As 2013 draws to close, we asked the DJs of 88.1 KDHX to look back on all the records they heard this year and pick their favorite albums. From blues to bluegrass, indie rock to pop, country to folk, reggae to rock 'n' roll, these lists capture the soundtrack of a great year in music.
As KDHX reaches the end of an era and begins broadcasting from the Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media in Grand Center, we're also reaching the end of 2013.
Snow covered a parking lot occupied by a dozen vehicles. The wintry mix came late but was welcomed by the bands and patrons leaning against the Firebird's brick walls.
Growing up in central Illinois, Ryan Heinz relied on magazine subscriptions, MTV and an occasional road trip to a concert for exposure to music. He still learns from those things, but now also takes tips from blogs and his fellow KDHX DJs when crafting the playlists for his show, "Coin-Operated Radio," which can be heard on Tuesday nights 7-9 p.m. Central.
When I think of my favorite Arcade Fire songs, with "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" and "Rebellion (Lies)" sitting at the top of the list, I find a common thread links them: compared to other Arcade Fire songs, they're the more danceable, more full cuts. I'm a sucker for synths, and Arcade Fire knows how to use them.
The line "Just like a candle in the eye of a hurricane" may have echoes of a certain song about Marilyn Monroe, but "Hurricane" by producer D. James Goodwin's current project Snowflake isn't an elegy: it's a churning, tempestuous vision of art rock.
In Season 9 of "The Simpsons," Lisa is convinced that she possesses a gene that will render her as stupid as Homer and Bart someday, and in an effort to feed her brain with as much culture as possible before its inevitable decline, she goes to a jazz club and is dismayed when another patron compares the performance to someone "hitting a baby with a cat."
Hopping club to club mainly throughout Lower Manhattan, N.Y., save for a handful of shows in Brooklyn, is the only way to absorb the CMJ Music Marathon's seemingly endless array of music. And if not taken in stride, one might easily fade before the finish line.