Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Dear 2013,

Dear 2013
This is the fifth time I am writing an open letter to a year, and each round doesn't seem to get any easier. I guess this is because every year has its ups and downs, and so to summarise your place in history in some sort of a personified manner is a very difficult task. But all things considered, for an odd number, you did alright, 2013, and I consider you to be a decent collection of days. There is good in everyone. Everyone makes mistakes.

What I will take most from you, however, is somewhat invaluable in comparison to those who came previous. You pulled your weight at the worst of times, and above all else, you taught me lessons which I shall carry with me, always. And even now, as I come out of your other side a little bit battered and tired, I know I will grow from your existence and am grateful for what you granted.

And you granted a lot. Like how about all the time we spent watching New Girl or Breaking Bad? That was fun. Even more so, the huge obsessions we shared with Studio Ghibli or Morrissey or Hello Kitty, those were wonderful distractions. There was ample good music within you, so much so that I started my regular posting of the song of the week, and I even learned how to brush my teeth properly during your stay. Together, we were a satisfactorily creative collaborative, definitely pumping out a huge quantity of quality work, and that is always super important to me. There was also that whole yolo swag twerk selfie thing people were going about, and some Syrian civil war I tried to ignore, none of which I think I approve of, but whatever floats your boat, mate. Who am I judge? You and me both know I committed my fair share of sin during this year, but none of which I will mention in this article, so shhh.

Ok, let’s step back and look at everything which made you, you. From the personal (coming into the year with the best job in the world, the best girlfriend in the world *cough*, the best home (The House of Gash) in the world, and the best friends in the world), to the impersonal (some hugely prolific deaths, devastating natural disasters, and entertainment to fool the masses into happiness), all of which I will present in far too much detail, completely rushed, and starting with January. As always.

Dear 2013: January: Lance Armstrong admits to doping, Aaron Swartz kills himself, We all ate horse meat, Giovanna Powman eats a tampon, I watched Django Unchained

01 Jan
Entered the year high-strung, watching the sun rise from my home country of South Africa, at some psytrance party. Me and Lizzie had been there since around Xmas time the year before, and it was a wonderful holiday filled with the touristy stuff I never did whilst a resident, such as: climbing Table Mountain; Kirstenbosch Gardens; Mzoli's; other bars; Fisherhaven; Boulders Beach; other beaches; braais; sun; friends; family; so much alcohol, and a million other things I can't exactly remember. It was wonderful to be back there after four years or so, and as a result, was the perfect way to start the year, where we stayed until the 15th or so.
Michael Patrick Cronan was a hugely respected artist known as one of the founders of the San Francisco Bay Area postmodern movement in graphic design which became known as the "Pacific Wave". He also named the Amazon Kindle. And after a 5-year battle with cancer, he died on this unfortunate day, at the age of 61.

06 Jan
Myron J. Stolaroff was best known for his studies in psychedelic psychotherapy, measuring the effect of LSD, mescaline, and other drugs on creativity. He died on this day, at the age of 92, hopefully tripping balls.

07 Jan
4chan strikes again, this time with the #CuttingForBieber/#Cut4Bieber campaign hoax, which encouraged Beliebers to cut themselves and post photos onto Twitter as a protest against Justin Bieber's alleged marijuana usage. Easy target, still cruel, still funny.

08 Jan
Tandyn Douglas Almer was a musician who you may know as the writer of the 1966 Top Ten hit "Along Comes Mary" for The Association. He also collaborated with the likes of Frank Zappa, Brian Wilson, and The Purple Gang. As if this wasn't enough, he also invented a waterpipe called the Slave-Master, described as "the perfect bong". He died today at the age of 70 from a combination of illnesses, including atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Ouchies.

09 Jan
Vivian Brown was one of the San Francisco Twins, a set of indenticals known to dress exactly the same and mimic each other's mannerisms, to the point of becoming massive local celebrities. Eventually age caught up, however, and after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Vivian deteriorated and died on this day at the age of 86.

11 Jan
A biggie. Aaron Swartz was an internet activist/computer programmer who was involved in the development of RSS and Reddit. After allegedly "breaking and entering" JTSOR by downloading academic journals, he was arrested, facing up to $1 million in fines plus 35 years in prison. Rather than deal with that, he hung himself on this day, and the internet mourned. He was 26.
There was once this website I helped build with Kris for an anonymous guy who likes to give money to nice people. This concept finally got its recognition in the form of the Coca-Cola company's stamp of approval. Nice!

15 Jan
Today we all found out that the beef we had been eating may have contained horse meat. People went crazy and a whole load of statements and regulations followed, but I wasn't too bothered. I'll eat anything, I don't discriminate against any animal.

16 Jan
"I feel like I just won the Academy Award. If an artist can offend so many people that he has to go to prison to protect society, that's really saying something. Most shock artists dream of this kind of attention, without the prison part." - Ira Isaacs
Ira Isaacs is a "shock artist" best known for his feces-eating porn, and he got into some trouble on this day for violating federal obscenity laws by selling movies which featured "bestiality and extreme fetishes". He was sentenced to four years in federal prison, three years of supervised release, and a $10,000 fine for his naughtiness. Personally, I think people should be able to do whatever they want as long as no one is harmed, and worry about these types of rulings.
Two people were killed and a further 12 were injured when an out-of-control helicopter smashed into a crane in central London on this day.
Also, it is here where I will start with my usual narcissistic Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 thingie. It's exactly what it sounds like, the 50 Tweets from this year which I am the most proud of, starting with:
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (1/50): I did it Frank Sinatra's way.

17 Jan
Today was the day that Oprah interviewed Lance Armstrong, where he admitted to doping despite denying it so vigorously throughout his career. Damnit! I trusted you, man!
Despite existing for months, the meme Pretty Girls, Ugly Faces really took off today. It went on to be featured by Buzzfeed, CollegeHumour and the Huffington Post, as well as developing into one of my favourite memes of the year.

18 Jan
Me and my colleague Chris coin the term STLT on Urban Dictionary.
Robert J. Bennett was the last remaining member of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted vocal group The Famous Flames. He died today from complications of diabetes, at the age of 74.

19 Jan
Madness: whilst giving a speech, Ahmed Dogan (ex-Bulgarian chairman of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms) faced an assassin who ran onto the stage next to him, pulled out a pistol and pulled the trigger. It failed to fire, the assailant receiving a proper beating in return. It was also all caught on film, thankfully.
More madness: teenaged Giovanna Powman pulled out her tampon on camera, and proceeded to suck on it (which you can watch on this page, here). From that day onwards, she was known as the Tampon Girl, and apparently quite regrets the whole thing.

21 Jan
FORMSPRING: Why does humanity seek answers for questions that can not be answered?

22 Jan
Finished reading Life of Pi. Was half impressed.

23 Jan
After making music together for over 20 years as At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta, Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala decide to call their partnership quits. Which is fucking bleak.

25 Jan
Shozo Shimamoto co-founded the avant garde Gutai group who became quite well known in art circles, even having works displayed at the Tate Gallery and the Tate Modern. He died today at the age of 85, which is a decent number to go.

29 Jan
FORMSPRING: Why are children so evil?

30 Jan
Video blogger Filthy_Frank uploaded a thing which featured four people dancing in latex suits to Baauer’s song Harlem Shake. It didn't take too long to spiral out of control, with countless parodies wracking up millions upon millions of views, everyone giving it a try, going on to become one of the year's most memorable (and annoying) viral sensations.
I also finally watched Django Unchained today, and adored it. Probably the most entertaining Tarantino to date imo.

31 Jan
Sung Give It Away by Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Floripa karaoke bar. Look out for the bra, brah, total rockstar.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (2/50): Having a girlfriend is rad and all, but it seriously gets in the way of me fucking other people.

Cyclone Oswald passed over parts of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, during this month. It set new records of nuisance, which included severe storms, floods and tornadoes. All of this caused US$2.5 billion worth of damage, blackouts, thousands of evacuations and six deaths.

Dear 2013: February: Oscar Pistorius shoots up girlfriend, Pope Benedict XVI resigns, Beyoncé pulls unflattering faces, My Bloody Valentine release m b v, Monopoly iron token gets replaced by a cat

01 Feb
Often referred to as the "First Dog", Barney Bush was a Scottish Terrier owned by former U.S. President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush. He died today at 12 doggy years from lymphoma. All good dogs go to heaven, regardless of owners, right?
Our local Alternative South African chick (Sam) and Cake Baking Portuguese mate (Rui) moved out of The House of Gash on this day. They were replaced by Daniel, our brand new Stock Exchanging Slovakian friend, and Tanya, one of our bestest friends of all time.

02 Feb
In a sudden announcement (after 22 years waiting), My Bloody Valentine finally release their Loveless follow-up online, titled m b v. Their servers crashed instantaneously and hardly anyone could get hold of it until the next day (including me). It was worth the wait.
A homeless man known as Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker went viral after this brilliant interview was uploaded to YouTube. The internet hailed him as a hero, but he was arrested for murder a few months later, so...?

03 Feb
After Beyoncé performed at the Super Bowl XLVII, someone uploaded humourously timed screen captures of the singer pulling scary faces in weird stances to Buzzfeed. Her publicist requested said “unflattering” images be removed, which naturally turned into a Streisand Effect ordeal, and the Unflattering Beyoncé meme was born.

04 Feb
Reg Presley was the lead singer of the 1960s rock and roll band The Troggs (best known for that "Wild Thing" hit), and he died on this day from lung cancer at the age of 71. Some called him the "godfather of punk" and he was a massive influence on Iggy Pop as well as Bob Dylan, so that's one sad and criminally overlooked 2013 death right there.
DNA tests confirm that human remains found beneath an English car park were those of King Richard III.

06 Feb
After a month-long online vote, Monopoly fans opted to replace the iron token with a cat token, and Hasbro Inc complied.
FORMSPRING: Would you rather get a massage from a man or surgery from a female doctor?
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (3/50): Instead of pushing to allow homosexual marriage, we should be fighting to ban heterosexual marriage. Fight the real enemy. Marriage.

07 Feb
Morrissey's single The Last Of The Famous International Playboys got reissued. Initially, the artwork was set to feature Morrissey and David Bowie on the cover, but Bowie refused permission. So instead, Morrissey opted to use an image of himself and Rick Astley. Which if you didn't understand at first, let me break it down for you: Morrissey Rickrolled Bowie.
My signed Chris Simpsons Artist poster arrives! Yay!

10 Feb
The 55th Annual Grammy Awards took place, where Fun, Frank Ocean, Mumford & Sons, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Dan Auerbach each received six nominations. And all of whom were male artists, uh-oh.

11 Feb
Pope Benedict XVI resigns, citing "advanced age" as his reasoning.

12 Feb
Christopher Jordan Dorner was a former LAPD police officer who was charged in connection to a series of shootings which left four people dead (including two police officers) and three wounded. One of the largest manhunts in LAPD history followed, until he was shot and killed on this day at the age of 33.
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: The Best/Worst of Juice Nothing. Probably the most boring thing I've ever written.
FORMSPRING: If you could be the political leader of any country, which would it be and why?

14 Feb
As it was Valentine's day and Lizzie's birthday today, I rewrote last year's Coming Down Happy song If Lizze Was A Facebook Page just for the occasion. Furthermore, I put together this little book called We Can Now Measure Love By In-Jokes and Pet Names, cos I'm a wonderful boyfriend.
Better than Oscar Pistorius, anyway. He shot up his girlfriend on this day.

15 Feb
A metorite explodes in the Russian sky, smashing up a whole bunch of shit with fireballs from space and injuring more than 1000 people.
Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell was suspended from his soap after he was charged with child rape and other such horrible accusations. He denied everything.

16 Feb
German animator Harald Siepermann dies from cancer at the age of 50. His film credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Mulan, Tarzan and The Emperor's New Groove. Salute.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (4/50): pls rt

17 Feb
Platinum American country music singer Mindy McCready shot herself and her dog to death on this day. She was 37 years old.

19 Feb
FORMSPRING: If you had to suck off one of your male guy friends, who would it be?

20 Feb
The Brit Awards 2013 took place, and were dominated by Ben Howard and Emeli Sande. yay :|
Saw Deftones at the Brixton O2. Was my second time. The first time was better.

22 Feb
Best known for smoking a cigarette through the surgical hole cut in her throat, pioneering anti-smoking advocate Debi Austin dies after battling various forms of cancer. She was 62.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (5/50): “Thirty is the New Twenty!” - Thirty Year Olds

24 Feb
85th Academy Awards happened. Life of Pi won four. Argo and Les Misérables won three. Django Unchained, Lincoln and Skyfall won two. I didn't even watch it.

25 Feb
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (6/50): I love February. He's like “I only want 28 days. Except every 4 years. Then give me another one. No, we can't reach an agreement. Fuck you.”

26 Feb
FORMSPRING: Would you ever pierce your genitalia to another persons?

28 Feb
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods. Despite many (many) people telling me how much they loved this blog and how it helped them improve their lives, I felt it was a touch weak. When combined with the previous article "The Best/Worst of Juice Nothing", I felt like I had slipped too far down the me me me route, and swore from this point to only write worthwhile and less narcissistic articles. And I succeeded.
Another little bit of writing released this day was titled Keegan Jonathan Lewis. You see, what I didn't mention earlier in this very article, is that when I was in South Africa, I received a death threat which was a bit harsh, I thought. Naturally, I had to respond, using this news item to detail the incident, as well as secure my revenge. Why do people still fuck with me? My blog is my tank.

Dear 2013: March: Google Reader announces its shut down, Hadokening photo fad spreads, Baby girl born with HIV is cured, Paul Bearer dies, swarms of locusts attack Madagascar

01 March
Musical remix genius Pogo starts following me on Twitter :D

04 March
A two-and-a-half year old baby girl born with HIV is reported to have been cured with very early drug treatment, having been off medication for a year with no signs of infection. Very good.

05 March
Former wrestler Paul Bearer (better known as the manager for The Undertaker, Kane, Mick Foley and Vader) dies at age 58 from blood clot and respiratory infection issues. I quite liked him and was quite sad.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (7/50): Don’t pray for me or they won’t let you in either.

