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Best of Music 2013

by Metroland Staff on July 24, 2013 · 7 comments

 

Best Rock Band

Wild Adriatic

Saratoga quartet Wild Adriatic got a big bump last year from Relix Magazine, who debuted a couple of their videos from Lock and Key. Now they’re off playing big festival bills like Gathering of the Vibes. And deservedly so. Their ’70s-vintage rock is full of meaty riffs and Travis Gray’s falsetto is nothing short of gossamer.

Best Indie Rock Band

Stellar Young

Led by astronaut-turned-singer John Glenn, Stellar Young have taken their game to new levels of creativity and professionalism since changing their name from the un-Google-able The City Never Sleeps and releasing Everything at Once this year in the wake of a successful Kickstarter campaign. They’re one of the hardest touring bands in the area, easy to catch at a free outdoor festival if not a small barroom gig.

Best New Band

Hand Habits

Meagan Duffy has been quietly coming into her own these past couple years, gigging with almost anyone who can use her skills on a Fender (and most bands can), patiently circling what might become her primary gig. Hand Habits is the worthy result, and the new EP Nameless Lust is an incredibly promising glimpse of where this dream-rock outfit might go.

Best Jazz Band

The Chronicles

As you read this, the Chronicles are putting the finishing touches on a new studio album produced by Soulive drummer Alan Evans. The horn-driven sextet can bring the funk, soul and hip-hop but what makes them great is their fluency with the language of jazz.

Best Metal Band

Maggot Brain

They can thrash, drone, riff, sludge, doom and scream, making Maggot Brain one of the most versatile and engaging heavy acts around. Stop and Breathe, their new Fuzz Records-released 12”, is no question one of the best local releases of the year.

Eastbound Jesus

Best Americana Band

Eastbound Jesus

Eastbound Jesus are putting the try back in country music. One of the hardest-working live acts in the area, they’ve been landing plenty of festival gigs of late, and scoring tons of cross-over appeal. The fact they’ve been doing a bluegrass rendition of Phantogram’s “Mouthful of Diamonds” should be all the evidence you need.

Best Folk

M.R. Poulopoulos

Michael Poulopoulos approaches this traditional form in a traditional way. His straight-from-the-gut songwriting and sterling guitar work are best heard up close and personal in a small listening room, of which M.R. makes a steady round.

Best Songwriter

Patrick Porter

Patrick Porter has written novels and poems, painted pictures and pasted collages, but some of his most distinctive work happens with a detuned acoustic guitar and scratchy four-track recorder. Simply put, the man is prolific. Some would say brilliant. We would concur.

Best Hip-Hop Producer

PJ Katz

It’s been a big year for Albany hip-hop but especially for local label Pig Food Records. We’re willing to give producer PJ Katz (Jason Panucci) the credit here. His cassette ’92 Renault Music was rattling trunks for months when it came out, featuring incredible verses from Pig Food’s best, like Giant Gorilla Dog Thing, Elsphinx and about a dozen others. Plus the man is diabolical behind the keys with his live trio Fat Buckle. 

PJ Katz

Best Rapper

Masai

This winter, Albany rapper Masai completed his “Almost” trilogy of albums, adding Almost Home to the likes of Almost Gone and Almost Back. The record is a touching portrait of the rapper dealing with the grief of his mother’s passing. Modest and direct in an era of rap posture, Masai’s style harken back to rap’s Golden Age and stands as some of the freshest stuff to emerge from these parts in a while. 

Best Ambient/Electronic

Titanics

Chillwave, dream-pop, call these guys what you like. Titanics are making some of the warmest, juiciest synthesizer tracks around. Perfect for a summer day or a midwinter daydream.

Best Rock Club (Small)

Valentine’s

17 New Scotland Ave., Albany

This is a sad place to break the news to you guys, but just this week it was announced that Valentine’s would be razed to make space for a new Albany Med building. So it’s the end of an era when the New Scotland club ruled the local music market. We’ll miss the dangling heat ducts, unidentifiable smell that always clung to your clothes, and of course all of the incredible shows. We wish Howard all the best moving forward. Go Mets.

Best Rock Club (Large)

Upstate Concert Hall

1208 route 146, Clifton Park

It’s a running gag for crowds to school touring performers that they’re actually in Clifton Park, not Albany, but as far as 518 rock rooms go, there’s none greater than the former Northern Lights. Ted runs a well-oiled machine up there and the booking only gets better.

Patrick Porter

Best Rock Club (Raw)

Basilica Hudson

110 South Front St., Hudson

Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur presides over her rehabbed factory arts space like a Hudson Valley Andy Warhol. Sure, there’s film, dance, installation art and even a pair of ducks that live on site, but the live music she brings through is virtually unprecedented outside of larger metropolitan markets. Keep your eyes on these pages for updates on September’s BasilicaSoundScape featuring Richard Hell, Julianna Barwick and more.

Best Intimate Live-Music Venue with Awesome Wings

The Ale House

River Street, Troy

The Ale House has been a beacon in the night for Trojans for decades. A classic neighborhood pub with a menu that includes award-winning wings, when the dining room gets converted into a live-music venue, the joint starts hopping. Bookings include the best local and some great niche national talent.

Best Booking

Nicole Dellarocca

From her start with WCDB, Nicole Dellarocca has built a tiny indie empire in the area, booking under-the-radar, buzzworthy bands to Valentine’s hallowed halls. In the past year, these have included Wild Belle, Man Man, Braids and the Babies. She says she’s calling it quits . . . but we’ve heard that before.

Check out the rest of this year’s Best of issue:

Best Arts

Best Goods & Services

Best People & Places

Best Food

{ 5 comments }

UNKOWN July 25, 2013 at 11:08 pm

I LIKE REAL RAP.
SORRY MASAI.

ben tekken 5 July 27, 2013 at 1:11 am

where grady stiles at

Miss Sarah July 29, 2013 at 8:59 am

My mother always taught me, if I don’t have encouraging words, keep my discouragement to myself. She is a very bright woman. Now, I understand its our human and American right to speak our opinion, as we are entitled. So by all means, discourage on!
Masai, I believe in you, as much as I know YOU believe in you. Your humbleness, almost more than your talent for ACTUAL hip hop, is a refreshing change. I don’t think I’ve ever heard one ill word about another come from your face.
This is how I know, your talent will speak for itself. Save me a seat at the awards show!

*UNKNOWN July 29, 2013 at 10:28 am

try listening to it instead of just hating on it. Masai and Against the Grain is where it’s at

Aaron Pavon July 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm

MaggotBrain will eat Masai Alive. Lyrically speaking.

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