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Top 100 Songs of 2013 (pt. 2)

Here is the second installment of Gutter Bubbles “Top 100 Songs of 2013.” There is some really great variety on these tracks. Everything from ambient drone to disco (for real). If you aren’t familiar with some of these songs or artists, make sure to check em out! You might just find a new favorite!






Boards of Canada “Reach for the Dead” from Tomorrow’s Harvest

After nearly eight years of radio silence, Boards of Canada announced a new release was finally on its way. Along with this overwhelmingly exciting news for those of us who spent nearly a decade waiting for some new material (or any form of communication for that matter), came the pre-album release of “Reach for the Dead” alongside a visually stunning and perfect pump-priming video. Analog synth arpeggios and a foreboding undercurrent of moody pads tell the story of the album to come. It is truly a masterpiece in my eyes. -Devin Hogan


Boards of Canada “Semena Metvykh” from Tomorrow’s Harvest

The slow-pulsing low-end drone and ghostly, descending tones of this song sounds like the sonic embodiment of denouement–of civilization, of humanity, of one’s own life mulling over a painful regret, of the universe itself. -Tom Murphy


Bonobo “Transits (feat. Szjerdene)” from The North Borders

Those familiar with Simon Green’s work as Bonobo will recognize his latest offering The North Borders as essentially, more of the same. But since his sound is one he has honed and cultivated for over a decade, that is not a bad thing. He is the only one that delivers his patented sexy smooth jazz/downtempo/electronica/funk. This track, featuring Szjerdene on lead vocals, is an excellent example of this. Modern, fresh sounding production meets the cool, smokey lounge of yesteryear, leaving the listener feeling nostalgia for the future. -Rob Dixon


Cocksure “Klusterfuck Kulture” from Cold Waves II Sampler

Although many have tried to replicate the sound of Wax Trax! era industrial music, few have actually succeeded. So it was with great surprise when industrial veterans Jason Novak (Acumen Nation, Czar) and Chris Connelly (Revolting Cocks, Ministry) announced their new project Cocksure. By “bridging the gap” between the old and new of industrial music, Cocksure all but guarantees a good fucking time. Although this song is our first taste of the Cocksure project, things sound increasingly promising between Connelly’s transfixing vocal take and Novak’s infectious industrial groove. -Ryan Brun


Cocorosie “Far Away” from Tales of a Grass Widow

Beat boxer Tez shines here as do both Casady sisters. Sure, the band went in a more electronic direction with this album and none more so than on this song. It’s like early Bjork gone even weirder but in its dreamlike melody and beat it sounds like something that had to have been conceived of in a lo-fi recording environment but was not actually recorded that way. Tez’s beat boxing sounds like it has to be some kind of drum machine for its precision and sounds and the sisters float over one another with their vocals. It’s surreal yet comforting and has an unconventional beauty to match the appeal of the band and its idiosyncratic brilliance. -TM


Cold War Kids “Tuxedos” From Dear Miss Lonelyhearts

There is a certain Beatles-esque (or dare I even say Lennon-esque) aesthetic that is coming into style this year, and this song is a perfect example of that. The melody is classic, pulled from old rock n’ roll, blues and Motown. Exactly the stuff John Lennon loved and reflected in his own work. Now we have a generation who were inspired by Lennon in the Cold War Kids, and they reflect these same themes in their own music. Chains of influence spanning the ages is exactly what’s brought us to this point in musical history, but from here out melancholy pontification, gospel-tinged backing vocals and electric piano will never go out of style. -RD


Corrections House “Hoax The System” from Hoax The System

Fuse street poetry with industrial-inflected neo-folk and a heady, insistent beat and you have this early song from members of Neurosis and Eyehategod. While much of industrial music has devolved into self-parody, this sounds genuinely menacing and dangerous. -TM


Czar “Aortic Flower” from No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive

