Tyler Osborne’s ‘Best of 2013’ In Music

top 10 Tyler

It’s coming to the end of 2013, and it’s been a really weird year. Almost every band and their mother has reunited, pop music is now punk music, and ten year anniversary tours are now a norm within the industry. Admittedly, this wasn’t my favorite year for music. Sure, there have been a lot of good albums, but I think the hype machine has been chugging along at a faster rate in 2013, promoting mediocre to good records as something that are better than they actually are.

All of that being said, I do believe that there were still some records in 2013 that I think were really great, and deserve to be recognized as such. Obviously there will be records on here that don’t sit well with everyone, and that’s fine, but I do urge you, if you have the time, to sit down and actively listen to each record on this list, and truly be in the moment listening to the records. It’s something that we as over-saturated and over-stimulated music listeners take for granted sometimes, so if you could, try something different and give these records the time they deserve. So without further ado, here are my top 10 Records of 2013.

1. Touche Amore – Is Survived By

Having written about this record when it came out in September, I was initially worried that come a month or so the honeymoon period would wear off and all of the praise I gave it may have been indeed overhyped. I’m really happy to report, at least on my end, that is most certainly not the case. Is Survived By is the kind of record that sticks with you and hits just as hard every single time you hit play. The themes that are discussed on this record hit me the hardest, with singer Jeremy Bolm tapping into a new level of honesty that I think a lot of bands in the scene aren’t willing, or ready, to admit. Is Survived By is my record of the year, and I’m really happy the boys in Touche Amore came out and put out the record of their careers.

(Favorite Tracks: “To Write Content,” “Is Survived By,” “Harbor”)


2. Deafheaven – Sunbather

Sunbather has topped pretty much every single metal album of the year list in 2013, even permeating into lists of notoriously hip-hop focused websites. Why? Because it’s an absolutely breathtaking album. There are few words I can say about this album that haven’t already been said or would do it justice, but what I can say is that if you let yourself become fully engrossed in the record, actually actively listen to it, that’s when you will really be able to understand why this record is so important. More of a work of art than just an album, Sunbather is a record that has so many layers you’re continuously finding something new and fresh with each and every listen, and for that reason alone, it deserves a spot in your headphones. Let the music take over, and fall into an album about heartbreak, pain, and cathartic beauty.

(Favorite Tracks: Just listen to the whole record.)


3. The Rival Mob – Mob Justice

This is the toughest record on my list this year. Boston’s own The Rival Mob is one of the surliest bands in hardcore, and with Mob Justice, the group isn’t afraid to continuously pummel you with raw Boston hardcore that speaks nothing but the truth. Mob Justice is the record you kick your friend’s ass to for absolutely no reason, the record you lose your mind to in the car and the lady in the sedan next to you looks at you funny. This is the record that isn’t afraid to offend you. The Rival Mob really doesn’t give a shit. In a music climate where every band and fan of music feels pressured to be politically correct, watered down, and or generally too afraid to step on anyone’s toes, The Rival Mob makes sure you know that they do not care, and are just looking to punch you as hard as they can in the face with some great songs.

(Favorite Tracks: “Friendly Freaks,” “Mob Justice,” “Boot Party”)


4. Have Mercy – The Earth Pushed Back 

A wonderful debut record from Have Mercy, The Earth Pushed Back paints a really great picture of what sadness and loss looks like. Each and every track you can feel the emotion from singer Brian Swindle and the rest of the band, and it’s this overarching theme, as well as really fantastic musicianship that helps bridge the whole record together to make a really cohesive effort. This cohesion is what separates The Earth Pushed Back from the rest of their peers, and it’s the care they took in crafting this record that made me a fan from the first strums of “Level Head,” to arguably the catchiest song of the year, “Let’s Talk About Your Hair.” The boys are getting ready to write their follow up already, so let’s hope they can take the momentum they got from their massive 2013 and use it to create an equally satisfying work.

