KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

KamerTunesBlog Year In Review 2013

I’m about to wrap up another incredible year of music discovery & re-discovery. Between the artists I revisited & wrote about here at KamerTunesBlog, newly explored artists (both current & classic) and reissues & box sets from artists I already liked, I found so much exciting & inspiring music throughout 2013. Below you’ll find three lists. The first one sums up the albums that had the biggest impact on me via the posts I wrote here, starting with the latter part of PJ Harvey’s catalog and ending with my most recently revisited artist, The Jayhawks. I’ve included hyperlinks to the related post for each album, in case you missed them. Due to various factors, I didn’t cover as much music here this year as I had hoped to, exploring the catalogs of only 6 artists as well as 3 additional Compilation Or Catalog? artists. I wrote a total of 37 posts and spent quality time with just over 130 albums. That’s not bad, but going forward I hope to tweak my listening, reviewing & writing process so I can spend time with more artists & albums. Stay tuned for some changes here in 2014.

The second list highlights the albums that were released in 2013 (and a handful from 2012 that I didn’t get to last year) which had the greatest impact on me, while the final list covers the reissues, compilations, box sets & other older releases that I got this year and spent the most time with. There’s no way I could narrow all of that down to a list of 10 or 20 favorites like many bloggers, writers & critics do (I give them all a lot of respect for being able to do that), so instead I just listed them all in alphabetical order, and included some hyperlinks to song samples for anyone who’s curious. There are about 70 titles on these last two lists, which is actually only a fraction of the approximately 300 new CD’s & LP’s I got this year.

Although I didn’t rank them, there was one release that stood apart from the others & has remained my favorite album of 2013 since I got it in January: The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by Steven Wilson. I’ve been a fan since I discovered his band Porcupine Tree in 1997, and have followed his career through other projects like No-Man, Blackfield, Storm Corrosion and his solo career (as well as his side business as the go-to guy for remixing classic progressive rock albums, especially his brilliant surround sound mixes). This latest album, as well as its companion audio/video EP Drive Home, might be the best thing he’s ever done. It was certainly the highlight of the year for me, and I invite you to check out the embedded videos at the bottom of this post for a taste of this monumental release. It’s recommended for fans of atmospheric, progressive, Pink Floyd-inspired storytelling with elements of jazz-fusion & electronica and awe-inspiring musicianship.

Thanks to all of my readers for making this another fun year of blogging. I appreciate anyone who stopped by & read any of my posts, shared their thoughts in the Comments section or simply clicked the “Like” button to let me know you enjoyed a particular post. I hope you & your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season & a happy New Year. And may you all be inspired by as much music as I have, even though we may not always have the same musical preferences. Okay, enough of this preamble. Here are my obligatory end-of-year lists. Enjoy.

Albums I Revisited & Wrote About That Pleasantly Surprised Me Or Cemented Their Greatness
PJ HARVEY: White Chalk, Let England Shake
NEIL YOUNG: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After The Gold Rush, Harvest, On The Beach, Tonight’s The Night, Live Rust, Trans, Old Ways, Harvest Moon, Sleeps With Angels, Silver & Gold, Prairie Wind, Live At Massey Hall 1971, A Treasure, Americana
JIMMY BUFFETT: Songs You Know By Heart: Jimmy Buffett’s Greatest Hit(s)
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN: Songs To Learn & Sing (compilation)
ALICE COOPER: Love It To Death, Killer, Billion Dollar Babies, Muscle Of Love, Welcome To My Nightmare, Lace & Whiskey, From The Inside, The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper (box set), Brutal Planet, The Eyes Of Alice Cooper, Dirty Diamonds, Welcome 2 My Nightmare
XTC: Drums And Wires, Black Sea, English Settlement, Skylarking, 25 O’Clock, Psonic Psunspot, Oranges & Lemons, Nonsuch, Apple Venus Vol.1, Wasp Star
THE CURE: Greatest Hits
METALLICA: Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, …And Justice For All, Metallica (The Black Album), S&M, St. Anger
THE JAYHAWKS: The Jayhawks aka The Bunkhouse Album, Hollywood Town Hall, Tomorrow The Green Grass, Rainy Day Music, Music From The North Country (compilation)

