Two bands that jump out from end-of-year lists: Courtney Barnett and Foxygen

I read all the end-of-year lists in different entertainment sub-categories, but because I don’t follow music that closely throughout the year (as opposed to, say, TV or movies), I always find new, semi-interesting stuff in the music rundowns. This year there were a couple — ironically, I found a few things that are older than 2013 while looking through the best of 2013 content, including this Childish Gambino song from ’11 (I listened to Gambino consistently all summer, but never came across this for some odd reason):

The spoken word that ends that song is amazing (at least to me) and pretty much how every erudite-type kid at camp would describe his first interactions with a girl. I first heard it at the gym and normally, I’d flip off something like that because it’s, well, a spoken word… but I didn’t, because it’s that good.

I also found this from Noah and the Whale, which I believe is actually from 2010. Still good though:

Alright, so as for 2013, I perused some NPR lists (this too) and came up with Foxygen, embedded at the top. They’ve been around since 2005, but they’ve had more than a few personality clashes in that time and have been down, up, down, up, etc. Apparently they delivered one of the best concerts of the year in Milwaukee, too. Their SXSW stuff was praised throughout the Internet (after SXSW, they seemingly almost broke up again). Cue the meltdown!

The other band/artist I found was Courtney Barnett. She’s kinda awesome. She’s 25, from Australia, writes songs about the benefits of masturbation, is deadpan as hell, drinks red wine because why not, has been vaguely likened to Bob Dylan by some, is considered “rising” by Pitchfork, and had almost wholly positive reviews for her album. Also, some of her videos look like Wes Anderson creations.

(That song is about going into shock.)

She also covers Kanye, which is pretty amazing:

And here’s the song referencing the benefits of masturbation:

I’m about as mainstream as they come in most respects with music; if you look around the Interwebs for best album of the year, a lot of people will have Vampire Weekend in the top five/ten. So would I. It’s also the year they got their in-depth CBS Sunday Morning profile (so did The Black Keys), so now your parents know and seem to understand them too, which is a little scary, but whatever. It’s another source of bonding.

But seriously, if you get a chance, listen to Barnett and Foxygen. I honestly used Apple TV and YouTube and VEVO to rip through about 120 different artists while making a semi-complicated dinner the other night, and those two popped out more than anyone else.

Ted Bauer