What a year 2013 turned out to be for the world of indie music and for me here at MY Indie Music Blog. This was my first official full year supporting indie artists from all over the world. When I first started to entertain the idea of doing a Top 10 list, I actually started to have a bit of an anxiety attack. How in the world was I going to whittle down the albums that I've come to grow and love over the course of this year and actually rank them? Worse yet, how in the world was I going to pick just 10 of them?! Therein lies the predicament that I've gotten myself into. The more I scrutinize this list, the more albums/EPs I end up adding and removing. This is hard people! It's like asking me which of my daughters I love more!!!
And yes, I'm fully aware that there are more than 10 albums/EPs on this list. That's because it's my Top 10 list and that's the way it's gonna be :) !
Now let's get on with the list, shall we?
10. (tie) Simpleton & Cityfolk No Man is an Island
I guess it's better late than never that this album has finally made its way onto this blog. I've been listening along since this album's release back in July. Simpleton & Cityfolk became a favorite of mine back in 2012 and they continue to bring some of the coolest Americana/folk/rock to the stage. One of many highlights from the album is Two Golden Stars. Solid from start to finish, I couldn't think of a better way to kick off this list!
Simple & Cityfolk
10. (tie) Sleeperstar Blue Eyes EP
It's been nearly two years since I first became mesmerized by this Dallas based quintet and their album Just Another Ghost. Fast forward to their latest EP Blue Eyes and the band has only gotten better. Today's answer to the alternative rock scene, Sleeperstar shares on Blue Eyes an honest, intimate look into "their innermost secrets about life, love, courage, despair and everything in between." Blue Eyes is a quick 6-song EP that will stick with you long after the last note plays.
9. Natalie Gelman Streetlamp Musician
New York City native Natalie Gelman is back again on MY Indie Music Blog with her EP Streetlamp Musician. I was honored to be a part of her successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year to help fund the radio release of this album. This was the first successful crowd-funded campaign that I actively and passionately backed as Ms. Gelman gave us an EP worth getting behind. Honest and heart-felt lyric writing combined with Ms. Gelman's naturally smooth vocals allows you to immerse yourself in the passion behind the artist. I sincerely hope that the world gets behind this artist soon. It's way past her time to shine!
8. WHY The Leap
WHY is the band who, in my humble fan opinion, can bring a huge amount of credibility back to the music industry. They continue to write and record music their way while giving their fans exactly what we've come to expect of them- intelligent lyrics, huge stadium worthy hooks and 125% of their hearts and souls every time. The Leap solidifies the band's spot in my lifetime hall of fame. I've said it before about this band and I'll say it again: WHY is one of the most important artists in music of our time. And the time is now for the world to discover this!
7. Mello Open Windows
For those of you who have followed along with me here on MY Indie Music Blog and over on Twitter, you probably would have never picked up on my love of hip-hop/r&b. There's a reason why, and I explained that to you when I first introduced Mello and his mixtape Open Windows to you. For me, the current state of the music industry took a turn for the worse when hip-hop seemingly lost it's identity. Enter a young buc from Jersey to turn my world upside down and take me back to the golden days of hip-hop. Every time I listen to Open Windows, Mello takes me back to summers growing up in Dallas. For the ship to be righted in the music industry, we NEED artists like Mello.
Ya boy Mello
6. (tie) Nicki Kris I Come Alive
If you're looking for one of the purist vocalists around today, look no further than Nicki Kris. I Come Alive is one of those rare indie albums that comes across like a mainstream record. There are soaring vocals and pop riffs galore, but what sets it apart from its mainstream contemporaries is its honesty. Nicki doesn't pretend to be someone that she isn't and she doesn't try to copy what others have done before her. What you get is raw talent that's just begging for a touch of shine to spiff it up.
6. (tie) Circle the D.O.G.S. Unleashed
In case you've ever wondered what one of my all-time favorite eras of music is/was, look no further than the 80's. More specifically, the hair metal craze. Fast forward to 2013, and Albuquerque's very own Circle the D.O.G.S. has revitalized the rock n roll scene. All of the metal without as much of the hair, Unleashed is one of those albums that hits every note just the right way. Whether your at the gym or driving down the road with the windows rolled down, this album is best enjoyed with the volume cranked as high as your earholes can handle it!