Albums Released In 2013, and 2012 Releases I Finally Heard This Year, That I Love (in alphabetical order)
Anathema – Universal (Live CD + DVD)
The Aristocrats – Culture Clash
Big Big Train – English Electric: Full Power (2 CD’s)
Big Country – The Journey
Blackfield – Blackfield IV
David Bowie – The Next Day Extra (2CD + DVD Box Set)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away and Live From KCRW
Edwyn Collins – Understated
Justin Currie – Lower Reaches
Dr. John – Locked Down
Francis Dunnery – Frankenstein Monster
Bob Dylan – Another Self-Portrait (1969-1971) – The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 (2 CD’s)
Steve Earle – The Low Highway
Father John Misty – Fear Fun
Fish – A Feast Of Consequences
Bruce Foxton – Back In The Room
Robbie Fulks – Gone Away Backward
Goldfrapp – Tales Of Us
Gov’t Mule – Shout! (2 CD’s)
John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts
Haken – The Mountain
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite – Get Up!
Roy Harper – Man & Myth
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – Old Yellow Moon
Mayer Hawthorne – Where Does This Door Go?
Justin Hayward – Spirits Of The Western Sky
Jim James – Regions Of Light And Sound Of God
Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
Michael Mazzarella – Love In Laureltide Green
Paul McCartney – New
Midlake – Antiphon
Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
The Parson Red Heads – Yearling
Sam Phillips – Push Any Button
Prefab Sprout – Crimson/Red
Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
The Reign Of Kindo – Play With Fire
Rush – Clockwork Angels Tour (Blu-ray + 3 CD’s)
Smallpools – Have A Great Summer! (EP)
Tame Impala – Lonerism
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Made Up Mind
Linda Thompson – Won’t Be Long Now

Newly Acquired Reissues, Compilations & Box Sets I Love, And A Few Artists I Finally Checked Out, In 2013 (in alphabetical order)
Be Bop Deluxe – At The BBC 1974-1978 (3CD + DVD)
Big Country – At The BBC (3CD + DVD Box Set)
J.J. Cale – Anyway The Wind Blows: The Anthology (2 CD’s)
Canned Heat – The Very Best Of Canned Heat
Deacon Blue – Our Town: The Greatest Hits
Flo & Eddie – The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie/Flo & Eddie and Illegal, Immoral and Fattening/Moving Targets (First four albums on two 2-CD sets)
The Flying Burrito Brothers – Hot Burritos! – Anthology 1969-1972 (2 CD’s)
Hawkwind – Warrior On The Edge Of Time (2CD + DVD Box Set)
Bob James – Rhodes Scholar: Jazz-Funk Classics (2 CD’s)
John Martyn – The Island Years (17CD + DVD Box Set)
Gary Moore – Back On The Streets (Expanded Edition)
Randy Newman – Guilty: 30 Years Of Randy Newman (4 CD Box Set)
Laura Nyro – The Best Of Laura Nyro: Stoned Soul Picnic (2 CD’s)
Philadelphia International Records – The 40th Anniversary Box Set (10 CD’s)
Elvis Presley – Elvis At Stax: Deluxe Edition (3 CD’s)
John Prine – Prime Prine – The Best Of John Prine
Gerry Rafferty & Stealers Wheel – Collected (3 CD’s)
Marty Robbins – The Essential Marty Robbins (2 CD’s)
Rodriguez – Cold Fact and Coming From Reality
Samuel Purdey – Musically Adrift
Patti Smith – Original Album Classics (5CD Mini Box Set with her first 5 albums)
Candi Staton – Candi Staton (UK anthology of her Muscle Shoals recordings)
Gary Stewart – The Essential Gary Stewart
Loudon Wainwright III – 40 Odd Years (4CD + DVD Box Set)
Bobby Whitlock – Where There’s A Will There’s A Way – The ABC-Dunhill Recordings
XTC – Nonsuch (Blu-ray Edition)
Yes – Close To The Edge (Blu-ray Edition)
Lester Young – The Lester Young Story (4CD UK Box Set)

Here are two Steven Wilson clips, as mentioned above. I hope you like them as much as I do.

And here’s the album cover:
Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing

16 comments on “KamerTunesBlog Year In Review 2013

  1. Heavy Metal Overload
    December 23, 2013

    A brilliant year of listening Rich! And a fine year of blogging too! All the best for 2014, I hope you have many more amazing albums and artists to explore.

    Like

    • Thanks for the feedback, Scott. It’s good to know that we continue to find great music, old & new, every year. It’s why I keep reading & watching & listening & keeping an open mind. Our little (but passionate) blogging community is a wonderful resource for good music & good people, and it wouldn’t be the same without our conversations. Looking forward to more of that in 2014. Best to you & your loved ones.

      Like

  2. Alan K.
    December 23, 2013

    Thanks Rich. This gives me a lot of ideas of some new (to me) stuff to seek out. Two questions for you:
    1. Am I right that XTC never released a career-wide best of package? They should… 2. I see you have Emmylou Harris on there. I was kind of surprised about that> I have never really gotten the deal with her. Are you a fan in general? Can you explain why? Thanks!

    Like

    • Hi Alan. Thanks for checking out these lists. I’m glad you’ve found some things to explore in the future. Hopefully I won’t lead you in the wrong direction. To answer your questions:
      1. XTC does have a handful of compilations, none of which I own since I have the whole catalog. It looks like the single disc Upsy Daisy Assortment is the best option for newbies and the 2-disc Fossil Fuel is for people who need to hear more (it’s got more than 30 songs). There’s also a 4-CD box set that combines album track, singles & rarities.
      2. I do like Emmylou Harris, although I’m far from an expert on her music. I have a 2-CD compilation as well as some collaborations she’s done with everyone from gram Parsons to Mark Knopfler…as well as the album on this year’s list of favorites, which I got just as much for Rodney Crowell. I’m not always in the mood for her music, but when I am she’s got a unique voice & she’s a great interpreter of other people’s songs. Her strongest trait is probably her ability to harmonize, which is why I tend to enjoy her collaborations even more than her own work. I hope that clears it up.