07 March
Original guitarist from progressive rock band Yes, Peter Banks, dies from heart failure at age 65.
North Korea announce their intentions to go all nuclear on the United States' ass. Nothing came of it tho.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (8/50): The worst thing about getting a girl pregnant is having to wait 9 months before finding out how ugly your baby is.

13 March
Google Reader announces its shut down. I never used it, but I have many friends who were well upset.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected as the 266th pope, taking the name Pope Francis. He seems like one of the better ones.

15 March
South African Wonderboom/Sugardrive drummer Garth McLeod dies in a motorcycle accident at age 44.

17 March
Round about this date, Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy was arrested for an alleged hit-and-run, as well as possession of methamphetamines.

19 March
A few days earlier, Formspring announced it would be shutting down. On this day, I released my statement on the matter. As it turns out, someone saved the website at the last minute, but this marked the moment I stopped using the platform. They were playing with my emotions, man. I couldn't deal.

20 March
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: 20 White Artists Who Have Said "Nigger" In A Song. Was a slow burner, but eventually became one of my most read 2013 offerings, and definitely one of my favourites.
Also, due to some crazy antibiotics I had to take cos my gums were fucking out, I didn't drink for two weeks around here. Was quite proud of myself, to be honest. Proud enough to mention it, anyway.

22 March
As a joke, I drunkedly ventured into the Scientology building near my work. Within 10 minutes, I walked out of there having purchased L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics book. Still no idea how that happened. Haven't read it though.
My Chemical Romance announce their break up after 12 years together. Not sure why I wrote that one down, too late now.

23 March
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (9/50): alcoholsen twins.

25 March
Good day for memes!
Brent Rambo was a child model featured in an early 90s Apple ad, giving the camera his thumbs up seal of approval. On this day, Reddit user ToadLicker93 submitted a post titled “Have an upvote!” with Rambo as an animated GIF, which racked over 13,000 upvotes.
At the same time, the 2009 Japanese Hadokening photo fad spread massively into English-speaking countries thanks to Twitter user @mkpiiii9 posting her own version of the concept. I fucking love this one.
Finally (and unrelated), the European Union agrees to a €10 billion bailout for Cyprus.

26 March
Robin Thicke’s song Blurred Lines is unleashed, causing feminist controversy, Marvin Gaye lawsuits, and going on to break the record for all-time highest number of radio impressions during a single week in the US (with 219.8 million), selling 6 million copies in US alone. It was the biggest song of the year, I'd say.

27 March
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (10/50): I'm busy writing a children's book, warning against sexually transmitted diseases. Gonna call it “The Dinosaur’s Vagina Sore”. Wish me luck.

28 March
Session musician Hugh McCracken dies of leukemia at the age of 70. He has appeared on albums from B. B. King, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, The Monkees, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Linda McCartney, Yoko Ono, and many more. RIP.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (11/50): I fully support same-sex relationships. Some of my favourite pornos are based around this very concept alone.

30 March
Went to an all-night gig to watch Robag Wruhme. We met him too, was rad fun, followed by immense suffering for days to come.

By the later period of this month, approximately 50% of Madagascar had been infested by swarms of locusts, each swarm consisting of more than one billion of the fuckers. It's the worst locust infestation in Madagascar since a 17-year-long outbreak which began during the 1950s.

Dear 2013: April: Margaret Thatcher dies, Pharrell Williams owns the music scene, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev bombs Boston Marathon, Roger Ebert dies, Storm Thorgerson dies

02 April
Daniel moves out of The House Of Gash, only to be replaced a few weeks later by one of the coolest people I've met. His name is Pepe and he has a beard more impressive than any form of bodily hair you've ever seen.

02-03 April
The northeastern section of Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, experiences several flash floods which kills at least 80 people, and a further 219 deaths being investigated in relationship to the storm. It's said to be the worst flooding in La Plata's history.

03 April
Disney shuts down their recently acquired LucasArts game studio.

04 April
The world's most famous film critic, Roger Ebert, dies at the age of 70 after an 11 year battle with cancer. One of the sadder ones.

05 April
The first continuation of my Coming Down Happy cartoon musical was released today, one year after the original lot, to the date. It was called A Million Little Fingers Inside Of You, and I liked it more than everyone else.
After Tumblr user Kituchiki discovered his Werewolf Name was "Moon Moon", the internet lost its shit and was quick to create the fictional wolf of the same name, which spread everywhere. Funny.
Finally, Hilco UK announces that it bought HMV for £50 million, saving 141 stores and 2,500 jobs. Yay!

06 April
Around this time, the internet slang Intensifies (usually accompanied by a vibrating gif) spread into higher consciousness. iLOL.

08 April
The longest serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century, as well as the only woman to have held office, was Margaret Thatcher. At age 87, she died today, after suffering a stroke. Definitely one of the more memorable passings of the year, especially due to the mixed reactions which often included mass celebration.

09 April
Finished reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude". It wasn't the easiest of reads (every character has the same fucking name), but was definitely the most imaginative novel I have ever experienced in my whole life. My own writing changed as a result.

13 April
After being in a semi-comatose state for just over four years, Deftones bassist Chi Cheng dies at age 42. You were a part of my musical history, bro. Thanks for everything.

14 April
MTV Movie Awards 2013. Dominated by The Dark Knight Rises, Silver Linings Playbook, Ted, The Avengers, and Django Unchained. I was fine with all of this.

15 April
I think we all remember when those two pressure cooker bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 264 others. The suspects were identified as the Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and a manhunt ensued. Gunfire went down, an officer was killed, Tamerlan was killed, residents stayed in-doors, and public transport was halted. They eventually found Dzhokhar hiding in a boat in some dude's backyard, he got arrested, he confessed it all had to do with extremist Islamic beliefs, and then he got the Rolling Stone cover. Nice.
The Lushan (or Ya'an) earthquake occurs, measuring at 7.0, killing 193, injuring 15,554, and leaving people missing still to this day.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (12/50): You know what sucks about Mondays? Going to work.

16 April
Iran gets smacked by its most powerful earthquake for more than 50 years, measuring at 7.8, killing roughly 30 people.

17 April
A week earlier, Gucci Mane appeared in court for assaulting a military soldier with a champagne bottle. Today, a photoshopped screenshot of the trial was submitted to Reddit, with the text edited to read “Rapper Gucci Mane responds with ‘bitch I might be’ when asked if guilty”. It was fake, but received more than 10,300 upvotes, and the phrase "Bitch I Might Be" was born. In fact, those very words were used on Twitter more than 10,000 times on this day alone, so yeah.

18 April
The greatest album artwork creator of all time, Storm Thorgerson, dies at age 69 after battling cancer for many years. This hit me so hard, that I wrote an ode to the man three days after this date, which I never do for anyone, so that's gotta count for something. I'll miss this one.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (13/50): Does the “five-second rule” also apply to unprotected sex with a hooker?

19 April
It came to light that Australian entertainer Rolf Harris had been arrested as part of Operation Yewtree over historical allegations of sexual offenses against children, continuing the trend of recent years.

20 April
420 day! Went to Hyde Park where, just for that day at that very place, it was legal to smoke weed. The cops watched! It was beautiful to see! Pity I don't smoke anymore :(

21 April
Christine Joy "Chrissy" Amphlett was the frontwoman of the Divinyls, and she died today after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 52. Trying to sneak in an "I Touch Myself" joke here, but nothing seemed appropriate.
Shakuntala Devi was an Indian prodigy mental calculator, and she died today after suffering kidney failure. She was 83. I know you have no idea who she was, but check this out: once she competed with a computer to see who could give the cube root of 188138517 faster, and she won. Once she was asked to give the 23rd root of a 201-digit number, and she answered in 50 seconds. Once she was challenged to multiply two randomly chosen 13-digit numbers (7,686,369,774,870 x 2,465,099,745,779), and she correctly answered with 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in 28 seconds. All of which earned her a well deserved spot in the 1982 Guinness Book of Records.

22 April
In the three days since Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" was first released, it already hit number one on iTunes in both France and the UK, and number three in the US. It also broke Spotify's record for "biggest streaming day for a single track". But whatever your opinion on this, or Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, you'll have to admit that Pharrell Williams pretty much owned the airwaves this year, which is why I am crowning him the King Of 2013. All bow pls.
And then one of the most original memes of the decade came out: Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal.

23 April
Went and watched Civil Civic at the Dalston bar Birthdays. I had a great time, especially when we witnessed this huge chick beat the crap out of this little skinny guy. It was intense.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (14/50): Why do people worry about machines taking over the world when the tube doesn’t even fucking work properly?

24 April
The Rana Plaza (an eight-story commercial building) collapses in Bangladesh, killing around 1,127 people and injuring 2,500. It has been called the deadliest garment-factory accident ever, as well as the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history.

25 April
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (15/50): When I get drunk I become the same guy I am on the internet.

27 April
Me and Lizzie went to the Light Show exhibition, which brings together sculptures and artworks that use light in different ways. Well wicked.

30 April
Despite the phrase existing since 2001, today was the day that an image compilation titled "You Had One Job" landed on Reddit, going on to spread all over the web, and eventually ending up here. Thoroughly nice.
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: 25 Albums That Changed My Life: The Tale of the Devil and Me. Despite coming from the right place and receiving my full attention, I consider this one to be a bit of a fail. The whole fictional autobiography approach needed more time to properly execute, and I realised this far too late in the process. But whatever, at least the pictures were cool?

Dear 2013: May: Amanda Berry is found, Ray Manzarek dies, Iron Man 3 is the biggest film of the year, Angelina Jolie removes her boobs, Turkey protests begin

02 May
Founding Slayer guitarist Jeffrey John "Jeff" Hanneman dies at age 49 from necrotizing fasciitis, reportedly linked to a spider bite he received while in a friend's hot tub. Thrash salutes you, brother.
And then in the same ball park (but not really whatsoever) Kris Kross' Chris Kelly dies from a drug overdose at age 34.

03 May
Me and a few mates went to the David Bowie Is expo. Was a Bowie overdose (which I didn't think was possible) and I left feeling painfully dissatisfied with my life.
Iron Man 3 was released, grossing over $1.2 billion worldwide, becoming the 16th film to gross over $1 billion and currently ranks as the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time, the sixth-highest-grossing opening of all time, and the highest-grossing film of 2013.

06 May
Amanda Berry, Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were all rescued from Ariel Castro's house after 11 years, 10 years, and 9 years held in captivity, respectively. Castro was arrested and charged with multiple counts of rape and kidnapping, to which he mostly pleaded guilty, now sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole, plus 1,000 years.
On the lighter side of all this, it did bring us the Charles Ramsey viral video.

08 May
Jeanne Cooper was best known for her Emmy Award winning role as Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless, and she died today at the age of 82 from an infection related illness. At the time of her death, she was the eighth all-time longest-serving soap opera actor in the US.

09 May
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (16/50): Do not limit yourself or feel obliged to drink a predetermined measure of water. Drink from the tap. Say no to cups.

14 May
After learning she carried a gene which made breast cancer extremely likely, Angelina Jolie got her boobs removed. Uhm, can I have them?
Flash floods and landslides in India kill more than 5,700 people and trap more than 20,000.

15 May
In a study published in Nature, Oregon Health & Science University researchers describe the first creation of human embryonic stem cells by cloning. I think I understood what I just said.

16 May
David Beckham announces his retirement. He's a pretty big football star, or so I'm told.

17 May
Went and watched Modeselektor at the Roundhouse. Got pretty wasted, to be fair.

18 May
The Eurovision Song Contest 2013 was won by Only Teardrops by Emmelie de Forest, Denmark. This is important because it was cowritten by my friend Julia Fabrin Jakobsen. Girl is going places, if she isn't there already.

20 May
The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek dies from bile duct cancer at age of 74. This was one huge legend to leave us behind, and I was real bleak about it.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (17/50): My dying moment will be ruined as I try to think up some profound final words.

21 May
A massive tornado hits Oklahoma, killing 24 people (including nine children), injuring 237 and topping around $1 billion in insurance claims. It was about 1.3 miles wide and its winds peaked at about 210 mph, placing it in the most powerful category of tornadoes possible.
English bassist Trevor Bolder dies at age 62 from cancer. He is best known for playing on some of David Bowie's greatest records, including Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Aladdin Sane, and Pin Ups.

22 May
British Army soldier Lee Rigby was attacked by two Islamic extremists. They ran him over with their car, then used knives and a cleaver to hack his body to death. The murderers then remained on the scene until the police arrived and arrested them. Silly Muslims giving Muslims a bad name. Very sad.

24 May
Even though the Okhotsk Sea earthquake did very little damage and nobody died, it was magnitude 8.3 which is the largest scale of the year, being felt in areas up to 7370 km away.

28 May
Initially to contest urban development plans for Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park, the protest in Turkey begins. It all got a bit intense as more and more protests built up, generally centered around freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the government's encroachment on Turkey's secularism. Check out these pictures.

29 May
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: The Top 50 Animated Characters Ever (according to me). Beyond happy with this one, and as it stands, is my most read article of the year :D
Chrome launches their Roll It experiment. Next level.

30 May
After Tweeting to David Firth that his character Hubert Cumberdale featured in my aforementioned Top 50 Animated Characters Ever blog, he Retweeted me, shoving a fuckload more attention onto my little writings. Aw, shucks, thanks guy.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (18/50): Get someone to fall in love with you while you’re young, so by the time you’re old and ugly, they've grown dependent on you and can’t leave.

31 May
BOOM then the widest tornado in recorded history attacks poor poor Oklahoma again. Its winds exceeded 296 mph and grew to be a record-breaking 2.6 miles wide. Overall it killed 8 people and injured 151 others.

Dear 2013: June: Edward Joseph Snowden leaks documents, iOS7 was announced, James Gandolfini dies, Kim Deal leaves the Pixies, Doink the Clown dies

09 June
The world's oldest person, Luo Meizhen, dies at age 127. Unfortunately for her, it was never verified.
The 67th Tony Awards took place, most awards going to Kinky Boots (6), Matilda (4) and Pippin (4). Culture, yo.

10 June
Around here Edward Joseph Snowden's job was terminated for leaking top-secret US and British mass surveillance programs to the press. People have called him a hero and a traitor and everything between, but he was definitely a big face of 2013 regardless.
iOS7 was announced. Some of it looked good. Some of it looked real bad. A lot of people threw their toys.
And finally, the crazy man of the year award goes to this dude.

