Time on my Turntable 2013


Guest SMI contributor, musician and vinyl audiophile extraordinaire, John Roth, shares some of his favorite stax o’ wax of 2013. 

More of some of our favorite music from 2013 coming next week…

There is nothing like listening to well crafted, well produced music by brilliant artists on 186 gram vinyl. God help me, I do love it so and I looove to do this – reflect back on the year and tag the music that I spent the most time with – by choice (time is a valuable commodity after all).  This is not a “Best-Of” list. Honestly,  I have no clue what is best or better than anything else  – Well… OK, I sorta, kinda do, in a way, but I’m not tellin’ –  at least not on this list anyway.

I’m also still in the process of combing through other people’s lists and will likely discover other, stronger 2013 releases in a different time and place.  Blee, blah, blah, blee, blee… details, details.

Here’s what I did choose to put on my turntable (a lot) in 2013 (que up the drum roll…) in chunky order (top thirdish, middle thirdish, last thirdish – Whatev… it is ALL good):

Push-The-Sky-Away-PACKSHOT3-768x7681Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds | Push the Sky Away

Perhaps NC&TBS best record in years – classic NC writing with beatifully spare arrangemnts, performances and authentic production. My favorite for 2013.

James Blake | OvergrownJames-Blake-Overgrown-608x607

Wow!  Synths and soul.  I woke and fell asleep to this record many mornings and nights.  When you’re in that delicate space between sleep and wake your mind receives things in really odd and cool ways.   Don’t be put off by “synths”.  They are pure analog and this record is astonishingly warm, human and engaging.

ArcadeFireReflektorArcade Fire | Reflector

They are on many 2013 lists and for good reason.  This may be an all too obvious pick but totally spoke to my Talking Heads, Bowie and Sandinista sensibilities.

Vampire Weekend | Vampires of the City563379_10151231515441058_1176234305_n-300x300

Somewhat of a guilty pleasure but don’t judge.  This is pop, but with a brain and a heart. It hits me like Elvis Costello – Imperial Bedroom.  What can I say?  I just kept coming back to this one on those sunny summer days.

ParquetCourtsThe Parquet Courts | Light Up Gold

Garage rock Brooklyn style…a lot of things going on stylistically but mostly a New York rock vibe circa CBGB.  Found this one late from someone elses list, which is why I love other lists (Matthew Lee Johnson)

OLE-998-Kurt-Vile-Walkin-On-A-Pretty-Daze_smKurt Vile | Walking on a Pretty Daze

…All feel

imagesPhosphorescent | Muchacho

Weird and a great hybrid of techno-americana. I know, sounds horrible but it’s not.

valerie-june-pushin-against-a-stoneValerie June | Pushin’ On a Stone

Love this record. A late and pleasant surprise – soul a la Muscle Shoals, jazz and country all rolled into a soulful and sinewy moonshine.   You can pratcally smell, touch and taste the Tenessee.

imagesThe Baptist Generals | Jackleg Devotional to the Heart

Blood and guts blend of rock and americana.  Lot’s of time on my turntable

The National | Trouble Will Find MeUnknown

Not my favorite by them but a standout in 2013 recorded and live.   Always buy their records.

Deerhunter | MonomaniaMonomania

Indy rock paella. All over the place but holds together just fine and pairs nicely with Vodka.

Queens of the Stone Age | …Like Clockworkqueens-of-the-stone-age-like-clockwork-cd

Great blend of modern, heavy and melodic.  Pitch perfect production for a hard indy rock record.  Josh’s vocals are recorded (and performed) so well 

220px-The_Terror_coverThe Flaming Lips | The Terror

Wayne is very sad but thank gawd for Steven Drodz and his sonic sensibilties.  Not an easy listen listen but daring and dark. 

Johnny Marr | The Messenger81cPq0cmjIL._SL1500_

Not on anyone’s list but mine.  Should have been the third guitarist to sit between Jimmy and Jack in  “It Might Get Loud”.   Marrr is up to his old and new tricks minus the self immolation of Morrisey.   Great british rock record 

Palma Violets | 180palma-violets

While were on the brits let’s mention this record.  British garage rock a la The Clash, The Mysterians. Love. 



-Honorable Mentions-


My Bloody Valentine | MBV

Perhaps my expectations were too high.  Perhaps I haven’t heard this record in the right mood.  Perhaps I am just wrong.  Look – a bad record by these guys is better than most others on their best day.  I guess I just wanted them to sound like they hadn’t been cryogenically frozen for twenty years and thawed out to release another record that sounded 20 years old.  Fire away..

Tame Impala | Lonerism

A severely overrated record.  I’m convinced all the critics were making up for missing fawning over their previous record which was much, much better and largely unnoticed 

Records I want in 2014:

Records I don’t want in 2014:

Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, Of Monsters and Men, Decembersists or any other old timey whimey, faux “folk” band replete with some weirdly concocted turn of the century (18/1900’s) wardrobe …blech!  Perhaps one day  we’ll love them in the same way some people (not me) love the kitsch of ABBA or K.C. and the Sunshine Band…. nahh,,, probably not.


Not only is he a multi-media journalist, he is also an accomplished musician. He is the founder of SMI and drives the creative look, feel and branding for the publication. His years of writing, arranging, and performing live music in a variety of genres inform his ability to communicate the message and the mechanics of music. Roth’s work on SMI reflects his philosophy that music is the universal language, and builds community. He believes it has the power to unite people of every race, religion, gender, and persuasion.