Monday, December 23, 2013

Fifteen Underappreciated Albums That Rocked 2013

The TL;DR version of all previous lists (see HERE) is: indie rock doesn't, so MRML vouches for the under-valued rocking and/or rolling albums of the year, based on our scatter-shot listening experience. Speaking of scatter-shot, there's an above average number of entries that straddle the years but that's just the nature of the fluid times we live in. For more musical awesomeness

All artist name links go directly to a homepage - or some such place - for your further listening pleasure.)

1. M.O.T.O. - Pack Your Troubles In Dreams
Paul Caprino's one man assault on American mediocrity has taken on ever greater force recently. Sure the recording/release date of this album is a bit muddled but whatever their vintage, these songs are timeless, fire-breathing rock n' roll.

2. Dirt Box Disco - People Made of Paper
Attitude-driven British punk rock with both a metallic edge and a pop coating. Early Wildhearts or Troublegum-era Therapy? would be workable points of reference. I heard PMoP and the the late-2012 album Legends this year and both deserve your attention now!

3. The Connection - Let It Rock
If Nick Lowe ever took a pop-punk band under his tutelage,  Portsmouth, NH band The Connection ("garage rock for now people" as they put it) is exactly how they'd sound!

4.  Upset - She's Gone
This new L.A. band, featuring members of Vivian Girls, Best Coast and...Hole [!], got some decent indie-press for the their first K Records meets Lookout! Records retro-riot grrl sound but were soon ignored for more typical indie fare

5. Veronica Falls - Waiting for Something to Happen
Pretty, echoey second album by this British band who sound a lot like what would have happened if a C-86 band had stumbled into The Batcave.

6. Willie Nile - American Ride
The troubadour of New York, Willie Nile, has been putting out fantastic rootsy rock n ' roll albums records for years to wide acclaim but limited fame. I hope that's gonna change one day soon...

7. BarrenceWhitfield & The Savages - Dig Thy Savage Soul
Bostonian Barrence Whitfield has been showing off his explosive garage-rock/R&B amalgam for years but may just have perfected it with this record. 

8. First Base - S/T
As the tags have it; "rock, bubblegum, garage, lo-fi, pop punk, Toronto".

9. Bad Religion - True North
These veteran LA punks have never disappointed (hey, I heard "Into the Unknown ten years after the fact and was surprised at how much better it was than I'd been promised!) in their thirty years+ and this return to No Control era speed-rock kept their streak alive, especially the classic Mr. Brett style-song, "Robin Hood in Reverse".

10. Louise Distras - Dreams From The Factory Floor
Winner of this year's Dylan Was A Punk Award (Cate Blanchett Division), Londoner Louise Distras rocks an acoustic so forcefully that she's the very image of what the offspring of Joan Jett and TV Smith would be!
Sidenote: I first heard of Distras when she followed me on Twitter before unceremoniously dumping me but spite ain't enough to make me ignore this record! 

11. The Crunch - Busy Making Noise
Punk supergroups are justly viewed with suspicion butt this album, dominated by support players, Dave Tregenna of Sham 69 and The Lords of the New Church, Mick Geggus of the Cockney Rejects and Terry Chimes of The Clash is innocent of nostalgia-mongering. Rather the band works in subtly and powerfully in service of the songs by Sulo Karlsson of nineties Swedish rock band, Diamond Dogs.

12. John Moreland - In the Throes
Country album of the year (along with Kasey Musgraves more mainstream but justifiably celebrated, Same Trailer, Different Park) comes from this Oklahoma City singer-songwriter who's punk rock roots keep this album grounded and clear-eyed, as tracks like "Nobody Gives a Damn About Songs Anymore" prove.

13. Phil Odgers - The Godforsaken Voyage
Phil Odgers, founding member of The Men They Couldn't Hang" put out a historically and traditionally minded Brit-folk album that doesn't need loud guitars and bashing drums to keep moving.

14. Badger - Stars, Guitars and Motorcars
This rocking power-pop album by Norwegian band, Badger arrived late 2012 and is hence our Anachronism of the Year.

15. Undecided by Default - Totally Undecided 
While Holdover of the Year is not a tradition I want to start, this was the year that Undecided by Default's Totally Undecided  physically came out on CD and you should all go listen to this band as they show the fucking hipsters how the rocking is done!!







  1. Nice list. Thanks for introducing me to some bands and albums that I was previously unaware of. Hopefully it's not too late to change my Xmas wish list.

    I love the inclusion of Phil Odgers! And Bad Religion. Are you familiar with Bill Mallonee? He was the front man for the 90's alt-country/Americana band Vigilantes of Love? If not, I highly recommend him. He's producing solo albums. This year he released Future Hymns for the New Idolatry, and album that made my "best of 2013" list. That album and artist is criminally underappreciated.

  2. Hey Jeffen, have a Happy Christmas and New Year.

    My faves for 2013:
    If you like Lee Hazlewood try: Tundra by the Abigails

    If you like even more Lee Hazlewood then try Thriftstore Masterpiece (Frank Black and friends) remake of his classic album Trouble is a lonesome town:

    And for me the best of 2013, a brilliant Dub Reggae album from Dub Dynasty (Alpha and Omega with friends) - Unrelenting Force. get your sound system out and crank it up for this heavy heavy bass:

  3. some underrated discs that made my list this year : adalita all day venus
    the drones i see seaweed
    violent soho hungry ghost

    really liked veronica falls too

    have a great xmas

  4. I really look forward to your year end lists. I always find 2 or 3 things that I totally missed and that make it on to my playlists for the new year. Thanks.

  5. I really look forward to your year end lists. I always find 2 or 3 things that I totally missed and that make it on to my playlists for the new year. Thanks.

  6. Some excellent stuff here Jeff, but that Veronica Falls track really takes the cake for me - so perfect!

    Most of my favs this year have been of the metal / hardcore variety and, in their respective scenes, have been thoroughly lauded. So I can't really say that any thing I mention here was truly under-appreciated. Anyway, here's a few albums I dug:

    Gorguts - Colored Sand
    Full Of Hell - Rudiments Of Mutilation
    Ulcerate - Vermis
    The Safety Fire - Mouth Of Swords
    Seeker - Unloved
    Misery Signals - Absent Light

    Also very cool re-issues / remixes of Bl'ast! (Blood!) and Deprecated (Deriding His Creation)



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