Alright everyone, here’s my top 10 songs of 2013. This year had some real gems, so, without further ado, here we go.
#10 – She Is In The Air – Green River Ordinance
Green River Ordinance is one of the best indie rock bands making music today. Everything about this is spot on and they’re music is rock that’s clear and easy to listen to. Their newest EP, Chasing Down The Sun, shows them taking a more mellow turn, one that features some folk rock that almost borders on country. But this entry finds them beginning the song with lots of harmony and some beautiful a capella. This is certainly one of the best songs on the EP and one of the best of the year.
#9 – Somewhere, Somebody – Mike Mangione and the Union
“Somewhere, Somebody” is one of the many beautiful tracks on the new album, Red Winged Blackbird Man, by Mike Mangione and the Union. These folk rockers have some unique twists to their music, including full time violinist (not fiddler) and cellist. The classical influences really compliment their style of music and this song is a prime example. When Mangione sings “Somewhere, somebody, some day, somehow./ Some day, some how, somewhere, somebody”, it’s easy to understand why Mangione and the group continue to build a passionate fan base.
#8 – Stone – David Ramirez
David Ramirez, for this site’s two cents worth, is the king of singer-songwriters. Greg and I have been fervent fans of this guys since we first heard him and this song is one of the many reasons why. A critical look at himself and his place in the music industry, as well as the industry in general, is a scathing song that pulls no punches. “I thought I was just singing songs,/ but, man, was I wrong./ I’m a hooker and I’m down on my knees.”
#7 – Chasing Twisters – Delta Rae
Delta Rae is a unique animal in today’s musical landscape. A rock group with six members, all of whom can sing beautifully, playing traditional rock instruments and non traditional ones (chains, various types of percussion) fronted, mainly, by two women with incredible and powerful voices. It’s certainly rock music, but it’s from a different perspective and with a different sound. “Chasing Twisters” is an example of the heavy influence of old folk music on the band and the songwriting and storytelling contained therein.
#6 – Heart Beats – Johnnyswim
Johnnyswim, the moniker of Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano, is a perfect example of the kind of music that two people can make when they are both super talented and have a harmony in their lives that extends beyond the studio. This married couple burst onto the scene with an incredible EP and this song shows their style. It’s hard not to think of Adele when hearing Amanda sing and that’s almost as big of a compliment as you can get.
#5 – The Mason – Tossing Copper
Tossing Copper is perhaps my favorite new singer songwriter. This little EP, Of Life and Love and Longing, is only 5 songs, but it’s deeper and more complex than most full length albums. This is the kind of EP that makes me rethink the value of shorter recordings. This song, “The Mason”, is one that laments a relationship that was never a healthy one. The first line is “I held on so long,/ to what I want you to become.”
#4 – The Muse – The Wood Brothers
The Wood Brothers were my surprise of the year. I think this album may have gone completely unnoticed had Greg not told me to listen. It’s a phenomenal album and this title track is perhaps the most well written. It’s a simple acoustic song about a man being in love with his muse, but it’s the emotion and complexity behind the words that make this song special.
#3 – Two Sides of Lonely – The Lone Bellow
The Lone Bellow is the most powerful acoustic act I’ve ever seen. Having seen them a couple times this year, I promise that you will be blown away if given the chance to see them in person. The two men and one woman that front this band harmonize on every song, bring an emotion and strength to the words, ideas, and vocals on this album and make it nearly impossible to pick only one song. “Two Sides of Lonely” is perhaps the saddest song of the year and, with the depth of feeling in the vocals, one that may make you cry in 4 beautifully short minutes. “Two sides of lonely, one is heart and one is duty./ Two sides of lonely, one’s in the grave and the other should be.”
#2 – Something in Common – Dawes
What can I say about Dawes that we haven’t said a hundred times before? Taylor Goldsmith and crew continue to improve, releasing another incredible album and “Something in Common” is the star. It’s a complicated lyrical song, one without a real chorus, but one that repeats the title in beautiful ways. “The way that she remembers me is not the way I really am,/ but I’m hoping they’ve got something in common.”
#1 – Brothers – Penny and Sparrow
Penny and Sparrow is an acoustic duo that released a breathtaking debut album, Tenboom, in January and it’s been on repeat in my car, on my computer and in my mind since then. This track, “Brothers”, shows how much can be put into one song by just two guys. With one guitar and one amazing voice, this song takes on a life of it’s own. If you close your eyes, it’s hard to imagine that it’s only 2 people in this song. “Don’t give up, don’t you quit on me.”