Top 25 ATL Records of 2013

Top 25 ATL Records of 2013

The great failure of this blog will always be the simple fact that there isn’t enough time dedicated to it. (There are other faults and missteps, of course, but they’re mainly symptoms and not the cause.) Basically I pour out what I can in-between other commitments and passions and hope that a thread will somehow manifest that will tie everything together and make sense of it all. But it never happens. Instead a shit ton of balls get dropped. Rather than a single thread, there’s a rat’s nest of jumbled wires all twisted, knotted and pointing in a hundred different directions. And maybe that’s okay. After all, life is pretty chaotic. Music can be, too.

But if I had a major regret this year, it was my lack of attention to records as complete works. I posted a lot of tracks and did a lot of dissection, but the drop in the number of record reviews was considerable compared to years past. And while we can debate the relative worth of reviews and whether or not musical criticism holds any value beyond one person’s opinion, the fact is I really enjoy doing them. The process is cathartic and it helps me to understand—if only a little—where all those jumbled wires lead.

So what does this bit of hand-wringing mean? Well, for one it means a vow to do more record reviews in 2014. It means remembering to once in a while take a step back from the flood of details and admire the bigger picture. But primarily I think it means acknowledging there is a complexity to the Atlanta music scene that no amount of track write-ups or year-end list-making will ever begin to unravel. It means, for better or worse, finding beauty in the rat’s nest.

And so now please excuse me as I spill into an awkward transition, because there is a list I need to get to and I can think of no simple or elegant way to make that happen. As in year’s past I’ve kept my choices as local as I feel is necessary, meaning you won’t find any bands here with significant national presence. (For all their artistic achievements, Run the Jewels and Deerhunter get enough press and exposure; this blog has never been about them.) I’ve also, for the sake of preference and convenience, included both my favorite EPs and LPs rather than dividing them into separate lists. I’m sure we can all pretend for a few moments that the length of a record has no bearing on its overall quality (read: sarcasm).

So here you go, for whatever it’s worth: my 25 favorite records that Atlanta music brought to light in 2013. Dig in.