(Favorite Tracks: “Let’s Talk About Your Hair,” “This Old Ark”)


5. Justin Timberlake –  The 20/20 Experience (Part 1)

Justin Timberlake was the king of pop music in 2013. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a liar, or one could argue doesn’t know what he or she is talking about. While Part 2 of The 20/20 Experience was a bit more experimental and didn’t sit as well with me, Part 1 from front to back is a borderline flawless pop record. From the opening strings of “Pusher Love Girl,” to the trumpets in “That Girl,” Justin Timberlake showed us that it’s still possible to put out a pop record that integrates instruments, not just synthesizers, in 2013. JT somehow made me reevaluate what you can do with pop music, and I think that in of itself is a really powerful, and fantastic thing.

(Favorite Tracks: “That Girl,” “Mirrors,” “Pusher Love Girl”)


6. Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart

Frank Turner did not give himself an easy task in creating a follow up to 2011’s gorgeous England Keep My Bones. However, somehow, Frank Turner came out with all cylinders firing again and created an equally beautiful record in this year’s Tape Deck Heart. This record has seeped into my brainstem as the months have passed, to the point where I’ve listened to it so much that it doesn’t even feel like it came out this year. With intricate instrumentation, and his signature wit and honesty, Tape Deck Heart is a monument to the fantastic career Frank Turner has carved out for himself over the years, and proves that great musicianship and hard work really does pay off.

(Favorite Tracks: “The Way I Tend To Be,” “Four Simple Words,” “We Shall Not Overcome (Bonus Track)”)


7. Night Birds – Born to Die in Suburbia

If you’re reading through this list searching for the best straight up punk record of 2013, look no further: Night Birds’ newest full length Born To Die In Suburbia is exactly what you’re looking for. This record is fast, chaotic, urgent, pissed, and gets the blood pumping. Mixing classic punk with some surf-punk tendencies, Born to Die in Suburbia is the record that will make your eyes roll back into your skull and blackout only to wake up to find you trashed your room, took a sledgehammer to your car door, and pushed your well-meaning neighbor down a flight of stairs for absolutely no reason. In hindsight, do yourself a favor and don’t listen to this record. It’s probably not safe.

(Favorite Tracks: “Born to Die in Suburbia,”Maimed for the Masses,” “No Spoilers”)


8. Matt Pryor – Wrist Slitter

This is kind of an obligatory addition to the list, as Matt Pryor is one of the best song writers of this generation of musicians, and to say that he put out one of the best records of the year is kind of understood, because I’m pretty positive Matt Pryor isn’t capable of putting out anything short of great. That being said, Wrist Slitter is a really great listen, and harkens back to not just the Matt Pryor you’ve grown to love today, but the one you loved back in the day. With songs that sound like they could be b-sides on Something to Write Home About, as well as more produced, self-inflective pieces, Wrist Slitter is the perfect record to listen to when you’re walking home alone, just going through what happened in your day, and where you hope it goes tomorrow.

(Favorite Tracks: “Kinda Go To Pieces,” “As Perfect as We’ll Ever Be,” “Before My Tongue Becomes a Swords”)


9. Weekend Nachos – Still

This record is incredibly tough and makes me want to punch everyone at my university. Not much else to say other than that.

(Favorite Tracks: “S.C.A.B.” “No Idols and No Heroes,” “Watch You Suffer”)


10. Defeater – Letters Home

Defeater could have ended their career with Empty Days and Sleepless Nights and I would have been satisfied, but instead Defeater came back in 2013 again and further expanded their hardcore sound and gave us the incredibly raw and powerful Letters Home for our listening pleasure. Defeater goes out of their way this time around to absolutely pummel you from track one with the fantastic “Bastards,” then barely give you a second to breathe all the way through “No Relief,” which features my favorite guest vocals of the year (partially because it’s one of my favorite hardcore singers; George of Blacklisted). Admittedly, I’m unsure how this record will stack up against their previous catalog down the line, but I think it’s fair to say this record is one of the best of 2013, despite it not being the best in Defeater’s catalog.

(Favorite Tracks: “Bastards,” “Hopeless Again,” “No Relief”)

Follow Tyler on Twitter, as he gets the most cynical and brutally honest over there.

Tyler Osborne

Live in DC, grew up in PA. I specialize in writing, filming and taking pictures about punk, pop-punk, and hardcore music, and I also have a huge background in film as well. When not on the site, i'm running my own internet radio show, ToZ's Edge Radio (www.facebook.com/tozedgeradio). I also love stage diving and goldfish.
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