Top Tracks of 2013

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100. Tim Hecker – “Virginal II”
99. Wild Nothing – “A Dancing Shell”
98. We Came As Romans – “I Am Free”
97. Young Fathers – “I Heard”
96. Danny Brown – “Handstand”
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95. Lapalux – “Without You” (feat. Kerry Leatham)
94. Topaz Gang – “Moontanned”
93. Stick to Your Guns – “We Still Believe”
92. Waxahatchee – “Hollow Bedroom”
91. Buke and Gase – “Houdini Crush”
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90. Beach Fossils – “Clash the Truth”
89. My Bloody Valentine – “Who Sees You”
88. Friendzone – “Retailxtal”
87. Braids – “In Kind”
86. Perfect Pussy – “III”
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85. Emily Reo – “Peach”
84. Body Parts – “Be a God”
83. Issues – “Hooligans”
82. starry cat – “i think you’re really beautiful”
81. clipping. – “guns.up”
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80. Glenn Jackson – “Save”
79. DJ Rashad – “I Don’t Give a Fuck”
78. Daughter – “Youth”
77. Hydrabadd – “Sanctuary (feat. Abra)”
76. Joey Bada$$ – “Death of YOLO” (feat. Smoke DZA)
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75. Letlive – “Empty Elvis”
74. Whirr – “Drain”
73. Scuba – “Hardbody (SCB Remix)”
72. Chvrches – “The Mother We Share”
71. Breakbot – “Fantasy” (Featuring Ruckazoid)
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70. Les Sins – “Grind”
69. Baths – “Earth Death”
68. The Knife – “A Tooth for an Eye”
67. Ata Kak – “Daa Nyinaa” (Noema’s Tribute Edit)
66. Washed Out – “It All Feels Right”
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65. Coma Cinema – “Partners in Crime”
64. Oneohtrix Point Never – “Boring Angel”
63. Sleeping With Sirens – “Feel”
62. Thundercat – “Oh Shiet It’s X”
61. Majical Cloudz – “Childhood’s End”
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60. Death Grips – “Two Heavens”
59. The Wild Fruit – “Name Yo’ Price Mama”
58. DJ Madd vs Hoarce Andy – “Cuss Cuss (TSMV Remix)”
57. Perfect Pussy – “I”
56. Toro y Moi – “Rose Quartz”
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55. Miami Vice – “Palm Haze”
54. KOOL A.D. – “Get a Job”
53. My Bloody Valentine – “She Found Now”
52. Blue Hawaii – “Sierra Lift”
51. Counterparts – “Compass”
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50. Mutual Benefit – “ ”Let’s Play” / Statue of a Man”
49. Foxygen – “San Francisco”
48. Disclosure – “When a Fire Starts to Burn”
47. Pity Sex – “Drawstring”
46. Dirty Beaches – “Casino Lisboa”

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45. The Story So Far – “Empty Space”
44. Jessy Lanza – “Keep Moving”
43. Braids – “Amends”
42. Born Ruffians – “Permanent Hesitation”
41. The Blank Tapes – “Coast To Coast”

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40. The Reptilian – “Keif Puck”
39. Forest Swords – “The Weight of Gold”
38. Dean Blunt – “Heat” (feat. Joanne Robertson)
37. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “So Good at Being In Trouble”
36. Balance and Composure – “Tiny Raindrop”

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35. R.L. Kelly – “Familiar Haunt”
34. Paul Woolford – “Untitled”
33. Parquet Courts – “Borrowed Time”
32. Ryan Hemsworth – “Perfectly”
31. My Bloody Valentine – “If I Am”

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30. Dirty Beaches – “Alone at the Danube River”
Coming during the Love is the Devil side of Dirty Beaches two part album Drifters/Love is the Devil, “Alone at the Danube River” is a solemn standout. A 7-minute solo composition for guitar, Alex Zhang Hungtai plays variations on a melody, the reverb adding to the tangible melancholy. When a warm organ envelops the entire track near the end, it feels cathartic in an indescribable way. (Adam)

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29. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe” (Saint Pepsi edit)
“Call Me Maybe” slowed, pitched down, torn apart and then rebuilt into a sprawling seven-minute slow jam. I really don’t feel like I need to explain why this song is amazing. (Jasmine)

