Aux.Out. Writers’ Poll (aka Philzz Jop)

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PHILZZJOP

I don’t even remember what month I started “directing” Aux.Out. I remember that it happened pretty quickly, under less-than-desirable circumstances, and now we are here at the end of the year. So, allow me a second.

I’m not going to say I’m proud of my work here, all I’ve done is encourage people to write. Sometimes I’ve been able to help guide the projects, other times people have turned in 3,000 words that hardly needed a comma added (Ryan Bort). I am proud, though, that it feels like a community could be forming out of this, that the section could have an identity that hinges on the talented people that write here. Everywhere on the Internet that is worth a damn has just that. Our parent site of CoS surely does, as does Pitchfork, Stereogum, Vice, The 405, and down to the labors of love, like Zach Hart’s We Listen for You.

When you’re growing up, and even after that, music is a big part our identity. And for those of us that maybe made it too big of a part, we latch onto the community of it, whether it’s a venue or a label or scene or a band that practices next-door. The Internet lets us do this without the confines of geography or space. If I didn’t feel like I was a part of something in doing this, I just don’t know what the point would be.

So, in order for us, the writers, to introduce ourselves further to you, the reader, I made up a little writer survey and told everyone to only answer the questions they wanted and they would be published completely. They could go on as short or long as they desired. They can promote themselves or others. They can make jokes or take it seriously. Whatever they write, though, the point is that the reader can get to know them a little better, and maybe it could bring our community closer together.

Crystal Castles by Philip Cosores

Now, even all these pages of answers to music and non-music questions only scratch the surface of who someone is, and a link to a Twitter or a bio blurb doesn’t tell you why these people are writing here (or editing, or podcasting). I know some of these folks really well, I know some of them hardly at all. I am not entirely sure if K.C. Libman is a boy or a girl at this point. But, I thought I could at least give you a little insight into the people that filled out this poll.

There are a lot of them, so feel free to just go on to page two if this is boring.

Some of the names you will recognize from Consequence of Sound. Michael Roffman is the Editor-in-Chief there and it is my opinion that if one man doesn’t get his fair recognition in this music world, it is him. For years he has guided the reviews, live coverage, interviews, and features of what has become one of the biggest music destinations on earth. He works tirelessly and still is the easiest editor I have to get in touch with. He’s my boss, and we’ve had fights and disagreements over the four years since I first wrote an article for him (it was on Japandroids’ Post-Nothing), but there’s a reason I’m here and a reason he’ll have me. My reason is the respect and fairness he shows me, something I can always count on him for. Not sure what his reason has been for having me around, he probably lost a bet or something.

Also from CoS is Matt Melis, who copy edits most everything that goes on Aux.Out., because I am not to be trusted with this kind of work. He’s good at it, and he’s in charge of the Book Club, which he does a fantastic job at. I’m lucky to have his help. Sasha Geffen wrote one of my favorite pieces and I think she is about as special of a thinker and writer as they come. She’ll be my boss somewhere someday, I hope. Henry Hauser also is in Book Club, and he has been working with me back since One Thirty BPM days. He has found a niche in this music writing universe, and has a distinct taste that I trust. And he’s just a super good and smart guy. And rounding out the CoS’ers is Nick Freed, whom hasn’t written for Aux.Out. since I’ve been here, but I invited past writers to participate and I’m happy he took me up on that. So, pitch me Nick!

A$AP Rocky by Philip Cosores

Paula Mejia I guess is also from CoS, but she’s from so many places these days it is hard to think of her that way. Paula is a writer that seems to continually be improving, and when you see where she is already writing for (Rolling Stone, A.V. Club, Spin), you wonder how good she is going to end up. I’m excited to see.

Speaking of former Aux.Out. writers, Jeremy “don’t forget the ‘D'” Larson was kind enough to participate, despite his heavy load at Pitchfork and Radio.com. He founded Aux.Out. and, if you recall, was just awful at it. But in seriousness, my goal coming in has been to maintain the vision he had, or at least maintain the quality, and when I failed at that, at least look like I tried really hard so he would pity me rather than loathe me. If it weren’t for Jeremy, I honestly would have quit writing a couple years ago, but that’s a story for another time. I’m just really happy that Jeremy participated in this.

Many of the writers that freelance here have a background at Paste Magazine, which I also write for, and probably made it easy for them to hear about this and/or find me. Rachel Bailey actually predates me at Aux.Out., but I’ve been trying to get here to write regularly and maybe we can harass her somehow until she does. Ryan Bort was an intern at Paste when I started freelancing there, and it became clear fairly quickly that he was one of those special interns that is going places. A little more than a year later and he is not letting anyone down with the work he turns in. Hilary Saunders was also a Paste intern I believe, but I only knew her writing a little when she pitched me on Aux.Out. I couldn’t be more happy that she has written here, as she brings a compassionate perspective towards the humanitarian side of music that is refreshing amid all the bullshit people talk about incessantly. Nathan Huffstutter is someone I knew from his album reviews and a few exchanges we have had and was easy to say yes to when he expressed interest. He’s a pro through and through, someone that I can exchange emails about whatever album is on my mind and have a pretty good dialogue with. And, even when I don’t agree with him, I always leave his writing with more to consider than when I arrived, which as a writer, is all we hope.

10317483265 59a61202ef z Aux.Out. Writers Poll (aka Philzz Jop)

Robert Ham and Laura Studarus both write for Paste, too, but they have special roles in Aux.Out. Robert (or Bob) just began the first new recurring column under this phase of the site. We got off to a horrible start in our relationship, too. When I took this job, he had an assignment in flux, and it wasn’t handled with the care it deserved on my end, but, you know, shit was going down. It was just bad luck more than anything for him, and it took a good while for us to mend that incident, for me to gain his trust and convince him that he should work for us again. It sounds like way more work than an editor would normally do to keep a freelancer, but, as more and more people seem to be realizing, Robert Ham is a special writer and a guy we should all be rooting for. As best as I can tell, anyway.

And Laura will be joining him with a new column launching next month (hopefully). You’ll see what that is about later, but we’re so excited to have her working with us. If you read Under the Radar, you know her work, as well as with MTV Iggy. We shared the same city for a long time before we finally met a couple months back, but I am happy to call her a friend and think she is one of the brightest and most devoted writers I have met. Her passion comes through in her work, and yeah, I’m excited for contributions to come. (Now I just jinxed it and she’s probably gonna bail.)

Also here in SoCal is Daniel Kohn, who I met through covering shows (he writes for LA and OC Weekly). I’ve enjoyed building a friendship with him, and value the scope of his ideas, and his willingness to go the extra mile for a good story. Lots of people fancy themselves “music journalists,” but Daniel actually grasps what that entails.

Not all of the writers had an “in” to begin with, and we’ve published some awesome stories because of that. Cameron Wolf, Justin Wesley, Nathan Matisse, and K.C. Libman I know just through a few emails or the occasional Twitter interaction, so anything I could say about them would be more speculative. Hopefully next year that is different and I can give them the sentence or two they deserve.

J Cole by Philip Cosores-1

Alyssa Pereira, well, I don’t know where this woman came from, but somehow she was in my Twitter feed and soon we met in San Francisco and I am happy to have made a friendship out of a weird internet paths-crossing. She is smart as all hell (far smarter than I am), and just needed a bit of encouragement to realize how good of a writer she can be, or at least in this realm. She’s got academic writing on lockdown. Now she’s a force, consistently landing better gigs, and soon will be a success in this industry in any sense of the word.

David Greenwald and Zach Hart are already successes in this industry. Lord knows we’ve had our differences of opinions, and I think it has taken a few years, but I consider myself lucky to have their writing and opinions on my radar. Their willingness to come on our podcast and be the interesting, passionate, and brilliant thinkers they are is invaluable not just for the show, but for anyone that immerses themselves in their world. They consistently challenge my view on the most fundamental beliefs I have in music, and they both have good hearts underneath it all. Thanks guys.

Last, and by no means least, Will Ryan, whom I have worked with for years, at BPM, at Diffuser, and now here. I think the world of Will and that’s the best way I can sum it up. I can’t wait to see where our work together will go next year.

So, thanks for indulging me on introducing everyone to you. And thanks to all these contributors and the other great writers who are jerks and didn’t fill out a response, particularly Alex Young, Chris Bosman, Chris Coplan, Sam Lefebvre, Gary Suarez, Hilary Hughes, Max Bell, Luke Winkie, and anyone that I might have forgotten. We’ll hopefully have many of these folks returning in 2014 as well as some prime new contributors.

For now, enjoy the opinions of 25 writers on just about everything in music. It’s Philzz Jop.

–Philip Cosores
Christmas, 2013

Photography by Philip Cosores. Artwork by Steven Fiche.

Drake by Philip Cosores

What was the most important moment in music for 2013?

Rachel Bailey
Lou Reed, duh.

Philip Cosores
I think maybe the Yeezus projections, that first night of those was pretty nuts, or even the M B V album release. I think this year I’ll think of those moments that people weren’t experiencing together in a physical sense, but a community felt together in the figurative sense. We are still learning how to do this through technology, and it seems we are getting better at it. Lindsay Zoladz has been exploring this in her Pitchfork column and in her Arcade Fire review, and I can’t think of anything that speaks more to modern music listening that this phenomenon, and these instances of it.