Circle the D.O.G.S.
5. (tie) Collette Andrea Luna EP
I'm going to admit it now. Of all the indie artists that I've come across in 2013, Collette Andrea is my favorite. Collette
is a throwback to an era when music touched your soul. Intelligent
lyric writing combined with innovative arrangements and one extremely
melodic voice instantly take you back to the golden days of the
singer/songwriter in the 60's and 70's, but with a fresh, now feeling. Pushing play on the Luna EP instantly makes my soul smile.
5. (tie) Ryan Star Animals
What's this? A "mainstream" artist on a indie artist list you ask? I beg to differ. If you've followed along this year, you'd know that 2013 is the year that Ryan Star took back control of his career and headed back to his indie artist roots. Nothing short of utmost respect has been doled out to Mr. Star for his bold move to drop out of the rat race so that he could get back to recording his music his way. And the #RStarArmy is the proud beneficiary! Couple this with a highly successful Pledge Music campaign and Ryan is well on his way to owning the music industry in 2014! Look out, because A N G E L S + A N I M A L S is coming up next!
4. (tie) In Air The Glow
Admittedly, THE most anticipated release of 2013, for me, was The Glow by SoCal's very own, In Air. I first fell in love with this band's sound over two years ago when they were known as Nobody Gets Killed. Already energized with a fresh take on today's alternative sound, the band decided to change names as well as sounds just when it seemed like things were about to take off for them. I was very excited to hear the transformation that they'd undergone. And was I ever floored! Words most times escape me when I try to explain this band's sound, so let's let the music do the talking, shall we?
4. (tie) In Air The Glass Between Us
Continuing on their musical evolution, In Air gave us a second EP in 2013, The Glass Between Us. I think the band was more concerned than their fans were about the direction they were headed musically. I for one can not get enough of them. The Glass Between Us
is yet another labor of love and really shows off a polished sound. The
vocals have never sounded better, the lyrics have never had deeper
meaning and the musical musings that tie this EP together are spot on. There is definitely a harder edge to their sound now, and I like it!
3. Chaser 8 At the 426
At the 426
is what happens when an artist is honestly thankful and grateful for
their fans. What Audra, Pat, Billy, Pete and Aaron have given us is
nothing short of their very souls. They have a unique sound that never
wavers for the sake of conformity. This is one of the indie artists that
I am completely torn over when it comes to them getting their "big
break". While I want to see them succeed in the music industry beyond
even their wildest dreams, I also want them to stay the small indie band
from Hartford, CT that I'm dying to see at a live show.
happens, I know this much: I'll be a #Crazy8 for life and support them
no matter what path their careers end up going down.
2. David Gielan Wading Through the Bracken, Part 1
For me, everything indie always comes back to David Gielan. If it weren't for this immensely, outrageously talented artist, I don't know where I'd be (in a musical sense). David Gielan is one of those artists that comes along once in a great
while. As a singer/songwriter, his passion for his music is evident in
every song that he has released so far in his career. From his debut
album Idea Lab, to his time spent as lead singer of Simple 6 and Oh
Crap! Ninjas, to my all-time favorite indie album The Imperfect Tense, add Wading Through the Bracken, Part 1 and you've got one of the top indie catalogs ever assembled by one artist.
1. When Particles Collide EGO
What is there left for me to say about the hardest working duo in music today that I haven't already said? When you hit play, I want you to realize that this is just a little two person outfit out of Bangor, Maine that's about to blow your earholes up with some of the hardest hitting rock n roll ever. What Sasha and Chris have done is left everything they had at the time in the studio. What we get is one of the greatest albums/EPs in the modern era of music. Period.
When Particles Collide
I hope you'll all be back with me here at MY Indie Music Blog for another year of indie music discovery!
Support unsigned artists... give indie music a chance.