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28. FKA Twigs – “Water Me”
In a dream team collaboration with Arca, FKA Twigs came out with a four track EP simply called EP 2, on which all four tracks were incredible. The build in “Water Me” is soothing, constructed from manipulated, down-pitched vocals, creaks, and electronic blips. Once FKA Twigs’ lyrics come in they add a intimate yet vulnerable component giving the track a perfect combination of musical intrigue and emotion. (Erin)

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27. Hiatus Kaiyote – “Nakamarra”
Australian soul-R&B quartet Hiatus Kaiyote originally released their debut album Tawk Tomahawk via Bandcamp. Cue a huge 2013 including major indie distribution and A Tribe Called Quest rapper Q-Tip hopping on album standout “Nakamarra”. The band was recently unexpectedly nominated for a Grammy for R&B Album of the Year, in no doubt spurred by the strength of this gorgeous track. (Joe)

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26. Sophie – “Bipp”
While most of the discussion over the Song of the Summer was split between “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines”, we were too busy bumping “Bipp.” Released in July as a 12” single with “Elle”, mysterious bubblegum producer Sophie is carving out his own new genre quietly in the corners of the internet. Blending bass, bounce, and rollerskate rink pop, “Bipp” was the most forward-thinking dance song of 2013. Expect thick, metallic bass and squeaking, rubbery percussion to be big next year, all thanks to this hit. (Adam)

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25. Kitty – “Hittin Lix”
“I SOUND DRUNK AS SHIT BECAUSE I WAS DRUNK AS SHIT AND I WAS CRYING BECAUSE DANNY BROWN BROKE MY HEART” is how NYC-via-Florida rapper Kitty describes the first single from her newest album D.A.I.S.Y. Rage. As hard as she tries to play down the seriousness of her music, Kitty is a serious rapper with serious bars. Bad Channels’ production is cloudy and minimal, allowing Kitty to coo and weave through the light snaps and kicks as deftly as anyone in the scene today. It’s a smartly composed track from one of the most consistently exciting rappers in the game today. (Joey)

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24. Devendra Banhart – “Your Fine Petting Duck”
What starts out as a typical folksy pop tune from hippie weirdo mainstay Devendra Banhart suddenly flips about three quarters through into some sort of disco-flavored funk tune. It’s one of the most jarring and unexpected transitions in the musician’s long, extensive catalog and also one of the most fun. After eight albums coasting on a similar path, “Your Fine Petting Duck” could be a look into Devendra’s more experimental aspirations for the future. (Joe)

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23. Death Grips – “You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat”
An unannounced Death Grips album dropping with no warning and opening with the sound of broken glass and MC Ride screaming over speaker-searing kick drums is about the most Death Grips thing imaginable, but the opening track to their surprising Government Plates ends up actually being a solid, albeit ear-splitting, track somehow unlike anything they’ve ever released before. (Adam)

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22. Mutual Benefit – “Advanced Falconry”
Everything on Mutual Benefit’s Love’s Crushing Diamond is gorgeous but this track in particular is just so incredibly beautiful that just the intro brings tears to my eyes. I find it refreshing, in a year where computers are becoming more common in music than actual instruments, to hear a sprawling, slow pop song marked by long bows of violins and loops of guitar plucks. Plus, Jordan Lee’s lyrics are so incredibly romantic and sweet that I’d consider trading in my current boyfriend for a shot with him. Lol jk. Sort of. (Jasmine)

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21. Toro y Moi – “Say That”
As the second single off of Toro y Moi’s album Anything in Return, it definitely made us at KZUU even more excited for the release. Maybe it’s the ‘da-do da-do’s that make the track so addictive, or perhaps it’s the swaying synths, or could it be Chaz Bundick’s calm voice? We may never know for sure but most likely it is the combination of them all. Also, “Say That” won #1 video of 2013 for KZUU management member Erin and she recommends you check it out if you haven’t seen it already. (Erin)

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20. Julia Brown – “How I Spent My Summer”
The jangliest guitar work possible, the warm sadness of longing in the lyrics, the tape recorder quality, what more can you ask for in an indie pop song? This whole tape is sickly sweet in the best possible way, but “How I Spent My Summer” in particular will give you flashbacks of a summer you spent wishing. (Joey)

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19. XXXY – “Got Me So”
Subtle pads, a longing vocal sample and spiraling synths build up to an infectious bassline that proved to be on the year’s best dance tunes. In a year where house became king, XXXY’s tune stood far above most. (Alex)

