VICE's Worst 50 Albums of 2013

By VICE Staff

[See also: VICE's Top 50 Albums of 2013]

We live in a very uncritical artistic climate. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the nauseating world of music criticism. I've worked in this industry for a little while, and there's a prevailing sentiment that music critics who don’t have anything nice to say shouldn’t say anything at all, and that it’s more important to shine a light on the good in the world than call bullshit when you hear it. This is compounded by musicians, who are tiny babies who can't take the slightest criticism, opting for a fantasy world where they've never made a bad song in their entire pointless careers.

This may sound like a non-sequitor, but here’s a fun thought experiment a friend taught me—try to think of the most popular song in the country right now. Go ahead, try. You can’t do it, can you? That's because, as 2013 rounds to a close, no one ever has to listen to anything they don’t want to. We're encouraged to build a dumb little sonic cocoon, an insulated baby-bubble filled with all the perfect little albums and singles we can fit on our mobile devices. And when we don't need to rely on broadcasters like MTV or Power 105.1 for our new music, it becomes harder and harder to figure out what the hell we're supposed to rebel against. And I'm mad about it, dammit!

Anyway, there's not much anyone can do about this stuff. If I had to venture a guess, I'd imagine the quality of popular music will continue to plummet farther and farther down the toilet. All we can do on the way down is point out a stinker when we hear one, so here's a handy guide to 50 pieces of sonic lemur shit released (or reissued) in the past year.

 

50.

BLINK-182
Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (Deluxe Reissue Edition)

ShopRadioCast

A few weeks back, alcohol told my brain it’d be funny to make this Album of the Month, and right now I’m all about reevaluating shit I used to hate and realizing what an idiot I was. (To put things into perspective, I used to hate Nirvana.) Anyway, I was hoping that listening to this record after 12 years of avoidance would age it like a truffle rustled from the fertile soil of Montferrat by pigs bred solely for this purpose. Unfortunately the experience was more like spraying André Sparkling Strawberry on a pile of burning hair.

BENJAMIN SHAPIRO

49.

30 SECONDS TO MARS
Love Lust Faith + Dreams

Virgin/EMI

Last month, someone in digital marketing tried to “intro” me to a flack on 30 Seconds to Mars’s PR team. He wanted to discuss “potential opps.” In other words, VICE is looking for some bright and fresh faces in our marketing department. Résumés can be sent to careers@vice.com.

BONES JUSTICE

48.

YOUTH LAGOON
Wonderous Bughouse

Fat Possum

The guy in this band appears to be roughly 15 years old, which is so annoying it might just give me shingles. When super young people are ambitious, doesn’t it make you want to hit them in the face with a piece of driftwood? Youth is for eating snacks and getting fat, or, if you’re a terrible person, making babies while acquiring incurable STDs. Teenagers are NOT supposed to make music that literally sounds like nothing that you will ever remember past the amount of time it takes to eat a microwaved taquito. Congrats on being ambitious, young man, but maybe take it easy for a bit and try again when you’ve lived a little and have been disappointed a whole lot. You’ll have a lot more stuff to say.

INDIAN BUMMER

47.

BAD RELIGION
Christmas Songs

Epitaph

I really hate this. I don’t know what Bad Religion is thinking, but there’s no such thing as God. All this music and culture are distractions from the very real horror of human violence and depravity that squirms like a bed of writhing snakes under society’s civil veneer. Law and order is a collective dream we can awaken from at any time. Soon there will come a day when the poor and downtrodden will no longer be placated with food stamps; instead they will sup on your entrails and blood, boiling your premature babies in a cauldron of bullion and duck fat. You’re dialing 911, but I have different numbers: 9mm, 12 gauge, and AR-15. It’s gonna make The Turner Diaries look like The Wizard of Oz.

BRADLEY “DIRTBOMB” BANKS

46.

