Ours - End of Year List 2013 by James Villa

The End of Year Top Three by James Villa

The End of Year Top Three.
Ours | Rob Zombie | Buckcherry

“Our staff picks their top three records of 2013 and shares them with you.”

-By James Villa –

I’m not much for lists, as they are usually just overwrought personal opinions. But then again, this is my opinion, so perhaps I’ll let myself off the hook.

There was a lot of great music this year, but really only a few releases were in constant rotation on my iTunes playlist. Below is a quick hit of my top three, the how, the why; you get the idea.

Confessions by Buckcherry

#3. “Confessions” by Buckcherry

Let me stop you now before you smirk, or snap at even the near mention of a Buckcherry release ever making a favorable list of any kind.

This year Buckcherry took their sound and songwriting to another level, my attention span on any previous release has been limited to one or two songs at the most, but Confessions changed that. Buckcherry took a concept, “The Seven Deadly Sins,” and crafted an entire album which reflected what each of those sins represented in vocalist Josh Todd’s life.

Most people including myself shriek when the term “concept album” is attached to a release, but the band took the time to render several videos to accompany the album, which helped me to visualize the varied messages throughout the record.  The videos have collected so much traction that even a short film is now in the works.

Favorite Tracks; “Nothing Left But Tears”, “Gluttony”, “Truth”, and “Greed”.

"Venomous Rat Regenerator Vendor" by Rob Zombie (2013)

 #2. “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor” by Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie’s latest release Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor took the normally predictable, and somewhat overproduced, sound of Rob Zombie to a different level. Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor had a great blend of unforeseeable anthems, and resurrected a long time Grand Funk Railroad classic, “We’re an a American Band,” helping to shape one of Zombies strongest releases to date. With the release of Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor, Zombie’s live show has seemingly regained the vigor it had previously lost during support for past Zombie releases.

Whether you’re a fan of Rob Zombie or not you owe it to yourself to take 38 minutes and 45 seconds out of your day to listen.

Favorite Tracks; “Trade In Your Guns For A Coffin”, “Lucifer Rising”, “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown”, and “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy”.

"Ballet the Boxer" by OURS

#1.  “Ballet the Boxer” by Ours

One thing that can be said about Jimmy Gnecco above all else is that he truly creates music without fear. With the release of each new album, Gnecco’s Ours take their loyal fan base on a musical journey most bands could only dream of. The singer’s authoritative, and at times morose, vocals take the listener on a emotional roller coaster, and man, do I love roller coasters.

Ballet the Boxer’s minimalistic take on the often over-produced recording process lets the record breath and shape itself. In fact, the album’s raw under-produced sound can, at times, make the listener feel as though you and the band are in the same room.

If you aren’t a fan, become one. Ballet the Boxer is exquisite.

Favorite Tracks; “Devil”, “Been Down”, “Sing”, and “Get Em Out”.

*Honorable Mention*  “Hail to the King” by Avenged Sevenfold

I’m going to go on a limb hear and add an honorable mention to this list. Even though Avenged Sevenfold’s latest, Hail to the King, was bashed by mainstream media, I really enjoyed it. I actually became a fan of the band after hearing it.

The album took many of the elements and influences that clearly shaped and defined their musical career and created something familiar, yet their own.

I get it; the record can come off as a bit over-the-top, but hey, sometimes change should be rewarded. C’mon, a new year is dawning.

James Villa