12 June
Yet another "world's oldest person" dies, going by the name of Jiroemon Kimura, going at the age of 116. Fortunately for him, it was verified.

14 June
Pixies announce departure of long-term bassist Kim Deal. I'm sorry, but Pixies are not Pixies without Kim, no deal.

17 June
Pink Floyd finally arrive on Spotify!

18 June
The Funpowder Plot launch one of our only videos of the year, World Of The Day. Unlike most videos, we all played a huge role in its birth, and despite the suffering it took to complete the unique idea, we were all very proud of it.
Kanye West releases Yeezus, my favourite album of the year.

19 June
As part of my long journey to not get kicked out of London, I successfully passed my Life in UK Test on this day. Shew!
James Gandolfini dies at age 51 from heart attack. He was most recognised for his role as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos.

20 June
Andrew WK breaks some sort of a record by drumming for 24 hours straight. Party hard.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (19/50): People who meet someone and fuck them on the same night: how? I struggle to keep eye contact with strangers, let alone put my willy in them.

21 June
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (20/50): Swaggot.

22 June
Went and saw Die Antwoord at the Brixton O2. Was zef so fre$h.

23 June
After Jay-Z "sold" a million copies of his 12th studio album Magna Carta Holy Grail by offering it free to Samsung customers, Billboard 200 were forced to change their rules, announcing that those "sales" didn't count. Sorry Hova.

26 June
Went and saw The National at The Roundhouse. Wasn't the greatest show, but they are the greatest band, so no complaints here.

27 June
GOAT'S NEST SHORT STORY: The Johnson Line. Probably my best received fiction to date, and for good reason if I do say so myself (and I do say so myself).

28 June
Matt Osborne (AKA Doink the Clown) dies at age 55 from an accidental overdose of morphine and hydrocodone. It's ok though, cos there were at least 6 other Doink the Clowns in wrestling history.
Yahoo announces that AltaVista is getting shut down. You mean other search engines still exist??

In June, massive floods and landslides devastated large parts of North India. More than 5,700 people were presumed dead, and about 100,000 pilgrims and tourists were trapped in the valleys. I hope they are ok now.

Dear 2013: July: Royal baby George Alexander Louis is born, David Cameron fights porn, George Zimmerman found not guilty, got my UK indefinite leave to remain, Amanda Bynes goes a bit mental

01 July
Charles "Chuck" Foley dies at the age of 82 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease. He was the co-inventor of the game Twister.
Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union.

03 July
After ongoing Egyptian protests, the army chief General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi removed the country's president Mohamed Morsi from power and suspended the Egyptian constitution. Can't remember if this was supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing, should probably ask Ammr.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (21/50): I find it interesting that the majority of most satisfying feelings are related to bodily fluids.

07 July
Went to the London Film And Comic Con 2013, where I met and got autographs from Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones), Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead), and The Motherfucking Hoff.

08 July
Finally finished reading Catcher in the Rhye by J. D. Salinger. I enjoyed it much more than I ever thought I would. I feel different now.

10 July
The 6th part of my Coming Down Happy cartoon musical titled Stupid Superhero Should Have Let Me Die was released on this day. Ammr said it was his favourite, and that's all I needed to hear.

12 July
After tweeting to Amanda Palmer that I wanted to go to her show at The Roundhouse that night, she responded, telling me "it'll happen". So I made it happen. Was one of the greatest shows of the year for me by miles, and then this took place, which spread around the internet like crazy, filling me with pride that I was there in person.

13 July
George Zimmerman was found not guilty for the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin.

14 July
Dennis Henry Burkley dies at age 67 from a heart attack in his sleep. He was a television actor who you may or may not have seen in Starsky & Hutch, The Dukes of Hazzard, Who's the Boss?, King of the Hill, Drew Carey Show, ER, and My Name is Earl (to name a few).

15 July
Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich (speaking on behalf of Atoms For Peace) have a little hissy fit about Spotify not paying them enough money. They removed their music while offering no better solution, and I yawned. You guys aren't even that good, and this was yet another nail in my former Thom obsession.

17 July
Finally finished reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Conceptually thorough, justifiably classic, I want Soma.

18 July
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (22/50): The only thing I hate more than people who complain, is people whose lives seem better than mine.

19 July
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (23/50): Take everything I say with a pinch of salt, and then rub the salt into your eyes.

22 July
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge give birth to a royal baby boy, naming him George Alexander Louis. I love this kind of thing. Babies and thrones and such.
David Cameron announces that most households in the UK will have pornography blocked by their ISP unless they opt in. Furthermore, any porn simulating rape would become illegal. I dunno, I feel like this is all a bit of a blanket to cover up other sinister suppressive motives, but for now, I'll just keep wanking to Asian's licking eachother's faces.
Dennis Farina dies at age 69 after suffering a pulmonary embolism. He was known for his roles in New Girl, Law & order, Get Shorty and Unsolved Mysteries.
Finally, after starting a fire in her driveway, Amanda Bynes is hospitalised because she was kinda going crazy, ending up as the punchline to many 2013 jokes to come.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (24/50): The pen is mightier than the sword especially if you need to write something down.

25 July
After 119 pages of documents, just under £2000 in costs, and months of stress and panic attacks, the border agency decides to allow me to stay in the UK indefinitely! Which means, forever!! In many ways, the highlight of my 2013.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (25/50): People like to say “I can do that in my sleep”. Err, I do loads of things in my sleep. It’s called dreaming, it’s not real. Get back to work

26 July
After discovering a Doritos advert which looked suspiciously like one of our older Funpowder Plot entries, I posted the findings to Reddit and everything fucking exploded, hitting the frontpage three times. Read about the incident in full detail here.
American musician JJ Cale dies at age 74 after a heart attack. This Grammy Award winner was one of the originators of the Tulsa Sound, and has been covered by such heavyweights as Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd and John Mayer.

27 July
My first nosebleed ever!

29 July
My ancient Juice Nothing guide How To Fuck Boys And Not Be Gay hits 50,000 views, and at this point, the comments are better than the article itself.

31 July
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: Top 20 Most Unusual Rockstar Deaths. One of my personal favourites of the year, if I am allowed such things.

Dear 2013: August: Miley Cyrus twerked against Robin Thicke's penis, Doge takes over the internet, Went to Reading Festival, The Oxford English Dictionary changes the definition of literally, Steven Garasai Tari gets killed

01 Aug
Left my iPhone timer running for over a year. Quite an achievement, I thought. Proof.

05 Aug
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (26/50): Of all my friends, I reckon I'm the best one.

07 Aug
One of the last three remaining Munchkins from 1939's Wizard of Oz, Margaret Pellegrini, dies at age 89 after complications with a stroke.

08 Aug
Little sister Jaclyn and future brother in law Brandon meet the Deftones. Brandon was especially lucky, as he got to interview them. I was overwhelmed by jealousy, but, hey, at least they got my White Pony signed :D

09 Aug
Finished reading Money and the Law of Attraction by Abraham Hicks for the second time. It did what it was supposed to do.

11 Aug
2013 Teen Choice Awards. And exactly the kind of things you'd predict to win, won, including: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Glee, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, One Direction, Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus. Grow up.

13 Aug
The Charlatans' drummer Jon Brookes dies of brain cancer at age 44.

14 Aug
Original keyboardist/guitarist from the Blue Öyster Cult, Allen Lanier, dies at age 67 after complications with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He also contributed to the works of Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, The Dictators and The Clash, so the significance of the loss is not lost on me.

16 Aug
The Oxford English Dictionary change the definition of "literally" to now also mean "metaphorically", completely destroying the word.

20 Aug
Author Elmore Leonard dies at age 87 from stroke complications. His best-known works include Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Hombre, Mr. Majestyk, and Rum Punch (later adapted into the movie Jackie Brown).

22 Aug
My two friends Tits and Andy film a wasp and a bee fighting, which racked up (much) more than a quarter of a million hits, their stoner attitudes winning the hearts of such publications as Huffingpost and the Metro, to name a few.
After Bradley Edward Manning got into loads of trouble for releasing the largest set of classified documents ever leaked to the public, he announced that he was actually a she, and would be under going gender transitional surgery. Refer to her as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning from now on, please.

23 Aug
British cinematographer Gilbert Taylor was best known for his work on Dr. Strangelove, A Hard Day's Night, The Omen and Star Wars. He died today, at age 99. So close.

23 - 25 Aug
Went to Reading Festival, and this was probably the most fun I had the whole year. Saw loads of bands which included AlunaGeorge, Biffy Clyro, Charli XCX, Deftones, Earlwolf, Eminem, FIDLAR, Frank Turner, Green Day, HAIM, Nine Inch Nails, Skindred, Skrillex, System of a Down, and Tame Impala, to name a few. Not to mention all the silent disco-ing, carnival rides, and camping vibes which made this one of my sickest festival experiences to date. Literally. Sickest. I was sick for weeks afterwards.

24 Aug
My brother Gareth nearly drowns at our holiday house, but is thankfully rescued.

25 Aug
MTV Music Video Awards 2013 happens, the biggest nominations going to: Justin Timberlake (6), Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (6), Bruno Mars (4), Miley Cyrus (4), and Robin Thicke (4). Nice. Predictable.
However, what definitely wasn't predictable, was that performance where Miley Cyrus twerked against Robin Thicke's penis and then groped his balls with a giant foam finger. This behaviour (when coupled with that Wrecking Ball video) blew everyone's minds, and was one of the most talked about things of the year. Which prompts me to crown Miley as the undefeated Queen Of 2013. It wasn't even a question.

26 Aug
Despite being around on Tumblr since 2010, Doge was probably the coolest and biggest meme of the year. And on this day, it only got even bigger as 4chan attacked Reddit's /r/Murica, flooding their frontpage with American-related Doge images. Apparently Reddit users didn't mind all that much. It's my favourite.

27 Aug
In 1996, Anatoly Onoprienko confessed to killing 52 people. Today, God killed him by using the deadly weapon of heart failure. He was 54.

28 Aug
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: Everything, All Of The Time. I finally managed to write down the meaning of life, and share it with all ya'll. To be honest, I was surprised and flattered at how many people actually read it.
The Oxford Dictionary adds 'twerking' and 'selfie' to its pages. I get it. But still.

29 Aug
Steven Garasai Tari was a naughty man. He called himself the Black Jesus, and lead a Papua New Guinean religious cult by raping humans, sacrificing humans, and eating humans. He was caught and imprisoned back in 2010, but escaped earlier this year in March, only to be chopped to death by an angry village on this day. He was 41. I hope the real Jesus shouts at him in the afterlife.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (27/50): The best thing about premature ejaculation is that STDs don't stand a chance.

30 Aug
After a very tight vote, MPs reject the idea of UK military action against Syria and their alleged use of chemical weapons. I approve.

Dear 2013: September: Breaking Bad ends, Gunmen attack the Westgate mall in Kenya, Nasa confirms that mankind has left the solar system for the first time, Grand Theft Auto V is released, Hayao Miyazaki retires

03 Sep
With over 300,000,000 views, "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" by Ylvis was one of the biggest viral songs of the year, peaking at number 6 for three consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, and going on to become the highest-ranked Norwegian song on the chart since a-ha's 1985 number 1 hit "Take on Me". I enjoyed it.

04 Sep
Finished reading Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. Not my favourite work from the man, but totally changed my views on the homeless.

05 Sep
Went and watched one of my favourite 2012 artists Daughn Gibson at Electrowerkz. Wasn't the best sound, but I did get to hang with him after the show, which was cool.

06 Sep
Studio Ghibli's founder Hayao Miyazaki officially announces his retirement. For the second time. :(
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (28/50): I like my women like I like my coffee: a little bit intense at first, but ultimately lets me get on with my work.

07 Sep
After that weirdly timed news, I finally finished watching every single Ghibli movie ever made (including Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind; excluding The Wind Rises because the subtitled version wasn't available at this point). Yay!
Marin Alsop becomes the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms.

08 Sep
The last surviving cast member of Citizen Kane, Actress Louise Currie, dies at the perfect round age of 100.

09 Sep
Jimmy Kimmel trolls the whole internet.

10 Sep
After we filmed The Freewheelin' Troubadour propose to his ladyfriend Sarah, we put the video up as an official Funpowder Plot creation. Here.

13 Sep
Nasa confirms that mankind has left the solar system for the first time with its Voyager 1 spacecraft, entering interstellar space after a 36 year journey.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (29/50): Urinals are rad because you can expose your dick in front of total strangers and no one calls the cops.

16 Sep
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (30/50): Death is God’s way of saying “you’re fired”.

17 Sep
Grand Theft Auto V is released, and swiftly broke industry sales records by earning $800 million in the first 24 hours of its release, and $1 billion within its first three days. It's the fastest selling entertainment product in history, and people seemed happy about that.

18 Sep
iOS7 gets released and I installed it whilst tripping on acid. Was a fun project.
Google announces Calico, a new company focused on health, well-being and living very long. Not entirely sure what it all means, but I trust it.

19 Sep
Hiroshi Yamauchi dies at age 85 following pneumonia complications. He is credited with transforming Nintendo from a small card-making company into a multi-billion dollar video game company.

21 Sep
Unidentified gunmen from the Islamist group Al-Shabaab attack the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The ordeal lasted for three days, and resulted in 72 deaths as well as 200 people injured. I do not like this.

24 Sep
A magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit Pakistan, killing 825 people, the highest earthquake death toll of the year.
A trolly spoof advert slid onto the net, suggesting iOS7 made iPhones waterproof. Silly people destroyed their phones all over the place. Pretty lol.

25 Sep
On this day I completed my mission to listen to 365 albums released in 2013, with months to spare and no intention of slowing down. Imagine this was my job.

26 Sep
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: The Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live. This was one of those blogs I had been planning for years and years, so it was nice to get out the way, even if it wasn't amazing-amazing, you know?
On the same day, I launched a quick little real-life story which nobody read, titled An Ode to Divorce. As you may have assumed, it was all about divorce, which is such a lovely subject, I'm sure you agree.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (31/50): Girls just wanna have fun. Boys just wanna have girls.