EXHUMED
Necrocracy

Relapse

I like thrashy, splatter-oriented deathgrind as much as the next guy, but I’m partial to bands like Blue Holocaust or early Regurgitate who at least had the sense of purpose to pitch-shift their vocals and degrade their recordings to the point where entire records sound like a flailing high-pressure vomit hose spraying inside a BDSM dungeon… forever. Exhumed came close on that one split with Hemdale, but by now they’re basically the Steely Dan of gore, the singer doesn’t sound like Butterball anymore, and you can probably fine-tune your sound system to this polished garbage.

BSHAP

45.

YAMANTAKA//SONIC TITAN
UZU

Suicide Squeeze

Our music site Noisey really likes these guys, but man, things must be straight-up apocalyptic in post-Grimes Montreal if you have to play Sino-Indian prog in Noh costumes just to get a publicist. Guess we have a difference of opinion here, and you know what they say about opinions: they’re like terrible bands these days, everyone’s got one.

SLEUTH “JUICY” LOOSELY

44.

LEGS
Pass The Ringo

Loglady

Oh, I see, you named your album Pass the Ringo because you audibly have theeeee BIGGEST boner for the Beatles and it’s so sensitive that even the very most distant glimmer of a bowl cut creates a creamy explosion in the front of your pants, right? I’m thinking that maybe you could have saved a shit ton of money on publicists and whatever else went into making this album, if you’d, instead, invested in a therapist. Or a girlfriend. Or personality lessons. I don’t like you.

HEY SALLY

43.

DOLDRUMS
Lesser Evil

Arbutus

As of late, Arbutus Records has been behind a lot of really incredible artists in Montreal. This album is the inevitable bummer. It’s the musical equivalent of seeing a box with air holes under the Christmas tree and opening it to find nothing but a handful of toilet paper crumblies that Grimes brushed out of the folds of her vagina lips and surrounding muff.

GIRL REPORTER

42.

CRYSTAL ANTLERS
Nothing Is Real

Innovative Leisure

The press release for this record mentions Los Angeles about 54 times, which is about 54 times too many (AY-OH!). But seriously though, it’s all about how they live in LA, signed to a great LA label, record in LA at the singer’s home studio, how they’ve played FYF Fest a bunch of times (in, you guessed it, LA), and they’re just crazy about the scene out there. Cool! Go choke on an avocado, fuck-os. This record has no teeth, and that’s probably because they live in… LA. Don’t get me wrong, the weather’s great, but the only people I like there have already lived and succeeded in New York for a substantial period of time. Those who haven’t and think it’s so great: I invite you to come out east and get shanked in the face when you take too long fixing your coffee at the milk-and-sugar station.

WILE E. CHODEY

41.

IGGY POP
Ready To Die

Fat Possum

Every few years, Iggy Pop makes a new record, and it gets promoted. So he goes and plays shows, and then it’s promptly forgotten. This one’s good but doesn’t break that pattern. A lot of these songs are really fun, but none of them have any sort of progression. Mostly they just begin and then repeat the same thing until the song’s over. Ultimately, this record doesn’t compare favorably with the Stooges’ early records, i.e., the greatest rock records ever made. If I were rude I’d say, yes, they sound ready to die.

BUTT TOWN

40.

FRANZ FERDINAND
Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action

Domino

Did you know Franz Ferdinand’s fourth album was a dub version of their third album? Did you know they even had four albums? Unbeknownst to those of us who aren’t teenagers from Glasgow, the Franzes have apparently been engaged in some soul-searching over the past decade. Aside from being an annoying throw to Buddhism, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action is an angsty account of the band’s struggle with (you guessed it) mediocrity. There are a few tolerable songs, but the rest are obnoxious, and there’s a track called “Treason! Animals.” Pass, and then pass some gas.

GAVRILO PRINCIP

39.

