I was fortunate to hear a lot of good music during 2013. Here are my favorites.
The Raven That Refused to Sing by Steven Wilson: This album is a gem, and example of progressive rock at its finest, composed by a man at the top of his game, performed by musicians of the highest caliber.
I'm really not certain what else to say.
Among Wilson's other projects are his remastering of classic progressive rock albums. This year I also had the pleasure of adding his 40th anniversary edition of King Crimson's Larks Tongues in Aspic to my collection.
Wilson's website is stevenwilsonhq.com.
InterStatic by InterStatic: I had purchased two other jazz CDs by new-ish (to me) groups but as soon as I put InterStatic on for the first time the other two immediately went on the shelf.
InterStatic is actually the second album from the Norway-based trio of Jacob Young (guitar), Roy Powell (keyboards) and Jarle Vespestad (drums). Their jazzy ambience is velvety and smokey, quirky and melodic, rich and light. Stunning. I love it and can't get enough.
I'm told to expect InterStatic's third album in early 2014.
InterStatic's website is www.interstatic.info.
Boing We'll Do It Live by the Aristocrats: This album surprised me - a dark horse candidate if you will. Guitarist Govan and drummer Minnemann appeared on Wilson's Raven (see above). Here they are joined by bassist Beller. After having listened briefly to a YouTube video of their work as a trio I purchased this 2 CD live album. And. Was. Blown. Away.
Their individual playing is technically brilliant. Their ensemble playing is tight. Their sound touches on everything from blues, rock, country, metal, jazz and everything else for that matter. And even when kicking ass these guys really seem to be having fun playing.
Which is probably why I'm listening to their studio album, Culture Clash, as I write this.
The Aristocrats website is the-aristocrats-band.com.
Honorable Mention: Rare Noise Records has delivered so much good music this year (and the preceding) that I can't wait to see what they have in store for 2014. Their artists whose music I have purchased include Animation, Bernocchi Budd Guthrie (whose Winter Garden may be the most beautiful music I've ever heard), Berserk! (uncategorizable), InterStatic, Lorenzo Feliciati, Metallic Taste of Blood, Mumpbeak, Mole, and Naked Truth (simply awesome). Plus a new dual-bassist album from Colin Edwin and Lorenzo Feliciati is forthcoming.
"My God, it's full of stars."