28 Sep
After over a year, me and my comrades decide to leave The House of Gash, and move into the superior Lollywood home. Members included me, Lizze, Pepe and Tanya. Sophie came along and stayed for a month before she abandoned us all to go to Mexico or something. A new member Danielle joined us, and her friend Megan was soon to follow. Mark also stayed for a while, as did Mike, Lizzie's brother. So yeah, a bit chaotic, but also really nice for the most part, and definitely an improvement. I took the master bedroom, because I am the master.

30 Sep
Breaking Bad finale, and my life ended with it.

Dear 2013: October: Lou Reed dies, United States federal government shut down, Edna Krabappel dies, Giant George dies, Philip Chevron dies

01 Oct
From now until the 16th, the United States federal government shut down. And as someone on twitter so eloquently put it "I'd be much more upset about this if I knew what it meant".
Californian model Piper Kennedy gave her phone number to Brody “Odag” Ryan Curtis. The next day, Brody texted her a short video of himself silently smiling and rubbing his face to Drake's song “Hold On, We’re Going Home”, and the Starbucks Drake Hands meme was born. I don't know why, but I laugh so hard at this one.

02 Oct
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (32/50): Facebook must be a confusing experience for traditionally dressed islamic females.

03 Oct
For a while, there was confusion and a bit of sadness when my team at work split into two separate entities: DI Design (which is where I ended up) and Adnostic (a more tablet orientated team). My boss (who is one of my best mates) was replaced by my new boss (who is also one of my best mates) and it felt like mommy and daddy were divorcing. But then I got a big raise, and everything was rad again :)))))
For Mark's birthday, we all attempted the Devastator Burger Challenge at the Red Dog Saloon. None of us beat the 10 minutes, but I got the closest with around 12. And yet, the pain we all felt afterwards is what made us the real losers.

04 Oct
Went and watched Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory at the Barbican Centre. With its trippy sounds and organic visuals, it was one of the most magical gigs I've been to.
However, every cloud has a stormy center, and this event marked one of the biggest arguments me and Lizzie have ever had, becoming the catalyst for the slow, dark and painful disintegration of the best relationship of my life, as well as my own mental health. As embarrassing as it is to admit it, from this point on I fell into a really unsettling period which I affectionately dubbed The Great Depression of 2013. But more on that later.

07 Oct
Funpowder Plotter Kris leaves us all to go live the dream in Thailand. Bleak out.

08 Oct
Irish guitarist Philip Chevron from The Pogues dies from oesophageal cancer at the age of 56. Sorry to see you go, mate.

09 Oct
Jillian Lane was a British psychic best known for her work with Michael Jackson. After allegedly predicting her own death, she died from liver disease at age 53.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (33/50): I suggest building up a massive drug tolerance because you never know when it may save your life.

10 Oct
140 countries sign the Minamata Treaty, designed to protect human health and the environment from emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (34/50): I just want enough money to buy happiness.

11 Oct
Kate Nash starts following me on Twitter, woohoo!
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (35/50): sugarcoat my fuck.

13 Oct
Today marked the first day I started watching those How To Basic YouTube videos. Shit is some of the most fucked up I've seen this year.

16 Oct
My birthday! As a present, Lizzie took me to see The Book of Mormon, which was funnier than South Park. Seriously, couldn't recommend this show any higher, it's as genius as everyone says it is.

17 Oct
The world's tallest living dog Giant George dies :(

23 Oct
After sending my latest Coming Down Happy track to get "mastered", my "masterer" refused to touch it, stating it was "too offensive", severing our long term business relationship. Make no mistake, Zany Productions is literally the least professional twat I've ever worked with, so if anything I say matters, please avoid him at all costs.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (36/50): 4 things I have begun to hate in my old age: (1) People who phone me (2) People who talk to me in person (3) People who email me (4) People.

24 Oct
Brooke Greenberg was a girl who (despite being 20 years of age) remained physically similar to a toddler and had an estimated mental age of nine months. Her doctors coined her condition as "Syndrome X", and she died on this day.
Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara Somdet Phra Sangharaja Sakalamahasanghaparinayaka was the 19th Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, and he died today at the age of 100.

25 Oct
Marcia Wallace was best known as the distinct voice behind The Simpsons' elementary school teacher Edna Krabappel, and she died today at the age of 70 from pneumonia/complications from breast cancer. As a result, the show decided to retire her "irreplaceable" character too :(

26 Oct
Went and watched Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Hammersmith Apollo. The only way I could describe it, is by saying: best show of the year. I am now gay.

27 Oct
The biggest musician death of the year was the one, the only, the legend Lou Reed, who at age 71, was defeated by liver disease. Very few hit a weird chord within me like this one, and I am truly thankful for his dedication and contribution to innovation. So much love for you, Lou.

30 Oct
James Blake's album Overgrown wins the Mercury Prize. As my 9th favourite album of the year, I was happy with the choice.

Dear 2013: November: Paul Walker dies, Melissa Bachman kills a lion, Family Guy kills Brian, Lizzie breaks my heart, Ian Watkins pleads guilty

04 Nov
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (37/50): Poetic as fuck.

08 Nov
Typhoon Haiyan was a Philippine tropical cyclone that caused far too much destruction. Having killed 6,092 people, it's the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, as well as the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and unofficially the fourth strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (38/50): Sometimes your work colleagues can be your best friends because they can’t be mean to you otherwise they might get a disciplinary hearing.

10 Nov
Funpowder Plotter Ash leaves us all to go back home to Australia. I miss him so, no homo.

11 Nov
After being kicked out of his own band Free Keys, Ali Akbar Mohammed Rafie shot guitarist Soroush Farazmand (27) and drummer Arash Farazmand (28) of The Yellow Dogs, dead. Call me old fashioned, but there is never a reason for that.

12 Nov
Went and watched “The Reflektors” at The Roundhouse, which in a way was just a fancy name for Arcade Fire, but in another way, was not. This is because they only played their new album, which is cool and all, but I wanted the classics ffs! A bit of a disappointment, if I'm honest, as they are one of my favourite bands, so it hurts to say that kinda stuff.
Francis Bacon's oil-on-canvas art piece titled Three Studies of Lucian Freud sells for $142.4 million, the highest price attained at an auction for a work of art (not factoring in inflation).

14 Nov
The 7th part (and the year's last) of my Coming Down Happy cartoon musical titled The Dakota Fanning Grape Movie was released on this day. I aimed to make the sickest most horrorcore-esque composition of my life, and I think I just about got there. Nobody liked it. That was the point.

16 Nov
Melissa Bachman calls herself a "hardcore huntress", but can she take on the whole internet? No, nobody can, which I'm sure she found out when she posted a picture of herself posing with a dead male lion she murdered. People lost their shit, a petition to prevent her from ever returning to South Africa was signed more than 13,000 times, and yet I did nothing. Thank God there are people out there who aren't like me, we'd all be fucked.

17 Nov
After freezing a deep sea clam from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, researchers accidently killed it. After doing some tests, they discovered they had murdered the oldest living creature on record, at 400 years old. Humans! Oops.
Finished reading Morrissey's Autobiography. It surely must be the most articulate piece of writing any "rockstar" has ever achieved, void of sex and drugs yet still somehow captivating. Did not disappoint, I just feel sorry for the guy, his brain works in a different sort of puzzle.

18 Nov
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (39/50): Is there a pornstar called Betty Boob? IF NOT WHY NOT.

20 Nov
And then very suddenly, Lizzie ends our relationship on Facebook. I knew it was coming, but it still sucked.
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: The 10 Worst Album Cover Artworks of 2013 (according to me). This was the first part of (and a new swing on) the regular blog I started the year before, enjoyable to make and easy to read.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (40/50): Like a dutch oven except with a tuberculosis cough.

21 Nov
For many years, we had two bearded dragons as pets amongst our group of friends, Sid and Nancy. On this day, Nancy passed away for unknown reasons, and we all mourned more than we thought we could for a cold blooded creature. Look, she's the one on the bottom. Broken.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (41/50): To be honest, I don’t think all my eggs would fit in one basket.

22 Nov
Went with Lizzie to watch Crystal Fighters at Brixton O2. Was an incredible gig, I felt the love, was more than stoked and impressed.
Except Lizzie was acting really weird. She kept disappearing to speak to our other friend, then abandoned me at the cloakroom once the show was over. At first I figured maybe that's just what break-ups were like. But then I started to piece some things together...
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (42/50): Did you know that brushing your teeth kills plaque, and plaque is a living thing? Checkmate, vegetarians.

23 Nov
And despite everything that has come before, I will always remember this day as the most stand-out moment of 2013. What defined it for me. The sharp bone in the last bite of an otherwise very delicious meal.
I found out that Lizzie had been fucking one of our "friends". The hook-ups had been taking place even before the facebook split three days previous. Now, I want to speak about this very carefully, as technically she did nothing wrong and she has explained her side of the story to me countless times. I get it. The break-up was inevitable and very mutual, and I felt we both handled it very maturely for the most part. But when this happened, it was like the last three years had meant nothing. I hated her, and I wished I'd never met her. Which, as I'm sure you can imagine, is a very difficult thing for people living in the same house to deal with, including the other housemates. But it got even worse: everyone was in on it. All my friends knew before I did. And at times, even the housemates would conspire against me to sneak him into the house and into her bed. Never before have I felt so hurt and betrayed and confused, and it showed. Every time I got drunk, I'd become violent which I've never done before, smashing my room to pieces on multiple occasions. I cried like a girl, refused to speak to anyone and couldn't even get my work done. I could write a whole blog about the effects of this day alone, and might even do it.
I wish I could tell you I'm ok now, but I'm not. Getting much better? Yes. Loads better. But okay? Unfortunately, no. I'll be taking this darkness with me into 2014, thank you very much.

24 Nov
Family Guy kill off Brian the dog. Fans went ballistic, the writers backtracked, and brought him back to life. Cop out!
Robbie Williams' album Swings Both Ways becomes the 1000th record to reach number 1 on the UK Albums Chart. Which almost sounds like it means something, but in reality, doesn't.

25 Nov
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (43/50): I hope you choke on superglue.

26 Nov
Lostprophets Ian Watkins pleads guilty to child sex offenses including attempted rape of a baby. He got 35 years for it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: by far the most fucked up thing any rockstar has ever done, ever.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (44/50): Sneezing whilst peeing makes messing.

27 Nov
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: The 10 Best Album Cover Artworks of 2013 (according to me). Part two of the regular yearly article I will be doing for the rest of my life. I'm happy with it.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (45/50): Want your girlfriend to look 20% hotter? Break up with her.

29 Nov
Have you ever wondered how many Tesco Fruit & Fibre cereal boxes can fit inside each other? Wonder no more! It's 10, I discovered. You're welcome.

30 Nov
Paul Walker (best known as Brian O'Conner in The Fast and the Furious film series) ironically dies in a car crash. He was 40 years old, and it was by all means a proper tragedy.

Dear 2013: December: Nelson Mandela dies, I get suspended, Metallica become the first band ever to play on all seven continents, Pussy Riot are to be freed, Justine Sacco got racist

01 Dec
A huge tick off my bucket-list, I went and got suspended, 2-Point Suicide, hooks through my flesh. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life, truly spiritual, I can't wait to do it again. Here are some pics if you want: hello yes hi. What do you mean I'm obviously going through a life crisis?
Rolf Buchholz was there too, he got an insane superman suspension done. He has two Guinness World Records: Most piercings, single count (male - 05.08.2010); and most body modifications (male - 16.12.2012). Was good to meet him.

04 Dec
Cut my hair really short at the back and then dyed it red. What do you mean I'm obviously going through a life crisis?
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (46/50): I’ve come to realise that if you follow anything you say with “it was on MythBusters”, people will believe you.

05 Dec
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela passes away from a prolonged respiratory infection, at the age of 95. And 95 years well spent! He was the closest thing we had to a modern day prophet, his views on peace changing countries and saving lives, undoubtedly the biggest death of the year. God must have a special place for you, Madiba.

07 Dec
Józef Kowalski was the last surviving veteran of the 1919–1921 Polish-Soviet War, and today he died at the age of 113.
Then I went and got my lip pierced. What do you mean I'm obviously going through a life crisis?

08 Dec
Metallica play a show in Antarctica called "Freeze 'Em All", thus becoming the first band ever to play on all seven continents.

10 Dec
Mandela's state memorial service begins, and while this is newsworthy enough, it was the official sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie who truly stole the show, by making meaningless hand gestures while he claimed to see angels. How the fuck does this happen??? I laugh but I also cry.

11 Dec
Led Zeppelin arrive on Spotify! I think that's pretty much everyone I needed, thanks!
11/12/13 14:15:16 YEEEAAAAH!
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (47/50): It’s not rape if mistletoe.

13 Dec
Two days earlier, I stopped listening to new music for my own sanity, and to allow myself some space to organise my end of year list. And then on this day, the worst thing ever happened: Beyoncé released one of the best albums of the year. I shudder to think at how high it would have reached if only released a little bit earlier :( Point proven when three days later, it was announced that Beyoncé - Beyoncé was the fastest selling album in the history of iTunes, both in the US and worldwide. It's really fucking good.
Actor Daniel R. Escobar dies from diabetes complications at age 49. He was known for roles in Lizzie McGuire, Charmed, Curb your Enthusiasm, NYPD Blue, Malcolm in the Middle and more. Respect.

14 Dec
Chinese spacecraft Chang'e 3 (carrying the Yutu rover) becomes the first spacecraft to "soft"-land on the Moon since 1976, and the third ever robotic rover to do so.

17 Dec
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (48/50): If you really got the eye of the tiger, PETA would complain.

18 Dec
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: The Top 50 Albums of 2013 (according to me). This is always the most worked on article of the year, and as a result, the one I am most proud of. And this year I think I nailed it better than ever before. It even came with an expansion pack!
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (49/50): I hate it that those little silica gel packets say "DO NOT EAT" on them. It's like, ugh, I wasn't going to, but now I really want to!

19 Dec
Russian President Vladimir Putin announces that Pussy Riot members Nadezha Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are to be freed under amnesty, in part because both are mothers of small children.