MATT PRYOR
Wrist Slitter

Rory

Matt Pryor is the guy from the Get Up Kids, and this record is called Wrist Slitter. Low-hanging fruit, I know, so I’m just going to take the high road and say this album does not, in fact, make me want to slit my wrists. It kind of just sounds like another Get Up Kids record, which just makes me want to cut up this CD so I can stab the members of said band in the larynx so their creative afterbirth can’t hurt anyone else.

SALLY

38.

NORMA JEAN
Wrongdoers

Razor & Tie

Back in my desperate college days, I used to snort amphetamines and sleep with a girl who just loved Norma Jean. I remember her well because she was cool with having sex in front of her roommate, and she had a big Tony Montana-style scar on her face from a car accident that she’d try to hide (unsuccessfully) with makeup. The first night we hooked up, she made me sleep on the couch because her “real boyfriend” was coming over early in the morning and she didn’t want him to get the wrong idea. To this day, anytime someone mentions the band Norma Jean, I can picture the gobs of sweat that used to collect around her scar when she was about to come. It’s a memory I’ve been trying to erase for years. So this sad face is more for me than the band.

CAPTAIN QUEEFHEART

37.

MILEY CYRUS
Bangerz

RCA

Come on. You really want VICE’s honest review of a Miley Cyrus album? Let’s cut to the chase: another review of Bangerz as phoned-in genero-pop. Defensive, sanctimonious contestation that review is more focused on Miley’s private cum public life than an “actually pretty OK pop album.” Rebuttal that just because someone can shamelessly throw enough money around to fart out a few undeniable hits doesn’t mean they deserve accolades. Abrupt, defensive outro citing the entire review as folly in and of itself. Smug self-satisfaction. There. Was that as good for you as it was for me? My tongue is turned sideways, wedged firmly in the crevice of a confused tween. Does that help?

LOU PEARLMAN’S PUBIC WIG

36.

TEGAN AND SARA
Heartthrob

Warner Bros.

Look. I’m a girl who likes to put her face on other girls’ faces and crotches. Does it even matter what I think about this album or if I actually listened to it? Sorry, Quin twins—I can’t hear you over my girlfriend’s inner thighs pressed against my ears.

BABY DOMME

 

35.

COMPLICATED UNIVERSAL CUM
Hello Exit Harmony

Questions & Answers

You know, I realize some bands think that including the word “cum” in their name is an easy way to get people to listen their music. But if I could offer these convoluted spermatozoa a lesson, it would be this: It’s a major letdown when you name yourself after jism and your music is so self-absorbed and jagoffy that it completely subtracts from its initial jizzy intent. Guys, soothing horn and 70s “space rock” have never made anyone come, ever. This was proved 40 years ago. Time to move on.

RYAN GOSLING

34.

MIC RIPZ
The One Inch Punch

Dead People Ink

If you’re a white rapper, you’d better have a “thing.” Eminem’s is that he is a terrible, fucked-up person. Bubba Sparxxx’s is that he is a redneck. El-P is pretty concerned about aliens descending from space and taking us over. I guess this MiC RipZ’s shtick is that he totally sucks ass? Doesn’t seem like a good move to me, but what do I know?

MIKE CHECK

33.

GUIDED BY VOICES
English Little League

Fire

I love the part in A Charlie Brown Christmas when Schroeder is trying to play “Jingle Bells” on his piano for Lucy, and she’s like, “Nein, nein. Ich meine, ‘Jingle Bells.’ Sie wissen, ‘Deck the Halls,’ und so weiter. Sie verstehen gar nicht.” It’s so damn funny because they are all the same (obviously), but she prefers the stripped-down, no-frills version, which, yeah, is the best. And it’s somewhat ironic because Lucy, like most of the other Peanuts characters, is informed by the status quo: the more money you have, and things you can buy at Christmas, the better. Her love for the atonal, minimal version of “Jingle Bells,” however, casts her in a Marxist light and, I think, reinforces how much of a pussy Charlie Brown is. Anyway, that’s what this album made me think of.

DREAD MORTIMER

32.