Chicago’s Czar returned this year with their sophomore effort, the brilliantly titled No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive and they picked up right where they left off, with mile a minute changes, brutally heavy riffs and just enough electronics peppered throughout to give it a distinct flavor. They’ve been described as math metal or progressive metal, but honestly, Czar is one of those rare groups that truly defy categorization. “Aortic Flower” showcases that diversity, with drummer Dan Brill’s death-blast precision, dual guitar interplay from Brian Elza and Jason Novak and the possessed as a motherfucker vocals from Novak. Czar may not be the most well-known act on this list, but they are without a doubt one of the heaviest. -RB


Daft Punk “Touch” from Random Access Memories

A lot of people didn’t notice this gem tucked away in the blockbuster Random Access Memories. One of the most audacious songs of their career, “Touch” is both a blessing and a mystery. It begins as ambient electronica which is simply a precursor to what can best be described as a musical number (as in like, a Broadway musical) But never mind that now because….DISCO! But the disco is brief and soon gives way to four on the floor dance (isn’t that just the way of things?). This isn’t just any dance club thumper though – it’s juxtaposed with a Dixieland jazz band and ragtime piano. Just as it sinks in that you are listening to ragtime-house music, the dance party crashes into a gorgeous refrain which slowly fades into a full-blown choir and orchestra. You scratch your head in bliss because it isn’t often that something so damn beautiful and full of “What the fuck?” intersect. By the time the musical number makes a second appearance for a reprise you, baffled and confused, skip back to the start to try to make sense of it all. -RD


Daft Punk “Instant Crush” from Random Access Memories

Julian Casablancas’ best work this year was on this Daft Punk number. That’s not to say that the new Strokes album isn’t solid, cause it is. But nowhere on that album is a chorus half as hooky and infectious as the one on “Instant Crush”. It’s reminiscent of something like “Dare” from the Gorrilaz- just the right amount of 80’s glory paired with a stomp-yer-feet beat and the catchiest of melodies. It’s a pied piper for the Gen-X crowd, sung with great falsetto prowess. We will blindly follow it because it’s something we’ve felt existed in our youths, now articulated. This is the kind of song that was always with you and always will be. -RD


Deerhunter “Neon Junkyard” from Monomania

When this album came out the lead track must have made some people think Bradford Cox has lost the plot. But it implodes the horizon of expectation and establishes a new expression of what the guy has already done so well. He just loosened the bolts of his songwriting and let it run ragged and go a little mad for this album generally but this song in particular. It sounds like something that could have come out of  New Zealand coupled with the “fuck the world” vibe of There’s A Riot Goin’ On. But that vocal line just draws you in to its slackery energy and sweeps you along for the roiling wave of guitar wail toward the end. -TM


Depeche Mode “Broken” from Delta Machine

When one of the all-time great bands releases a new album, you listen. And yes, that is exactly what Depeche Mode is. Violator is an artistic masterpiece on par with any of the greatest records ever made and even if you removed it from their body of work, they would still have a discography most bands could only dream of. So where does their 2013 album Delta Machine fit into it, qualitatively? Right about in the middle honestly. The moody, broody, electro dance-pop that we all know and love is present, even if it’s not of the greatest caliber, but before we write this album off due to our own unreasonable standards, consider “Broken”- clear evidence that Depeche Mode can still craft a song and deliver it to us in dark, delicious beeps and sweeps. -RD


Dido “Let Us Move On (feat. Kendrick Lamar)” from Girl Who Got Away

Dido’s voice is a gift, and when it’s wrapped around a song this gorgeous, it makes you melt. The song is so good that it takes a few listens before you even notice how sick the production is. Take for example the instrumentation underlying the vocals during the chorus that manages to sound both distant and epic simultaneously, or the reverb spilling Dido’s vocals into infinity prior to the rap-bridge. Does all this production deliver substance? Let’s just say that if you listen to the simple, zen-like mantra of the chorus in the right state of mind, it might just move you to tears. -RD