Sasha Geffen
Probably Lou Reed’s death.

David Greenwald
Kanye West’s Zane Lowe interview. One hour of Yeezus speaking truth to power, even if power is busy making $5,000 leather pants.

Robert Ham
The death of Lou Reed. It opens up a gigantic hole in the musical universe that won’t be filled anytime soon.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
The uncovering and release of Molly Drake’s reel-to-reel parlor recordings. It revealed itself to be the most important window into understanding the music of Nick Drake, the greatest folk musician of all time.

Henry Hauser
R. Kelly + Phoenix mashup at Coachella.

Nathan Huffstutter
Reclaiming the term “emo” from all the assholes who’d been using it to ghettoize a diverse and talented range of bands.

Daniel Kohn
Daft Punk reinventing the album roll out. By building hype in the way did, they were seemingly impossible to ignore yet never made a public appearance to support the record. Pretty amazing.

Jeremy D. Larson
The Jay Z/Samsung rollout, buying a platinum album, and having a glib, fully transparent transaction between art and commerce.

Haim by Philip CosoresK.C. Libman
HAIM’s breakout in everything. Whether it was the release of Days Are Gone, selling out a series of stops on their headlining tour, or the plethora of press they did, it was all done with relatable, straightforward grace by three wildly talented girls who could have easily been your neighborhood crushes. They’re guitar-driven pop music for everyone, without making pop a four-letter word for anyone. Danielle also plays guitar better than you.

Nathan Mattise
As music continues to become less important to mainstream culture (just look at its coverage compared to TV or film) and the artform itself is further niche-ified, true icons will be harder to come by. Lou Reed is a musician who everyone from Kanye West to Wes Anderson would nod towards as an influence. If the communal outpouring for his passing inspired even a handful of music fans to try the Velvet Underground for the first time, chances are it’ll stick with them more than any individual 2013 album.

Paula Mejia
When MBV released their follow-up to Loveless 20 years after the fact.

Matt Melis
Bowie, The Replacements, and Mark Mulcahy all returned in one way or another. Here’s to old friends.

Alyssa Pereira
Yeezus “leaking”—it reiterated where we are as music consumers and demonstrated what lengths labels will go to to shake things up and drive a conversation. Maybe it seemed more epic to me because I was stuck at the Philadelphia airport waiting for a connecting flight when I turned my phone on and it blew up with tweets and messages about the leak. In any case, Yeezus was an incredible album, and I think it was a moment that really solidified a change in the way music marketing will work going forward.

Michael Roffman
The death of Lou Reed.

Will RyanCHVRCHES by Philip Cosores
I’m not much of a news hound, so I can’t account for every event, but Lauren Mayberry’s piece for The Guardian in September after the release of her band’s debut LP tackling the (casual to very explicit) online misogyny she’s faced as a part of Chvrches was a highlight of 2013 for me. Sadly, the stuff contained in the letter wasn’t a surprise. But the piece resonated in its specificity and modernity and I think it sparked a discussion about sexism that needs to be more commonplace in all corners of the music world. Especially in regard to smaller bands who establish themselves in online spaces.

Hilary Saunders
Arcade Fire (who already has a well documented relationship with the country of Haiti) performing in the marginalized Miami neighborhood of Little Haiti was the most important moment for music…for me.

Laura Studarus
Am I allowed to say that there was no most important moment. Miley twerked, and we all had Britney/Madonna flashbacks. Yawn.

Justin Wesley
Lou Reed’s death.

Cameron Wolf
Despite being instantly labeled as the guy who can’t stop talking about Kanye West, Kanye’s performances on SNL were the first broadcasts of songs and an album that have set the tone for music this year. Every rap release this year has been compared to Yeezus, and Kanye has dominated headlines and conversations.

Chance the Rapper by Philip Cosores

What was the best album of 2013?

Rachel Bailey
Hiatus Kaiyote’s Tawk Tomahawk. These white kids from Australia took hip hop, soul, jazz, IDM, opera and more and wove it into something new, while honoring the black traditions a lot of their influences generate from, and it’s wonderful.

Ryan Bort
Kanye West – Yeezus

Philip Cosores
Kanye West’s Yeezus. It challenged me more than any other, and still does, and allowed for as much engagement as the listener wanted to give.

nick cave bad seeds push the sky awayNick Freed
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away. This album was understated perfection. The music and lyrics are dark but not overwhelmingly sad. It’s exactly the level of darkness someone like Nick Cave can make.

Sasha Geffen
I’m so torn between Yeezus and R Plus Seven and I think it’s because they’re addressing the same zeitgeist in vastly different ways. they’re both extremely anxious albums that don’t shy away from moments of euphony but R Plus Seven is abstract and elusive while Yeezus is direct and abrasive. so it’s a tie for me.

Robert Ham
The Haxan Cloak’s Excavation

Henry Hauser
The National – Trouble Will Find Me

Nathan Huffstutter
Phosphorescent, Muchacho

Daniel Kohn
Yeezus – Kanye West. Hate to say it, but the man deserves the respect.

Jeremy D. Larson
Kanye West – Yeezus

K.C. Libman
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience Vol. 1 was one of the most triumphant returns to pop music. The song shifts, the Timbaland production, the fact that “Mirrors” sounds like something N*Sync should have made the first time around, how ubiquitous “Suit & Tie” became — just a real gem and a hell of way to make a comeback.

Nathan Mattise
Acid Rap—Chance The Rapper

Matt MelisMikal Cronin by Philip Cosores
MCII by Mikal Cronin. Nobody did what they set out to do any better than this guy. Perfection achieved. One of only a couple 5-star albums this year.

Alyssa Pereira
(Not in any particular order)
Disclosure – Settle
Deafheaven – Sunbather
Killer Mike & El-P – Run the Jewels
Kanye West – Yeezus

Michael Roffman
Kanye West – Yeezus

Will Ryan
The Knife’s Shaking The Habitual is probably the album I’d point to for the “objective” best of 2013, even though that’s not a thing. Adventurous, questioning, and explorative are the record’s default modes and the subjects are both musical and cultural, touching on gender, economics, and, by design, music, in a sweeping show-don’t-tell depiction of the album’s title. Its inversion of dance music tropes has a kind of disassociate feel — music that forces you to think about what it’s doing and saying while you can’t help but dance. It’s music for the head, the heart, and the body working in tandem. And I don’t think there was anything else in 2013 quite like it.

Laura Studarus
I’m going to go with HAIM’s Days Are Gone. I get the same emotional high from it as I did from rocking to Ace of Bass as a kid. (Not that the two sound alike.) May 2013 be the year that cynicism finally died.

Justin Wesley
Phosphorescent, Muchacho

Cameron Wolf
Yeezus – Yeezus. Kanye continues to make genre-shaping rap that also appeals to mainstream audiences.

8712761998 17a19ecf0c z Aux.Out. Writers Poll (aka Philzz Jop)

What was your favorite album of 2013?

Rachel Bailey
Kurt Vile’s Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze. Easy listenin’.

Ryan Bort
King Khan & The Shrines – Idle No More

Philip Cosores
Tegan & Sara’s Heartthrob. I never really listened to much of them before this year and this opened them up for me. It’s light pop music, but it seems to come from a really genuine love of what they are doing, and smart as can be. Never get tired of the songs on it.

Nick Freed
The National – Trouble Will Find Me: I have no more superlatives left for this album. It hit me in all of the right musical erogenous zones.

Sasha Geffen
see above…I don’t believe in objective opinions so I can’t claim that an album is “better” than the ones I like most.

Robert Ham
The Haxan Cloak’s Excavation

Henry Hauser
Mikal Cronin – MCII

Nathan Huffstutter
If I made a personal distinction between best/favorite I wouldn’t be able to write honest criticism.

Daniel Kohn
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Jeremy D. Larson
Dawn of Midi – Dysnomia

K.C. LibmanToro y moi by Philip Cosores
Toro y Moi, Anything In Return cemented Chaz Bundick as one of rap’s most influential producers in recent memory. It’s easy to see why guys like Tyler, The Creator are so enthralled with his sound. He transcended the chillwave label this year and put out of the most listenable records I own.

Nathan Mattise
No Regerts—Chastity Belt

Paula Mejia
Speedy Ortiz’s Major Arcana

Matt Melis
Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You by Mark Mulcahy. “The Rabbit” alone is worth the price of admission. He’s the best singer on the planet and not a bad songwriter either.

Alyssa Pereira
(Not in any particular order)
I really liked:
Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap
Cayucas – Bigfoot
FIDLAR – Fidlar
Kanye West – Yeezus

Runner-ups
Local Natives – Hummingbird
Drake – NWTS

9755871712 506277b6d8 z Aux.Out. Writers Poll (aka Philzz Jop) Michael Roffman
Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze

Will Ryan
The Haxan Cloak’s Excavation was my album of the year. I naturally gravitate to dark ambient for its ambiguous and haunting atmospheres. And if the music creates a sense of place to get lost in like Excavation does then all the better. But The Haxan Cloak’s exploration of death and the afterlife has a physicality and an emotional arc that few albums in the ambient/minimal music realm manage to execute.

Hilary Saunders
Lucius: Wildewoman

Laura Studarus
Speaking of cynicism, I had mine eradicated by CHVRCHES’ debut, The Bones of What You Believe. Maybe I was jaded enough to believe that band that wrote a song as good as “The Mother We Share” couldn’t follow it up. Either way, I’m a believer.

