Kevin Blumeyer’s ‘Best of 2013’ in Music

Kevin Blumeyer

More than anything, a person’s top 10 list is a snapshot of a year in their life. 

For whatever reason, I felt particularly nostalgic this year. I grew fearful of growing old and watching the world around me continue to move while I remained static. I began to wonder what it truly meant to transition into adulthood and found myself inherently resisting any decision that might imply as much.

Maybe it’s just something that comes with getting older. Maybe it’ll only become even more prevalent in the coming years. Maybe it stems from the frustration of growing apart from old friends I used to feel much closer to. Hell, maybe I just had too much time to think this year.

These themes are ever so present in Modern Life is War‘s Fever Hunting.

Picking up the pieces from the days when
youth was my religion & friends were gods.
Awoke and aged atheist in a cold sweat
Begging for recompense.

So I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that my favorite record of the year comes from a band I first connected with during my adolescence, a band releasing their first album in six years and emphatically announcing their return from an extended hiatus.

Modern Life is War’s Fever Hunting almost sounds like a long lost album from a bygone era. And maybe that’s why it feels so fresh. Six years doesn’t sound like a long time, but given how quickly trends come and go in the world of hardcore punk and the lifespan of a typical hardcore band, six years is an eternity. 

Before their hiatus, Modern Life is War spearheaded a movement of like-minded bands that changed the face (or sound?) of modern hardcore about a decade ago by melding their tenacity with a surprising amount of melody. Have Heart. Verse. Ruiner. Shipwreck A.D. Get to know them if you haven’t heard them. Many of these bands have broken up, while a few others, like Modern Life is War, have since gotten back together.

Though hardcore is typically a genre associated with anger and aggression, Fever Hunting is therapeutic in an entirely different way. It’s a deeply impassioned record that excises any negative feelings I might be having and replaces them with hope and inspiration. Fever Hunting is the kind of record you can listen to when you need support but aren’t sure who to turn to. It’s the rare hardcore record with melodies that lend themselves to singalongs, and the infectious refrain from “Health, Wealth & Peace” has the ability to loop through my head and carry me through entire days on end.

After overcoming heartbreak, professional turmoil and financial instability, I’ll probably always view 2013 as the first truly difficult year of my life. But more positively, it will forever be the year I found myself and began setting out on my own path. It’s surely no coincidence that this was also the year I fell back in love with hardcore punk and rediscovered Modern Life is War.

Here’s the full list of my 10 favorite albums from 2013, accompanied by a handy Spotify playlist consisting of my favorite track from each album. Enjoy it now, on your drive home from work, or just whenever the hell you get around to it.

1. Modern Life is War – Fever Hunting
2. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
3. CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe
4. The Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us is the Killer
5. Savages – Silence Yourself
6. The Ocean – Pelagial
7. Merchandise – Totale Nite
8. Defeater – Letters Home
9. Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze
10. Haim – Days are Gone

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