DEAFHAVEN Despite a popular withdrawal from black metal, Deafheaven's Sunbather was one of 2013's most beautiful albums, and even named Metacritic's "Top Album of 2013." Because its song structures dabble more in pop and rock, it's a noticeable step away from their debut EP Roads to Judah, but that's not the only reason why I'm glad to have heard about it.
Both the lyrics and instrumentals carry the heavy emotion of dealing with love, heartbreak and loss, artfully demonstrating that these sensations can be imperative in their own right. ALYSSA DUPREE
DISCLOSURE It's awesome to know people that truly love music because it's the best way to learn about new shit. My hipcat friend Aaron always sends me things to keep me fresh, since he knows my pitfall of obsessing over one thing at a time. What he didn't know when he sent me Settle, Disclosure's 2013 release, was that obsession was my only option.
These two young British brothers make techno that makes my heart sing: it's danceable if you want it to be, but also supremely chill and subtle. They have lyric overlays that actually add to tracks instead of becoming the track; compare their "You & Me" (featuring Eliza Doolittle) to Zedd's horrible hit "Clarity" (featuring Foxes) and you will know exactly what I mean. Disclosure is making their way to Houston this winter and I cannot wait to obsess in person. SELENA DIERINGER
BILLY MARLOWE Billy Marlowe has been dead 17 years now but Show Me the Steps, his first and only album, was finally released in 2013. As singer-songwriter albums go, it's a small masterpiece filled with verses that will either break your heart or make it as tough as the back end of a shooting gallery. Recorded by ex-Houston Press writer Steve Satterwhite in 1983 New York City, Marlowe's songs tackle life and truth as few do or have ever done. Put this one on the night your lover leaves you and the wind is blowing and you're thinking of checking out. It just might save you. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
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FRANCIE MOON Science geeks know Lord Ernest Rutherford discovered many secrets of the atom, so I feel rather Rutherfordian sharing my favorite musical discovery of 2013, Francie Moon. Like an atom, this diminutive New Jersey native who passed through Houston recently is a small wonder with big energy. Moon's voice, with traces of Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin, make up the protons and neutrons.
The electrons? Her guitar work, which gives her some serious indie-girl cred. Think P.J. Harvey and you have an idea. But don't take my word for it, Go to her Bandcamp page and get nuked. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
PARQUET COURTS This Brooklyn (via Denton) band is, in my opinion, one of the best new acts in recent years. Their garage-y post-punk is just apathetically gritty enough to sound dangerous, and catchy enough to never tire. Stephen Malkmus himself recently admitted he heard Parquet Courts in a burger joint and mistook them for his own former band, Pavement.
My runners-up are Philadelphia's Radiator Hospital and Toronto's Metz, whose noisy and grungy punk at times evokes Nirvana's Bleach. NEPH BASEDOW
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REIGNWOLF Reignwolf, lesser known by his traditional name Jordan Cook, decided to put on a clinic for every single person who meandered over to see him at last fall's Voodoo Fest. I'm not sure what took me so long to catch onto the gritty garage-blues that Cook emits from his guitar and three-peice drum kit he sometimes visits, but I'm glad I finally caught up with him. What he does to his instruments on stage is something you could only experience with a live performance, and when his brother and friend take the helm behind the bass and drums, it only gets louder and grungier. JIM BRICKER
SAVAGES In a year where we lost so many bands who bring this level of energy, Savages just blew me away. I haven't heard a band this exciting or energetic in a long time, and it was really refreshing to see a new one doing what rock bands should do: rocking! Savages don't mess around with much introspection, leaving that on the cutting-room floor in favor of pure post-punk aggression and screaming. By all accounts they're tearing up the festival circuit; don't sleep on this one. COREY DEITERMAN
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