Justin Wesley
The National – Trouble Will Find Me

Cameron Wolf
Yeezus – Yeezus

Rhye by Philip Cosores

What album surprised you in 2013?

Rachel Bailey
Tawk Tomahawk

Ryan Bort
Portugal. The Man. Felt like they’d kind of flattened out in recent years but Evil Friends was incredible. Thank you, Danger Mouse.

Philip Cosores
Los Campesinos! made the best album of their career and I didn’t see that coming. It’s called No Blues.

Nick Freed
The Uncluded – Hokey Fright. The combination of Kimya Dawson and Aesop Rock didn’t seem like a good fit on paper, but this album was a solid combination of fun, playful lyricism/music and honest adult reflection.

Sasha Geffen
lots! maybe Sky Ferreira’s. she really made strides from her first EPs/singles. that record is so solid

David Greenwald
Fear of Men’s Early Fragments. It’s a pre-album singles collection/appetizer that hangs together better than any debut set I heard this year.

Robert HamThe Flaming Lps The Terrors
The Flaming Lips – The Terror
As much as I loved Embryonic, I was sure that they were going to turn around and do more of those arms akimbo, singalong numbers custom made for their live performances. Little did I know they’d unleash a dark slab of motorik creepiness.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Zomes – Time Was – Had been a casual listener for years but their live show and new album stunned me. Grows with every listen and definitely one of the biggest sleepers of 2013.

Henry Hauser
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

Nathan Huffstutter
Rhye, Woman

Daniel Kohn
Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Jeremy D. Larson
Mutual Benefit – Love’s Crushing Diamond

K.C. Libman
Katy Perry’s Prism actually came through. It wasn’t just all varnished, radio-ready pop confections like her last album — it was nice to hear her taking some risks.

Nathan Mattise
M B V —My Bloody Valentine

It’s incredible to think that the most highly anticipated follow-up album in 20+ years was released without any notice or pre-marketing. Kevin Shields uploaded tracks to a website and the Internet did the rest. As a Deerhunter diehard, it was a pleasure to see that the band who fathered whatever shoegaze has become still has it.

Vampire Weekend by Philip CosoresPaula Mejia
Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City

Matt Melis
Muchacho by Phosphorescent. How did I just stumble upon Matthew Houck in 2013? Beautiful and, for me anyway, out of nowhere.

Alyssa Pereira
I was really struck by the critical success of Run the Jewels and Acid Rap as MCHG floundered. So much about the industry today is about how much money goes behind projects to ensure success through marketing and whatever else—and yeah, looking at the numbers, MCHG was commercially successful I guess, but it was not a remarkable album by any stretch of artistic standards. We won’t be talking about this one as an artistic movement. On the other hand, Chance the Rapper and Killer Mike & El-P released a couple of the best rap albums of the year, free to everyone. There’s hope for the industry yet.

Michael Roffman
Disclosure – Settle

Will Ryan
Autre Ne Veut’s Anxiety was a big surprise for me. Mostly because before 2013 I forgot the artist’s first album existed all. But despite still lacking classic R&B chops, singer Arthur Ashin makes up for it by giving some of the most emotionally exhausting (in a good way) performances on record this year.

Hilary Saunders
Autre Ne Veut: Anxiety

Laura Studarus
Pure Bathing Culture’s Moon Tides. It’s a super simple, Cocteau Twins-leaning album with voice, synth, and woozy guitar lines. Admittedly, much of my love for this album probably steams from it having soundtracked a month and a half in Europe this summer. But I’m decidedly a new convert to the less is more school of thought.

Justin Wesley
Elvis Costello & The Roots – Wise Up Ghost

Cameron Wolf
Settle – Disclosure. Their output has always been solid, but this album far exceeded anything I could have hoped for.

Moby by Philip Cosores

What album disappointed you?

Rachel Bailey
The Arcade Fire bullshit. Chris Richards captured it so well in his Washington Post review. “It’s fraud.”

Ryan Bort
Arcade Fire – Reflektorzzzzzz

Philip Cosores
The National’s Trouble Will Find Me. I think it is okay, but not nearly as good as their previous few albums, or as good as people are making it out to be. Take the five best songs on any of their last three albums and it would be the best on TWFM.

Nick Freed
Arcade Fire – Reflektor: I wanted to love this album more, but something about it felt as if they were trying too hard. Also, for some reason, the whole “no we’re The Reflektors…but also Arcade Fire” thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

Sasha Geffen
I found Wondrous Bughouse really disappointing after totally losing myself in Year of Hibernation two years ago. It felt like Trevor got overwhelmed by all of the production options that suddenly opened up for him. I loved the weird palette he scraped out on the first record…sometimes limitations are great. Now Youth Lagoon sounds way too scattered for me.

David Greenwald
The National’s Trouble Will Find Me. The imaginative, engaging rock band that made “Alligator” and “Boxer” continues to sink into the lukewarm bathwater of their last two albums and no one is unhappier about it than me.

Robert Ham
The Dismemberment Plan’s Uncanny Valley. A great band kneecapped themselves with a half-hearted reunion album.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Devendra Banhart by Philip CosoresHenry Hauser
Devendra Banhart – Mala

Nathan Huffstutter
Christopher Owens, Lysandre

Daniel Kohn
Sound City Soundtrack. Had the potential to be great, but instead was sloppy and haphazardly done.

Jeremy D. Larson
Pusha T – My Name Is My Name

K.C. Libman
Too easy of a target, but Jay Z, Magna Carta Holy Grail broke my heart. Where’s the Hova that spits fire, that doesn’t rest on his laurels, that came from slinging rocks? The album was overstuffed and the only moment that sounds like the Jay Z that I love was “Somewhereinamerica” and it was only two and a half minutes. Why, Jay, why?

Nathan MattisePhoenix by Philip Cosores
Bankrupt!—Phoenix

Beta Love by Ra Ra Riot should be mentioned, but it didn’t carry the same expectations as Bankrupt. Fresh off the heels of arguably the biggest indie rock album of the last five years, Bankrupt saw Phoenix error on the side of over production and pop sensibilities. It lacked the quirkiness and urgency of both Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and It’s Never Been Like That, but perhaps this band just works better off the radar.

Matt Melis
A lot of the biggies, actually. Albums by Arcade Fire, The National, Kurt Vile, Bowie, and Pearl Jam all fell short of my expectations. That being said, sometimes you can be disappointed and still love a lot of things about an album.

Vampire Weekend, on the other hand, absolutely nailed it. So, you can live up to the hype. It can be done.

Michael Roffman
Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt. Woof.

Will Ryan
The Weeknd’s newest full-length, Kiss Land, was kind of a mess in this writer’s opinion. Abel Tesfaye’s abilities as a singer and vocal hook writer are still there, but without the stirring and explorative left-field production found on his impeccable trilogy of 2011 mixtapes, the whole tortured hedonist thing (something I had mixed feelings about to begin with) sort of falls flat, with a few notable exceptions (“Wanderlust,” “Tears In The Rain”).

Hilary Saunders
The Head and the Heart: Let’s Be Still

Laura Studarus
Moby’s Innocents. Every time I hear a track from the album on the radio I get super excited. But as a whole the album simply doesn’t hang together. Despite not really having loved a Moby album since Hotel (what can I say, I love bombast), he remains on of those people I still like on principle, and would probably drop everything to have a cup of tea with him on a moment’s notice.

Justin Wesley
Phoenix – Bankrupt!

Cameron Wolf
Bankrupt – Phoenix

Waxahatchee by Philip Cosores

What album did you love in 2013 that was new to you, but came out earlier?

Rachel Bailey
Inner Revolution by Adrian Belew. 2013 — year of dad rock.

Philip Cosores
Waxahatchee’s American Weekend. Which, I got into for obvious reasons.

Sasha Geffen
this was the year I found Grouper so Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill and Alien Observer got a lot of play.

David Greenwald
I spent a few weeks diving into the Glen Campbell catalog and came out with a cowboy hat and a new appreciation for By the Time I Get to Phoenix.

Robert Ham
The reissue of the Neo Boys’ EP Crumbling Myths [as part of the K Records collection Sooner or Later].

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Mac DeMarco – 2
Liked it when it came out…but fell in love with it this year.

Henry Hauser
Sixth Rodriguez – Cold Fact

Nathan Huffstutter
Linda Perhacs, Parallelograms (1970)

Daniel Kohnparquet courts stoned 260x260 Aux.Out. Writers Poll (aka Philzz Jop)
Jake Bugg – Lightning Bolt

Jeremy D. Larson
Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold

K.C. Libman
Manchester Orchestra’s Simple Math. I know, I know, I’m two years behind the times, but it’s rare that I find myself missing some of the bigger moments in indie rock, I promise! The title track and its accompanying video quickly became one of my favorite songs of the past few years, don’t know how I overlooked this.

Nathan Mattise
For The Whole World to See—Death

For those (like me) who weren’t fortunate enough to learn of this band’s reemergence in 2009, the A Band Called Death documentary was a godsend. This is blistering proto-punk with exceptional riffs and rhythms. If this LP was eligible for Best Of 2013 honors under some soundtrack provision (we can call it the Drive rule?), it’d be my top pick by a mile.

