Best of 2013 Colorado VIPs: Lucas Johannes of Hot Congress Records

[[nid:98488 field_align=right&field_format=1]]Top Ten Albums (in no particular order)

  • Parquet Courts- Light up Gold. A lot of Pavement and post-punk comparisons got tossed around this year while describing this band, and that’s really not that far off the mark, with its barely-in-tune guitars and clever, seemingly off-the-cuff speak-shouted lyrics.  While it stumbles a bit in the third act, the strength of the first ten songs makes it one of the best albums of the year.  Or any year, really.
  • Sun Angle– Diamond Junk. This album is bananas.  Frantic, inventive, and always barreling forward at break-neck speeds, Diamond Junk sounds like a psych-rock record played twice as fast as you’re used to.   And it’s got hooks, too, sneaking up on you via reverbed-to-oblivian vocals .  I didn’t hear anything else that sounded like this in 2013.
  • William Onyeabor– Who is William Onyeabor? Obscure African funk group from the 1970s fronted by synth virtuoso William Onyeabor.  This is sort of a ‘greatest hits’ package thrown together by Luaka Bop.  The songs are all long, groovy, hypnotic, and a little bit strange.
  • Bill Callahan– Dream RiverI haven’t spent too much time with this yet, having picked it up at Mr. Callahan’s show at the Oriental Theatre only a few weeks ago, but from what I heard at that show plus the few spins I’ve given it thus far I think it’s safe to say it’s one of my favorites of the year.
  • Foxygen– We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & MagicSounding like the sum of every great record in your parents’ collection, Foxygen somehow manages to make classic rock songs that sound fresh. 21st Century is simultaneously familiar and strange, full of unexpected left turns, and possibly the funnest album I heard in 2013.
  • Volcano Choir- RepaveRepave is so dense instrumentally that you hear something new every time you give it a spin.  Manages to sound both intimate and anthemic at the same time.
  • Wild Moth– Over, AgainHad the pleasure of playing with these gentlemen this year as they toured through Denver and besides being a phenomenal live act they put out a damn fine record.  “Over, Again” is full of big, beautiful distorted guitar riffs, really interesting chord voicings, and Ian Curtis-esque vocals.
  • Big Eyes– Almost FamousAnother solid album from one of the best pure guitar-oriented power-pop groups going right now.
  • King Tuff– King TuffYes, this album came out in 2012 but I didn’t lay my ears on it until this year.  Probably my most played record of 2013, every song is a gem.
  • Speedy Ortiz– Major ArcanaI’m still kicking myself for missing their set at UMS.  A lot of releases this year have been mining the 90’s for influence (fine by me!) and Major Arcana is the best of all of them.  Their singer manages to sound both like a badass and completely vulnerable at the same time, and the guitars are just so perfectly huge and crunchy.