BATHS
Obsidian

Anticon

Listen up, Baths dude. Your lyrics sound like Robert Smith’s seventh-grade diary. “Where is God when you hate him most?” She’s probably stabbing herself in her God-dick for boning the earth’s vagina and creating your species. (What, you didn’t know the Almighty is a hermaphrodite?) Are you sure you want to be asking her questions like that? Because the truth is that she’s probably just avoiding you, wishing she could snag the instrumentals from this album—the ones that don’t involve you scat-singing—and sell that shit on eBay for a bag of weed.

TONY BARMAN

31.

oOoOO
Without Your Love

Nihjgt Feelings

Hey, oOoOO. It's me, Christian. Listen, I think you guys should really consider changing your name. The thing about language is that, most of the time, it's meant to be used as communication verbally, not to look cool in an instant-message conversation. When the people around me at the public library asked me what I was listening to at such a high volume, it was kind of awkward to look back at them, a dead look in my eyes, and simply say, "OoOooOOooh" (extra Os added for effect), mimicking a broken ambulance siren. It didn't help that your music sounds like something Buffalo Bill would listen to if his sex dungeon were in a Bushwick railroad apartment in 2007. Just a thought. Thanks!

CHRISTIAN STORM

30.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND
Modern Vampires of the City

XL

Taking a page out of the Mitt Romney Guide to Indie Rock (a future New York Times bestseller), the Young Republicans Club has done it once again with another sterile-sounding album made out of genetically modified cauliflower and goose-liver-pâté farts. Here is where I would embed that clip of George W. Bush attempting to “get down” with African dancers at a malaria-awareness event, but I guess this flimsy paper stuff is made by Apple and doesn’t support Flash or some bullshit like that.

GIRL REPORTER

29.

PORCELAIN RAFT
Permanent Signal

Secretly Canadian

Since your hard drive is already busting with illegally downloaded movies, illegally downloaded software, illegally downloaded video games, whatever results from searching “sloppy” on xHamster, and selfies, it’d be irresponsible for me to recommend you waste two minutes of your life stealing this. There are swirly distant atmospherics and a trumpet every now and then, so I guess it’s mellow indie rock that’s likable enough, but it’s not worth disk space that’d be put to far better use with a pirated copy of Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies. Oh, and another thing I’ve always wanted to say in print: Secretly Canadian secretly stinks. Except for early Scout Niblett, of course—Emma, we met backstage at the Knitting Factory once. Let’s tango.

ZOLOFT EMOTICON

28.

ODDISEE
The Beauty In All

Mello Music Group

If, after listening to this record, you can overcome the immediate and overwhelming desire to drop an elbow straight into Oddisee’s eye socket so that next time he doesn’t try quite as hard, you might find that this is one of the most winning and rewarding underground hip-hop albums you’ve heard in the current fiscal quarter. (“Q3” if you’re lame—ad guys, you realize that’s like saying “LOL” out loud, right?) Still, this motherfucker is one of the most beat-up-able bipeds to ever get stuffed into a locker, so at the end of the day I can’t in good conscience recommend his music in any form, and I’ve gotten a lot of black eyes from a lot of jocks.

GORGE CATANDAS

27.

CUT COPY
Free Your Mind

Modular

I remember sitting on a plush couch at a Cut Copy concert in 2005. I was about 20 years old, I’d been treating my body like a landfill for weeks, and I’m pretty sure I had a “dime piece” on each arm. I vaguely remember the frosty chill of the raspberry vodka in my hand, and the suppleness of kangaroo leather against the nape of my neck. Now I’m sitting in an office listening to a song actually, literally called “Walking in the Sky” off an album actually, literally called Free Your Mind, and you should really see my face right now. Just take one look at my goddamn fucking face.

ZARDOZ

26.

MASTODON
Live at Brixton

Warner  Bros.

