Out with the old, no matter how good it is! Here's our comprehensive list of Top Albums of the Year 2013, schizophrenic as always to reflect the diverse tastes of our staff, though there is some overlap. It's highly recommended you check out every release here, as each has its own creative strengths.
Matthew Carter - electronic, experimental, metal, pop, rock Vivian Hua - dance, indie, pop, psychedelic, soul Troy Micheau - classical, electronic, experimental, instrumental Judy Nelson - dance, electronic, indie, pop, psychedelic, soul Elizabeth Perry - indie, mainstream, pop, rock Peter Woodburn - classical, instrumental, metal XUA - electronic hip-hop, mainstream, pop Albums of the Year 2013

The genius of Fuck Buttons has always been the duo's ability to put sounds on loop -- of creating and finding the nuances of that loop, while at the same time redlining the amplifiers into a moving wall of distortion. So when Benjamin John Power, one half of Fuck Buttons, decided to try his hand at a solo electronic effort under the moniker of Blanck Mass, the results were expected to be relatively the same. Less blatant dance music, more deep thoughts.

Going in with that mentality isn't doing Power any favors. The self-titled release is less Fuck Buttons noise and more a focus on the atmospheric qualities of his original group. The album opens with "Sifted Gold", a song that has waves of slight distorted electronics fading in and out, ebbing like the tide, with the actual sound of the tide in the background. Blanck Mass is harkening back to the originals of the ambient wave, more Eno than recent forays into distortion-driven music. While some songs like "Sundowner" and "Land Disasters" rely on distortion, the peak of the song never comes at the drop of a grand crescendo. Like most ambient songs, most of the songs never really peak on Blanck Mass, but that isn't to say that they are boring at all.

Listen to "Land Disasters" - DOWNLOAD MP3


"I think repetition has the potential to hypnotize and envelop. That is something we are very interested in; we are always looking for the perfect loop." -- Andrew Hung...

What do you get when you put two overwhelmed magazine staffers, a few hundred bands, a shit ton of industry people, and a gay horse all together? You get Redefine Magazine's first SxSW adventure! And though the weekend was a hot sweaty blur at best, we're reminiscing about the best, worst, and craziest parts of the whole shebang (at least the parts we got into -- fuck you, Rachel Ray).
 

Cadence Weapon

Saturday morning at the Mohawk bar, I caught Edmonton-grown hip hopster Cadence Weapon. It wasn't the largest crowd I had seen, but I'd bet the overbearing heat had much to do with that. In fact, the heat didn't make it very easy for Mr. Rollie Pemberton; his mixer broke down midway through the set due to overheating. Temperatures were blazing and Mr. Pemberton was obviously a little worse for wear (most likely from partying it up with fellow Edmontonions from Shout Out Out Out Out), but the man truly rocked the house, whether it was screaming his lungs out for “In Search of the Youth Crew" or charging up the crowd with “Real Estate." I can't help but marvel at the enthusiasm of the crowd -- one of the many trademarks of SxSW as a whole.  

Darondo

Passing by the outdoor lot on Red River Road, I saw a name that I never expected to see at any music festival, much less SxSW. Soul survivor Darondo was performing in the hot Austin sun, and his charismatic banter and incorrigible voice was a welcome refresher from the boys-with-guitars that I had been seeing up until then. Though it was obviously being framed as a mom and pop type event, Darondo brought smiles to everyone in the crowd -- young and old. Nothing really beats sucking on a free popsicle in the 90 degree heat while hearing Darondo talk about his mad cache of bitches.