Listen up, people. Grab your beverage of choice or the stinky, sticky thing you enjoy puffing on, put the volume up, and get ready to judge.
They say the album's dead, but there's no real proof -- no bloody vinyl LPs or strangled cassettes (non-cassingles, of course) lying around with police tape protecting them. At Country Grind, we believe in the album, and so here, we touted the finest groupings of songs from Broward and Palm Beach counties released in 2013.
Our opinionated writers have gathered this list for your education and listening pleasure. Feel free to dissent. Click on.
SIN x Numonics - 7 Deadly
They say they want that old SIN back! And this is what happens when an East Coast tongue meets a bass-heavy producer. Eight months after the release of A Toast To You, SIN joined forces with fellow Broward County producer Numonics to release 7 Deadly in August. It's the first time listeners are given an opportunity to listen to SIN on a Southern-inspired project, and the Rhode Island transplant doesn't disappoint, staying true to his cadence and implementing cunning punch lines and braggadocious rhymes fans are used to, with a twist on songs such as "7 Deadly" and "Steal the Scene" featuring Miami's J.Nics. Lee Castro
Shovelhead - Suffer In Life
We are so enamored with this release that it made it to the company of our top metal albums of 2013 list, which might be perceived as a bit of a stretch for what is essentially a local band's demo. However, Shovelhead hits all of the marks with an ignorantly hard punch for fans of early Swedish death metal and current revivalist thrash. Entombed worship obviously runs rampant on Suffer In Life, but we're not complaining in the slightest, and furthermore, we're ecstatic to see a heavy South Florida band taking on this style: A breath of fresh air amid the occasionally uninspired hardcore and, shall we say "post-Tampa" style death metal the area's heavies tend to deal in. David Von Bader
See also: Top 10 Metal Albums of 2013: Part 1
New Coke - Duct Tape Your Mouth
Lake Worth's version of New Coke is vastly superior to that oddly fizzy corn syrup that Coca-Cola tried to force-feed us a few decades back. Like Coca-Cola itself, this scuzzy trio comes caffeinated, and it shells out high-octane rock 'n' roll, awash in reverb and metered grit -- tearing a page from the art-damaged punk sounds of Suicide and Television. And like fish scale quality cocaine, New Cokes's spectacular three-track seven inch, Duct Tape Your Mouth, is goddammed fire. Delightful chugging guitar fuzz, a la Dinosaur Jr., reverberating over singer/guitarist Danny Morales' understated, could-give-a-fuck delivery. It is an indie-rock gem. Alex Rendon
Will Brennan - Prodigal Son
Like an tweeker wandering the streets at five a.m., hip-hop has grown addicted to the hook. In its rush to drop everything for one inane, memorable refrain, it has dropped the original foundation of rap, the quest for clever, creative rhymes. Enter Will Brennan, the Palm Beach County emcee with the lyrical dexterity of the high school honor student he once was coupled with a respect for the hip-hop that came before him. On opening track "RNR," you can see how he found himself signed to Steve Aoki's Dim Mak Records. He comes out guns blazing like an Andre 3000 for the next generation. Midway through the album comes the song "Bass" with, uh-oh a catchy hook, but Brennan doesn't take the rest of the song off, throwing in for free some X-rated double entendres free of charge. David Rolland
Killmama - Killmama
In 2012, Deerfield Beach chanteuse Sophie Sputnick reinvented herself, joining forces with longtime friend Rob Kingsley on the guitars and forming a bluesy, minimalist, and mucky duo Killmama. In this project, she remerges as an Alison Mossheart-like gritty blues badass and had our jaws dropping to the floor. She hoots and hollers like Jack White on the band's eponymous four-track EP released earlier this year. Highlights "Lost It" and "Bad Reputation" play out like garage-rock set to 11 on Marshall amps, over-modulated walloping romps of filthy goodness you want to take home with you. Alex Rendon
Centuries - Taedium Vitae
We have watched Centuries blossom into a horrifying crust behemoth. Hard years of getting in the van to bludgeon audiences in the US and Europe and honing a sound as oppressive as it is unique, have finally paid off for the Palm Beach-bred hardcore band in 2013 with the release of Taedium Vitae. Their debut full length was released on the taste-making heavy music colossus that is Southern Lord Records. The album does not disappoint. It delves deeper into the experimental noise and crusty intensity the band has been developing for years. But it retains the intellectual elements that set Centuries apart from the pack of tough guy hardcore scenes still unfortunately proliferating around the country. David Von Bader
Mike Mineo - Big Big Star
Known for his tropi-pop live shows all over South Florida, Mike Mineo has emerged as one local artist with a true flare for writing and performing original music. On his latest release, this collaborative dude went totally solo, taking writing, producing, and recording credits on Big Big Star. This album strays from Mineo's standard sunny sound but in the best way possible, experimenting with electronic vibes and sticking to his goofy roots with a bevvy of sound effects. Delivering lyrics about following your dreams and not changing for other people, Mineo was striving for a different type of album by changing up his recording process, and that's exactly what he got. Dana Krangel