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18. Ricky Eat Acid – “I Can Hear the Heart Breaking as One”
As the first single from his upcoming full-length Three Love Songs, Maryland’s Ricky Eat Acid continues his streak of gorgeous genre-breaking ambient beauty. Fluttering strings and a bouncing piano loop fold together with chopped and pitched choir-like voices. It’s a haunting piece of musical beauty, and the perfect introduction into what is sure to be a monumental year for the underrated producer. (Adam)

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17. Lil Ugly Mane – “On Doing an Evil Deed Blues”
An unsettling live recording of some soul searching, here Ugly recollects why he became a rapper and how his involvement in the rap game has/is changing. The beat is as usual done by Ugly himself and it’s nightmare-y to say the least. You’ll be rewinding just to hear the sample again and again. (Joey)

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16. Chromatics – “Cherry”
While this track technically dropped at the end of 2012, the album is appeared on, After Dark 2, wasn’t released until May so we’re counting it. Portland-based Chromatics excel in dark, synthy, film-noir aesthestics and “Cherry” is no different. “Cherry” features a clean, driving bassline, 80s chorus guitars, and sparkling synthesizers not unlike Chromatics’ past releases. The mixture of emotions and sounds create a very melancholy vibe, with Ruth Radelet singing about the end of a relationship with a girl named Cherry. The result is ethereal, cinematic and stunning. (Jasmine)

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15. Dusky – “Nobody Else”
EDM festival warriors, Beatport Top 10 squatters, and underground dance music fans all agreed on one thing: Dusky had one hell of a tune on their hands with “Nobody Else.” “Nobody Else” has everything: sustaining strings, a deep kick, a simple yet effective vocal sample, and that bassline. (Alex)

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14. Autre Ne Veut – “Play By Play”
This really is the perfect grand entrance to Autre Ne Veut’s album Anxiety. The track slowly builds with a whirlwind of raining synths and impressive falsettos from Arthur Ashin until it explodes somewhere around the mid-point into one of the heaviest melodies of the year with lyrics that are nearly impossible not to sing along to. “Play by Play” is a track that will have you play-by-play-ing it for days on end. (Erin)

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13. Oneohtrix Point Never – “Americans”
The great thing about “Americans” is how it feels like five micro-songs made it one insanely cohesive product. From the looped samples, to the tense percussion, to the soaring ambient moments, to destroyed and disgusted moments, “Americans” is chock full of pauses, restarts and surprises. (Alex)

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12. Mount Kimbie – “Made to Stray”
I know exactly where I was the first moment I heard “Made to Stray”. It was a Saturday night in the fall of 2012 in a small club in Seattle for a Mount Kimbie show. I was entirely too drunk and had to be at work the next day at 7am. When the heavy kicks and eventual vocals of “Made to Stray” came in it felt as if I had been lifted off the ground by the music gods for a brief moment before being thrown back to Earth the next morning with a hangover. (Alex)

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11. Jessy Lanza – “As If”
There are a lot of gems to choose from on Lanza’s album Pull My Hair Back, but the track “As If” stood out to us here on KZUU management the most. Lanza’s soft vocals lead you over the dark, swelling beat of blips, glitches, and snaps. The intense build that happens near the middle of the track has you sitting on the edge of your seat until it suddenly dissipates and you remember to breathe again. This one will take you for a ride. (Erin)

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10. Machinedrum – “Gunshotta”
Machinedrum’s Vapor City is a concept album that takes you through the neighborhoods of the fictional Vapor City. “Gunshotta” is the first glimpse into the streets of a city overrun with gangs where every other storefront is boarded up and foreclosed. If you weren’t feeling paranoid before this record, you definitely will afterwards. (Alex)

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09. Glasser – “Exposure”
Glasser’s Interiors was a big hit at KZUU this year and “Exposure” is probably the dreamiest track on the album. There is a wide array of unique sounds from squeaks to squishes that make you feel as if you are underwater. Cameron Mesirow’s vocals float up and down just as lightly as the melody does. “Exposure” is a clean breath of fresh air that rejuvenates you with every listen. (Erin)

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08. Vektroid – “Enemy”
The only post on Vektroid’s soundcloud all year, “Enemy” at first sounded like the start to an exciting new sound for Vek. Unfortunately it went without a true followup, but nonetheless this track is practically flawless. This is a bridge from the best of Vek’s previous style into something that almost sounds like a precursor to something like Oneohtrix Point Never’s R Plus Seven. Hopefully we’ll hear more of it soon, it’s nothing short of entrancing. (Joey)

