Pazz & Jop: How L.A. Musicians Fared
Courtesy of the artist
The Village Voice just released the results of its annual Pazz and Jop survey, the most famous music critics' poll in the galaxy. Kanye West's Yeezus was chosen best album, while Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" was best single.
These perhaps weren't surprising results, but what did surprise us was the relatively disappointing performances of L.A. bands, at least at the survey's top. (No, we don't count Kayne as a local, even if he does engage in fisticuffs and occasionally sleep here.) Considering what an amazing year 2013 was for Los Angeles albums, we expected better. Oh well, you can't win every year, like Frank Ocean did in the previous poll for Channel Orange.
Still, there were plenty of L.A. artists who made fared well.
The breakout L.A. band of 2013, Haim, had both the number seven album of the year, Days Are Gone, and the number three single, "The Wire." The latter achievement is particularly notable, considering that most everything else in the top 10 were huge, big-budget singles or released by household names.
Anyway, right now you're probably wondering who I, Ben Westhoff, voted for. You're not? Oh well. Then don't go here.
Though I gave all ten albums equal points, my number one was L.A. hard-charging rockers Jail Weddings' Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion, which is even better than that album name makes it sound. Neither this effortlessly tuneful group, which makes psychedelic/soul/garage pop, nor this work, has gotten much attention, but that needs to change. The general mood on Meltdown is Nick Cave doom and gloom, but it's somehow still a romp, the kind of thing that makes for a fun Friday night, rocking and crying. If it were the '40s and I wore a hat, I would take it off to frontman Gabriel Hart.
On a similar note, I had Miley Cyrus' "Can't Stop" as my number one single. Because, you know, it's also badass, even without the L.A. Bakers holding it down in the video.
Other local notables on my list: Fullerton-based singer-songwriter Julian Moon, whose album Common Dangers displays a penchant for structurally-robust, immediately memorable indie songs of sorrow and hope. Thundercat, Classixx, and Nocando have received plenty of ink on these pages.
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