Black Seal - Pyre
Do five songs make for an album? If not, we'll make an exception for quality over quantity for this Delray Beach three piece. They describe themselves as psychedelic, though metal and punk definitely are represented. Black Seal's five song EP Pyre is best described as a Black Sabbath cassette tape that has melted under the Florida sun. There are incoherent vocals and heavy atmospherics yet it still retains a head shaking beat. Pyre is the swamp drained away to build a gun range. At times violent and upsetting, the natural waters with all its beauty still come flooding in from time to time. This is music that could soundtrack an epic, while still dangerous enough to upset your parents. David Rolland
Beach Day - Trip Trap Attack
Hollywood, Florida's Beach Day turned a lot of heads in 2013, and it wasn't just because of how attractive the band is. The trio landed on Kanine Records (home to orchestral indie stalwarts Grizzy Bear and West Palm Beach's homeboys-made-good Surfer Blood) and released its debut album, Trip Trap Attack, in 2013 to much hullaballoo on the interwebs. And rightfully so, the record is an infectious collection of girl group-inspired numbers with just the right amount of surf side scuzz -- picture what the Ronettes would have sounded like with better amps and access to distortion guitar pedals. Blissful and perky, but slightly naughty. Alex Rendon
Robb Bank$ - Tha City
Forget Broward and Palm Beach, Robb Bank$ has the most puntastic name of any emcee in any county globally. His 2013 mixtape Tha City is also thinking internationally with each of the 15 tracks dedicated to a different city. From "All The Way Live" dedicated to Fort Lauderdale to "Broward County Legend" shouting out his home base, Coral Springs to "Heartbreaker" for London. In spite of its penchant for geography, Tha City was not inspired by Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego, but rather by gross-out horror movies like V/H/S and The Human Centipede, the sorrowful loneliness of unlikely musical heroes Sade and Portishead, as well as the hip-hop underground. David Rolland
Darling Sweets - To the Roads We Left Behind
The Darling Sweets emerged as one of the leaders of Lake Worth's gutter-punk-lost-in-the-swamp, whatever-you-want-to-call-it scene this year with the release of its charming debut To the Roads We Left Behind. Although much less hillbilly folk than their L Dub contemporaries, Adam Sheetz strums the banjo with striking precision and lead vocalist Lindsey Sayre's sweetly lush vocals draw inspiration from Mary Chapin Carpenter. It's Americana light fare, with a touch of jug band, and rockabilly -- a combo that gives this record a timeless feel. It would sound equally as appropriate heard in a current Lake Worth dive bar as in a '60s Mississippi juke joint. Alex Rendon
The Band in Heaven - Caught In A Summer Swell
Hard to believe that this is the first full length LP from breezy/dreamy rockers the Band in Heaven. As one of the more established groups in Palm Beach County, it plays a fair share of local festivals and even brought its musical stylings to the NYC this year for CMJ. Now with its ideal lineup, this band took the time and worked together to make the record it wanted -- a 10-song journey into the perfect summer, full of friends and struggles, parties and questions. Lead single "Dandelion Wine" has singers Ates Isildak and Lauren Dwyer trading lead vocals while twisting through a summer day, subsequently creating an instant hit and defining their sound. Dana Krangel
Surfer Blood - Pythons
Around these here parts, Surfer Blood is kind of a big deal. They are sizable enough on the global circuit to play festivals like Outside Lands or tour Australia, but there's still a pretty decent chance you will run into one of the band members at Respectables on a Thursday night. For their sophomore record, these West Palm natives ditched their indie cred to sign with the big boys of Warner Brothers Records. In the process, they got to work with Pixies producer Gil Norton and evolve their sound, as every band should, on their second record. Still maintaining their strong songwriting prowess and beachy tunes, it's always a treat to hear a new Surfer Blood song, and we can't help to feel a little 561 pride every single time. Dana Krangel
Jim Camacho - Everywhere
Okay, I admit it. I have an unabashed bias for any music made by Jim Camacho. And even though I'm occasionally mocked for making that fact obvious, I'll risk the ridicule by nominating Everywhere as one of the best efforts to spring from South Florida this past year. Don't let the fact that it contains only five songs dissuade you; Camacho's first collection of new songs since his critically acclaimed album Beachfront Defeat in 2009, affirms the fact -- yet again -- that when it comes to local singer/songwriters who are adept at mining both mood and melody, no one does it better than this former Goods guy. Highlights include the irrepressible "Big Little World" and the title track, but with five songs in total, it's a good bet that every one of them is going to shine. Even if there were 20 tracks, no doubt the same thing could be said. Lee Zimmerman
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