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07. Kingdom – “Bank Head (feat. Kelela)”
Wow people, this collaboration between Kingdom and Kelela is literal fire. While the instrumental version of “Bank Head” was great to begin with, Kelela took it to a whole new level with her vocal work. This track has everything you would want in a high energy song: steady clapping, an infectious beat, and fun-to-sing-along-to lyrics. Pay attention. (Erin)

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06. Toro y Moi – “So Many Details”
As the first single from Chaz Bundick’s third album, “So Many Details” showcased yet another direction for the eclectic musician. Far removed from the chillwave-meets-lounge-pop of his last record Underneath the Pine, “So Many Details” is a relaxed funk jam, with hip-hop drums and chopped sampling carrying the song. The subtle hook is echoed with the bass synth in the verses, and before you know it you’re humming it while walking down the street. (Denali)

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05. Autre Ne Veut – “Counting”
From the second this song starts, there is so much going on. Synthesizers, brass instruments, a full choir, and Arthur Ashin’s delicate falsetto vocals. Alternating between quiet, calm moments to frenetic instrumentals keeps you hooked the entire time. Fun fact: this song is not actually about the end of a romantic relationship (as you might have assumed), it’s about his dying grandmother. Suddenly this song is so much sadder 😥 Now go hug your grandma.
(Jasmine)

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04. Grouper – “Vital”
This haunting single off of Groupers’ The Man Who Died in His Boat is one that may leave your insides feeling heavy. The strumming and screeching of the guitar strings are mesmerizing like watching a flickering flame. Harris’s vocals are echoey and hollow and the lyrics are hardly discernible, but this just might be what makes the track so perfect since it gives the listener a chance to absorb whatever meaning they want from the song. The grainy hissing tape fills up any empty space that there would have been. Basically, “Vital” is just more proof that Liz Harris might be an actual real live angel. (Erin)

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03. Oneohtrix Point Never – “Chrome Country”
The children’s choir vocals, piano that weaves in and out of the back and foreground, and the hauntingly beautiful organ outro all combine to make this a masterpiece. My favorite part of this song is how accessible it is outside of the otherwise very cohesive album, it makes the perfect ending to the whole package while also being a fine song all it’s own. (Joey)

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02. Julia Brown – “Library”
When “Library” first debuted, it was with Sam Ray’s previous band Teen Suicide during a live interview right here on KZUU. Teen Suicide announced their dissolution later that month, and “Library” was eventually released on to be close to you, the debut LP by Julia Brown, Ray’s new band featuring some members from his former act. Ray’s complicated, jangly riff gives way to a slow building anthem where piano, viola, and vocal harmonies wrap delicately around tape-hiss. By the time the song got a hi-fi professional studio recorded version in May, it had turned into a full-fledged anthem, crowds of 20-something aged kids screaming along the lyrics at shows. Ray would most likely chuckle at the idea of a bunch of sad kids huddled together singing along to his words, but it’s hard to blame them with a song as endearing as this. (Adam)

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01. Deafheaven – “Dream House”
In our first year living past what was sure to be foretold apocalypse, things got weird. Russian meteors, quitting Popes, secret government leaks, and more political revolutions than you could shake a stick at. But was anything more unexpected than Deafheaven’s rise as one of 2013’s most critically acclaimed bands? “Dream House” is a relentless blast of noise, throwing an onslaught of percussion on top of cascading, shoegaze-textured guitars. Halfway through, everything drops to a freefall with a single guitar solemnly plucking out a meandering melody. When the final blast of energy hits, it’s in a half-speed chug with a soaring guitar ascending skyward.

Despite the audible beauty, Sunbather is a full-body experience. It’s pink-orange cover was meant to represent the hue of closed eyes staring into the sun, and the warmth can be physically felt listening to “Dream House”. As the song closes, vocalist George Clark recalls a conversation between two protagonists: “I am dying.” “Is it blissful?” “It’s like a dream.” “I want to dream.” If there’s one positive to take from a 2013 filled with marathon bombings, garment factory collapses, and record-setting cyclones, it’s that songs like “Dream House” still gave us the assurance that we could find peace in at least one place: our dreams. (Adam)

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