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31-12-2013: sch I.HEART.2013

From where I'm sitting the year is over in 5 hours and 17 minutes. I'm off to a party in a little over an hour, nothing fancy. Just a few good friends, fine wines and terrible music. But the night is young and so ain't I, so I'm just sitting here, staring at the wall. My thoughts are forcing me to consider the year, looking back at the mistakes I've made, doubting the few good decisions I may have made. I turn up the stereo and focus on the music. Despite my hate for yearlists I did surround myself with the finest of the finest of the year these last few weeks. I worked myself through 22 pages of items, some even better than they were back then, some are a total mystery, most of the music sounds like I've remembered it. The greatest albums still give me the chills, in a good way. I know every note, every word, every sigh, I know the silence between 2 songs. The albums have no secrets left for me to discover, still I hear a little something new every week.

Fireworks light up the room and I'm glad my easily scared cat seems not to care for the lights and sounds outside. The stereo bangs even louder as the next great record starts playing. Instead of turning it down, I turn it up. The world can stay outside a liitle longer for now. I'm embracing the year that is almost gone a little longer. Although everything will be exactly as it is now, when we wake up tomorrow, it'll be a whole new era nonetheless. We enter the new year with renewed hopes and dreams. With big plans and new intentions. We're gonna do so much things differently in 2014. I'm no stranger to basic emotions and I have some plans of my own. Most are not worthy mentioning for the careless music lover, but one involves this blog. I'm not sure what it is that'll be different next year, but I'm working on new things. Maybe more words, less items. Maybe I'll take January off. With less than 5 hours to go, I have no idea. So we'll just see where 2014 takes us, won't we?!

I remember sitting here last year, wondering if 2013 would bring beautiful music like 2012 did. After years of listening, but not really loving, I fell in love again with music and a small range of specific artists in 2012. Now that this year is coming to an end, I'm very happy I've experienced the same sensation in 2013 and I'm confident it'll happen again in the new year. No love is the same, the range of emotions is endless and each record strikes a different chord. But I feel love for music, like I hardly feel for anything or anyone at all. No matter how harsh that may sound. And I feel love for a few specific artists and albums, that I will describe briefly to you. Just a few words and one song. We might call it a 2013-yearlist, but that would cover the intensity of these albums for me personally and it would mean that all the fine artists that have brightened my days this year but are not mentioned here, would be less great. And that is just not true. Anyway, Let's play some tunes!

I've never been a big fan of Dutch music, but Jeroen Kant is my new Dutch musical hero. I'm checking his calender every week and as soon as he's playing a show nearby, I'll be there. The songs are dark and haunting, the lyrics unlike anything I've ever heard (by a Dutch singer). This will be a record I'll take with me for the rest of my life, I'm not even slightly kidding.

Andy is the kind of singer-songwriter I could definately fall in love with, I'm pretty sure I did for a little while this Summer. She's cool, she's funny, she's down to earth, but the most special thing about her is that beautiful voice and the power to write amazing songs. My soundtrack for the Summer of 2013 will always be Andy's Release - The Oslo Recordings. And the liveshow of the year, despite all the great rock and jazz shows I've seen, was that Sunday afternoon sitting on the grass, with just a few dozen people, Andy being her relaxed self, singing her beautiful songs. Life couldn't get much better than that.

December 2012 I wrote a little something on Said The Whale's previous record Little Mountain. I loved that record, played it for ages and I was thrilled when they spoke of a new record. First single "I Love You" is among the best songs of the year, but the rest of the album didn't really speak to me. But when I heard "Helpless Son" everything changed. Another beautiful song and I had ordered myself a vinyl copy of the record. Now that I've been getting more familair with it, I'm confident Hawaiii is an even better album than Little Mountain, an impressive work of art, best enjoyed loud. Don't forget to sing and dance, it'll add to the fun!

The first ever record that had my name printed in the booklet, I showed it around like I recorded the album, but in all honesty I only contributed to the album by cash. Despite being mentioned in the 'thank you'-lines, I do love the album for what it is. Rural Ghosts made a killer rock album with a twist. The cello on the album and on this song make this an outstandingly epic rock record, impossible to be compared to anything else, only the truly great albums get to be unique. Need I say more?!

That's just 4 albums that have touched my heart and soul over the last 12 months. There's so much more to share with you. I've fallen in love with the beautiful sweet tunes by singer-songwriters like Björn Kleinhenz, Justin Paul Lewis, Paul Federici and Filardo.

I've been completely blown away by the intense epic tunes of the new Kanye West album (hated it at first, I'm loving the shit out of it now), the Roaring jazz-vibes of BADBADNOTGOOD (they played a fucking brilliant show at North Sea Jazz Festival), the highly appraised Son Lux, The dark melodies of the most surprising act of the year: Les Monstres Terribles and the incredible fusion between jazz and folk that was created by Little Tybee on their must-hear record For Distant Viewing.

Cantoo's self-titled debut record was another work of art in the highest degree. I still feel this is the 60s record my dad would've loved the most if it was released 50 years ago. Nowadays it is the 60s record I love the most, although it was released this year.

This Is Where We Are by Seryn was released January 2011, but I didn't find it untill December 2012 and I became fully aware of it's beauty in 2013. So this is ongoing story about a great record coming a long way to find me, but it did and I'm still in love with it. Best enjoyed with candles lit, a smooth red wine and a pretty lady that prefers listening over talking (a rare kind, I know..). Love it.

But the one and only artist that'll always be the 1st one on my mind when we start looking back on 2013 in the years to come is Beccy Owen. I wrote 5 items on her music in 8 months and if would've allowed myself it should've been a lot more. I started out with her 11 year old debut album The Sweetest of Tales From The Bitterest Edge and I fell straight into heaven when I 1st heard it. When writing an 'introduction'-item about her I didn't even had a clue what I was in for. But the new album that seemed to be in the works was definately in the works. I ended up sponsuming (is that a word?) her new album and received a review copy before the release-date, which I really needed, because the craving for new music was getting to me. She knows me well.. IMAGO was eventually released this month and I have already named it the finest record of the year. Now that the year is 3 hours and 46 minutes away (times flies when you're having drinks with great music) from being over, I have no other option than repeat that statement: Beccy Owen's IMAGO is the best record 2013 has produced.

I wish you an amazing 2014: With beautiful music, great friends, amazing love & good health.

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