You know when an idea or concept is so foreign to you that you can’t wrap your head around it, no matter how hard you try? Like the fact that they call traffic lights “robots” in South Africa? Well, in that respect, Mastodon are Canadian milk in a bag. They’re so milk-in-a-bag you start to wonder if it’s all a big joke and everyone who downloaded this 97-minute performance is lying to themselves. Think about all the beautiful simpletons who attended this show in hopes of being canonized among their fellow man on a rock ’n’ roll album for all eternity. Then think about their greatest common denominator: the ability to be sold the same fucking album for ten years straight.

RONNY J. HOLMES

25.

E-40
The Block Brochure: Welcome To The Soil, Vol. 1-6

Heavy On The Grind

E-40 was spawned from a time I like to call the Era of the Microsoft Zune (a.k.a. the late 90s/early 2000s) and has somehow managed to keep persuading people to give him money to make unmemorable music. The one thing he got correct is the realization that the days when a rapper was supposed to release one perfect album every couple of years are as dead as Eazy-E, which I guess is why he’s taken to annually releasing triple albums with 45 songs on them. It’s not like they’re completely awful or anything, but this record has a standard deviation of approximately zilch minus nil. If the E-40 of the 90s could have invented a time machine instead of coining indispensible phrases like “Captain Save a Hoe,” he’d zap into the future and Tase his own ball bag.

A THOUSAND-YEAR-OLD MAN

24.

KRTS
The Foreigner

Project: Mooncircle

Dear Berlin,
America would like to apologize for the following: flooding you with deadbeat “artists,” turning Berghain into Disneyland, snorting all your good speed, and all the American knob-diddlers who’ve decided your city is where every DJ needsto be. Like this guy, who was so touched by your beauty while riding the U-Bahn after raving for 14 hours, he decided to cut an entire EP about his super unique, awesome expat experience. Actually, let’s be real. It’s your fault for handing out visas like supermarket coupons.
Love,

DORK BREATH

23.

PEP
My Baby and Me EP

Self-Released

It’s impossible to find records to review for December because PR flacks don’t let bands put stuff out around the holidays because pedantic music critics are too busy focusing on year-end lists to give a single whitehead on an ass pimple about new records. So last month, when an email popped into my inbox with this album (which was made by the old drummer from the Starlight Girls), I was elated. Great, I thought. A record to review! I always sorta liked the Starlight Girls, and I’ve done too many bad reviews in this issue. So I put some Tiger Balm on my neck, threw this EP on, and immediately realized that nostalgic doo-wop is the sonic equivalent of a reverse colon explosion. On the bright side, I did come up with this joke that isn’t funny: I just farted in from the starlight, and boy is my asshole tired.

RENFIELD

22.

COCOROSIE
Tales of a Grass Widow

City Slang

Coco. Rosie. Have a seat, you two. There’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about. No, it’s not the smell; I know you’re on a crustacean-and-kale colon cleanse, you’ve told me a million times already. This is about your new album. Spoken-word pseudoraps? Beatboxing? Rosie, you’re still doing that psychotic demonic-baby-voice thing? I thought we went over this! “Don’t sign CocoRosie to City Slang,” they told me. “They’re not even good weird. They’re justweird weird.” Look, I took a big chance on you guys, and I really didn’t want things to go this way, but you’ve left me no choice—I’m going to need you to hand over your City Slang corporate Etsy credit card. And your corporate CSA membership pass. And your corporate vegan-certified pleather flog-and-harness set. Oh, you busked for those? Well, then you can keep them, I guess.

HALEY TRILLIAMS

21.

SMALL BLACK
Limits of Desire

Jagjaguwar

Although I’m a tiny little baby inside a teenager’s womb who’s too young to remember chillwave personally, my friend’s older brother and one of his golfing buddies are always sipping mai tais by the hotel Jacuzzi and talking wistfully about those hazy, nostalgic ice-cold wavy days of yore. In particular they were into this band called Small Black—one of the few in the “movement” (seriously, it’s in the liner notes) to brandish the genre’s tag with pride, even going so far as to print it alongside a hashtag (#tag) at the bottom of all their tote bags, which are then attached to a tag with a separate hashtag (#bag… lying about all of this, BTW). And now the almighty Black is back with a reunion tour and comeback album! Unfortunately after getting hyped up over all the tags and bags, I have to report that these guys are really showing their age.

