ALARM's 51 Favorite Albums of 2013

ALARM’s 51 Favorite Albums of 2013

Saving the best for last, we’ve chosen our 51 favorite albums of 2013, pulled from the acclaimed and the unsung — some of the best as well as most boundary-pushing releases from rock and beyond.

Raging solos, Bonham-esque beats, and white-robe canvases in Life Coach’s “Fireball” video

Life Coach: AlphawavesLife Coach: Alphawaves (Thrill Jockey, 4/16/13)

Also the title of Phil Manley’s first solo album, Life Coach is now a (mostly instrumental) rock duo comprised of the Trans Am / The Fucking Champs guitarist and former Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore.

The duo’s first album, out today, features a helluva jam as its lead single, as Manley lays down a wicked groove that’s topped by a raging rock solo from Isaiah Mitchell (Howlin’ Rain, Golden Void). Meanwhile, Theodore — a distinctive drummer in his own right — calls to mind John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) and John Stanier (Battles, Tomahawk, ex-Helmet) with his propulsive beats. Enjoy the live-action video as projected landscapes paint the boys’ white-robe canvases.

Black Pus

Stop-motion stick-figure killing spree: Black Pus and the “1000 Years” video

Black Pus: All My RelationsBlack Pus: All My Relations (Thrill Jockey, 3/19/13)

Lightning Bolt drummer/vocalist Brian Chippendale has released solo material as Black Pus since 2006, first via self-released CDs (with a foundation in experimental jazz) and then via Load Records and now Thrill Jockey (with a poppier formula).

His video for “1000 Years” isn’t of the hyper-colored variety of his and Lightning Bolt’s album art, but it’s entertaining in an entirely different way, with more than 1000 pages of digitized flip-book sketches from Chippendale’s childhood. Watch as our protagonist fights through hordes of bad guys with little more than a trusty sword and a million arrows.

Dan Friel

A neon-soaked, window-rattling synth banger in Dan Friel’s “Thumper” video

Dan Friel: Total FolkloreDan Friel: Total Folklore (Thrill Jockey, 2/19/13)

Today sees the release of Dan Friel’s Total Folklore, a soundtrack to the urban environment that’s “halfway between overwhelming noise rock and video-game chiptunes.”

The video for “Thumper,” a melodic yet overblown synth tune that cranks the bass, finds Friel at an electronic workstation, headbanging and hunched over the controls while a big screen delivers trippy neon visuals.