My Favorite Songs of 2013, Honorable Mentions: Lockets, Jensen Sportag, Savages & more

Soaring ’80s pop, charming modern classical, brooding indie-rock, atmospheric sludge metal, dreamy R&B, and more.

Here are 9 more songs from 2013 that I really liked, listed in no particular order. And if you haven’t already, be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2, too.

“Surrender” by Lockets

It’s the first week of January, and Lincoln has been in a pretty solid icy grip. As such, the words I wrote back in May for this song still hold as true now as they did back then: “Surrender” is “the summer song that I really needed right now.”

“Home” by Human Human

If you thought The Mary Onettes were unashamedly in love with the ’80s, wait until you hear Human Human, and I mean that in a good way. “Home” plays like the closing credits song for every great ’80s teen film never made, with a big synthesizer sound that only barely manages to keep up with the soaring vocals.

“The Time is Now” by Luca Ciut

The term “modern classical” is likely to conjure up the brooding soundscapes of composers like Jóhann Jóhannsson and Max Richter (both of whom are Opus faves, by the way). However, Luca Ciut brings a lighter, more deft touch in the case of “The Time is Now,” which features swaying piano and strings and playful percussion, all to delightful effect.

“Nothing to Hide” by Gary Murray

After four years, Gary Murray finally released a new album: the solid-yet-understated Minor Lives. “Nothing to Hide” is one of the album’s stand-outs, a beautiful blend of Starflyer 59-esque reverb and squalls of feedback, intricate melodies, and Murray’s deep, rustic baritone.

“I” by From Oceans To Autumn

I was going to include something from Deafheaven’s Sunbather here, but then I remembered From Oceans to Autumn. On “I,” the “atmospheric sludge metal” band reveal they like their metal with a heavy dose of shoegazer, too, and their music is as beautiful as it is brutal. But even more impressive, they can achieve in a single minute what it takes Deafheaven nine or ten.

“Bellz” by Jensen Sportag

Listening to “Bellz” is like listening to different decades and genres of music — e.g., synth-pop and funk from the ’80s, R&B and house music from the early and mid ’90s — cut up and spliced together on a Sega Genesis. At first, it seems completely random, but then it begins to coalesce… and becomes so catchy, so funky, and so smooth.

“She Will” by Savages

The first single from the post-punk foursome is like a Molotov cocktail made of equal parts Joy Division and Gang of Four, and it’s bracing, incendiary stuff that makes you want to write manifestos, charge the gates, and topple the current world order. Sidenote: I simply cannot get enough of Gemma Thompson’s riffs.

“Happenstance” by Field Harmonics

Rob Glover is best known as one-half of the melancholy post-rock duo Epic 45. With his solo project Field Harmonics, though, he trades the Bark Psychosis and Talk Talk for some New Order, Depeche Mode, and Pet Shop Boys, eschewing pastoral ambience for pulsing synthesizers and drum machines.

“There is a World Without You” by Memory Drawings

The spirit of the mighty Hood lives on in Memory Drawings. “There is a World Without You” is gloriously dreary, with lazily strummed acoustic guitars and hazy drones pairing up with some melancholy violin and dulcimer. Perfect “staring out the window at the grey, rainy autumn sky” music, which, as you probably know by now, is a favorite genre of mine.

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