JAYDEN LOGAN MASON IX

20.

XIU XIU
Nina

Graveface

Wow! An album of Nina Simone covers that obliterates all the profound and nuanced vocal work that makes me love Nina Simone, sucking her songs into a frilly vortex of Jamie Stewart’s depression profiteering! I haven’t thought about Xiu Xiu since high school (“I love the valley, OH!”), but I honestly thought this guy would be in jail by now for declaring jihad on fun.

BARNEY STAHL

19.

WOODEN SHJIPS
Back To Land

Thrill Jockey

While I listened to this album, I made a mental list of the dumb things that it reminded me of. Fast-forward to an hour before deadline, and since truly being capital-F Funny is harder than fisting a pigeon, I decided to cut out the middleman and present the list to you, unedited: the fake band from a commercial for dick pills played through a cheap reverb amp; a much more boring version of the Brian Jonestown Massacre with less money for drugs and gear; a weak, shitty fart on weak, shitty acid.

CHJRISTIAN STJORM

18.

MUSE
Live at Rome Olympic Stadium

Warner Bros.

There is no band on earth that thinks they’re more important and culturally significant than Muse, the poor man’s version of the poor man’s Radiohead (Coldplay). Yes, that’s correct: I am claiming, in writing, that Coldplay is better than another band, even though the superior band is led by a man who’s currently wearing a jacket with no fewer than seven front pockets and probably at least three epaulets and isn’t Michael Jackson.

GRACE HALEY

17.

THEIR/THEY'RE/THERE
New Blood
Polyvinyl/Topshelf

I like the various Kinsella family bands as much as the next guy with horn-rimmed glasses, but it’s rare that you find a band name so horrific that it reflexively puckers up your anus, siphons feces out of your lower intestine, and the shit geyser somehow makes its way up your throat and is ejected out of your nose and ears. In other words, I didn’t listen to this, and neither should you.

JACOB VOORHEES

16.

DEATH GRIPS
No Love Deep Web

Harvest

Death Grips are like that psycho girl you dated in college who was the first person to ever tongue your butthole. It felt better than being on ketamine in space, but it came with the price of explaining to your parents why the nice girl you’ve been spending so much time with puked in their imitation Mycenaean vase. The Grips felt like life-changers when they dropped, but by now, we’re kinda over it and are ready to date erudite women who are sweet and do yoga and shit.

JAWN F. KENNEDY

15.

THE NATIONAL
Trouble Will Find Me

4AD

When is Father’s Day? Shit. I always forget. I don’t want to tell my daughter what to get me, but that new compact disc by the National would be perfect to pop into the Highlander (limited-edition midnight slate, and had to drive all the way to Philly to get it with heated seats). I’ve got a handful of Match.com dates lined up all the way to Sin City, and if she buys me it, I’ll be able to drive around these fine, unassuming 36–48-year-old women I meet each and every week and play this “CD my daughter just got me” to “see what it sounds like.” Then, all casual, I’ll drop in, “Did I mention that my daughter works at a hip youth-media company in Brooklyn with a show on HBO?” Then I’m going to get fucking laid.

Y. R. DADDY

14.

JIMMY EAT WORLD
Damage

RCA/Dine Alone

I am 17, driving in my mother's Jeep Grand Cherokee, windows down, as I play "The Middle," feeling a little weird that I am relating so much to a song addressed to a "little girl." I am 22, a recent college graduate, very broke, attending a "pop-punk-themed" night at a bar, singing along to "The Middle" while some guy fingerbangs a girl in the booth next to me. I am 26, writing snarky record reviews that it is highly possible no one actually reads, racing to send an email back to my editor to get dibs on reviewing this record and then immediately questioning many aspects of my life. It took some time, little girl, but I think the Jimmy Eat World ride has finally reached the station and it's time to get the fuck off.

