Best Albums of 75% of 2013 So Far


The Best

Kanye West – Yeezus
Phosphorescent – Muchacho
Drake – Nothing Was The Same
Volcano Choir – Repave
Disclosure – Settle
Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe
Jason Isbell – Southeastern
The Weeknd – Kiss Land
Icona Pop – This is… Icona Pop
Flume – Flume
The National – Trouble Will Find Me
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

The Rest

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
John Mayer – Paradise Valley
The National – Trouble Will Find Me
HAIM – Days are Gone
Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer, Different Park
The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
AlunaGeorge – Body Music
Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God

Other things worth listening to:

Akron/Family – Sub Verses
Woodkid – The Golden Age
Daughn Gibson – Me Moan
Lightning Dust – Fantasy
Deptford Goth – Life After Defo
Little Boots – Nocturnes
Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety
Daughter – If You Leave
Flume – Flume

House of Balloons, chock full of samples


The story of The Weeknd is folklore by now, but you may not realize how much of the first mixtape, House of Balloons, is cribbed from other artists. I don’t think it diminishes the record, but you probably have no idea how much Beach House you are listening to in the background. House of Balloons is the first of 3 mixtapes that dropped in 2010 under the moniker of The Weeknd, all 3 later released as the remastered / repackaged Trilogy.

“House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls”

Samples “Happy House” by Siouxsie and the Banshees. “This is… a Happy House…” etc, listen for it:

Stuffed in the background is this track from 1980:

“The Party & The After Party”

The first half of the track happens over a sped-up version of Beach House’s “Master of None” from their 2006 self-titled debut. Here’s The Weeknd sampling it, I was floored how much of this track is based on it:

And here’s the original Beach House version:

“Loft Music”

“Loft Music” features another sped-up, flanged-out Beach House track, from 2008’s Devotion, “Gila.”

Here’s the original, which inspires the vibe of the whole tune at double speed:

“The Knowing”

This track features sped-up, warped bits of the Cocteau Twins track “Cherry Coloured Funk” from their record Heaven or Las Vegas, also the name of a track on The Weeknd’s mixtape, Thursday. It’s the first thing you hear:

Cocteau Twins:

“What You Need”

The version which ultimately ended up on Trilogy is devoid of “Rock the Boat” by Aaliyah, but the original mixtape version has excerpts:


There was some beef from Jeremy Rose (the producer of “What You Need,” “The Party & The After Party,” and “Loft Music”) about not getting proper credit for his role on the record. Ironically, 2 of those tunes are the ones which sample Beach House the most.

Listen to This: “Trilogy” by The Weeknd

So, it turns out there’s a genre named “PBR&B.” I had never heard of it til last night, but I think it is my new favorite type of music. I was telling some friends last week about how much I love the Frank Ocean record, and they responded with “you’d love The Weeknd.” Luckily, last week, Trilogy was released – remastered versions of The Weeknd’s 3 brilliant mixtapes from 2011. This being 2012, do we all include it in our best of lists, or is it honorable mention with a footnote?

It’s a lot of music to listen to, but it captures a vibe I can’t get enough of. It’s like Portishead,  Porcelain Raft, and Frank Ocean having a conversation about sex while on drugs, quietly, in Canada (? that’s where Abel Tesfaye is from). And he was also a co-writer of Drake’s Take Care.

The review on eMusic by Barry Walters

“The Morning”

“High for This”

“Wicked Games”