Best New Albums Of 2013, Final Round
Edwyn Collins, Understated: this one is far enough removed from the stroke Edwyn suffered a few years ago that I can be critical; if it wasn’t any good I could now say so. OK, the truth will out, I suppose I should come clean: I cannot be critical of this guy, this former Orange Juician. No, I enjoy anything he puts out and feel grateful that someone I admired since my teens is still churning out an album of not embarrassing and most times quite good material. Although he’ll never match the brilliance of his time with Orange Juice, or Gorgeous George (flawless!) and the follow Up I’m Not Following You, I’ll still keep buying his stuff. Like Robyn Hitchcock, or Lloyd Cole, or Pat Fish.
Wooden Shjips, Back To Land: Indebted to the mid 1970’s sound of Suicide, but with enough originality and musical hooks to make it worthwhile, Back To Land is by far the best and most consistently enjoyable album these former San Franciscans (now based in Portlandia) have released. Great driving music, as well!
Public Service Broadcasting, Inform Educate Entertain: When I hear songs that use old audio clips in the manner that PSB use them I cannot help but think of the very first Big Audio Dynamite album, a sorely underrated (albeit a tad dated) gem of the record and the best album by a former member of the Clash, period. But back to these guys. Using clips and found audio as the basis for their songs they create some very interesting sounds and, believe it or not, actual honest to goodness songs. Can they sustain this over the course of a career or, as the Strokes say, is this it? For now, though, I’m really enjoying this.
Gary Numan, Splinter: Now this is the album David Bowie should have made! Full of dark, NIN-type industrial beats and Numan’s uniquely nasal singing voice, plus some of the best songs of his career make this a keeper and fine addition to his catalog.