      Slàinte,
      Rich

      Like

  3. mikeladano
    December 23, 2013

    Wow, Rich, what a year! Congratulations are in order, because Neil Young, Alice Cooper and Metallica all in one year? That’s pretty monumental. It’s not necessarily about the numbers when dealing with those kinds of artists. One must spend time with the music.

    Speaking of spending time with the music: Aaron bought me Neil Young’s Americana for Christmas, so I must listen to that, while I read that part of your series again!

    Like

    • Mike, thanks (as always) for the kind words. I don’t usually focus on quantity, but when I reviewed my blog activity from the past year I was surprised to discover how much less I covered this year as compared to previous years. The listening, note-taking & research is the fun part, but I’ve found that writing the posts if often very tedious and slows the whole process down. My goal is to change that going into 2014, as well as choosing a new WordPress theme to update the look of the site. I know you did an excellent “remodel” in the last year and it looks great, so I may be contacting you for a pointer or two on how to transition the blog during a change of theme. You’ve been warned (haha)

      As you saw, “Americana” ended up on my list of Favorites among the artists I wrote about, so I look forward to finding out if you feel as strongly about it. I don’t think it was very well-received overall, but I love it. (even more than Psychedelic Pill, which is slightly too sprawling for its own good even though many parts are amazing).

      Like

      • mikeladano
        December 23, 2013

        Well Rich I haven’t played Americana yet! It has been one busy Christmas so far let me tell you. But I will let you know as soon as I can gather thoughts.

        Looking forward to the remodel and looking forward to helping in any way I can. I’m vowing to do some more in 2014 as well!

        Like

      • Mike, how could you possibly do more with your blog than you already do? I’m constantly amazed at the combination of quality & quantity. I honestly don’t know how you find the time, but it’s very impressive.

        Hopefully your busy Christmas is a good kind of busy, and you can find ample listening time.

        Like

      • mikeladano
        December 24, 2013

        Awww shucks Rich. I really appreciate your comments since your blog is one that I admire very much. I appreciate your attention to detail, and how much work you put into it.

        I have a massive backlog of reviews that I am constantly polishing and posting, going back 10 years…when that runs dry I imagine you’ll see me scale back the pace at which I post. In addition the Record Store Tales will have to wind down eventually. As copious as my notes are, they’re not bottomless. Potentially in 2014 I’ll be looking at a revamp anyway, as I aim to replace RST with something in a similar spirit.

        And you have a wonderful Christmas too. Talk to you soon!

        Like

      • I think it’s good that we’ll both be shaking things up a little bit in 2014 while still doing what we love: listening to, writing about & discussing music that we’re passionate about. Like most of our favorite bands, we need to change things up to make it exciting for ourselves & others. Only AC/DC and Motörhead are exempt.

        Cheers to all at Chez LeBrain.

        Like

  4. Phillip Helbig
    December 23, 2013

    Can we expect you to revisit Maiden in 2014? I’m particularly interested in your take, since we are roughly the same age and both discovered Maiden late in our lives.

    Like

    • Hi Phillip. I can’t say for sure if I’ll get to the Maiden catalog in 2014, but it is a very good possibility. I usually don’t decide which artist to cover until I’m wrapping up a series. This year the only artists I knew I wanted to revisit were Alice Cooper & Neil Young. The others just popped into my head at some point & I decided to write about them. Your interest in reading my take on the Maiden catalog, and the prospect of discussing them with you, is added incentive to me, so thanks for your feedback. I don’t think I could come close to the series that LeBrain wrote on Maiden, but of course he’s been a fan for a long time & I’m a relative novice. Stay tuned….

      Like

  5. 80smetalman
    December 24, 2013

    Sounds like you’ve had a great year. Can we expect more of the same in 2014? Have a Merry Christmas Rich.

    Like

    • It was definitely a great year of music, and I expect that will continue. I just have to keep making the effort by reading magazines, websites & blogs and taking suggestions from friends whose musical taste I trust.

      I hope you have a Merry Christmas as well. Looking forward to more chats on our favorite subject in 2014.

      Like

  6. stephen1001
    December 30, 2013

    I love a good obligatory end of year list! Great stuff in 2013, looking forward to 2014’s reviews, as well as re-reading your archived catalog series when I explore their records on the 1001!

    Like

    • Thanks, Geoff. It’s always fun chatting with you about music, whether it’s stuff we already know or something we’re just discovering. Hope you continue to enjoy your 1001 Albums project. Looking forward to more conversations in 2014. Happy New Year.

      Rich

      Like

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