Paula Mejia
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers’ Live Messengers

Matt Melis
Surfer Rosa by the Pixies. It only took me 25 years to get around to it, but I did. Also, it syncs up in meaningful ways with the original Muppet Movie. Try it.

Alyssa Pereira
This year I listened a lot to Lord Huron’s Mighty EP, which came out in 2010. I’m not really sure why, but it just grabs me as a listener. Every song on that album is so evocative, especially “The Stranger”. I could listen to that song over and over again.

Michael Roffman
SONGS: OHIA – THE MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO.

Chelsea Wolfe by Philip CosoresWill Ryan
After spending a great deal of time with Chelsea Wolfe’s excellent 2013 record, Pain Is Beauty, I returned to her also great 2011 album, Apokalypsis. That then lead me to Wolfe’s other two album’s, her static covered debut, The Grime and The Glow, and her beautiful acoustic collection, Unknown Rooms, both of which I’d never heard before this year. The whole discography kept me busy in the back half of 2013. Wolfe’s music is beautiful and haunting and hugely yet understatedly emotional. She has such a specific voice that I can understand why she seems to exist all on her own, away from indie music’s more trendy and hyperactive circles. Maybe it’s me projecting a little bit, but her fan base feels a little cultish. The people who like her music don’t do it casually and I count myself among them.

Hilary Saunders
Jens Lekman: I Know What Love Isn’t

Laura Studarus
I am having a serious Patrick Wolf infatuation which has manifested itself in driving around late at night listening to Lycanthropy. Save me from myself–send absinthe and tissues.

Justin Wesley
Dan Mangan – Oh Fortune

Cameron Wolf
Drukqs – Aphex Twin

Arcade Fire by Philip Cosores

What album is overrated from 2013?

Rachel Bailey
Probably pretty much all of them. Also, that new one from of Montreal. It’s catchy, but it’s not exactly bringing anything new to the table, musically, and all Kevin Barnes’s toxic shit-talking in his lyrics is really starting to get old.

Philip Cosores
That David Bowie album. Really forgettable stuff.

Nick Freed
Kayne West – Yeezus: Hands down.

Sasha Geffen
Reflektor and Random Access Memories. sorry 🙂

Robert Ham
HAIM’s Days Are Gone. A few good songs surrounded by a whole mess of boring ’80s style fluff.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City
I’m exhausted trying to explain why I don’t like this band…I’ve moved on…don’t get why people like them.

Henry HauserDrake by Philip Cosores
Drake – Nothing Was The Same

Nathan Huffstutter
Deafheaven, Sunbather

Daniel Kohn
Justin Timberlake — The 20/20 Experience

Jeremy D. Larson
Paramore – Paramore

Nathan Mattise
Random Access Memories—Daft Punk

Pharrell had a moment in 2013 and the highs are truly, truly high—we’ll be hearing “Get Lucky” at stadiums, bars, and house parties for years to come—but it’s tough to think Daft Punk’s disco period will have legs for the foreseeable future. Friends were reaching for copies of Discovery after a month.

Paula Mejia
Kanye West’s Yeezus

Matt Melis
Trouble Will Find Me by The National. Between you and me, I fell asleep a couple times.

Michael Roffman
Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety

Laura Studarus
Are we even done rating Bangerz?

Justin Wesley
Kanye West – Yeezus

Cameron Wolf
Anxiety – Autre Ne Veut

11257879456 5f0848872e z Aux.Out. Writers Poll (aka Philzz Jop)

What album do you not understand?

Rachel Bailey
Swans. Every year. Always Swans.

Ryan Bort
*sigh*…Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Philip Cosores
I don’t dislike Drake, and I even understand the appeal, but I don’t understand the enthusiasm. It seems a bit much for music that isn’t really that interesting to me.

Sasha Geffen
Deafheaven’s Sunbather I guess. don’t get the hype. there’s so little textural variation; it’s all dips and crescendos and the vocals just sound like static. the guitar work is so 2003 explosions in the sky…idk I found it boring

Bowie The Next DayRobert Ham
David Bowie’s The Next Day. Still trying to wrap my head around it months later.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Anything Death Grips. Appreciate it…but don’t get it.

Henry Hauser
The Knife – Shaking the Habitual

Nathan Huffstutter
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience

Daniel Kohn
Magna Carta Holy Grail – Jay Z. Was this really necessary?

Jeremy D. Larson
Jimmy Buffet – Songs from St. Somewhere

K.C. Libman
Falling in Reverse, Fashionably Late. There’s a Zumiez in Ohio that’s missing its employees. Stop labeling these guys as post-hardcore, too. No one else who subscribes to that title is rapping about “shitting on rappers.”

Nathan Mattise
Sunbather—Deafheaven

Indecipherable lyrics don’t necessarily bother me (see M B V), neither does metal. However, something about the inscrutable screams of Deafheaven lose me before I even have a chance to determine if the sonic landscape is a place I want to hang. It’ll be a Top 10 album for many outlets, but I can’t get through it on an uninterrupted listen.

Paula Mejia
Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz

Matt Melis
Overgrown by James Blake. I don’t understand that album at all, but that album understands me. Does that make any sense?

Michael Roffman
Death Grips – Government Plates

Will RyanKanye West by Philip Cosores
Yeezus. Less that I don’t understand it and more that I don’t understand its appeal. But let’s not dwell.

Hilary Saunders
Kanye West – Yeezus

Laura Studarus
Sky Ferreira’s Night Time, My Time. Ferreira is someone I’m really desperate to like. Her 2012 EP was a master class in all things dark, hazy, and afterhours, ran through a pop filter. (And like so many other women I identify with “Everything is Embarrassing” to an extent I’m almost ashamed to admit.) But Night Time, My Time, feels so all over the board that it’s difficult to see the artist behind the art. I’m not opposed to singers working with songwriters/producers (Charli XCX is brilliant at it) but there needs to be a sense of cohesion.

Justin Wesley
Deafheaven – Sunbather

Cameron Wolf
Jai Paul’s weird leaked album. I still don’t understand what happened, but the songs–despite them being alleged illegal, rough cuts–still make up one of the more interesting records of 2013.

Dirty Beaches by Philip Cosores

What album does no one else understand?

Rachel Bailey
I don’t know. Probably Mozart.

Ryan Bort
Dirty Beaches – Drifters / Love Is The Devil

Philip Cosores
Not no one else, but I think that Majical Cloudz is one of the more misunderstood artists and that people judge Impersonator to much on the spelling of the project’s name, and the directness of the lyrics, that they fail to see a lot of beautiful, brave art that is presented there.

Sasha Geffen
haha, I don’t know…I can’t claim that there’s any one album that I alone have the key to. I do think that some critics didn’t spend enough time with Mister Lies’ Mowgli though

David Greenwald
Jessy Lanza’s Pull My Hair Back was produced by half of Junior Boys and does everything everyone liked this year — female-fronted, electronic, minimal — and couldn’t get enough attention to hail a cab. It’s great!

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II

Dawes by Philip Cosores Henry Hauser
Dawes – Stories Don’t End

Nathan Huffstutter
Parenthetical Girls, Privilege

Daniel Kohn
Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull

Jeremy D. Larson
Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic

Nathan Mattise
This answer was initially Destroyer’s Five Spanish Songs EP, as Dan Bejar continues to be devises among music fans (you’re either an absolutely devotee or believe he’s crummy elevator music). However, Ben Ratliff at the New York Times recently nailed this essence when briefly reviewing Five Spanish Songs.

Matt Melis
The entire Backstreet Boys catalog is criminally underestimated and misunderstood.

Michael Roffman
Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven

Hilary Saunders
La Vida Bohéme: Será

Laura Studarus
Trentemøller’s Lost. So many amazing collaborations .(The Drums! Low! Lower Dens! Blonde Redhead!) Why haven’t we all lost our minds over this?

Justin Wesley
The Burning Hell – People

Ellery James Roberts by Philip Cosores

What song from 2013 should more people know?

Rachel Bailey
“Platoon” by Jungle. It’s so catchy, it makes me want to fall to the floor and convulse.

Ryan Bort
Jonathan Wilson – “Dear Friend”

Philip Cosores
Ellery James Roberts – “Kerou’s Lament”. It is the dude from WU LYF and it sounds like a great WU LYF song and feel like it got ignored by many.

Nick Freed
“Delicate Cycle” – The Uncluded

Sasha Geffen
the first song on Money’s debut album The Shadow of Heaven technically was out in the world a while ago but I still think it’s a beautiful track that never got a ton of circulation. it’s called “So Long (God Is Dead)” and it’s sort of like if the Antlers wrote about theology.

David Greenwald
Fifth Harmony’s “Miss Moving On”. Athletic, unapologetic pop.

Robert Ham
“Summer 720” by Bored Spies

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Young Hunting – “Baby’s First Steps”
Just listen:
http://soundcloud.com/goldrobotrecords/08-babys-first-steps-mp3″

Henry Hauser10469715933 82a9bd2ac8 n Aux.Out. Writers Poll (aka Philzz Jop)
Okkervil River – “Pink Slips”

Nathan Huffstutter
“Why” by MAS YSA

Daniel Kohn
Anything from the Queens of the Stone Age album

Jeremy D. Larson
Protomartyr – “Jumbo’s”

Nathan Mattise
“Dropla”—Youth Lagoon

Reflective songs about mortality will always have an audience, but few prove to be as beautiful as “Dropla”. From the ambient four-note refrain to his repetitive chorus of “you’ll never die,” a dark song has never been so damn charming.