20 Dec
Justine Sacco casually tweets "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!" to her 200 followers, and then obliviously boards her plane, unaware that by the time she lands, she had millions of angry people just waiting to kill her. Even #HasJustineLandedYet was a trending topic on Twitter. I feel sorry for the girl, she got fired and her life was under threat, all over one little stupid move on a social network. I could totally see myself making the same mistake, but I would use it to my advantage. Regardless, a lot of my friends didn't dig it, so who am I to say?
After some fraud thing and another divorce thing or something, Scotland Yard confirmed that Nigella Lawson would not be the subject of an investigation based on claims that she consumed a buttload of cocaine. I didn't pay much attention to the whole thing, but Nigella, I'll do a line with you anyday, baby.
Rapper Lord Infamous (best known as founding member of Three 6 Mafia) dies at age 40 from a heart attack.
#Top50LegoTripTweetsOf2013 (50/50): I might be severely depressed but I haven't been sober long enough to find out.

23 Dec
American drummer Ricky Lawson dies after a brain aneurysm at age 59. He worked extensively as a session musician, collaborating with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Steely Dan, and many more. So respect the guy, even if you've never heard of him.

24 Dec
After a fuckoff huge storm hit the UK, Kent completely flooded, ruining hundreds and hundreds of Christmases. Thanks a lot, God.

30 Dec
Benjamin Curtis, singer and guitarist with School Of Seven Bells, dies from T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma at age 35. I really like this band, shit news so close to the end.

31 Dec
JUICE NOTHING ARTICLE: This one! Thanks for reading!

Look, I know I talk too much. But I’m nearly done here, 2013, as you’re nearly done here, so bear with me a few more moments as I bear with you.

The thing is, when any year ends, one looks forward to the fresh start. It’s about wiping the slate clean, setting unrealistic goals for oneself and placing the past 365 days into a little box, where we can observe but not dwell upon whatever the contents may consist of. Unfortunately, with you, this will not be the case. When coupling my whiny heartbreak issues with some other house/money related issues I didn’t delve into, I know I will be carrying baggage into 2014, which isn’t fair on me or him. It kind of sucks to be parting with this slight sour tinge to our relationship, to which I am sure you agree, no matter who is to blame for the disturbance.

However, I do thank you for this emotional journey which, in many ways, I view as an opportunity for progression. And all things considered, we didn’t do too badly. I made an average amount of celebrity contact. I read seven books, which is hardly enough, but a large portion of them were bonafide classics, which counts for more, I think. I saw an impressive 34 bands live, which has got to be my record. The Funpowder Plot launched two videos, which is pathetic in comparison to last year, but better than nothing, I suppose. I released four Coming Down Happy songs, three of which had their own cartoon videos, and that's more than anyone should be allowed to ask for. I wrote a Goat’s Nest Story and 12 Juice Nothing Articles, as well as a ton of other cool rants in between. And then there were the things we worked so hard on which regrettably never blossomed within your lifetime, like my debut novel or the redesign of Juice Nothing, which 2014 will no doubt appreciate receiving the credit for. But we will always know the part you played, so thank you for that.

And we definitely had some fun, didn’t we? The whole UK visa thing alone justified our meet.

Usually I like to end these types of letters with some variation of “next year I want to get fucked less and work more”, but this time, it didn’t feel appropriate. It’s not where I’m at right now. So instead, I’ll say this: Next year I want to get fucked less. Next year I want to work less. Next year I want to find out who I am. Next year I want to give more love, to myself and to others. Next year I want to see more things. Next year I want to meet more people. And next year I want to get laid, like, a million times. Do you think you could give a good word to 2014 for me about those things?

I take off my hat, I bow, I shake your hand. I feel we shared a mutual respect, 2013. I have no doubt in my mind that I will remember you in the time to come as some sort of a transitional period. And perhaps, in many ways, I needed a teacher this year more than I needed a friend.

So much respect to you, and I hope history treats you well,

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Top 50 Albums of 2013

(according to me)

The Top 50 Albums of 2013 (according to me)
Why hello there, so glad you could make it, go on and take a seat. My name is Jared, and one day, I am going to kill you. If you could, please refrain from opening your fat mouth and let me do all the talking, as I will be taking questions at the end.

Music! It’s a wonderful thing, for the more you dig, the more you discover, and the more you discover, the more places you learn to dig. 2013 was no exception, and boy, did I dig! In fact, when I compare the 234 albums I listened to last year with the 458 I listened to this year, I cringe at how I ever thought I was in a position to attempt this kind of thing before. I've been doing much better lately, don't you worry. And while 2013 may have consisted of less ground-breaking WOW releases, it did appear to have a much better consistency about it when compared with previous years, which provided me with a much larger quantity of great albums to choose from, rather than just a couple of explosions supported by an occasional pleasure.

But before we delve into which of these fine ladies and gentlemen conquered the system, there are a few quick additional details you should be aware of:

1. I have cut as much fat out of this article as I could, including the usual blabbering at the end, opting to rather present the Top 50 Albums of 2013 Expansion Pack for those proper music addicts who crave more than just a 1 - 50. There you will find my exact process of how I managed to consume so much music, as well as a further 50 entries, the hall of fame, and some other little bits and pieces if you’re lucky. Check it out, you'll never be lucky.
2. However, if you are dismayed by your inability to locate your favourite album on either of these lists, I have also provided the following Google Doc in which you can read my rough first/second/third impressions of each and every single one of the 458 albums I've listened to. There is some tragically decent humour lost all over the show in there, so I recommend you take a look see.
3. The cut off date for listening to new albums was the 11th December 2013, meaning anything released after that date was regrettably not considered. Which truly is such a shame, Beyoncé. I'm sorry :(
4. My favourite songs of the year were all conveniently saved into this Spotify playlist here, and so by ordering it by Date Added, you will most likely discover even more great tunes which go beyond what these articles have provided.
5. Finally, you should above all else listen to my very own ever-growing cartoon musical album Coming Down Happy, of which three new songs were added in 2013. I know this may appear like some shameless plug, because it is. This is my blog, so fuck yooooou.

Enough? Enough! Shhhh, listen:

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 50. Rudimental - Home
50. Rudimental - Home
Drum and Bass, Liquid Funk
April 29

Easy stick and feel-good to the millionth degree, this album conveniently brings the summer to your doorstep without even asking for anything in return, because that’s how friendly it is. The exceptionally detailed production (complete with all the enthusiastic guest star support it could assemble) pumps with commercial appeal without ever sacrificing its principles, which is why it was so over-played throughout the year and worthy of every goddamn second of it. Of course, the singles stand out as the pinnacles of the record, but the smart ordering spreads the bangers out evenly, offering a balanced feel all round; where the simply “good” tracks provide the necessary padding to elevate the more classic 2013 chunes even higher—which are thankfully never far away. And even in saying that, there are no fillers here, each one of these tropical vibrations painting a relaxed club scene onto my smile, skipping me into instant weekend mode, ironically ready to go absolutely anywhere other than back home.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 49. Modern Life Is War - Fever Hunting
49. Modern Life Is War - Fever Hunting
Melodic Hardcore Punk
September 9

Why, hello there, Mr Angers. While great melodic hardcore isn’t hard to find this decade, Fever Hunting is an atypical step sideways from the genre, and for a change, this weight is not carried by the vocals alone. Please don’t misinterpret those words, as frontman Jeffrey Eaton does exactly as he’s supposed to, struggling (in the best way possible) to shout his aggressive message into your cerebral, but by doing so, is definitely the most “ordinary” participant. Instead, it’s the guitars’ uplifting riffs which almost conflict with his approach, catchy and somewhat indie-ish, a technique emphasised by the drummer who knows exactly how to support the rivalling sound at hand, as if saying “I know what you’re doing, I got your back”. And this is exactly how this style should be presented: with nothing pretty in earshot and absolutely no fucking around, every one of these high-paced energetic songs taunting that outward kind of emo, rushing to the finish line and down into my core so fast that it’s painful. Trust me on this one: listen to it loud and you’ll be pulling middle fingers at your computer screen in no time.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 48. Pusha T  - My Name Is My Name
48. Pusha T - My Name Is My Name
Gangsta Southern Hip Hop
October 8

While a headless Kanye runs around screaming about his first world problems over heavily scathing backtracks, My Name Is My Name feels like the true sequel to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (probably because Kanye pretty much produced the whole thing anyway). That said, it’s not quite as perfect as that, for even if Pusha’s serious flow and trademark noises are more than satisfactory, it does fall over the gansta-money line a little bit too far for my own comfort, relying on ego a touch more than it needs to, even on occasions slipping into some tragically predictable regions of cliché strategies. However, when he or his endless supply of guest stars can’t carry this album alone, the production saves the day in a big way, revealing some of the most insanest beats of the year, every one of these huge songs as commercially flavourful as they are weighty from all the dirt, cooked medium-rare and ready for mass consumption. Yes, it sounds a little bit “last year”, desperately lapping up the dregs this style’s milk before it entirely evaporates, yet it still doesn’t quite miss the expiry date, and for now, that tastes just fine.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 47. Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus
47. Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus
Electronic, Neo-Psychedelia
July 22

With a name like Fuck Buttons, it’s easy to assume that here is an outfit who refuses to play by the rules and doesn’t give a shit about commercial value, which as it turns out, is completely true. For Slow Focus is less of a record, more of a forceful group of robots marching to war, not in the scary type of way, but more in the patriotic and optimistic type of way, which actually is kinda scary in itself. Carefully constructed by combining the friendly playfulness of neo-psychedelia with the droney dangers of electronics, this album produces perfect layers upon layers to render a disturbing landscape, one which doesn’t go out of its way to be overly-complex, yet is still so well crafted that you find yourself lost in it, either surrounded by a dancing crowd or alienated, alone, forever plodding along in some dense rawness of an awkward nightmare. All of this results in an album which just has SOMETHING about it, perhaps not immediately recognisable, but with a presence so potent and intense that it leaves the taste of petals and metal in one’s mouth, complete with tears for fears and gasps of joy.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 46. Nails - Abandon All Life
46. Nails - Abandon All Life
Grindcore, Powerviolence
March 19

I’m convinced this band is called Nails because you won’t have any left once you chew them all down to the bone during this record. Like a machine gun face-raping you until nothing is left except for an unrecognisable mash of liquid, these short bursts of songs work as one aggravating track, pummelling you until you have no idea where one assault ends and the other one begins. Its barrage of extreme abrasiveness is a savage plot devised to destroy you in the most minimal compact amount of time possible, the whole thing only somewhat digestible due to its feverishly short length (this review probably taking longer to read than listening to the album itself) and yet is still surely one of the most stressful tests of endurance you’d ever put yourself through on purpose. Without a doubt, here is the fastest invasion you will hear this year (in more ways than one), as well as being so explosively insane that when it abruptly ends, you won’t even remember what the fuck just happened to you. That’s called a mental-blockage. It’s a defense mechanism. It’s there to help you.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 45. Gris - À l'âme enflammée, l'âme constellée...
45. Gris - À l'âme enflammée, l'âme constellée...
Atmospheric Black Metal
July 9

As if some lonely stranger is murdering my family without really wanting to, this album fills me with miserable depression and despair. My soul perishes with desperate terror, in fear of the next fright yet all too aware of the emotional gorgeousness that comes with such a religious quality. It crawls between a gentle melodic folky/tribal vibe and a brutal gloomy-doomy painful one, the moving acoustic guitar-work and deep layers of technical instrumentation seemingly conflicting with the heavy-hitting more traditional black vocals; yet they unpredictably coagulate in a majestic and organic way like some love story between demons set in a medieval fantasy land. Yes, it’s uber long, but if it wasn’t so lengthy, it wouldn’t be the huge monster that it is, which stands as one of the most solid and epic albums I’ve ever heard in my life. Simply put: it’s a masterpiece, and I don’t use that word lightly.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 44. Charli XCX - True Romance
44. Charli XCX - True Romance
April 15

Like a straight-A student fresh out of dance college, Charlotte (at the young age of 21) has learned some things beyond the rest of her classmates, presenting her sophomore project as a glorious guilty-pleasure smartypop album, complete with hip hop driven production, and (even more admirable) completely void of any reliance on cliché dubstep drops to get her point across. And we are all dressed and ready to party. Go ahead and compare her to the British attitude of Lily Allen, or the dark emotions of Lana Del Rey, or the cheek of Kate Nash, or the hooky sample use of Marina and the Diamonds. But this record stands tall with its own domineering personality, perhaps not 100% perfect, but different and brave, filled with enough excitement to prick critics’ ears up all around the interwebs, thirsty for whatever this girl has up her stockings next.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 43. Darkside - Psychic
43. Darkside - Psychic
October 8

Slowly but surely (like this album itself), Nicolas Jaar has really started to build up a name for himself, and this collaboration with Dave Harrington could very well be his most satisfying work to date. It cautiously creeps out from dark spaces, not hiding but casually ticking every indulgent box it sets out to tick, fusing so many sad sounds that it’s almost impossible to categorise, somehow keeping things retro yet so modern that it could only exist now. The smooth funk ideals and unformulated sexiness connect in such a loose way that it sounds saturated without ever complicating matters, remaining minimal and remaining earthly whilst beaming pacifism from the moon. The machine now breathes with life, and our heartbeats slow to a near standstill. How many people try this and fail? Of course, some critics have complained Psychic “isn’t memorable enough”, but they miss the point: without many listens, this album will merely comb the crevices of your brain gently, for you are not yet worthy. However, the more you listen, the more the bristles will dig into your mind, drawing blood and leaking sly data into your skull with an implied smirk on its face.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 42. Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe
42. Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe
Contemporary R&B, Synth Funk
November 18

Oh, Blood Orange, shall I compare thee to The Weeknd? Michael Jackson? Prince? Nay! Instead, let’s forget preconceptions and praise this essentially solo record laminated by diverse guest stars for what it is. And what it is, is a versatile style-hopping album which never disrupts the romantic and intimate mood, gracefully uplifting the listener with its smooth funk, retro synths, and UK hip hop, keeping love sexy but also keeping love vulnerable, as it was always meant to be. Yet even this portrayal does not do it justice, as there is definitely some sort of a deeper level about Cupid Deluxe, a factor I cannot describe nor analyse nor comprehend, but is so rich and apparent that I feel like he is toying with me without hiding his intention to do so. It’s the perfect length, doesn’t think too much of itself, and gives off the vibe as though it’s gaining confidence rather than ever having confidence. And even when it (very occasionally) misses the mark, it always gives its full effort to get there, and that alone warrants your attention. Did some sort of a cross-dressing black Jesus make this album? Have you looked at the artwork??