Eels “Wonderful, Glorius” from Wonderful, Glorious

Don’t call it a comeback, cause it isn’t. Let’s be honest here, the Eels have churned out a lot of mediocre albums, and their latest, Wonderful, Glorious, doesn’t exactly break that trend. But like on all those other sub par albums, there are certain songs that are genuinely great and this is one of them. With a retro soul feel about it, the confidant and uplifting two-word chorus rings true. Toss in a vocal bridge reminiscent of the Beach Boys and a “Here Come the Sun” styled outro and you have blended indie rock perfection. It’s wonderful and glorious, so it’s also, you know, aptly titled. -RD


Eminem “Berzerk” from MMLP2

I’ll be the first to admit that Eminem is not at the top of his game on this track. It doesn’t really showcase the verbal dexterity or creativity that everyone knows Eminem is capable of. So why is this track one of the top 100 of the year? Because Rick Rubin took what would likely be an average song and made it a fucking monster. Like “99 Problems” from Jay-Z’s Black Album, Rubin came along with a guitar, a wall of speakers and cranked the volume to 11! The sound may be a throwback to his early Def Jam days, but it’s a sound that never gets old. -RB


Eminem “Rap God” from MMLP2

Take everything that I said about “Berzerk” and switch it the other way around. Instead of relying on the beat to propel the song, “Rap God” does just the opposite. Eminem’s jaw-dropping flow throughout over six minute long song does nothing short of re-establish Eminem as the king of hip-hop. There are MC’s out there that excel at their version of hip-hop (see others on this list), but no one comes close to matching Em’s verbal dexterity, use of symbolism, tone inflection…well…just about everything. When MC’s boast about being the “GOAT” or a “Boss”, the results are usually easily dismissed, but Eminem backs up his claims with a track that’s pure fire from beginning to end. -RB


Filter “We Hate It When You Get What You Want” from The Sun Comes Out Tonight

What Filter lacks in song title brevity, they more than make up for with the actual song. All of the traditional elements that make up Filter’s past works are present, from electronic flourishes, punishing guitar riffs and singer Richard Patrick’s delicate balance of melody and aggression. There aren’t many bands on this list (let alone in the world) that have the ability to seamlessly blend driving industrial-tinged rock with actual songwriting prowess, yet Filter does so without batting an eye, reminding us once again that they are one of the most exciting bands out there. -RB


Flaming Lips “We Don’t Control the Controls” from The Terror

“She Don’t Use Jelly” this ain’t. The Terror, this years release by the Flaming Lips displays their psychedelic prowess at its most grandiose. We’re talking full-blown Pink Floyd style psychedelia, ala More or even A Saucerful of Secrets. This 14 minute epic finale plays like the album in a microcosm, echoing themes from previous songs and melding them into a mind-bending medley only those of strong mind and stout heart dare embark upon. Oh but what riches await those hearty souls that do! -RD


Four Tet “Ba Teaches Yoga” from Beautiful Rewind

This is like at least three songs in one with multiple layers of beats and tones working together like a sonic weather pattern. Some of the textures are very much in the background and it seems so spare but is so rich at the same time. Like being outdoors on a quiet day, there’s plenty of fascinatingly stimulating experiences if you’re open to it. Four Tet here takes that concept and perfectly highlights the atmospheric elements converging into a song that is both an immersive experience and tuneful. Think chillout room music updated to now from the early ’90s. -TM


Tim Hecker “Amps, Drugs, Harmonium” from Virgins

Rather than stick to a modulated drone in the foreground, that element is in the background while effervescent, breathy tones remain prominent. It gives the song a subtle dimensionality like walking into a fog enshrouded forest on a peaceful winter morning with the fog illuminated by the morning sun. It suggests a sensory experience and embodies that in the sounds and composition. Hecker here doesn’t flood us with low-end so much as get under our skins with a split approach to his atmospherics. -TM


More Top 100 Songs of 2013: part 1, part 3, part 4, part 5


Twitter: @Gutter_Bubbles

About the author:
Has 290 Articles

I am absolutely and unabashedly in love with music. If I could eat a huge bowl of songs for breakfast every morning, I totally would. I'm obsessive about categorization (don't mess with my chronological or alphabetical) and can't stand an unorganized iTunes library. Outside of music and writing, I love baseball (go Rockies), coffee, corgi's and going on fun trips with my girlfriend!


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