Paula Mejia
Laura Marling’s “Master Hunter”

Matt Melis
“Song for Zula” by Phosphorescent. The quiet intensity is absolutely pulverizing. It’s in my DNA now, like The Graduate or “The Dead” by James Joyce or a handful of Dylan Thomas or Wilfred Owen poems. I couldn’t be without this song now that I’ve heard it.

Alyssa Pereira
This song came out before 2013, but Mom + Pop re-released it once this band signed with them earlier this year so I’m including it here. Wild Cub’s “Thunder Clatter” is incredible. I fell in love with this song. It so sweetly describes falling in love and all the spinning, earth-shattering confusion that comes with it.

Michael Roffman
Ducktails – “Under Cover”

Will Ryan
Moderat’s “Let In The Light”

Hilary Saunders
Big Harp: “Waiting For Some Drunk”

Laura Studarus
Connan Mockasin’s “I’m The Man, That Will Find You”. Between him and Blood Orange, this is the year Indie rediscovered sex appeal. (Who do I need to talk to about getting the two of them to tour together?)

Justin Wesley
Judson Claiborne – “Doors”

Cameron Wolf
“Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl” – Wet

Robin Thicke by Philip Cosores

What song drove you crazy in 2013?

Rachel Bailey
Icona Pop’s “I Love It”. That song was so overplayed and unpleasing to my ear, it made me want to fall to the floor and convulse.

Ryan Bort
“Royals” by Lorde drove me crazy in love.

Philip Cosores
There are many boring songs that I hear more than I’d like, but “Get Lucky” was probably the one I heard most.

Nick Freed
Robin Thicke – “Blurred Lines”

daft punk get luckySasha Geffen
the only one that was really overexposed for me was “Get Lucky” and it’s so benign that it didn’t grate on me much. if I hear “The Wire” a few more times it might send me over though

David Greenwald
I am ready to never hear P!nk’s “Just Give Me a Reason” ever again.

Robert Ham
“Blurred Lines.” A great single became absolutely insufferable by its ubiquity. Shame too.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
All the Vampire Weekend songs.

Nathan Huffstutter
The one by Foxygen that sounds like they’re doing karaoke.

Daniel Kohn
“Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake. Boy did that song suck

Matt Melis
“Step” by Vampire Weekend. And I mean “crazy” in a totally good way. Such a beautiful vocal turn on that chorus. I listen to that song on repeat all the time.

Alyssa Pereira
“Royals”—bleh.

Michael Roffman
YLVES or whatever that “Foxes” song is.

Will Ryan
“Blurred Lines”

Laura Studarus
If you thought I was going to say “Get Lucky” here, you are terribly mistaken.

Justin Wesley
Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”

Cameron Wolf
“Blurred Lines.” Many things rhyme with “Hug me,” what Thicke implies does not.

Savages by Philip Cosores

What was the biggest breakthrough of 2013?

Rachel Bailey
I don’t know. The collective agreement that, whatever it was Miley was doing at the VMAs, it wasn’t real “twerking.”

Ryan Bort
Foxygen. Say what you will about them, but they absolutely killed both times I saw them live.

Philip Cosores
I think what Deafheaven has done may be the biggest breakthrough in the longterm, in that it brought some pretty extreme music into a much bigger spotlight.

Nick Freed
Women: From HAIM to Lorde to Angel Haze to Azealia Banks, it’s fantastic to see women really take the forefront in a dynamic way.

Sasha Geffenlorde pure heroine
Lorde! “Royals” got huge and it’s so great to see a teen girl at the top of the charts who seems so in control of her own artistic vision and presence in the media.

David Greenwald
Social justice thinkpieces. But probably Lorde.

Robert Ham
Savages. A great post-punk band that deserved all the accolades foisted upon it.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Eleanor Friedberger proved that her very strong debut LP wasn’t a fluke with Personal Record. She has cemented herself as one of the strongest songwriters today, male or female, and that her wit isn’t temporary…it’s here to stay.

Henry Hauser
Palma Violets

Nathan Huffstutter
Autre Ne Veut

Daniel Kohn
HAIM

Jeremy D. Larson
Kanye West

K.C. Libman
French Montana. Of course he’s been on the radar, but the release of Excuse My French made him a household name, gave him a Billboard Top 10 debut and shone a light on his unique backstory. Just a really refreshing guy with solid work under his belt. Coke Boyz.

Paula Mejia
Potty Mouth

James Blake by Philip CosoresMatt Melis
James Blake broke me down. And they said it couldn’t be done. I fought kicking and Wilhelm screaming.

Also, I named my new dog Iggy Pup. I’m proud of that.

Alyssa Pereira
I think it could go either way at this point, but I hope we continue to see great things from Chance the Rapper. On a totally different note, this has been a very good year for the artists on Sargent House. Chelsea Wolfe, Deafheaven, Tera Melos, and Antwon to name just a few, have really established this as a label to watch.

Michael Roffman
HAIM

Will Ryan
I’m sure there were bigger breaks, but with the release of their debut, Settle, it felt like Disclosure broke huge this year.

Laura Studarus
HAIM. From valley girls to Saturday Night Live. Not bad.

Justin Wesley
Kasey Musgraves – Same Trailer, Different Park

Cameron Wolf
Chance The Rapper

Pavement by Philip Cosores

What band should reunite next year?

Rachel Bailey
Talking Heads this year and every year forever. Also, John Roderick and The Long Winters need to get their shit together and start recording new songs again.

Ryan Bort
The Duchess & The Duke

Philip Cosores
Beulah

Nick Freed
Genesis

Sasha Geffen
always holding out for Hum

Robert Ham
Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
The Fiery Furnaces

Henry Hauser
The Kinks

Nathan Huffstutter
The Silos

Daniel Kohn
Oasis

Jeremy D. Larson
The Isley Brothers

Nathan Mattise
Harvey Danger—most underrated 90s act and Sean Nelson jumped back onto people’s raders this year with a solo album.

Paula Mejia
PAVEMENT

Matt Melis
The Electric Mayhem

Alyssa Pereira
Girls

Michael Roffman
Sleater-Kinney

Hilary Saunders
The Replacements (again, because I missed them this year)

Laura Studarus
ABBA

Justin Wesley
Rilo Kiley

Cameron Wolf
Outkast! Oh, wait.

The National by Philip Cosores

What band should break up to save their legacy?

Rachel Bailey
I would say the Jonas Brothers, but they already did, so we’re good.

Ryan Bort
Kings of Leon…wait, sorry, that was my answer in 2005.

Philip Cosores
Radiohead. I’m ready for the reunion, so we can get the greatest hits version of Radiohead. I don’t think new albums will really add much to their legacy. Hopefully I’m wrong.

Sasha Geffen
ugh is Interpol still together? they should stop

Robert Ham
Radiohead. We all want to think that they have greatness still in them, but I fear their ignominious decline is coming and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
I would never tell a band to break up…that’s up to them.

Henry Hauser
The New Pornographers

Nathan Huffstutter
The National

K.C. Libman
Attention Fall Out Boy: Go home and don’t come back until you bring me another From Under The Cork Tree.

Paula Mejia
Pixies

Matt MelisGreen Day by Philip Cosores
No comment. And I hope nobody will be telling me to hang it up anytime soon either.

Alyssa Pereira
TLC

Michael Roffman
Green Day — six years ago.

Laura Studarus
Weezer. Every time I hear something new about them I just get sad.

Justin Wesley
The Strokes

Animal Collective by Philip Cosores

What band should break up to make their legacy?

Ryan Bort
Vampire Weekend

Philip Cosores
Savages

Sasha Geffen
Animal Collective. they’ve been aping their descendants for years seems like

Robert Ham
Savages. A fast burn out after one brilliant album and many amazing live performances would be a story for the ages.

Grizzly Bear by Philip CosoresHenry Hauser
Grizzly Bear

Nathan Huffstutter
Savages

Jeremy D. Larson
Death Grips

Matt Melis
The two people who audition for American Idol every Saturday and Sunday in the apartment next to mine. They’ll be remembered far more fondly if they call it a day.

Michael Roffman
The Walkmen

Justin Wesley
Stars (but I sure hope not)

Anna Calvi by Philip Cosores

The best band no one talks about is?

Rachel Bailey
I wish more people were losing their shit over Janelle Monáe. She’s a really stellar performer.

Ryan Bort
I feel like I should mention Charles Bradley somewhere in this poll, so I will do that here.

Philip Cosores
Okkervil River

Nick Freed
James Vincent McMorrow

Sasha Geffen
They were pretty quiet this year but I love this Danish band called Sleep Party People. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Poppy Red; their Keep Your Heart EP is gorgeous and I feel like they’re on the verge of breaking through

David Greenwald
ARMS, the very last great indie-rock guitar band of their era.

Robert Ham
Imbogodom

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
YouYourself&i The best cold submission we received at We Listen For You all year.

