Best Songs of 2013 (So Far): Group 2, The Young Guns

And just like that, 2013 is half over. In short, it was an incredible six months of music, and as I do around here, I decided to round up all my favorite songs of the last six months. Instead of putting them all out at once, I’ve decided to group them in five groups of ten(ish), and roll them out one-by-one this week and next. For all of our sakes, I’m going to keep my write ups short and sweet.

Group #2 comes from a talented group of young artists..and Action Bronson (young-ish?). Dig in.

“I’m To Blame”
From unnamed new LP out this fall (Stones Throw)
Los Angeles, CA

Though there isn’t much information out their on this Angelino duo, we know that they were responsible for one of the most atmospheric, languidly beautiful debut singles of the year. Taking cues from dreamy boy/girl duos like Beach House and Memoryhouse, “I’m To Blame” is a meandering, lifting warm blanket of sound that drifts effortlessly through your speakers.

SKYER (out July 22nd on Best Fit)
Stockholm, SWE + Bergen, NO

Living somewhere between m83 at its most life-affirming and Air France at its most pop-oriented, the Stockholm-based trio’s lead single is an absolute stormer. Vocalist Mia Bøe glides over a direct, soaring synth line before she is overtaken by an epic 80’s guitar solo. Youthfully brilliant.

“Semi-Detached” (f/ Chance the Rapper + Cass Lowe)
Digital Single
New York, NY via Osaka, Japan

The teenage production duo of Umi Takahashi and Yoko Watanabe have been trickling out exquisite dance tracks for the better part of a year, but nothing they’d put out hinted that they were capable of crafting a ballad like this. Enlisting the vocal talents of Cass Lowe (a little Mikky Ekko-ish) and MC du jour Chance the Rapper, the mercurial producers craft a heady track that shows their unlimited potential.

“Home & Consonance”
Home & Consonance (Five Easy Pieces)
Southampton, UK

The lead single from South Coast-based producer Chris Ward’s is an affecting rumination on being far from home. Though Ward’s better known as a producer, he’s always had troubadour ambitions, and this track is his best effort at marrying the two worlds, crafting a ballad that starts with spare piano and then builds to a swirling climax.

Action Bronson + Harry Fraud (f/ Wiz Khalifa)
“The Rockers”
Saab Stories (Vice)
Queens, NY

While this goes against my strict “never write about Wiz Khalifa” policy, his collaboration with the talented Action Bronson is simply too good to pass up. Bronson’s Saab Stories is packed with incredible Harry Fraud beats, and the twinkling keys and driving backbeat of “The Rockers” is indicative of the 26 year-old Brooklynite’s devastating style.

Say Lou Lou
“Fool of Me” (f/ Chet Faker)
Julian 7″ (à Deux)
Stockholm, SWE

The only thing more striking than Elektra and Miranda Kilbey’s looks is their music. The Swedish/Australian sisters stormed the scene with last year’s impossibly seductive, “Maybe You,” and their follow-up double A-side single is just as impressive. It’s the kind of effortlessly gorgeous single that just sweeps you away. A massive debut album beckons.

Digital Single (Mad Decent)
Tarzana, CA

Above all else, the Valley Girl’s debut single sounds current. And by current, I mean it references the exact source material that is blowing up Tumblr blogs right now. A little bubble gum. A little 90’s R&B. Nu-wavy piano. Hell it even has Young Chop rapid-fire hi-hats. What it lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in sheer catchiness. Undeniable.

Small Black
“Free At Dawn”
Limits of Desire (Jagjaguwar)
Brooklyn, NY

Another survivor of chillwave, the quartet dialed up the moody 80’s influences for their second LP. The result was a surprisingly powerful, enjoyable trip through the group’s “borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered 80’s” (sorry, had to). “Free At Dawn” is its undeniable high point.

Young Thug
“Nigeria” (f/ Gucci Mane & PeeWee Longway)
1017 Thug (1017 Brick Squad)
Atlanta, Georgia

Jeffrey “Young Thug” Williams’ flow is as unique as his rap name isn’t. Responsible for the weirdest gangster rap album of the year, he’s a simultaneously lovable and maddening MC. 1017 Thug walks the line between the sublime and the ridiculous, and the 21 year-old’s experimental spirit and scintillating flow outweighs its pitfalls. And a dope verse from Gucci never hurts…


Posted on by TP1.COM in Best Of '13, Featured

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