Announcement after announcement and stream after stream, from David Bowie’s new album early this year to strong releases from Dillinger Escape Plan, Alice in Chains, Iggy & the Stooges, Queens of the Stone Age, and more, it’s easy to get excited about rock music in 2013. This post is merely meant to pay it forward to artists who I feel are doing inspired work within the fields of rock, metal, punk, prog, and their surrounding genres.
1. David Bowie
The music world was shocked when David Bowie announced he’d be releasing a full-length album in 2013 seemingly out of nowhere, and pleasantly surprised when it proved to sit well alongside his best work. Dark, incessant, cryptically poetic, and showcasing the bleak wisdom that comes from life experience, “The Next Day” was a non-mainstream release best listened to alongside “Heroes” and “Low”. Check out the tense and erratic title-track below:
The Dillinger Escape Plan are known for consistently putting out inventive and artistic, yet extremely hardhitting material, a rarity in the music world. Typically you get the Radiohead’s on one end of the spectrum and the Slayer’s on the other. DEP proved it was possible to expand in all directions, blowing away any close competition with their critically acclaimed 2013 release “One Of Us Is The Killer”, an album I highly recommend. Check out “When I Lost My Bet” below:
While not necessarily a potent follow-up to “Raw Power”, anyone who claims it’s not a great thing for rock n’ roll to have Iggy & The Stooges back in action must surely have a case of whine-itus. Though their 2013 release “Ready To Die” was a mixed offering, tracks like “Burn”, “Job” and the title track showcase the noisy rock these legends are known for, and having them on the live scene is a practical godsend, if only for the display of a 66 year old man rocking harder than most 20 year olds. There’s a lesson to be learned there. Check out “Burn”, the strongest track on the album, below:
Josh Homme and his sinister but fun rock project Queens of the Stone Age are back after a lengthy hiatus, and the prognosis is good for the new release “Like Clockwork…”. Pretty much every track is worth of recommendation, and the band is in fine form, with an album that is dangerous and seductive. This is expanding within the boundaries of rock. Check out my favorite cut from the album, “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” below:
5. Alice in Chains
Sludge rock giants Alice in Chains have just released their new full length entitled “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”, and it’s solid. They’ve come into their own since the comeback release “Black Gives Way To Blue” and sound confident and recharged. Although it would be near impossible to come up with fresh inspiration close to the genius that went into “Dirt” and “Jar of Flies”, this is music to be enjoyed on it’s own terms. Check out “Hollow” below:
Kylesa may be a polarizing band, with their simplistic, sludgy brand of hardcore and stoner metal, but the group are firing on all cylinders with “Ultraviolet”, a release that finds them experimenting more while retaining their ethereal, riff-driven base. “Unspoken” should win them many new fans. Listen below:
7. The Breeders
Indie rock legends The Breeders are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their classic alternative release “Last Splash” with a deluxe reissue and tour. I’ll be eagerly looking forward to their Vancouver performance. Until then, I’ll be enjoying their catalogue.
With “Monomania”, Deerhunter got noisy and psychedelic, bringing to mind Guided by Voices and early Pink Floyd, and both fans and critics loved them for it. Check out the title track below:
9. The Melvins
The Melvins are celebrating their 30th anniversary with extensive tour dates (I have my tickets for the Vancouver show), and they also released a covers album entitled “Everybody Loves Sausages” in 2013. Listen to “In Every Dream Home A Heartache” below:
Sub Pop’s underground rock heroes Mudhoney returned in fine form in 2013 with “Vanishing Point”, which featured a mix of cryptic, silly and surprisingly spiritually connected lyrics backed up with solid rock dynamics. Check out the insightful “I Like It Small” below:
11. Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile’s “Wakin On A Pretty Daze” has been hailed as one of 2013’s best albums so far, and though his lazy delivery can get a bit tiresome after an in-depth listen, he deserves credit for doing his own thing. This is recommended listening for fans of Tom Petty.
Dave Mustaine and friends have returned with a new full-length entitled “Super Collider”, which is sure to make a lot of metal fans happy. Let’s just hope he keeps his conspiracy theories to himself and spares the internet the excess content.
13. Black Sabbath
Now that the album stream is open, I took a listen to “13” today, and it’s stellar. Classic Sabbath through and through. Listen to “God is Dead” below:
Noise rock is back in a big way in 2013, thanks to bands like Metz, who are relentless touring to promote their brand of full-on volume abuse. Check out “Wasted” below:
Iceage are bringing strong songwriting and real punk and noise rock sensibility to their listeners with 2013 release “You’re Nothing”. Check out “Morals” below:
16. Skinny Puppy
Canadian industrial/electronic/rock favorites Skinny Puppy went back to their classic sound on their 2013 album “Weapon”, possibly their finest album since “The Process” (which not many fans enjoyed, but I would HIGHLY recommend). Check out “Paragun” below:
17. Vista Chino
Finally, some new music from Kyuss Lives! members, now going by the name of Vista Chino. Check out “Dargona Dragona” below:
Beyond these, we can expect new releases from the likes of Animals as Leaders, Katatonia, Scale the Summit, High on Fire, Anathema, Baroness, Godflesh, Devin Townsend, Gojira and Down.