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 41. Alter Bridge - Fortress
41. Alter Bridge - Fortress
Alternative Metal, Post-Grunge
September 30

“I loathe mainstream rock, it makes me sick to my stomach,” I announce to the hypothetical room a mere second before this album rips the rug right out from under my feet and I fall face first onto broken glass. But how? I hate this genre! And yet ... the passion! The power! The driving strength! The aggressive riffs! The over-pronounciated vocals! The competent musicianship and catchy songwriting from everyone involved! It’s all so ... convincing!!! My God, could it be? Could this genre in fact not be dead? Shit, I’m pretty sure I just lost a bet somewhere. Because while Fortress may toy with the occasional cheese, it never fucks the eyes, shamelessly nodding towards old-school values whilst wearing its influences on its sleeves, forcefully driving a wooden testical straight through your reservations, not a single one of these songs even so much as misstepping the assault. And that’s very exciting. There was a lot of rare hype around this album, and I am as impressed as I am astonished that it actually lived up to it, because none of it sucks. Not one goddamn second.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 40. My Bloody Valentine - MBV
40. My Bloody Valentine - MBV
Shoegaze, Dream Pop
February 3

Rumours that Kevin Shields started recording this album in 1996, then scrapped over 60 hours of taped material before having a meltdown, made one lose the hope that this album would ever come to blossom. And yet 22 years after their breakthrough Loveless, MBV arrived, sounding less than a day older than where we left off. In fact, any one of these songs could have fit on their previous album, for it’s typical Valentine—Loveless, The Sequel—but we must not forget that they are still the only band who have properly achieved this sound to date. Washed out riffs blur together; concentration on the beats are rewarded; hushed inaudible whispers crawl through subtle distortion which swirls and then drowns your dreams in fuzz, echoing and consuming everything. Perhaps it isn’t as good as Loveless (what is?), or as good as everyone claims it to be, but My Bloody Valentine know their strong points and don’t sway from them, proving their timeless worth and providing us with this densely nostalgic comeback which is not only everything you’d expect, but also everything you could ever hope for. And there is some deep comfort and relief in that. When the untouchable remains untouchable.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 39. Future Of The Left - How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident
39. Future Of The Left - How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident
Post-Hardcore Noise Rock
October 21

As if some staunchly drunk yet fiercely intelligent clown is having a laugh at your expense whilst willing to smash your face to pieces if you have any objections, this creepy comedic offering stands as one of the most absurd pieces of noise I’ve heard this decade. I mean, just read their song titles, dude, and you will quickly find yourself laughing at the mischievous imagination behind the educated social commentary, dead serious about not being dead or serious whatsoever. And not a quirky song in their rugged arsenal puts a foot wrong either, rather using said foot to poetically kick my ass. The perfect almost bite-for-bite ordering of hard/soft compositions work like some technically trained stoner, one who has all the right proficiency to compose catchy and digestible tracks if he so wanted to, but is far too demented and pissed off to do so. Deep breath and summarise: more people need to hear this madness.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 38. Patty Griffin - Silver Bell
38. Patty Griffin - Silver Bell
October 8

Originally recorded then shelved by A&M records in 2000, what I find most surprising about this recently salvaged “lost” album is how relevant and modern it sounds despite being 13 years late to the party. For Griffin (now pushing 50) is the real deal; a rare energy in the music world who can write a tear-jerking emotional acoustic track without sounding cheesy, and then write a dark and gritty hard rocker without sounding like she’s going through a midlife crisis, all within the same step. Sometimes, it’s your straight-forward country vibes. At other times, it drowns in the smart heartbreak mood of, say, Fleetwood Mac. But possibly the most fascinating times are those which sound like they belong on a Nirvana record, these songs craving to be re-imagined by Kurt Cobain himself, so much so that you can almost hear exactly what they would sound like if he did so. All of which leads a disjointed ride that covers a fuckload of ground, each song vastly different to the one that came before, erratically disrupting our emotional stability but proving her versatility beyond her counterparts. And I eat it in gleeful mouthfuls, from the palm of her open hand.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 37. AlunaGeorge - Body Music
37. AlunaGeorge - Body Music
Contemporary R&B, Electropop
July 29

Like a candy-flower blossoming in the surprisingly warm 2013 UK summer sun, then melting into liquid form, leaking onto a plate of pure MDMA; this hugely-hyped album couldn’t have dropped at a better time. It pumped the season’s air with a fresh take on this year's massively-popular garage-y sound, succeeding in seducing every radio station in the country, as well as anyone else who wanted to have a bit of fun. And the duo are the perfect match: Aluna bringing her cute yet oh-so clever vocal melodies to the picnic, building her addictive hooks over George’s deliciously slick beats—often working her voice as a sample to play with, blurring the line as to where Aluna begins and George ends. And such focus on keeping their sound this consistent doesn’t feel like they just got “lucky”. Sure, they set the bar so high that some of the songs fall a tad shorter, and, sure, this music is dangerous in excess, at times even flirting with annoying pop a bit too close for comfort. However, they never quite cross that point (thank God), instead providing an album I’ve listened to more times this year than I dare confess.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 36. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
36. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
Nu-Disco Synth Funk
May 20

Do not expect a Daft Punk album. This is not a Daft Punk album. Rather, after an eight year hiatus, the robot duo refused to compete with modern day DJs, instead scouring past decades for inspiration, opting to use real instruments mixed with synthetic-less sounding synths, and then layering their trademark vocoder vocals on top, proving there are still methods to use this tired filter successfully. And with hard work, they somehow constructed something old and futuristic, past and present, stuffed so full of colourful genres and guest stars that I wonder how many distinct musical styles actually feature on this album? Sure, you hear complaints that this is less of a “party” record and surprisingly downtempo for the group, but you cannot deny that it was made for the love of music, executed as sexy and smooth as chrome, methodically ordered and overwhelmingly ambitious, growing bigger than even itself. And that takes skill. Perhaps it’s a bit too long, and perhaps it isn’t as good as everyone says it is—but it’s close enough, and ultimately results in their most personality-filled (and best) record to date IMO. Hell, it’s so pleasant even your parents will vibe to it.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 35. Ulver With Tromsø Chamber Orchestra - Messe I.X–VI.X
35. Ulver With Tromsø Chamber Orchestra - Messe I.X–VI.X
Modern Classical, Dark Ambient
August 1

I’ve always loved Ulver. They are one of those unique bands who never quite do what you expect them to, impressively evolving without restraint or guidelines per each album, whilst refusing to sacrifice their trademark darkness and creepiness, teasing us every step of the way. However, their decision to team up with the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra swung a whole new depth on their familiar moods; a classically composed and operatic emotion now sneaking between their misty atmosphere, an almost pretty and dainty poison crumbled on top of their already mischievous evils and electronic playfulness, like some scary film you watched before you were old enough to do so. Which traumatises me to ache. Instruments slice through my heart and I feel things. I get lost as it closes my eyes for me. And when such contrasting masters of their own games collide, I have to wonder if this is perhaps Ulver’s best progression (and best album) to date?

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 34. Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience
34. Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience
Contemporary R&B, Progressive Pop
March 19

I’m only partially ashamed to admit that I understand this upbeat album in my dick. It’s like the moment I put it on, I become sexy and I suddenly learn how to dance. And it dances with me. Because The 20/20 Experience is about self-celebration, border-lining on a healthy “wank”, smiling at itself in the mirror whilst doing so yet encouraging the listener to do the same. How it achieves this is a mystery, but probably has something to do with the tried-and-tested mix of Timberlake’s seductive vocals with some of the best Timbaland production I’ve heard in years, taking your standard pop song, then pushing it out of the borders before sandwiching it between indulgent intros and outros without any regard to what the radio might think. I mean, the pure audacity of this lengthy challenge takes some smart sophistication to keep interesting and progressive, but it achieves this without ever losing the groove of the party nor the style of modern commercial gold. And that’s why it’s here, no guilt. Simply put, it feels like this album has single handedly raised the bar on pop music without even standing up.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 33. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
33. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
Indie Rock, Alternative Dance
October 29

As the hottest indie act in recent years, Arcade Fire had a lot to prove, except they were the only ones who never seemed to notice. For instead of aiming to top their perfectly polished catalogue, they created Reflektor, which is less of an ALBUM, more of a THING, ambitiously shoved with almost too much content, then bravely dancing across genres with enough cheeky surprises to fascinate and challenge any listener whilst happily disregarding them completely. Throughout history, double albums are dangerous, and while some of these uneven songs sound long just for the sake of being long and don’t always justify their presence, one can’t help but commend their reinvention regardless, as even The White Album or The Wall can suffer from exhaustion whilst Reflektor’s genius is never spread too thinly, standing as one of the best double records I’ve ever heard. Yes, this is the first time the band have surrendered to indulgence, but it’s well-deserved and a damn good masturbation session. And yes, it does fall a bit short in execution in comparison to their older albums. But in terms of progression and intrigue, it outshines them all, adding yet another great album to their already great catalogue, which is a relief, really.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 32. Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap
32. Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap
Hip Hop, Pop Rap
April 30

As if the quirk of Outkast was riding the wave paved by last year’s M.A.A.D City like some lighter sequel, the best word I could muster to sum up this album would be: amusing. But even considering the wit and the Laugh Out Loud verses and the funny faces I pull whilst listening to them, this doesn’t feel like a comedy rap record, because the humour never detracts from the skills. Even with an A-list package of guest stars like Twista, Childish Gambino and Action Bronson (to name a few), Chance outshines them all without even sounding like he means to, living up to the hype all by himself. His incredibly distinctive vocal style (complete with trademark barking) spits genius lyrics about drugs and the internet with a positive yet anxious neurotic energy, instantly likeable and pretentious-free and introspective and shit. Layer all of this on top of one poppy R&B jazzy gospel pizza, and you have a mixtape which is as trippy as the name suggests from undeniably a huge new player in the game. Keep your eye on this one.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 31. David Bowie - The Next Day
31. David Bowie - The Next Day
Art Rock
March 11

I hate critics who exclusively focus on Bowie’s 10 year absence when it comes to this record, but the surprise return announcement did kinda feel like daddy was finally coming home. The relief of hearing his voice again aggravated forgotten urges to confess my undying love to the man, but instead found myself voiceless in the presence of such a rocking album. It was as if the legend had playfully picked ideas from his entire career, then stuffed them into a weird box only Bowie knew how to wrap, doing so with anger, decorating it sexy, refusing to fall back on safe territory, letting it grow, and ensuring it was anything but unsubstantial. And there it was: a cryptic offering, further evidence that this man knows more than we do. Admittedly, my super-fandom obsession with Bowie will not come bias-free, but the truth is (as his 24th album), Bowie has long passed the point of needing to prove anything to anyone. For The Next Day is not only relevant, but on par with some of his greatest releases to date, another huge stick of dynamite which fits perfectly in his already stupidly forceful pack of arsenal. And that deserves all the praise, prejudice or not.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 30. Sigur Rós - Kveikur
30. Sigur Rós - Kveikur
June 14

There is no denying Sigur Rós as one of the most talented bands on the planet, but when their last album Valtari dropped, I grew anxious. It just felt ... short somehow, as if their signature heavenly sound had started to become predictable and they were finding themselves in the mid-career crisis so many bands do around this point. But this was not the case. Instead, Kveikur punched its way right the fuck outta the rut, digging gritty claws into my intestines, now demanding attention upfront rather than painting some mysterious pictures in the background. It finally shed the calculated day-dreaming in favour of some good old compact instincts, an animal as dark and as scary as Sigur Rós could be without losing their beautiful drama, rubbing the skin raw and then polishing the wound, knocking their last album out of the way like childsplay. And the thing is, no other band could make this record, and if this is their direction, then I get goosebumps imagining where my life could possibly be headed. Fuck me, please. Fuck me violent. Take all my money, take my everything, just promise you will never stop loving me.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 29. Leprous - Coal
29. Leprous - Coal
Progressive Metal
May 20

I was never a massive prog metal fan, which is why I vomited when this album unleashed all the motherfucking power of powers onto my underestimates, methodically obliterating my preconceptions in the process. Seriously, every single aspect of this record kicked my ass, from the oomph production, to the punchy riffs (of which there are soooo many) and in particular, the clean vocal deliveries which know how to soar into epic regions of beauty or scream bloody death when it’s not feeling so healthy, genuinely believing in every word it cries whilst working like an instrument all on its own. The whole experience is so technically unpredictable that it hardly keeps up with itself, barely clawing on, stretching far out whilst building towards something without ever fully reaching it, playing with you during the ride. Which is all quite odd, to say the least. And as the countless memories of catchy tricks near closing time, it somehow reaches its pinnacle right at the end, literally my favourite concluding moments of any album from this year, by far. I beg you, please, turn this one up all the way, and then proudly point your fully erect cock straight to war.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 28. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away
28. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away
Alternative Art Rock
February 18

As always, Cave’s deserved reputation of packing enough poetic poison to sink your whole ship is a good place to start. His lyrics flaunt their awareness by referencing historic music culture icons (Robert Johnson), more modern pop sensations (Hannah Montana), and all of the Wikipedias inbetween. Then he writes a song about writing another song, both of which feature on this album, which is ... I don't even have words for that. But the obvious Cave gushing aside, what is truly remarkable about this record is how close the sincere vocal deliveries work within the music itself, creating a haunted presence, living in the shadows, tortured by its sober honesty, using all of its restraint not to capture you and force you into a romantic dinner whilst yearning to learn how to be human again. Because (make no mistake), this is not a midlife crisis record, rather a rancid wine which keeps its eerie trademark intact, wearing its age with grace, mild but never boring, growing older yet more sneaky with its methods of contamination, gently strangling you without leaving a trace. And that’s what an essential Cave record sounds like, because this is an essential Cave record, hinting that the best could still be coming, somehow???