Henry Hauser
Houndmouth

Nathan Huffstutter
Billy Woods (assuming band=artist)

Jeremy D. Larson
Dawn of Midi

Nathan Mattise
Mikal Cronin—he’s a chameleon. At one point, he’s tearing through some garage fuzz with Ty Segall, and then at the next he writes the most melodic and thoughtful indie pop album since Ben Kweller’s Sha, Sha. It’s a shame there were so many high-profile “name” releases around the time MCII came out, because it feels unjustly overshadowed. Ideally, year-end lists can write (literally) this wrong.

Paula Mejia
White Fence

Matt Melis
If I told you about them, then that would invalidate the response, no?

Alyssa Pereira
Reignwolf—he’s picking up steam, but he’s an incredible bluesman from Canada (via Seattle). I caught him at SF’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass last year totally on accident, and his live show just blew me away.

Young Dreams—they’re a baroque pop group from Norway with huge sounds. However, I do agree with Pitchfork’s review of their album from earlier this year—they have some room to grow—but for a debut album, they do pop better than most established bands.

Michael Roffman
Mikal Cronin

Hilary Saunders
Shakey Graves

Laura Studarus
Anna Calvi. Why aren’t we freaking out and crowing her the new guitar hero yet?

Justin Wesley
The Darcys

The Black Keys by Philip Cosores

What was your favorite article/review/story/whatever this year?

Rachel Bailey
Dan Ozzi on Miley in Noisey
JEFF WEISS ON J COLE: for MTV
This Rob Harvilla review of El Camino from 2011 that I just read for the first time on Pitchfork.
And this great take-down of AF

Ryan Bort
Laurie Anderson’s farewell to Lou Reed was so freaking beautiful it may or may not have brought me to tears.

I also remember enjoying Steven Hyden’s “Winner’s History of Rock and Roll” installment on the Black Keys for Grantland.

Philip Cosoreszoo story thumb
Jeremy Larson’s tribute to Axl Rose for Aux.Out.

Nick Freed
The 25 Worst #1 Rock Songs article on CoS. Yes, I know that I contributed to it also, but that one was fun not only to research, but also to read all the comments on it. I get a sick pleasure from vitriolic comments, and that article was FILLED with them.

Sasha Geffen
Loved this Colin Stetson review on CoS.

Robert Ham
Grayson Currin’s piece on the artist/musician Lonnie Holley for Pitchfork.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
The Only Black Guy at the Indie Rock Show on MTV.

day room thumbHenry Hauser
(not just sucking up): The Day Room: Jon Wurster and Growing Up Without Growing Old on Aux.Out.

Nathan Huffstutter
“Favorite” is the wrong word but the statement by the Yellow Dogs in the wake of the murder/suicide was profound on a number of levels:

K.C. Libman
Zach Baron for The Fader, “French Montana, Homecoming.” Wonderful imagery, a really nice take on the narrative of an of-the-moment rapper, and Michael Schmelling killed it on the photo front with some beautiful, candid moments. Simply a great package all around.

Nathan Mattise
“How I Found Jai Paul and What We Know Now” by Josh at Crack In The Road
I’m still not sure what to believe with the whole Jai Paul “leaked” “debut” “album.” Jai Paul as an artist is practically an Internet unicorn at this point—discussed and loved thoroughly, but confirmed sightings just aren’t there. So when this briefly saw daylight, the music press freaked. It was an automatic Best Of candidate… until it wasn’t “real,” XL got mad, and Jai Paul went back to his questionable existence. I can’t wait to read the real account someday (and have continually asked about interviews since this), but until then I still listen to these 16 unnamed, unclaimed tracks regularly.

Alyssa Pereira
I loved Chris Martins and Wilson Lee’s Hard Summer review. I think I maybe met Chris once from my intern days, but I know Wilson, and this was great. I’ve never been to a rave, so this world just seems like a warpy hedonistic circus to me. I’m sure their Instagrams previewing their review fueled my curiosity as well.

I loved this story by David Marchese for the New York Times as well.

This didn’t come out this year, but I heard the author (my friend Stuart Schuffman) read it live a couple months ago. It’s for a local magazine site called The Bold Italic, and it’s a beautiful piece that captures the mercurial nature of living in San Francisco.

Michael Roffman
Steven Hyden’s The Winners of Rock and Roll series for Grantland.

Will Ryan
Ordinary MachinesMy favorite things to read in music criticism are pieces picking apart albums and songs for what they say — about an artist, about culture, about the time they were recorded in. Lindsay Zoladz’s July Ordinary Machines piece for Pitchfork, dissecting Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires in The City was one of my favorite articles this year and I wish essays like this were our default mode of engagement when it comes to certain thematically rich albums.

Hilary Saunders
“Heartbeat: The New Kind of Peace Talk for Israel and Palestine” for Aux.Out.

Laura Studarus
This whole day was a happy memory (Interview Magazine)

Justin Wesley
Jonathan Meiburg reviews David Bowie’s The Next Day for The Talkhouse

Cameron Wolf
Pitchfork’s OutKast Retrospective. The first section by Jeff Weiss is poetic.

Nas by Philip Cosores

What was your favorite story not written by a boss or a friend?

Rachel Bailey
This profile of Kid Rock in the New Yorker
Followed by this thing from Drew Magary on a Kid Rock cruise in GQ.

I guess there was weirdly a lot of really good writing about Kid Rock this year.

Philip Cosores
Rolling Stone‘s Miley Cyrus cover story.

Sasha Geffen
Caribbean Drag: How Arcade Fire’s Reflektor brand disguises dress-up as cultural exchange

Robert Ham
Laurie Anderson’s beautiful farewell to her husband Lou Reed  in Rolling Stone.

Henry Hauser
Career Arc: The Strokes in Grantland.

Nathan Huffstutter
Jeff Weiss on the reissue of “Illmatic” by Nas in Pitchfork

Alyssa Pereira
I loved Drew Millard’s piece on Drake. I don’t know Drew, but he must be a cool motherfucker if he can kick it with Drake.

Frank Ocean by Philip CosoresMichael Roffman
Is the Frank Ocean coronation premature? in The A.V. Club.

Hilary Saunders
“¡Libertad!”: Cuban Metal Bands Get Their First Taste Of Freedom” by David Peisner in Buzzfeed.

The visual treatment for “Machines for Life” by Ryan Dombal makes it a close second, though.

Laura Studarus
Fiona Apple and Dave Chappelle: Are Artists Obligated to Appease Disrespectful Audiences? for Flavorwire.

Justin Wesley
Patrick Stickles’ review of The Replacements reunion at Riot Fest for Spin.

~

What was the article you disagreed with most?

Rachel Bailey
Nothing jumps to mind. Probably one of the many, many reviews from Paste magazine that I felt gave an artist waaaay too much credit for what struck me as a mediocre album.

Philip Cosores
This for the first paragraph. That’s my home and it is not fairly or accurately portrayed. Pitchfork’s Audacity review. Devon Maloney is the writer. Leave Orange County alone, please.

Sasha Geffen
I can’t find it now but this summer I read something about how the Internet fundamentally changed the role of the critic from being someone who directly influenced listeners to someone who sort of coasted along public opinion. it doesn’t seem to me that critical writing could ever change someone’s gut reaction to a piece of music, even when reviews came out ahead of album releases. if anything, reading a very positive review ahead of listening to an album makes me more likely to be disappointed if I don’t have the same response as the critic. Reviews can provide insight and make connections to other parts of an artist’s career or other factors within the music sphere, but I don’t think they can ever determine the visceral reaction someone has to an album. Honestly, I think we’re living in one of the best times to be a critic–there is a wealth of diverse voices commenting on music and other culture all the time. It seems to me that most of the anxiety about what the Internet is doing to critical media comes from old white men who see their dominance over the profession slipping.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Pitchfork on UMO.

Nathan Huffstutter
Tie: Chris DeVille’s “Drake-ing Bad” and Tom Breihan’s “In Defense Of Mumford & Sons”

K.C. Libman
Wow, that Lorde song Royals is racist in Feministing

Michael Roffman
Pitchfork’s Free Energy review.

Justin Wesley
The Most Boring Concerts in LA Weekly.

NIN by Philip Cosores

What was the best live band/performance you saw in 2013?

Rachel Bailey
Charles Bradley. Holy shit. I laughed. I wept. He changed costumes a lot. I left feeling like I’d been baptized or saved or something. It was the closest thing to a religious experience my non-believing ass has had in many years.

Ryan Bort
Prince at SXSW. Not close. Still not convinced it wasn’t a dream.

Philip Cosores
The xx at the Hollywood Bowl was the best, but I think Majical Cloudz with 27 people in Orange County was also the best in a very different way. (Editor’s note: Justin Timberlake was the best. Saw it after this was turned in.)

Nick Freed
Desaparecidos at The Metro in Chicago: It was one of the first times in my life that the next morning I debated driving to whatever city they were playing that night to see them again. It was pure excitement and electricity. Also one of the few shows where afterward I wanted to start a riot.

desaparecidos by Philip Cosores

Sasha Geffen
Hard to beat Neutral Milk Hotel

David Greenwald
Cut Copy at the Roseland Theater. They are in complete control of what they do, which is make people feel amazing. It’s astounding that they aren’t playing arenas yet.

Robert Ham
Keiji Haino @ YU Contemporary Arts Center on April 10th.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
The Deloreans. Saw them six times this year and would rank each of those six before the next live show/band.

