Yeah, this one's not even close. After being fortunate enough to attend 12 shows during Summer Tour, then 9 of 12 shows on Phish's Fall Tour (and couch touring the other three), I have to say that these sonsabitches haven't performed / improvised at this level since the legendary Fall Tour '97 / NYE Run '97 / Island Tour '98 era. With '13 NYE Run just 5 days away, we can only hope that they deliver something close to what went down from late October thru early November. STOKED BRAH.
In Russian Circles' sonic arsenal, the atmospherics are the glue that binds their whole bag of tricks together. Curtis, formerly of Secret Machines (and a touring member of Interpol), has helmed the last three (excellent) Russian Circles albums, helping to shape the band's evocative, dramatic music into something that's entirely lyrical despite being totally wordless.
This one's kinda a dark horse. It's loud and fast, which will help you keep the RPMS up. But the fact that it's scary as fuck will want to make you outrun it like it's a relentless methed-up boogeyman who's looking to get some tail. (Yours.)
1.) SONG OF THE YEAR: Palma Violets - "Last of the Summer Wine"
Just like countless other great rock n' roll songs, this one's greater than the sum of its parts. Yeah, the intro's too long on this song. And so's the outro. The lyrics are moronic. (The "official" video is absolute garbage - see above.) And the chord progression isn't exactly original but... there's just somethin' about the classic guitar tone and the finesse they play the lick with and the sweet, sweet melody that slays me every time.
These guys are sick and tired of the near-constant Nirvana comparisons, but they should take that shit as a compliment. While Ideal Cities is their least Nirvana-derived release so far, that's not necessarily a good development; it's also their least consistently hooky. That being said, "Weird" and "Bait Car" are great fucking songs, and if these guys had put out an album packed with stuff approaching the quality of those two songs, this would be the best album I've heard this year, hands down.
Diarrhea Planet - I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
By all accounts, I should love this album, since essentially it consists of a combination of what the two finest bands in Brooklyn (Fang Island and Liquor Store) do best. Marrying the latter's boneheaded, anthemic kraut-punk to the former's ecstatically sunny prog should work on paper, but somehow here the sum is way, way less interesting than the sum of the parts. It doesn't help that the vocals sound like a drunk guy impersonating a retarded person.
With 2013 1/3 over, it's list time. The title of this post is a tad misleading; if this list comprised all of my favorite songs from this year, it would have more GbV / Thermals / Hendrix / The Men / etc. songs. Instead it's more like "one good song from each of the albums / EPs I've enjoyed most this year, plus the Roomrunner single." So, presented in no particular order, here's that.
Still not sure what to think about this band... I'm really enjoying this song, "Weird," (it's the single from their upcoming album) and they put on an entertaining, energetic set when I saw them opening for Pissed Jeans at Bowery a couple weeks ago (see below for several videos). Of course, there's a difference between "wearing one's influences proudly on one's sleeve" and "slavishly imitating said influences." The obvious influence in question is Bleach / Incesticide-era Nirvana, but either way these guys get extra points for actually rocking. In that way, these guys remind me of Metz, whom they sound nothing like.
Whatever. I'm not going to overthink this one for now. I listened to their 2011 self-titled EP last weekend, and it was good enough. Say what you want, but "Weird"'s chorus is fucking undeniable, and I'm looking forward to their new album, which comes out May 14th.