I’m typically a pessimist, but what a year this has been.
I know that it’s hardly been a year since the label became active again, but this year has been a pop-filled adventure nonetheless. At least for me, personally.
I’m not typically one to write “best of” lists at the year’s end. I always find it impossible to narrow down my list to a manageable number and this year has certainly been no exception. There have been countless releases that I’ve fallen in love with – some hold personal significance in my life while I simply love others for the jangly, frenzied pop songs that they are. My own personal list, without explanation or detail, would be as long as this page. My list for the first half of the year was more than 20 releases long if that’s any indication. But, if you really want to know what my favorite albums or singles of the year were, they’re listed on my personal blog. It was a struggle!
So, instead of focusing on those loved songs or albums that were released this year, I wanted to concentrate on songs that impacted or shaped 2013, regardless of their release date. I don’t know anyone who strictly listens to new releases, anyway.
I have moments in time that encompass my favorite memories of 2013 and many of them involve, or coincide with, particular songs or albums. The songs that made their way to my speakers through hand-written letters or mixtapes, during sing-a-longs on long car rides or listening parties in Swedish living rooms, flipping through LPs in record stores or curled up on snowy mornings. These are those songs that, for myriad different reasons, made this year the tremendous twelve months that they were.
“No One Goes for the Most Clever Girl in Class” – Florian
A good portion of my year concerned my adventure to Sweden. It was spent with one of my favorite people, record shopping around Stockholm and exploring a city I’ve grown to really love and, in a month’s time, will be moving to. One of many favorite memories from my recent trip to Stockholm was sitting around the living room and going through boxes and boxes full of 7-inch EPs, comical record store finds, and old rare indiepop LPs. I was able to listen to (and subsequently sent home with) a good portion of the Fabulous Friends discography, most of which I’d never heard. Florian, Funday Mornings, The Tidy Ups, and Danny Says have all been constant staples on my turntable since my return home.
“Let It Slip” – The School
There isn’t much of a pop scene in New England, but I feel lucky enough to be a little part of it. Cozy basement live recording sessions, video shoots, and long drives to see bands and friends I admire and support. I was lucky enough to see The School twice during their US tour. Danny and I did a lot of driving around this year – sitting in rush hour traffic while attempting to get into Boston for gigs, up the Maine coast where I’d inherit hats found on the beach, or to simply find milkshakes somewhere. As Danny already noted, it also included venturing three hours in a torrential downpour to simply watch The School play in some weird Northampton, Mass., bar. We missed all the other bands, but we didn’t care. This song was a constant staple during our sing-a-long drives. Who could blame us?
“Just a Pup” – The Very Most
NYC Popfest was easily one of the highlights of this year, pop-related or otherwise. I met some incredible people, some of whom I can now call friends. Being around so many people who share an obsessive love of this music just as I do is energizing. The little moments between bands or after each gig were the moments I remember the most. It was picking Danny up at Penn Station because he can’t navigate the subway system, grabbing a bite to eat with Howard and Liam, dancing with Mark, Matthew, and Michael, whiskey with Olive, Lagunitas with Tobias, discovering Sockerbit with Adam. The performances I saw were fantastic, too, of course, but I think that goes without saying. I had the privilege of hanging out with Jeremy (and making sure he wasn’t getting too lost) during the course of the weekend. And, since this summer, Jeremy has become a good friend of mine. He’s an incredibly talented musician and, quite possibly, the nicest person you may ever meet. I’ve been a fan of The Very Most for several years now but I think that the title track of their most recent EP, on the now-defunct Manic Pop! Records, is among my top five favorite TVM tracks.
“Perfect World” – The Proctors
I still remember where I was when I first really heard this song. Actually paying attention, hit full force with those jangly guitar chords. I was standing outside of the Zinkensdamm T-bana station in Södermalm, just two days before my scheduled departure from Sweden. I had two bottles of Loka in my bag, purchased at the same shop I frequented nearly every day for the past two weeks, giving the cashier the same terrible, heavily accented Swedish. He was a real sport about it. One of those bottles of water was probably chocolate milkshake flavored. Very rarely am I actually moved by a song, but this was one of those moments. Blame it on perfect timing, my surroundings, a lot of personal things. Now it just evokes this overwhelming sense of nostalgia. Sometimes I think I am too sentimental for my own good.
In all honesty, though, these moments are so memorable and positive in my mind due to the people I was surrounded by.
It was getting involved, kind of on a whim, with Candy Twist. Granted, Dennis does most of the work, but being able to get to know him, interview some of my favorite bands, and be a part of something I genuinely admire has been a wonderful experience.
It was reviving this label with Danny and interacting with some of the sweetest people I’ve ever encountered – Edward, Huw, Andy, Elaine, Sean, Katie, Patrick, Jason, Elyse, Lisa, Jason, Carly, Evgeniy, Ekaterina, Dylan, and Nathan.
In the same token, the year has been a success because of all of you, the listeners. Without your support or enthusiasm for our releases, it would be unlikely that February Records would carry on after my departure from New England. But that’s not the case. There have been so many nice things said about the songs we’re released and we couldn’t be happier or more thankful for all of you.
So, to everyone who has made 2013 the incredible year it has been, I thank you. I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store.