Henry Hauser
Palma Violets

Nathan Huffstutter
Strand Of Oaks rearranged my central nervous system with a viking-grade performance at The Casbah in San Diego.

Daniel Kohn
Nine Inch Nails, Staples Center. 11/8

Jeremy D. Larson
Kanye West – Yeezus

K.C. Libman
Eric Church at Country Thunder 2013 in Florence, AZ. Most country acts are great live, but Church is right up there with Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, and the rest of the greats. Anyone who brings a red Solo cup to the stage gets an A in my book.

Nathan Mattise
Ty Segall’s Fuzz + OBN III’s as the climax of Noise Pop 2013

It had been a long, long time since I attended a show where I was simultaneously blown away by the musical talent (here Segall’s scorching command of classic-rock style drums) and the general punk debauchery (a night with OBN III will take you back to the wildest of your wild basement show days). Toss in a dingy venue with decent sound and maybe a 50 person capacity, and everyone left the Mission happy that evening.

Paula Mejia
Thee Oh Sees, posted up on the street at SXSW 2013

Matt Melis
Mark Mulcahy at Chicago’s The Hideout.

Alyssa Pereira

I saw easily over 100 acts this year, and some of them were very memorable. Paul McCartney in Golden Gate Park playing a three-hour set and Killer Mike and El-P hot off Run the Jewels’ release were both truly incredible.

With that being said, I’m a firm believer in experiencing shows based on the band and the moment in context, from the crowd to the venue to what happens before and after in my own life and so on. I like to think of them as a sort of a custom-made gesamtkunstwerk just for me, I guess. That’s self-centered I guess, but whatever, I’m the one answering this question. Anyway, I went to SF’s Rickshaw Stop in November to watch White Lung, Antwon, and Tony Molina there (most of which I missed—sorry), and just everything about that night was so intense. I walked into the venue immediately following a scuffle during Antwon’s set. A new friend had just been punched in the face, and the headliners were about to go on.

White Lung is just fucking incredible. They’re one of those bands that you know you’re lucky to catch at this moment in their career. The crowd was stupid attractive and was fucking wild and everything was just the perfect divey convergence of punk and sweat and volume and tattoos. After their set I (finally) met some great local musicians and producers. Pretty fucking solid night for a Sunday, you know? I left the venue shortly after introductions and was about a block away when I was hit by a car. It was the most punk ending to the night possible, and all things considered, the most epic show of my year.

Michael Roffman
The Replacements at Riot Fest: Toronto

Hilary Saunders
Paul McCartney (finally!)

Belle and Sebastian by Philip Cosores

Laura Studarus
Belle and Sebastian at Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. I hadn’t seen them ten years. They didn’t play a single song I hadn’t heard before–and yet I fell in love with them all over again.

Justin Wesley
The National at Bunbury Music Festival

Cameron Wolf
Japandroids

Passion Pit by Philip Cosores

What band/artist were you conflicted in your liking/guilty pleasure?

Rachel Bailey
Lady Gaga. She makes me want to be a gay man. Her “art” schtick is laughable. But her music is fiendishly catchy, and at least she’s, like, going on Clear Channel radio stations and even uttering the WORD “art,” getting it into the conversation at all. I don’t believe in the idea of a guilty pleasure. I think you like what you like for the reasons you like it, and guilt shouldn’t be part of the equation. But I recognize that she doesn’t really fit in the wheelhouse of the other things I like and that a lot of my music friends would sneer at me for admitting I enjoy her.

Ryan Bort
Can I put Drake here?

Philip Cosores
Milk Music and Deafheaven

Nick Freed
Katy Perry

Sasha Geffen
My relationship w Miley Cyrus’s music is complicated I guess. I don’t believe you should ever feel guilty for liking something that’s out of the circle of “good taste” but she has made a lot of questionable artistic choices that prevent me from fully immersing myself in her music. Also that album is one hell of a mixed bag

Robert Ham
I’m never conflicted in liking a band/artist. I like what I like.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Lorde

Henry Hauser
Vampire Weekend

Nathan Huffstutter
I don’t understand this question.

Daniel Kohn
HAIM

Jeremy D. Larson
Kanye West

Matt Melis
I take no guilt in my pleasures. That wisdom came with turning 30.

Alyssa Pereirakaty perry prism 260x260 Aux.Out. Writers Poll (aka Philzz Jop)
Passion Pit

Michael Roffman
Katy Perry. I’m obsessed.

Laura Studarus
My voice singing in the shower.

Justin Wesley
Sky Ferreira

Cameron Wolf
One Direction. Too catchy.

No Age by Philip Cosores

What is the best publication that you’ve never worked for (music)?

Rachel Bailey
The New Yorker. For everything.

Philip Cosores
Pitchfork

Nick Freed
Grantland

Sasha Geffen
hm I’m fond of a lot of what Vulture puts out

Robert Ham
Spin has been doing some amazing work lately, with great longform pieces that are insightful, challenging, and occasionally hilarious.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Aquarium Drunkard

Henry Hauser
Grantland

Nathan Huffstutter
The Paris Review

Jeremy D. Larson
The Talkhouse

K.C. Libman
Noisey. Great content, layout is easy on the eyes and it’s a publication of tastemakers that’s not elitist in the least.

Paula Mejia
McSweeney’s

Matt Melis
Wikipedia

Alyssa Pereira
Jezebel, Stereogum

Michael Roffman
Grantland

Will Ryan
Pitchfork’s features section impressed the heck out of me this year. And The Needle Drop continues to be one of my favorite places for reviews for the personality, humor, and open, non-pretentious music nerdism Anthony Fantano brings to his criticism. Wish Anthony’s approach (not necessarily the visual format, but the overall attitude) was more commonplace. Shallow Rewards also has to get a mention simply by virtue of the 24-hour Twitter seminar his post-Thanksgiving video/rant on advertising and corporatism in music blogging caused. Even if I have very mixed feelings about the video itself.

Hilary Saunders
The Atlantic

Laura Studarus
The Line of Best Fit. I’m a total groupie.

Justin Wesley
Paste

Youth Lagoon by Philip Cosores

What was the worst band/artist performance of 2013?

Rachel Bailey
They are called Pretty Bird and they are in Athens, Ga., and you have not seen them or heard of them and that is a good thing.

Ryan Bort
I think I tried to sing and play guitar at the same time in my apartment one night in August.

Philip Cosores
I saw Lindsey Stirling. I think she’s pretty awful.

Nick Freed
Lady Gaga and R. Kelly on SNL. Mostly Gaga’s side of things, but seriously.

Sasha Geffen
don’t want to name names but any of the guitar bands I saw this year that seemed to be dead on stage. like don’t get up there if you’re gonna be bored the second you start playing

Robert Ham
That I personally saw? Bob Mould, solo. The guy NEEDS a backing band if he’s going to plug in his electric guitar and get loud. Without a rhythm section, it turns into one big sheet of undynamic distortion.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Savages

Henry Hauser
MGMT

Nathan Huffstutter
The James Blake/RZA collaboration, “Take A Fall For Me.”

Alyssa Pereira
Can I say Death Grips at Lolla? I wasn’t there but I guess neither were they.

Michael Roffman
Chance the Rapper at Lollapalooza

Hilary Saunders
Miley Cyrus

Laura Studarus
Youth Lagoon at SXSW. I adore Trevor Powers, but I don’t think he realizes exactly how many people care about his music. His lack of confidence got the better of him that night, and despite sounding fantastic, he cut his set short after four songs. If you see him on the street, someone please give this kid a hug and a kind word or two.

Justin Wesley
Death Grips’ no-show at Lollapalooza

Cameron Wolf
Atoms for Peace. It depressed me to see Thom Yorke look so old.

Miley Shirt by Philip Cosores

The worst trend in music is?

Rachel Bailey
Airhorns and pop artists’ inevitable shift toward making dance music if they stick around long enough.

Ryan Bort
I’m praying leather kilts start and end with Kanye.

Philip Cosores
Predictability.

Nick Freed
X-Factor/American Idol/etc.

Sasha Geffen
White artists helping themselves to cultural objects that they don’t really understand or have respect for beyond a surface appreciation.

Robert Ham
A need to hurry out a review or a blog post about an album or a piece of music news without first letting it sink in. Some folks are capable of that kind of speedy analysis, but I think it does more harm than good.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
People who “love” music but don’t put in the effort to support it and all the things that are necessary for its survival (record stores, small concerts, physical albums, etc).

Henry Hauser
“Convenience fee” hikes

Nathan Huffstutter
The soft-lit, seventies yacht rock being repurposed by everyone from Daft Punk to Iron and Wine.

Daniel Kohn
Stone Roses – Coachella

K.C. Libman
Spotify, based on their terrible business model that affects long-term record sales for any label-signed artist whose licenses have been sold out to the platform. Also, I don’t want to see how many times you’ve listened to “Get Lucky” on Facebook. Go back to Sweden.

Paula Mejia
Autotune

Matt Melis
The slow, “epic” buildup on opening tracks of records. Get on with it already.

Alyssa Pereira
Endless obsessing over random Nirvana anniversaries.

Michael Roffman
Acoustic folk. Enough.

Hilary Saunders
How streaming services don’t compensate musicians well.

Laura Studarus
Bad press shots and fake names/refusal to use last names. Listen, all I want is to kinda sorta see your face. It’s also nice to have a real name to use in a review. Look, I probably still won’t recognize you on the street, and I’m probably too busy stalking my high school crush to look you up on Facebook. Help me out here. Please?

