Artlux Mag’s Top 10 Albums of 2013

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When not discussing Miley Cyrus, the hype machine suggested Kanye West and Arcade Fire were the primary gravitational forces of 2013. And while Yeezus and Reflektor were great records, the time and energy journalists devoted to Kanye rants and Arcade Fire dress codes could have been spent covering a wealth of genius material that flew under the radar. With that in mind, and with the acknowledgment that ranking art is a pointless (though oddly fun) endeavor, Artlux presents its top 10 albums of 2013.

10. Serengeti – Saal

King of character study and frequent Sufjan collaborator Serengeti put out a lot of music in 2013. His record under the guise of Chicago bratwurst enthusiast Kenny Dennis received the most attention, including praise from Thom Yorke, but it was the underhyped Saal alongside German producer Sicker Man that showed Geti at his most raw and revealing, singing of a recurring night terror involving his deceased girlfriend and showing up at an ex’s wedding wearing a fake nose.

9. Young Fathers – Tape Two

Artists who make music described as uncategorizable  are often doing something right. Scottish trio Young Fathers are hip hop at their core, but their experimental lo-fi odyssey routinely features elements of African music, soul, reggae and more. Their second EP on Anticon is equal parts beautiful and grimy, highlighted by the melodic might of “I Heard” and adventurous tumult of “Queen Is Dead”, which sounds like a synthy post-apocalyptic dance party set in the Grand Bazaar.

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Rickolus – Troubadour (Review)

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Released by Circle Into Square

Over the course of 13 years, the last film projectionist in Florida spent his spare time recording an album a day in a green shed in his Jacksonville backyard, piling up roughly 4,748 albums according to legend. Somewhere along the way he got married, had a daughter, made music with indie rapper Astronautalis, and went on the occasional tour. This man is Rickolus.

The singer-songwriter, who emerged into cult consciousness with the obscure-yet-praised Youngster and Coyote & Mule records, had the audacity to drop a double album in the age of dwindling attention spans. This album is Troubadour, split into the acoustic Roads and electric Towns.

Drawing inspiration from Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth, Troubadour is Rickolus‘ abstract exploration of love as the highest spiritual experience and serves as a meandering epic poem to his wife. His witty, emotive palette lends itself to a beautiful sonic sadness even when the subject matter itself doesn’t occupy the same space, as evidenced by songs such as “White Whale” and “9th Street to San Pablo”.

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