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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Serengeti and Surprise Guest Sufjan Stevens Join Louis Logic for Release Show at Glasslands

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Less than two years ago, underground hip hop veteran Louis Logic considered quitting rap and trying his hand at indie pop. On Sunday night, in front of a packed hometown Brooklyn crowd of fans, friends and fellow emcees, Louis walked around Glasslands with a Mylar balloon tied to his wrist and an irrepressible grin on what was clearly one of the best nights of his life.

The show was a celebration of Louis Logic’s first solo LP in seven years, Look on the Blight Side, which comes out next week on Fake Four, Inc. It had also been seven years since underground contemporary J-Zone rapped on stage. After experiencing some marginal success in the early 00s with his comedic pimp raps, J got burned out, stopped recording, and penned a book on how to not make it in the music business. Motivated by positive press for the book, J recently dropped his 11th album, Peter Pan Syndrome. His brief Glasslands set consisted of new material such as “Gadget Ho” and “Trespasser”, songs about his disdain for smartphones and gentrification, respectively. “Jackin For Basquiats” continued the onslaught with a snarky jab at Jay Z and other rappers mindlessly referencing high art for style points. An audience member took note and called out, “What else do you hate, J?”

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