Justin Wesley
Mass appeal seekers lacking inspiration, genuine emotion or something authentic to say.

Cameron Wolf
EDM. The music’s terrible. The clothes are worse. The drugs are deadly.

Father John Misty by Philip Cosores

One artist you want to interview but never have?

Rachel Bailey
David Byrne. That’s the fangirl in me talking. Matt Berninger I think I could have some interesting chats with about his songwriting.

Ryan Bort
Father John Misty

Philip Cosores
John Darnielle

Nick Freed
Nick Cave

Sasha Geffen
this is obvious maybe but if I could pick Jeff Mangum’s brain I’d die happy

Robert Ham
David Bowie

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Leonard Cohen.

Henry Hauser
Ray Davies

Nathan Huffstutter
Patti Smith.

Daniel Kohn
Bob Dylan

Jeremy D. Larson
John Darnielle

K.C. Libman
Dave Grohl. I just want to guitar shopping with the dude and nerd out to the highest degree. Call me, bro.

Nathan MattiseDeerhunter by Philip Cosores
Bradford Cox continues to put out interesting music, speak his mind on important issues, and expands his career (soundtracking a film, acting in one this year too). His discography at this point is robust and an hour wouldn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

Paula Mejia
Tom Waits

Matt Melis
Tom Waits

Alyssa Pereira
Ezra Koenig—he’s so weird but I love that about him.

Michael Roffman
Bruce Springsteen

Hilary Saunders
Tom Morello

Laura Studarus
Jens Lekman. And by interview I assume the question here is actually “shamelessly dote on.” So er, strike that. Let’s go with The Cure. Robert Smith has always seemed like an articulate guy.

Justin Wesley
Dave Grohl

Cameron Wolf
Anyone? Paul McCartney

J5 by Philip Cosores

What are you most proud of from 2013 (Music Related)?

Rachel Bailey
More and more these days, I write bios for bands. It doesn’t make for a great story, but lately, the bands I work for have been especially happy with the work I did. It’s nice to hear from them that I hit the nail on the head in talking about their music, that I helped ’em, that I did something they couldn’t. It’s the little things.

Philip Cosores
I have quite a few stories that I love, but I’m probably most proud of this one that I didn’t write.

Nick Freed
Either my interview with Tim Heidecker or my first Aux.Out. article being published in January.

Sasha Geffen
I really enjoyed chatting with Daniel Lopatin and also writing about Montreal.

Robert Ham
Getting to interview some of my musical heroes: Colin Newman, Martin Rev, Lou Barlow, Klaus Schulze, and Pete Swanson.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Had The Zombies headline the We Listen For You SXSW showcase. It still feels like a dream.

Henry Hauser
This on Dylan.

Nathan Huffstutter
An Animal House joke I slipped into a review of Grant Hart’s “The Argument” that I think 11 people read.

Daniel Kohn
Seeing a Jurassic 5 reunion. Unexpected and didn’t think it would happen.

Jeremy D. Larson
Gimme Some Reggae story

Nathan Mattise
“Ted Leo on 10 Years of ‘Hearts of Oak'” on Spinner
Spinner is one of the first music publications I ever followed, prompted by the streamable new albums weekly but soon reading all the great content from Dan Reilly and crew. This was the year I finally had the nerve to cold pitch them, and it turned into the opportunity to talk with one of my all-time favorite artists. Leo was appreciative of the love he received but realistic about what it all meant for him as a working artist (sadly, not too much). To emphasize the difficulty of living with the music industry these days, Spinner itself folded soon after my article posted—it’s saved thanks to Google Docs and some well-timed screenshots.

Paula Mejia
How many people loved the Deafheaven record.

Matt Melis
I’m proud that CoS continues to conquer the music world one reader at a time. Thanks for reading, kids!

Alyssa Pereira
San Francisco has a relatively small music industry scene—most people in it know each other. However, there are actually a pretty good number of independent music sites that focus on the area. One is The Bay Bridged, which I just started writing for, and another is The Owl Mag. This year for The Owl, I got to interview a couple local bands. One of them was Midi Matilda, San Francisco pop’s golden boys. I had moved into my North Beach apartment just before this, and we did the photoshoot on the roof of my apartment, overlooking the Transamerica Pyramid and Nob Hill.

Another interview I did was with local bluesy rockers The Stone Foxes. It was a very fun interview, but the highlight was when photographer Wilson Lee and I (but mostly Wilson) convinced frontman Shannon Koehler to take off his pants for the photoshoot.

Michael Roffman
My cover story on The National

Will Ryanrelevant content thumb
Getting to do a podcast for Aux.Out. is the first thing that comes to mind.

Hilary Saunders
Traveling cross-country to cover Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival (http://pickathon.com)

Laura Studarus
This for MTV IGGY.

Justin Wesley
Inside David Bazan’s Living Room Tour’ for Aux.Out.

Cameron Wolf
Being published on Aux.Out.

Crystal Castles by Philip Cosores

What are you most proud of from 2013 (Non-Music)?

Rachel Bailey
I sang onstage with my friend’s band last week. Have wanted to do it for a long time. Finally got the balls. It was cool.

Philip Cosores
Not music related?

Nick Freed
Doing more or my own photography for concert reviews. I’m glad that I’ve been able to have them turn out so well.

Sasha Geffen
I landed a couple of poems at an online magazine I really respect

Robert Ham
My son’s good health now after a scary couple of months earlier in the year that involved a major surgery.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Becoming an adult and understanding that some things will never change.

Henry HauserCover_IJ
Read Infinite Jest

Nathan Huffstutter
The expression on my daughter’s face the split-second after she scored her very first goal in soccer.

Daniel Kohn
Liverpool playing an entertaining brand of football

Jeremy D. Larson
I had a tweet about Nine Inch Nails food trucks that I thought was pretty great and I’m getting better at sharing the things I’m proud of, though I’m not totally there yet.

Paula Mejia
How the Internet has allowed us to have important discourses on a global scale and hold injustice accountable — ie Wendy Davis’ filibuster/fighting for the rights of Texas women (have to rep the home state).

Matt Melis
I became a high school teacher. To quote Jack Black, “Your kids touched me, and I’m pretty sure I touched them.”

Alyssa Pereira
Presenting my masters thesis on the re-appropriation of protest music to the University of Strasbourg for the French Journal of Popular Music last June, and signing my first book deal.

Michael Roffman
The consistency and dependability of our staff.

Will Ryan
Successfully moving to the Bay Area.

Laura Studarus
Managing to make being homeless work in my favor by traveling the world. And doing stupid/awesome stuff like this along the way.

Justin Wesley
Having an ever-increasing understanding of when to hang up the gloves and when to fight for something I love.

Riff Raff by Philip Cosores

What’s the best album of 2014?

Rachel Bailey
We’ll see.

Ryan Bort
You mean besides the Riff Raff LP? I have no clue, but I’m looking forward to new Black Lips.

Philip Cosores
The Men. Or Sharon Van Etten.

Nick Freed
I have faith in Dave Grohl, and going out on a limb to say that his production of Zac Brown Band will be in the top 5 albums next year.

Sasha Geffen
So far it’s Ricky Eat Acid’s Three Love Songs, probably also Actress’s Ghettoville though I haven’t heard it yet.

David Greenwald
Taylor Swift.

Robert Ham
I’m hoping PJ Harvey comes out with a new album next year that will effectively rip a hole in the fabric of space/time. If not, can we try and get Bruce Springsteen in the studio with the Dap-Kings?

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
It’s an album made by some artist working really hard at their craft. Nobody has heard of her/him and their music will transcend blog buzz, paid teams, and bullshit. They are working very hard right now. They will make it. I will love it.

Henry Hauser
Fleet Foxes featuring Father John Misty – Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey

Nathan Huffstutter
New Perfume Genius.

Daniel Kohn
TBD!

Jeremy D. Larson
In a year when Godsmack, Slipknot, and Tool are going to release new music, anything I would speculate right now would be wildly irresponsible.

K.C. Libman
RiFF RAFF Neon Icon. I am calling it now, haterz. Versace pancakes.

Nathan Mattise
My early favorites will be the new Hospitality LP (a severely underrated band) and the new Phantogram LP (they have yet to put out a bad song through an LP and multiple EPs). I’m also a forever Spoon-apologist. But, from the LPs we’re expecting, I predict tUnE-yArDs and St. Vincent will make the strongest claims for the top spot. And as excellent as w h o k i l l was, based on recent track record, it’s hard to bet against Annie Clark.

Paula Mejia
Looking forward to Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Warpaint!

Matt Melis
Same answer as last year. Anything Iron Maiden decides to put out.

Michael Roffman
Grimes

Hilary Saunders
Lake Street Dive: Bad Self Portraits

Laura Studarus
As of now I’m going to say Simon Raymonde’s (Cocteau Twins) and Stephanie Dosen’s (Massive Attack) new project Snowbird. But I’m really looking forward to an upset. Do you hear me, White Sea, Bat for Lashes, Sharon Jones, Beck, Father John Misty, and Lykke Li?

Justin Wesley
The Hold Steady’s next album

Cameron Wolf
Sink-o – tUnE-yArDs

Riff Raff by Philip Cosores

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