and thank God above it shows. AM is on Spotify and available to purchase now, too.

Here, watch them covering Drake. LOL.


“Drenge” – DRENGE

I fell in love with DRENGE during a music drought. I hadn’t listen to anything new in a month or so and so I set off on my own to find out what the hell I could tolerate. DAMN. I did not expect a band this heavy and genuinely rock to exist. Especially held up by two British teenage brothers. Every song is catchy. Except maybe Dog Meat. Ugh. Look at this cool ass video with a moody & violent ending though….


“Dromes” – Younghusband

Back before Thanksgiving, I discovered what might be my cure for James Mercer withdrawals. If you like dreamy pop that’s kinda upbeat but still garage-y, holler at em.


“Optica” – Shout Out Louds

This is hands down my most listened to album of the year. I was inside of a deadend job and listened to “Hermila”, “Where You Come In” and “Destroy” every gray and cloudy lunch for MONTHS. If you’re a fan of the band’s previous albums though, you might not be as big of a fan as I was. It’s much more gloomy and less of the dude singer. Sorry bout it?


“Feast of Love” – Pity Sex

This was my surprise favorite album of the year. I’ve heard rattlings of an emo revival and these dudes (and lady) stand a good chance of snatching From Autumn to Ashes’ legacy if I’m being real with myself. HOWEVER, it’s redeemed by the fact that it’s vaguely psychy surf rock and alt 90s, so I’m very very very much in. So wow. (If you’re under the age of 25, just keep scrolling. You have no idea what I’m talking about.)

You can hear THE ENTIRE ALBUM here:


“180” – Palma Violets

Probably (AM excluded for legacy purposes obviously) my favorite British export of the year. Somebody’s older siblings listened to The Ramones, The Clash and The Smiths all at once. And good for them. I pre-ordered this and blasted it on the record player the day it come out on “Best of Friends” influence alone. I’m so in love with the singer’s wailing. BRITISH SCREAMS AND REVERB, I REQUIRE ALL OF THEM!


“Body Music” – AlunaGeorge

By far the best pop album of the year. Forget Ariana Grande, ol Mariah Carey impersonator. Aluan George is a dancey duo that is fronted by the adultest most beautiful woman baby ever. Her force is so infantile and the beats are so addictive that you acquire positive moods and start singing along like you’re on a party drug. Disclaimer: I bet this album is very good with party drugs, too.


“Clash the Truth” – Beach Fossils

This record must be listened to all the way through. It was my summer soundtrack. I even remember recalling at the time “this is perfect winter music”.

If you miss Pretty In Pink, Annie Potts being a punk and Ducky, this one’s for you.


These three albums are the biggest bangers that you already know about, so you don’t really care what I gotta say. Listen again anyway!

“Don’t be S.A.F.E.” – Trinidad James

“The 20/20 Experience” – Justin Timberlake

“B.O.A.T.S. #METIME” – 2Chainz


_____________BACK TO THE MUSIC Y’ALL__________________

“Pollen” – Wave Machines

Here I am again, looking for music that can only be described as “lovely”. And Wave Machines succeeded. It’s like if Flight of the Conchords had serious lyrics. Or if Blood Orange were any good whatsoever.

“Devotion” – Jessie Ware

The best R&B album of the year. She’s a buzzhound, so just wonder on over to any other site on the internet if you don’t believe me.

Her voice is ageless and stately. I love it. I love her persona. Her lyrics are muted and the subtly in her voice would normally be such counterpoint, but with the massive bass and heavy sounds, it gives it more meaning. The sincerity in her voice is contagious and your brain turns into Aretha Franklin after a few listens.

Here’s my favorite track from Devotion, “If You’re Never Gonna Move”:

“Bad Blood” – Bastille

In typical “best for last” scenario, I bring to you Bastille. He is a genuine pop star in the UK. His singles Pompeii and Bad Blood have made it all the way to #1. Very, very refreshing to hear vaguely choral, electronic, Tears for Fears shit on the airwaves. Maybe the movement will cross the Atlantic. It certainly did for me.


The NonChristmas Weekend Show Lineup

Before the family members that you really don’t like or want to hangout with arrive, you’ve got ONE MORE WEEKEND to hustle out and catch some tunes; take advantage of it y’all! Happy Holidays to you all: Merry Christmas, shitter’s full!

