Throughout December, music publications large and small released their 'best of' lists. We like to do things a little differently here at New York/Boston-based Locally Amped, though. We listen to a lot of music, much of which isn't pushed through the traditional national PR circuits, attend lots of local shows, and spend too much time on the Greyhound bus bouncing between Boston and New York.
As a result, our best songs of 2013 list reads a little differently than most — and took us until the end of January to finalize. Most of the bands on the above list lack significant label backing, practice in their spare time, pound the pavement and strive to occasionally fill local clubs. Their music rings just as true as the guys selling out MSG, the Garden, House of Blues or Bowery Ballroom, though.
In the past year, we've had some interesting conversations with acts that grace our best of list. In August, Boston indie poppers Bent Shapes told us that "the peak of existential crisis time is [during live shows]." When we met Brooklyn-based chamber pop act Friend Roulette back in May at a bar in Alphabet City, they told us that their jazz upbringings turned them off from the genre. (In a later conversation, they did reveal that they were quite drunk that night.) By the time we met psych rockers Spires, we were unsurprised when frontman Matt Stevenson mentioned that "I don't want to be part of any scene — people don't like us here."
We don't think that Stevenson's correct, but we do think that all of these acts are worthy of more attention. Check out Bent Shapes, Friend Roulette, Spires and 18 other rising acts streaming above.