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 27. Clipping - Midcity
27. Clipping - Midcity
Industrial Noise Hip Hop
February 5

As if taking the Death Grips blueprint and then tearing it into wet pieces, you could never mentally prepare yourself for this. Because while the flows are so quick and smart that they could easily fit in with some radio-friendly beats (and God bless them for not going down this route), it’s the music itself which is so violently harsh and uncomfortably jarring that I’m not even sure you could call it music whatsoever. Annoying frequencies physically hurt your eardrums whilst melody-less distortion erodes your headphones into dirt like a baseball bat to the teeth. It toys with the line between samples and torture, which breaks heavier than any metal I’ve ever heard, the word “stressful” nowhere near a strong enough description. And yet while the abrasive distractions are tough to get through and reduce me to a tearful puddle of hallucinations, it’s not only noise. It’s simply hiding underneath the noise. As a few listens definitely reveal some calculated intelligence below the jagged surface, something so wrong suddenly sounding so right, which takes an insane amount of talent to pull off, no matter your opinion. Oh, and never has a band name been so fitting.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 26. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual
26. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual
Experimental Electronic, Dark Ambient, Art Pop
April 8

With all of its tribal insanity and little creatures spitting in your speakers, Shaking the Habitual is undoubtedly the Album Of The Year, drowned out by its own doodling and time wasting, resulting in the most tragic thing I’ve ever heard in my life. At times, it’s incomprehensibly good; exciting mental noises and organic values possess you with deranged weirdness, unlike anything, ever. But at other times, it’s frustratingly pointless; building challenging textures which don’t do anything other than indulge themselves and grate their audience, becoming far too intense for its own good. Which is why my heart breaks in pity for this unfocused mess of the highest-highs and lowest-lows, for if they had simply cut this album’s length in half, it would have been untouchable. But I guess we still have to respect The Knife’s high-risk and uncompromising vision here, refusing to even acknowledge the listener in favour of creating a monster surrounded by insect mindfucks, its only purpose to drive you insane and scare the hell out of you whilst dancing wrong. And that alone cannot be disregarded, and stands as arguably the most ambitious “pop” record of the decade.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 25. The National - Trouble Will Find Me
25. The National - Trouble Will Find Me
Indie Chamber Rock
May 21

The National are one of the world’s greatest bands, which is why if any other group had made this album, it would be their greatest work. But The National made it. And it’s not their greatest work. They played it safe, void of any surprises, essentially The National’s most "The National" album yet. But can we blame them, really? They’ve stuck to their strengths, all lightly romantic and subtly cold and shit, and as a result, this is the first time the band has sounded so comfortable and relaxed within themselves (for better or for worse). I mean, hey, if nothing else, it’s just “great” to hear them again. And by “great”, I mean in that gentle heartbreaking kinda “great”, where the confessional baritone storytelling ruins my mood and moves me into a state of hopelessness with no desire to even try anymore. I sigh for all the right reasons; for loss and despair, for melancholy and tragedy and the pessimism that comes with wisdom. And when it’s over, I find myself whispering out loud to the music: “My God, The National, it must be difficult to be so fucking miserable all the time”.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 24. Chelsea Light Moving - Chelsea Light Moving
24. Chelsea Light Moving - Chelsea Light Moving
Noise Punk Rock
March 5

When punk rock royalty Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon announced their 27 year marriage split, my faith in love crumbled, and I mourned restlessly for the future of Sonic Youth—one of my favourite bands ever. These concerns were further fuelled when a mere five months after the separation, Thurston (my lesser favourite of the duo) rushed out this album as if a response to the break-up. His last solo album was mediocre at best, and so there was no way I was going to enjoy this, right? Wrong! Instead, I was surprised to find an awkward record which maintained the stylistic rawness and distorted awesomeness of Sonic Youth, but seemed a bit tighter and more digestible on a level, at times even (gasp!) better than a lot of SY albums out there. And this can be owed in majority to Thurston himself, as a 55 year old man, blasting more teenage energy than most teenagers these days, and sounding more genuine when he does so. And weirder still, Moore seems as happy and self-assured as ever, helping me come to terms with the idea that perhaps the Youth are over, but the spirit of noise rock is alive and well.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 23. M.I.A. - Matangi
23. M.I.A. - Matangi
Experimental UK Hip Hop Electropop
November 5

After her last album didn’t get the praise it deserved, M.I.A. hit back with the sound she knew best, crushing those who doubted her force, now armed with something to prove. And prove something, she did. Her scatty (often laughable) lyrics as charming as they are socially conscious without giving a fuck about what you think, enslaving the hardcore beats to work for her like her bitch. The exciting sample use and out-of-this-world production restlessly fucks with her confident voice, exploding noisily, banging out messy and exciting colours, artistically abrasive and exhaustingly eccentric with almost far too much violence going on. And she’s second to none; no one can touch her, and no one could ever sound like her. Granted, her disjointed Eastern flavour can get a little bit too inventive/awkwardly hardcore/chaotically flawed for its own good at times, but when I listen to it, I wonder if this is perhaps the only music I truly like? She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am in love with her. And while it won’t suit every occasion, when you catch it at the right moment just after a strong cup of coffee ... fuck me.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 22. Disclosure - Settle
22. Disclosure - Settle
UK Garage House
June 3

Barely into their twenties, the Lawrence brothers must be making their money—and for damn good reason. This is because their polished debut can only be called the epitome of the UK garage wave happening right now, leading the scene with glee and vibrance, provoking carefree dance moves whether you’re in the club, alone in your bedroom or just at your desk trying to work. And when it bangs, it bangs so fucking hard that you can smell the dancefloor and all the drug fuelled partying involved with that. What’s more, everyone agrees; from music snobs to oblivious club junkies, from critics to wannabe critics, and all the hipsters in between. Admittedly, the big tracks are so massive that the simply “good” tracks suffer in context, but in reality, it’s all good. Furthermore, perhaps it is almost too modern, so much so that it may date badly in time. But for now, it’s essential 2013 listening, featuring a well-chosen guest list and some of the greatest songs of the year which will remain anthems for many playlists to come. Believe the hype: it’s pretty much the biggest album of the year, and deserves the title.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 21. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
21. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
Indie Pop
May 14

Running out with arguably the four most fun opening tracks of the year, this album is just about the most uplifting and joyous sound of 2013, owed exclusively to intelligent attention to detail with a complete lack of negativity or doubt. It smiles the whole way through whilst lovingly reading childhood bedtime stories under the starry night, or delightfully skipping down the road to home. It’s so rare that a band can hit those emotional heart valves using nothing but peppy bliss without taking the piss, but this group have perfected the art of energetic afro-pop wrapped warmly in adorably cute melodies, presenting a stuffed-to-the-brim vibe which works as one singular, strange and inventive unit. It plays with the line of over-ambition and over-production, but never falls over anything, except perhaps an overload of happiness. And while like vampires in the sun, Vampire Weekend aren’t exactly known to have the greatest shelf-life, they do consistently get better and better per album, and this charming offering appears to be nothing more than an effortless and natural step for these musicians, even the coldest of critics now confessing that, yeah, this is undeniably likeable.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 20. The Ocean - Pelagial
20. The Ocean - Pelagial
Progressive Atmospheric Sludge Metal
April 26

Originally conceived as an instrumental album due to singer Loic Rossetti’s health issues, the idea was to create a complex journey where each song took you deeper down through the seven levels of the sea, starting with soothing and shimmering shallow waters, slowly descending into darker and more claustrophobic regions; the dense sludgy pressure stringing the listener along without ever alienating them, giving them what they want yet soaking them to their lungs. However, when Rossetti’s vocals suddenly improved, they allowed him to add his flavour back into the mix, which he did by finding lyrical inspiration from the 1979 Andrei Tarkovsky film Stalker, then dramatically presenting his observations between effortless/emotional singing, and screams of confident/desperate passion. By making use of this well thought-out variation, one song mentality, and all the tight-flows-dense-rhythms-washed-clean-production they could throw at you ... The Ocean grant us an album where no song out-shines another, no member outperforms each other, and there is never a dull moment nor even a weak spot to be found on this submarine in trouble. Which is why this record blows me away in more ways than I could cry about, always, every single time.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 19. Julia Holter - Loud City Song
19. Julia Holter - Loud City Song
Ambient Art Pop
August 20

Like hugging someone you love on an acid trip gone wrong, this album draws you in as if a poem on a rainy day, presenting itself like a lonely observer rather than the main character in its own story. It’s beautiful yet uneasy; catchy yet without any commercial value; magical yet scary; uncomfortable yet comforting; perfect yet vulnerable; soothing yet chaotic; a lullaby nightmare; the growth of a dying plant in the snow; an amalgamation of contradictions without ever sounding like anything other than a direct and clear chill. But even with all the orgasmic climaxes and loud ideals which never actually get loud, everything feels like mere back up, second only to Julia’s voice itself, which is as haunting as a ghost stuck in her throat, all rich and provoking, seducing me with obscure hookless deliveries and leaving me speechless; leaving me special. I’ve been waiting my whole life for this album but I never had any idea. How could I? I’ve never heard anything like it ever before.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 18. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels
18. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels
Hardcore Hip Hop
June 26

After both artists individually released two of the greatest hip hop albums of last year (with a little help from each other, granted), El-P and Killer Mike finally stopped fucking around and did what they were always meant to do: create an album together, equally. And they truly gave it everything they’ve got; El-P beating out some of the most banging and powerful production you are likely to hear this year, while his flows keep up with Killer Mike’s usual fast and raw spits, neither of these rap geniuses outshining one another, each coming out the other side with easily their best work to date. It’s hardcore without being a parody of hardcore. It’s fucking serious without losing the essence of humour. And it charges with such savage exhilaration that the whole thing tramples over you in half an hour, effortlessly and perfectly, leaving you confused and gasping for air. Congratulations on making one of the most relevant hip hop albums of the decade so far, guys. Job well done.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 17. Ovid's Withering - Scryers of the Ibis
17. Ovid's Withering - Scryers of the Ibis
Djent, Symphonic Black Metal
November 13

Holy Jesus of all Metal-Fuck, what in God’s Holy Name is this?? I have no idea, but I think it’s trying to tell me something, and it’s not a particularly nice something. It’s an evil something. A suspenseful horror tale something, with so many potent moments that I choke. Because that’s what this album is about. MOMENTS. So many moments. Every song (almost always around the 3:00 mark) insisting on doing something weird; subtle background noises provoking stress; talented ideas and technical details suffocating my attention. I grow overwhelmed as they borderline my heaviness threshold, yet am intrigued as they cover every single style in the genre without even breaking a stitch. It’s an epiphany in Hell. It’s a slice of God whilst burning to death. And above all else, it’s a fucking show-off album; Ovid's Withering coming across like veterans of the Death Army despite the fact that this is only their debut. They have exposed their thirst. They are desperate to prove something. And they’ve worked fucking hard at doing so, accidentally raising a demon from some Satanic abyss which is standing behind me right now, so I should probably stop talking about it. Moving on MOVING ON PLEASE.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 16. Earl Sweatshirt - Doris
16. Earl Sweatshirt - Doris
West Coast Hip Hop
August 20

Finally free after his mother sent him to a Samoa boarding school for troubled kids, the much hyped sophomore from 19 year old Thebe Kgositsile was thankfully worth the wait. But while the dark youthfulness and internal struggles of his debut are still apparent (even continuing the flirtation with horrorcore, at times), he comes out with a new found maturity this round, less rapey and homicidal, more punchliney and intelligent, not a single shit lyric to be found anywhere on this album. His quiet voice casually spews out countless syllables in complex rhyming formations without even breaking a sweat, swaying over disturbing yet humble beats, pure deep hip hop, pop-free and unforgettable. Perhaps it sounds slightly amateur, even a touch messy and jumbled within the unbalanced mastering, but this thrown together vibe somehow works in its favour, connecting as one strong unit of friends, as if the abrupt song endings and unrealised ideas reflect Earl’s confusing personality rather than to serve any of us. And above all else, with this release and Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange last year, bets are in that Odd Future have a very good future ahead indeed, no longer dependent or even concerned with Tyler the Creator, outgrowing him embarrassingly.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 15. Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You
15. Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You
Alternative Country Rock
September 3

When I undertook the daunting task of writing this list, I prayed every day for an album just like The Worse Things. Because shit gets weird. Straight forward compositions take sharp and unsettling turns right in the middle. Happy music hides its sad underbelly in shame. This pop is rotten, all peculiarly arranged around one eccentric central character: Neko Case herself. The strength of her multi-dimensional vocals and honest lyrics work together as a force, demanding authority, refusing to play it safe and standing defiant against the norm. It’s glittered with so many details that it’s impossible to grasp anything, except for the frequent indirect hints at darkness blurred by humour, opting to remain strong-headed without any facade, reaching levels so personal that I decided to get a little personal myself, right here: the first time I heard "Nearly Midnight, Honolulu", I got such insane goosebumps that my nipples erect. This is not a lie, and I’m not sure it has ever happened before. That overshare aside, I'll admit it’s never as good as I remember it when I listen to it, but I fucking remember it, and above all else, Neko didn't make this album for us. She made it for herself.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 14. Jason Isbell - Southeastern
14. Jason Isbell - Southeastern
Contemporary Folk/Americana
June 11

Country music not your preferred drink of choice? Don’t even worry about it, darlin’. Because not since Joni Mitchell’s Blue have I heard an album so passionately driven and reflectively personal that one struggles to get through it. It's uncomfortable when your guts physically shift. Genres become painfully irrelevant when you grieve. And grieve, you shall, as Jason’s powerful deliveries break hearts whilst the clarity of his vulnerable lyrics weigh so heavily on your breath that you can literally feel your breathing draw harder, falling nauseous, destroying your life in beautiful misery. I’m not doing so well to be honest, thanks for asking. Because, man, it’s rare that you FEEL a record as rich as this, music designed to make ladies (or even a weaker man) weep (not me), which is why I stand by my opinion that this is by far the most emotionally intense and cry worthy album of the year.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 13. 凛として時雨 [Ling Tosite Sigure] - i'mperfect
13. 凛として時雨 [Ling Tosite Sigure] - i'mperfect
Alternative Post-Hardcore
April 10

