I didn’t know what to expect when I first plugged in Axxa/Abraxas’ self-titled debut album. They had been described to me as a sort of “art-pop indie garage psychedelic” group and that descriptor left me feeling confused and uncertain. Not that I wasn’t interested in any of the aforementioned genres, but the idea of them all coalescing to form one cohesive piece was not something I could wrap my head around. Axxa/Abraxas is the brain child of 23-year-old Georgia native Ben Asbury. A music junkie at heart, Asbury began exploring music at a very early age, influenced by 60’s pop, psychedelic rock, post rock, the Elephant Six collective, and punk. Over the years, he’s honed his craft and soaked up all these influences to create the sound that has ultimately become Axxa/Abraxas. Asbury is also an accomplished visual artist and through his self-founded RTA Collective, began releasing cassette tapes of his music along with his artwork. Read on, reader…
it’s the end of the year, so time for another round of useless Best Of lists. like every other asshole who thinks their taste is something that needs to be shared, i have compiled my personal favorite musical releases of 2013. most of these albums fall into the category of rock & roll in one of it’s various forms: noisey, shoegazey, garagey, psychedelicy, what-the-fuck-ever-y. all you need to know is that this was the shit i liked this year. hopefully a few of them are things you haven’t heard and you decide to check out. that’s really the only good purpose a list like this serves anyways.
My Favorite Albums Of 2013
Dead Ghosts- Can’t Get No
from the moment i first heard this album i knew it was gonna top my favorites of 2013 list. Dead Ghosts are some Canadian garage rockers that sound like they were raised on Back From The Grave comps, The Byrds, The Seeds, Dead Moon, The Mummies, and Link Wray. their 2010 debut is one of my favorite records of the current new wave of garage/psych rock and their new album Can’t Get No is even fucking better. it’s an excellent mix of 60s psych rock, sloppy lofi country, and snotty garage punk that my ears ain’t never gonna get sick of listening to. this is the good shit, right here. sublime rock & roll.
My Bloody Valentine-mbv
what the fuck am i going to say about this album other than MY FUCKING BLOODY FUCKING VALENTINE PUT OUT A NEW FUCKING RECORD THIS FUCKING YEAR?!?! maybe next time don’t make us wait 22 fucking years for a follow up.
Iceage- You’re Nothing
punks not dead, it’s just got a Dutch accent. with a serious hard-on for Death In June and Joy Division (including the fascist fetishizing), Iceage followed up their promising debut with one of the more exciting hardcore records since Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come.
Ty Segall- Sleeper
Segall has always carried a love of Marc Bolan on his sleeve, and with Sleeper, Ty is full-on indulging in his T. Rex fetish. the fuzzed out garage rock he’s usually known for is replaced by spaced out acoustic psych-folk ballads. it’s pretty obvious that this is a record about the pain of loss which makes a lot of sense because it was apparently written after the death of his father. the good thing for us, is that pain makes for some damn good song writing, as these are some of the best of his career
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds- Push The Sky Away
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are back with their 15th! record, Push The Sky Away, another album about love and sex and death and religion and Hannah Montana…ya know, all that shit Nick Cave has been singing about his whole life.
The Men- New Moon
every new record by The Men sounds like an entirely different kind of band. on New Moon we find them abandoning noise rock and shoegaze in favor of a sound closer to Uncle Tupelo and Neil Young.
Pissed Jeans- Honeys
i’m gonna go ahead and say the new Pissed Jeans record is the best Pissed Jeans record even though it sounds exactly like all the other Pissed Jeans records. And all those Pissed Jeans records sounded like The Jesus Lizard covering Black Flag’s My War. noise rock, sludge, 80s hardcore homages, songs about being a failure as a human man, shit to smash your face against the wall to…that’s what Pissed Jeans do and on Honeys they still are doing it fucking well.
90s legends returned from the grave with a record that’s still full of the same trashy garage punk soul as their beloved early shit.
Destruction Unit- Deep Trip
an excellent combination of noise, space, and krautrock into one beautiful record of rock n roll annihilation.White Fence- Cyclops Reap
Turf War- The Great Escape EP
Atlanta garage rock boys showing off their love of Bruce Springsteen and The Replacements on 4 sweet slices of anthemic Southern Punk. this is party music of the rowdiest kind.
Mikal Cronin- MCII
Ty Segall’s buddy and constant collaborator unleashes a perfect little record of catchy sunshiney 60’s inspired pop.
Psychic Ills- One Track Mind
moody droned out Spacemen 3 & Velvet Underground inspired psych-rock.
Purling Hiss- Water On Mars
crunching fuzzed out garage punk mixed with 70s hardrock that sounds like this is always going to be something i love. like mudhoney & dinosaur jr mixed with a little bit of blue cheer psych blues thrown in for good measure. this is the good shit. this is the rock n roll shit. this is the turn it the fuck up loud and blow your speakers out shit. get this shit. i recommend this shit.
a 30 minute brutal caterwaul of No Wave, Noise Rock, and Shoegaze influences that reminds me that it’s always better to just be fucking loud.
Crystal Stilts- Nature Noir
another offering from these out of time noise popsters who are still borrowing from the best (Velvet Underground, C86, The Clean, every single thing that has ever been cool and /or jangly). not to undersell Crystal Stilts as some copycats with good record collections, these guys know how to write a catchy fucking tune.
Pop. 1280-Imps of Perversion
it’s difficult to classify Pop. 1280 as these are modern times and they shove everything from No Wave, Noise Rock, Goth, Synth & Post-Punk into a meat grinder and come out with a sound that would be best described as: Fucking Dark. a little bit of Swans, a little bit of Killing Joke, a heavy dose of late 90s post-hardcore legends The VSS…this is music for black leather jackets and blood soaked floors. this is music that wants to pummel you with it’s fist. if they still have a music scene left in Escape From New York, this is probably the shit they were making. love songs for the post-apocalypse.
other records i liked that i don’t really have much to say about were:
Primal Scream- More Light White Fence- Cyclops Reap Crocodiles- Crimes Of Passion Deerhunter- Monomania No Age- An Object Kurt Vile- Walkin’ On A Pretty Day Chelsea Light Moving- self titled