TONY BARMAN

13.

PETRA HADEN
Petra Goes to the Movies

Anti-

There’s this thing happening now, where kids have to find new sounds and music rebellious enough to shock a generation of parents with Black Flag and Wu-Tang records on their shelves. Going up to your room and thoughtfully blasting an album that sounds like your eighth grade drama teacher singing in the shower will just about do it.

DOB BOYLE

12.

SMITH WESTERNS
Varsity

Mom + Pop

Remember that time Smith Westerns' stage collapsed and killed a guy? And then the Smith Westerns guy tweeted bitchily about how their stage collapsed and almost broke one of their amps or something like that? Anyways, fuck this dick-jerkingly boring band and their roadkill cocktail of shitty twee, shitty classic rock, and shitty shoegaze. I thought we agreed like four years ago to stop letting horseshit like this get made. What gives, America?

EMILY DICKENSON

11.

AVRIL LAVIGNE
Self-Titled

Epic

People used to get all mad at Avril Lavigne because she didn’t know who the Sex Pistols were, but seriously, who cares? I can’t think of many things that are more punk than not knowing who the Sex Pistols were, and frankly, “punk rock” isn’t even a real thing. All I’m saying is that there are way better reasons to hate (or love, depending on your point of view) her, and one of them is the number she did on her ex-husband, that dude from Sum 41. Have you seen him recently? He looks like Richard Dreyfuss’s bloated corpse weeks after he was shot trying to escape a death camp, which makes her the Goebbels of the third floor of the mall.

VINNIE VANNUCCI

10.

THE BLOW
Self-Titled

Kanine

When I was a teenager, I was this weird art lesbian in a small farming town who became very good at the internet during those early, lonely days. One of my crushes passed Poor Aim: Love Songs to me, and it did that life-changey thing that music used to do to us when we were teenagers. But this self-titled album is all growed-up and super annoying. No warmth or tiny, secret vibes. I guess that girl is in a long-term relationship now or something. It’s chill, though. And remember, kids: all love dies eventually.

LINDSPEE LEONARDEE

9.

TALIB KWELI
Gravitas

Self-Released

I had a cool TA in college who helped reframe the way I thought about the world. He convinced me to express my disgust regarding the vague political issues I didn’t quite understand, like fracking, to anyone who would listen. In hindsight, I realize that guy only seemed smart because I was such a fumbling dickweed. I think I speak for all hip-hop fans when I say that Talib Kweli is the rapper version of that TA.

ART POPE

8.

WOODEN WAND
Blood Oath
s of The New Blues
Fire

Imagine that barfy face is you, dropping chunks with cameras recording your every spew in 360 degrees like The Matrix. But instead of being a person barfing in a movie scene that somebody slowed down, the lethargic and time-lagged manner in which you barfed is just how it came out. So, like, you started out saying, “I think I’m gonna throw up,” and then you started to puke and it took 40 minutes. You were just stuck there going, “Oh man, this is gross, this is gross. I’m barfing, oh man, oh jeez. When’s it going to stop?” I imagine there’d be waves where for a little while you’re like, “OK, I’m OK, I can do this, I’m OK,” and then all of a sudden you get intensely re-grossed out until you realize that you’ve already been puking forever and it’s impossible to get more grossed out because what are you going to do? Puke because you’re puking while slo-mo puking? On the bright side, your neck would get really sore and after a while you’d just start playing Words with Friends. This album is like that except the barf is the vocals kicking in after you had accordions for dinner last night.

NU MONIE LOVE

7.

AUSTRA
Olympia

Domino

OK, so do you actually like listening to Austra? Or do you just like the idea of listening to Austra? Yeah, that's what I thought.

SUNOVA WITCH

 

6.