For some reason, I knew this album was going to be a special one before I even listened to it. It came out of nowhere, beckoning to me, welcoming me into its wooden house, and then shoveling noise all over my being, consuming my air in beautiful chaos and coffee, my eyes widening frequently in the full speed energy and poppy intensity. It was as if a sweeter At the Drive-In married the less weirds but all the frantics of Deerhoof, got Frusciante to play guitar and then spent extra attention on the drum sound (which most bands neglect to do, very appreciated), leaving an aura which appears to follow a strict formula without steering into excessively experimental territory, and yet sounds anything but ordinary or sticking to any set procedure. And as impressive as those words may be, it truly is the high-pitched feverish vocals which make this release so super exciting; a male and female duo trading parts, the whole affair somehow coming across loving and playful only to cover up a few seriously demonic undertones. Imperfect? Not a fucking chance. I’m Perfect? Damn fucking straight.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 12. Juana Molina - Wed 21
12. Juana Molina - Wed 21
Folktronica, Indietronica
October 29

Like the naivety of some Spanish child’s twisted nightmare, this album feels as if it is completely oblivious of everything around it, fumbling light sound after light sound without ever repeating itself or losing its kiddie innocence. It’s scary without intending to be, deliriously peculiar without realising it, delicately skipping over its warped path in confusion, enjoying its own death yet offended by any intrigued observer who has the nerve to call it out on its own oddness. Just leave it alone, it’s having fun with its own druggy disorientation. It’s just being itself. And itself is unlike any other self I’ve ever heard, try it.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 11. Laura Mvula - Sing To The Moon
11. Laura Mvula - Sing To The Moon
Contemporary R&B; Soul Jazz
March 4

Carefully composed poppy-sweet melodies, solely designed and designated to surround and uplift much larger moments of soaring emotions is a tried and tested formula hardly ever executed this properly. Think: the pretty and dainty tip-toe of Joanna Newsom; the soulful vocal power of Amy Winehouse; and the cheeky arty weirdness of Janelle Monáe; all sophisticatedly arranged by the vintage details of Brian Wilson, resulting in a record which can make me :’( or :) at any given delivery. The whole offering leads like a church, full of positivity and sing-a-long marches, yet serene and spiritual, the light and shimmering production polishing each gem until they sparkle from every angle. And while I’ll happily admit I much prefer the upbeat and vibey tracks, the more sparse and mournful ones are still perfect in their own right, especially due to the conscious manner in which these songs have been ordered, ensuring a comfortable ride with logical followings and conclusions until the very conclusion. Which is to say, two thirds of this album is the best I’ve heard in 2013, while the rest does just fine, a complete and filler-free release from one new artist who undoubtedly has a lot more to say.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 10. Jon Hopkins - Immunity
10. Jon Hopkins - Immunity
Microhouse, IDM
June 3

It has to be said that I’m a full-fledged Hopkins fan, half a decade strong now. I’ve always been so impressed by the man’s ability to create electro noises I didn’t know existed, and work them in a harmonious almost organic way, creating visuals with sound, standing as some sort of an intriguing mechanical brother of Sigur Rós. But this album ... is on a different fucking level. After everything he’s already achieved, Hopkins has outdone himself, which continues the pattern of all his records, each one bringing a higher quality to his atmosphere than the one before. And Immunity is epitome of this exploration, creating one HUGE experience by magnifying the tiny details; miniature sounds which creep around some bigger picture; programmed genuine emotions which cry while they dance. It’s an absolute beauty of distorted mess, truly a work of art which journeys at the same complex pace from start to finish, always telling you something new no matter how many times you listen to it. He is the best in the genre. He is a genius. And I can’t even imagine where the fuck he can go from here.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 09. James Blake - Overgrown
09. James Blake - Overgrown
Ambient Art Pop, Contemporary R&B
April 8

Following what was my undefeated favourite record of 2011, James Blake has done it again, evolving confidently and boldly in a direction any fan would be more than satisfied with. And even if the surprise factor may have waned ever so slightly, in many ways, this sophomore is even better than his debut. Complete with guest slots which make sense (Brian Eno) more than others (RZA), it is still Blake alone who carries his sound to such disorientating heights. His voice mumbles poetic lyrics by using subtle falsettos that make me go (o)mmmmm(g). His hands treat his stark songs with compassion, utilising restraint to give you space, revealing small details of a bigger secret to overwhelm and ultimately smother your emotions. And very quickly, my mood turns to lonely, and my tears reach my spine, giving me chills to the base of my soul. This is all to say, Blake is in a league of his own and yet is still better than everyone else, perhaps the most exciting new artist of the decade on par with only Frank Ocean. And I am so inspired. Thank you so very much.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 08. Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer Different Park
08. Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer Different Park
Contemporary Country
March 19

As we approach the midway point of the 2010s, contemporary country artists have poked their curious heads from the soil and started to make some serious commotion. However, I feel they all shut the hell up as soon as Musgraves opened her mouth and performed Same Trailer Different Park, the most confident and complete album in the genre this decade so far. For while the warm instrumentation serve her delightful delivery with loyalty, it’s her lyrics which casually lift this 24 year old voice above its unpredictable peak. They suffer in small town observations, distracted by dreams of a better future without granting themselves the luxury of complaint. They speak of truths, conscious and wise, so real they hurt. They are humorous in a melancholic way, the sweetness stirred deep within rather than sugar coating the message. And sometimes, they bite. Every one of these songs thrive on a unique concept enhanced by choruses which refuse to fall, each digging into my love for Kacey, the depth corresponding to how many times I listen to her speak. Basically put, I’ve never before realised how desperately I need a country girl in my life, but now I’m empty without one.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 07. Altar of Plagues - Teethed Glory and Injury
07. Altar of Plagues - Teethed Glory and Injury
Atmospheric Black Metal
April 30

Until I heard this album, I never genuinely appreciated what black metal was good for. I considered the genre to scream and make noise out of misguided aggression or simply for the sake of it, trying far too hard to be “sad” or “evil”. However, during my very first apprehensive endurance of Teethed Glory and Injury, my heart broke. It bled into my stomach as I wet myself from tears and urine (which may sound dramatic, but still not as dramatic as this record sounds). It changed me. I lost part of myself. Because it didn’t scream for pretend, it screamed for help; lonely and in trouble as if trapped in an ugly damp cellar, bursting from pain and terror and other scary things. And even when comparing this band to their dark comrades, Altar of Plagues are a different breed of heavy all together; so slow, so soft, so black, hinting at countless genres with even a scent of electronics thrown in for bad measure, clawing its way up this list until each of its fingers broke on the stones. Tragic. But still not as tragic as this group splitting up less than two months after the release, making this special memorial gift all that more depressing.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 06. Wardruna - Yggdrasil
06. Wardruna - Yggdrasil
Nordic Dark Folk
March 15

As one EPIC (!!) album based on Nordic spiritualism and the Elder Futhark runes, I always get giddy with excitement when I put this godly record on, as if anticipating some otherworldly ayawaska trip. Because once the unrecognisable tribal instruments chant their ritual into my ears, I am no longer at my desk; I am outside, surrounded by the ceremonial dance of some undiscovered society. The hypnotic connection to Mother Earth is both uplifting and intimidating, as we bond together in strength, preparing ourselves for the unavoidable forest war ahead. Jesus, where am I? And who still makes music like this?? Because even when its fearless length fills you with doubt, persuading you that such a specific vibe will surely grow bored and tired, it never does so, instead steadily feeding you all the fresh fruit you need in order sustain yourself, eventually concluding as one journey you could never forget. I genuinely don’t have a single bad thing to say about it, and that is not like me.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 05. Jai Paul - Jai Paul
05. Jai Paul - Jai Paul
Indietronica, Contemporary R&B
April 13

Never before have I felt such inner turmoil about including any album on one of my lists, because the backstory behind this hybrid release is exhaustingly confusing to say the very least. Most agree that it’s a “fake album”, an unauthorised collection of leaked demos, unofficial, unmastered, and prematurely ejaculated into our ears (which a statement from XL seemed to confirm). But more skeptical conspiracy theorists speculated that it was a publicity stunt, where Jai leaked the album himself (as an email address associated with accused Bandcamp account would suggest), while others went as far as to claim that the elusive Jai Paul didn’t even exist. Regardless, the hype behind such an unusual history was priceless, and the inevitable curiosity lead us to a messy yet exceptionally charming group of songs, like a bedroom recording where flashes of ideas came out of nowhere and then disappeared before anyone could grasp them, complete with clever samples, sexy hushed vocal deliveries, and painfully long gaps of silence between everything. So, yeah, it was inarguably one of the best albums of 2013, but could something so enigmatic qualify for my precious little article? Well, evidently, yes. Because it’s my fucking article.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 04. きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ [Kyary Pamyu Pamyu] - なんだこれくしょん [Nanda Collection]
04. きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ [Kyary Pamyu Pamyu] - なんだこれくしょん [Nanda Collection]
June 26

Wheeee! Marching into the innocence of a hypercute video game, you may notice the fields have been dyed pink as far as the eye can see while the sun shines ice cream, this colourful childlike cartoon only a ploy to distract you from some very peculiar and uncomfortable maintenance. Because while J-Pop itself is defined by adorable catchiness and infectious naivety, this release boldly moves the criteria sideways, smart enough to hold your attention with surprises from the future or perhaps something else from some other planet somewhere else entirely. It’s an easy mix to get wrong, too many in the genre suffering from the popoverdose tummy ache one may feel after eating too much candy, but Kyary skips sparklingly over these beartraps with a smile on her face, speeding up the carnival and into my cavities as the best J-Pop I’ve ever heard in my life. Because once you dust off the novelty factor, you will find a talented and intelligently written dance record which pretty much does whatever it wants to whenever it wants to, and it wants to do a whole load of things the whole time.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 03. The Drones - I See Seaweed
03. The Drones - I See Seaweed
Punk Blues
March 1

Without a doubt, here stands the most explosively dramatic and emotionally passionate album of the year. It’s more terrifying than Liars and as poetic as fellow Australian Nick Cave, due to a concoction of vocalist Gareth Liddiard rough spits over dead-serious no-bullshit no-frills music and there’s noise but just the right amount of noise and there’s wonky guitar-work and it all gets very arty and weird without sacrificing any talent and it feels politically charged and aggressively mature and it has these insane chord changes that are completely unpredictable and yet it’s really catchy somehow and oh my God there is far too much going on here to actually write a proper review, forgive me. But, fuck, this album was a wake up call. The kind of wake up call when someone lifts you out of your bed and then drops you onto concrete within the same sentence, breaking your jaw yet refusing to stop punching you, a hundred punches per song, a complete disregard to your safety or their's, whilst you cry and forget how to breathe until you pretty much die, so please don’t tell me to go back to bed ever again, mommy.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 02. King Krule - 6 Feet Beneath the Moon
02. King Krule - 6 Feet Beneath the Moon
Post-Punk, Trip Hop
August 24

When Googling images of this kid, I was taken aback to discover pretty much the least likely face I’d associate with the voice. Ginger. Scrawny. 19 years of age. And yet his Tom Waits articulation scraping old man wisdom onto simple guitar-work and downtempo beats is timelessly beyond his aforementioned youth, unchallenged as the most recognisable voice I’ve heard this decade. And he is British. Oh so quintessentially British, for an album of this stark shade of grey could never have been dreamt up anywhere else in the world. It’s bleak and desolate, lonely in the dark downpour, contemplating the dullness of life, miserable about the state of everything, yet too stoned, too lazy, too fucking exhausted to fully realise the viciousness aching inside. And it’s kind of comforting to know we’re not alone on those days. Look, maybe it is a bit too long, the lullaby quality wearing you down (especially if you were already struggling to begin with), but the confidence of Krule alone is enough to despondently drag this album into the upper class, spreading a sound he found all on his own. A sound no one else but him has yet found.

The Top 50 Albums of 2013: 01. Kanye West - Yeezus
01. Kanye West - Yeezus
Experimental/Industrial Hip Hop
June 18

Forget Kanye as you know him, for Yeezus is an incomparable entity to his past or anyone else’s. It does everything except play it safe, a release which is so abrasive, aggressive, uncomfortable, filthy, dangerous and uncompromising that anyone with any expectations were challenged until tears of WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE?? Because this is what happens when an eccentric genius crippled by narcissism spends his entire career trying to convince the world that he is God, and now no longer has anything left to prove. Instead, he’s created a minimal assault which leaves no space for inbetweeners; you either love or hate the way he condescendingly shouts at you like a confused child, but regardless, it's not here to be enjoyed. It’s here to be a threat, designed to ruin your vibe as fast as possible. Amateurs criticise the much simpler lyrics this round, but have you ever tried to be articulate when you’re so fucking angry? Impossible, and not the point. Rather, here is a risky move on West’s part, which not only revolutionises his career but also the entire rap game, killing itself as the most inspirational, breathtaking, and greatest album of the year, hands down. I can hardly believe it exists.

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As far as the decade is going (and as far as any decade goes), there will always be enough indie/rock/metal/pop/punk to go around. And so even though there have been a few solid albums from those aforementioned genres in recent years, nothing (too) groundbreaking/genre-altering has really taken place as of yet, and so it isn't really worth our time to delve too deep into that area at this point.

The same usually goes for hip hop, but last year definitely did seem to surge itself into some new cycle of freshness, and while this year wasn't quite as mind-blowing in general, it did somewhat continue the trend, with plenty gangster flows to keep rap fans satisfied (much more than the early 2010 years, at least). However, I do fear it may already be regressing, but I am known for getting paranoid, so let's hope I'm wrong...

Much like last year, contemporary R&B continues to pump out the goods, remaining the most consistently impressive and surprising genre of the decade. This year definitely saw more hybrid versions of the style coming out, which was inevitable after the straight-forward vibes of the last few years dominated the critics and was snatched up and reproduced into anything with a pulse, inspiring almost anyone who was paying attention. I can't see this disappearing anytime soon.

However, 2013 was not without its own revelations, and it has to be mentioned that as far as electronic-commercial-bangers went, this year owned the decade. An endless stream of garage-y radio-friendly beats pumped out of the airwaves and kept the sun smiling and the underage kids on the dancefloor, and I was only too happy to participate. Time will only tell if this was a one-off fluke, but even if it was, what a fluke! I look forward to seeing how long this magic lasts.

But finally, and above all else, the genre which took me by total surprise in 2013, was country music (or some variation thereof). Sure, we've seen a few crop up here and there over the last four years, but 2013 held so much quality and original vibes, immeasurably more than what was there before. I'd never thought I'd have such confidence in this generally ignorable genre, and it makes me wonder than perhaps when all is said in done, could this truly be the decade of country?

Tune in next year for more definitive answers.