The Best Songs of 2013

The Black Angels - "Don't Play With Guns"

The killer stand out from an album that made a step toward crowd-pleasing rowdiness, I was already singing along with it before I'd heard it all the way through.

Kanye West - "Black Skinhead"
Blame The Wolf of Wall Street, whose trailer used this song to unimaginable rhythmic effect. It brings out the wolf in everyone. 

 Arcade Fire - "Reflektor"
The album was a little too spacey for me, but there's simply no denying the effect this song has on me. Win Butler's just got that delivery. The way he says "See you on the other side" sends a shiver down my spine and fills my stomach with fever. 

Melvins - "Station to Station"
This whole record of covers was excellent, but the crunchy bass tone and towering drums make this the one to blast. 

Grizzly Bear - "Will Calls"
I think this should have made it onto Shields over a few of the cuts on there now. Ed Droste's voice screaming under all that racket is one of my favourite sounds. 

Cliff Martinez - "Wanna Fight" 

Cliff Martinez was the single most important contribution to Nic Refn's Only God Forgives and listening to this satanic paean to both the synthesizer and the Thai underworld, it's easy to understand why this film so bewitched some people.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - "Swim & Sleep (Like a Shark)" 

Sweet and busy, the noise rockers prove adept at pop songs as well as crunch, 8 bit garage. 

Martha's Vineyard Ferries - "She's a Fucking Angel (from Fucking Heaven)" 
Couldn't get this to embed so follow the link here, because this is the kind of thing that keeps rock'n'roll alive. Simple, raw music by three guys. 

Tindersticks - "Put Your Love In Me" 
A slinky, sexy cover of a forgotten disco footnote kissed back to life by Stuart Staples. The highlight of Claire Denis' latest journey to the darkside. 

Cass McCombs & Karen Black - "Brighter!"  
Poor, wonderful Karen Black. Her final recording hints at a great sadness in her soul. She's never sounded so achingly human. 

Kendra Morris - "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" 
It's better than the original. 

 Destroyer - "El Rito"
Dan Bejar takes another hard left turn and proves no matter where he ends up he's on firm ground. The catchiest thing he's done outside The New Pornographers.

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