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    • WorkPlay – Blind Boys of Alabama/Moon Taxi/The Vegabonds
    • Bottletree – Velouria / Downright
    • Urban Standard – Shaheed and DJ Supreme
    • Nick – American Animal/Eric Sommer/The Golden Monica
    • The Brick – The Vegabonds (Decatur)


    • Masquerade – Diarrhea Planet/Ritz/Jarren Benton


    • High Watt – Cory Branan
    • Soulshine Pizza Factory – Great Peacock



    • Bottletree – Dax Riggs/King Carnivore


    • Masquerade – B.o.B/Yo Gotti
    • Terminal West – Bob Schneider/Ruston Kelly
    • Eddie’s Attic – The Blind Boys of Alabama


    • 116 E Mobile – Lauderdale/The Bear


    • Spillway Bar & Grill – Whitey Morgan and the 78s (Bowling Green)


    • Sluggo’s – New Madrid (nooga)



    • Variety Playhouse – Dubconscious/Rising Appalachia/Randall Bramblett
    • Terminal West – Col. Bruce Hampton/Jeff Sipe Trio/Jeff Autry/Grant Green Jr

***There isn’t alot that seems to be going on this weekend (music-related) so you better make the best of it! If you see someone(s) I missed, let me know. My Twitter is @jtid82. See you at the rock show!


The best 2013 albums of 2013 by Chris (2013)

Something I’ve accepted is that I will never, ever listen to everything when it comes out. I do what you probably do- look for posts like this, or get lazy and hit up Metacritic and see what floats to the top. For instance, I didn’t listen to Silence Yourself by Savages until TODAY. It came out in May to wide critical acclaim. I like it a lot, but I’m not even going to begin to act like I can write about it right now. I do have a few things I listened to this year that I really liked for longer than 8 hours. Fortunately, we have some monsters of musical consumption on this site who will give you some deep dives in the coming days. I feel like I didn’t discover enough this year and will endeavor to get weirder in 2014. With those caveats, here’s what I really liked this year.

Honorable Mentions:

Pixies – EP1– This was surprisingly good, and utterly unexpected.

Daft Punk- Random Access Memories– The first Daft Punk album I didn’t get bored with.

That one Lorde song– was pretty good. I thought Rick Ross was a contradictory choice on it, but hey, whatever.


Phoenix and Arcade Fire put out albums that I find impenetrable. I don’t know if it’s me, or them.

And now my top 4:

mikal cronin

Mikal Cronin MCII– I dearly, dearly love this album. It sounds like nearly everything I liked growing up. It’s simple and melodic. I get really bored with “dude and a guitar” music (sorry, Kurt Vile) and I kind of get that feeling here. But, this is “guy and a guitar and electricity and a backing band”. Thank God.


So So Glos- Blowout– I tried to get fellow writer for the site Phil into the So So Glos. He said they sound like bad Rancid. He may be  right, but he can go to hell. I love this album. When I have to do some coding or need to shut off my workplace from my ears, this is it. It’s fast, loud, dumb, and fun. If you for some reason pay attention to what I write I know you are probably sick of hearing about this band. Maybe I’d stop if you’d start listening. Ever think about that?


Vampire Weekend- Modern Vampires of the City– Well. This is unexpected. I actually hated Contra quite a bit. So I had negative expectations for this. I expected a Weezer-esque turn, full of songs fit for Olsen Twins movies (or whoever represents the modern shitty child stars that I don’t keep up with because I’m 38 years old). I expected so little. But then I heard “Step”. That song. What the fuck is playing in that song? A harpsichord? I don’t know. I’m not going to Google it and look smart here. I feel it in my bones, I feel it in my bones. I loved this band from the start, but recognized that their music was simple, jangly and vaguely Paul Simon. That was alright with me, but I understood the rightful criticism that they were a step above the Wiggles. Maybe I’m just boring and like the obvious things, but this album feels like a validation. This feels like the best album of the year. But it’s not.


Yeezus- Kanye West– I wrote this as one of my first posts when we relaunched. Before the endless, clueless interviews. Before that video of a song I love that we shall never speak of again. And after rereading it, I think I was harsher then than am I am now. Because the one thing you can say about Yeezus is that nothing sounds like it. I’m blasting it right now while the wife is out of the house. The windows are shaking to the bass of “I am a God”, which according to Spotify was written by Kanye West and God. And I love it. It’s at times ridiculous and stupid. But there is nothing else like it. In a year when all the major rappers put out an album that sounded exactly like you expected, this stands above them and all else to me. I sincerely wish he’d released Yeezus and then disappeared to hang out with his new kid and not done any press. I wish I didn’t know how he thinks the fashion industry is bringing him down, and how Nike won’t release his shoes. But I do. I understand, quite clearly, that Sway does not have the answers. I cringe, I wonder if I’m just helping build him up to be more than he is. Maybe I am. I ain’t got the answers, man.

Oddly, one of the last things Lou Reed wrote was a wonderful dissection of this album. He said it better than me.

Let’s get on with it. <BWAH BWAH BWAH BWAH BWAH>