I dub 2013 The year people who did good things before and then seemingly disappeared all coincidentally did pretty good things this year.
A short list of acts we hadn't heard from in a long time all shipped new -- and often very good stuff this year. This only covers the things I have and liked, which isn't even everything done by somebody once-notable this year.
My Bloody Valentine -- I kind of wax hot and cool towards m b v at times, but it's better than it had to be and certainly a better Next MBV Album than anybody deserved. They were missed during their decades-long break, and fortunately it doesn't seem to have lost them their edge.
Boards of Canada -- I still stand by calling Tomorrow's Harvest nightmare fuel. If they were on a trajectory towards darkness from Music has the right to children through The Campfire Headphase, their course had continued unchanged over an eight year break. It's brilliant and difficult to listen to.
Grant Hart -- I was originally cool towards The Argument but it's really grown on me; I don't know if it's a great album but like the only other non-Husker Du album Hart did that anybody seems to remember (Intolerance) it rewards repeat listening in ways that pop albums usually don't. It's not only the best rock album you'll ever hear based on Milton's Paradise Lost, it's the only one you need. Like Daft Punk (below), Hart wasn't as unproductive as the publicity made it sound -- instead it's the ambition and renewed vigor here that grabs your attention.
Daft Punk -- For whatever reason Random Access Memories kept getting slotted as a comeback album despite Daft Punk having shipped new original material at their usual steady pace in the years since their last "real" album. (I guess Tron doesn't count, for whatever reason.) A crazy hybrid of thinking man's disco that careens around the glamorous side of the 1970s with so little irony or cynicism that even the grown-ups who were punk back in the day could get a little misty-eyed. Everybody gossips about Georgio Morodor's turn, but what made me buy the album was the unspoken tribute to Stanley Clarke that immediately followed it.
This isn't even comprehensive, but I've run out of time to continue. Nothing much to say about equipment; I've mostly been away from the audio scene and almost all my listening purchases in 2013 have been recordings, not gear. Happy New Year, folks.
Edited by ardgedee - 12/28/13 at 3:17am