SURFER BLOOD
Pythons

Warner Music

John Paul Pitts (allegedly) throws women to the ground, pins them down by climbing on top of them, and shoves his fingers in their mouth, but his real crime is continuing to squeeze generic bullshit out of 2009's buzzy surf-pop trend. Just kidding. His real crime is (allegedly) assaulting women.

CRISTOF BRAUN

5.

WASHED OUT
Paracosm

Sub Pop

Come along with Washed Out on his five-album plan to transform his body into all four members of Coldplay with limbs that only know Peter Gabriel covers! It’s a brave venture, and I’m sure surgically quartering himself (Chris Martin is the left leg, obviously) will be painful and involve lots of rehabilitation. But at least we get to watch the operation happen in real time while ignoring this new record, which shifts from wobbly cassette hiss (which wasn’t even mildly interesting in 2008, no matter what they tell you) to utterly neutered smeary pap that would befit a hedge-fund manager’s Citi Bike ride to one of the three California Pizza Kitchens near his work to pick up a Barbeque Chicken Flatbread Chancho or whatever the fuck pieces of garbage are eating these days.

CHRISTIAN STORM

4.

KANYE WEST
Yeezus

Def Jam

Complete list of Kanye West's collaborators on Yeezus: Daft Punk, Rick Rubin, Chief Keef, Bon Iver, Kid Cudi, Arca, Young Chop, King Louie, Travis Scott, Hudson Mohawke, Mike Dean, Papa John, Johnny DiGiornio, Speedy Domino, Francois Pizza Hut, Lexus Sbarro, Little Caesar. The joke here is pizza. Also, this album blows.

KANYE VEST

3.

CULTS
Static

Columbia

If I were a big-time record-label executive, I’d have a biiiiiig desk and a cool old creaky leather chair. And if Cults came in to pitch me their demo, I wouldn’t get all starstruck. No way. I’d pour myself a tall, cool seltzer with ice while my secretary ushered them in. Then I’d lean toward them and take a sip from my drink. I’d sigh and say, “Listen up, gang! Your melodies are top dog! But the girl in the band stinks, and she’s got a voice like an old orangutan. Drop her like a bag of bananas!” Then there’d be a moment of sad silence and after that, Cults would get all mad at me, talk about how they played ATP when Portishead curated, and how they got a Pitchfork Best New Music. I’d just laugh and shake my head. Then I’d take a big swig of seltzer and write, NASALLY CHICK VOCALS TOO ANNOYING in red magic marker across their demo before scooting them out of my office so I could snort drugs off my midcentury teak desk and call up a bunch of escorts who I wouldn’t be able to get it up for.

DON RORITOR

2.

THE POLYPHONIC SPREE
Yes, It's True

Good

In the introduction to his Kickstarter-campaign video (I am SO sick of starting music reviews with this sentence), Tim DeLaughter explains, “Polyphonic Spree was born out of a personal vision of a sound in my head that I had to make real.” Whatever that sound was, it compelled him to develop a cult so violently repugnant that it makes plunging knives into Sharon Tate’s pregnant belly over and over and over seem like a victimless crime.

ROMAN SLOWMANKSI

1.

LORDE
Pure Heroine

Virgin

Have you ever pissed on your belt? I do it at least two times a year and it doesn’t exactly make me proud of myself. There are a lot of dumb things girls don’t know about male sex parts, and I say that because my policy, whether you realize it or not, is to only write reviews for women. Another one is this thing that happens after you have sex. Sometimes dried jizz collects on your dickhole, and when you try to pee the next morning, your urine stream hits the cum barrier and splits in half, spraying wee-wee all over the wallpaper in your girlfriend’s mom’s bathroom. Then you realize you also pissed all over the fresh towels, and that’s a major pain in the ass. Now that that's out of the way, time for some real talk: Fuck you for making this weird little shrew the must-hear breakout dark horse hit of the year.

BONES JUSTICE

 

[See also: VICE's Top 50 Albums of 2013]

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