The Best of 2013: Staff Picks

The top 10 favorites from FUV staffers, DJs and the rest of us music fanatics.

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Russ Borris | Corny O'Connell | Carmel Holt | Dennis Elsas | Darren DeVivo | John Platt | Alisa Ali | Eric Holland | Paul Cavalconte | Sarah Wardrop | Kara Manning | Bob Sherman | Laura Fedele | Jim O'Hara | Shari Rosen Ascher | Joey Delvecchio | Quinn Harris | Luke McCanna | Diona Phoenix |

See: Listener Poll

Russ Borris

Music Director and Host of The Alternate Side on FUV

  • John Grant, "G.M.F."
  • Okkervil River, "Down Down the Deep River"
  • Man Man, "Head On"
  • Phosphorescent, "Song For Zula"
  • Haim, "The Wire"
  • Kanye West, "Black Skinhead"
  • Chromeo, "Over Your Shoulder"
  • Daft Punk, "Get Lucky"
  • Justin Timberlake, "Mirror"
  • James Blake, "Overgrown"

Corny O'Connell

FUV Weekday Host

   (alphabetical by artist)

  • Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes, “Love Letter”
  • Daft Punk, "Get Lucky"
  • Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, “Party Kids”
  • Mayer Hawthorne, “The Stars Are Ours”
  • Iron & Wine, “The Desert Babbler”
  • Little Green Cars, “My Love Took Me Down to the River to Silence Me”
  • The Lone Bellow, “You Never Need Nobody"
  • The Mavericks, “Come Unto Me”
  • Milton, “Nashville Sun”
  • The Veils, “Train with No Name”

Carmel Holt

FUV Weekday Host, Assistant Music Director

  • San Fermin, "Sonsick"
  • Iron & Wine, "Grace For Saints & Ramblers"
  • Phoenix, "Trying To Be Cool"
  • Junip, "Your Life, Your Call"
  • Lorde, "Royals"
  • Tired Pony, "All Things All At Once"
  • Asgeir, "King And Cross"
  • The Head and the Heart, "Let's Be Still"
  • Arcade Fire, "Reflektor"
  • Washed Out, "It All Feels Right"

Dennis Elsas

FUV Weekday Host

    (alphabetical by artist)

  • The Avett Brothers, "Another is Waiting"
  • Aloe Blacc, "Wake Me Up (Acoustic)"
  • Neko Case, "Man"
  • Mayer Hawthorne, "The Stars Are Ours"
  • The Lone Bellow, "Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold"
  • Paul McCartney, "New"
  • Minor Alps, "I Don't Know What to Do With My Hands"
  • Tame Impala, "Elephant"
  • J Roddy Walston and The Business, "Marigold"
  • The Wild Feathers, "The Ceiling"

Darren DeVivo

FUV Weekday and FUV Music Weekend Host

    (alphabetical by artist)

  • Arcade Fire, "Reflektor," Reflektor
  • David Bowie, "Where Are We Now?," The Next Day
  • John Grant, "GMF," Pale Green Ghosts
  • Mayer Hawthorne, "The Stars Are Ours," Where Does This Door Go
  • Iron & Wine, "The Desert Babbler," Ghost on Ghost
  • Elton John, "Home Again," The Diving Board
  • Paul McCartney, "Queenie Eye," New
  • Pearl Jam, "Sirens," Lightning Bolt
  • Chris Stamey, "You N Me N XTC," Lovesick Blues
  • Yo La Tengo, "Ohm," Fade

John Platt

Sunday Breakfast Host

  • Dawes, "From a Window Seat"
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead, "Life Is Better With You"
  • Iron & Wine, "The Desert Babbler"
    Brian Wilson meet Sam Beam.
  • Moby, "The Perfect Life"
  • Willie Nile, "American Ride"
  • Over the Rhine, "All Over Ohio"
  • Jean Rohe & The End of the World, "Show Umbrella"
  • Amy Speace, "The Sea & the Shore"
    A duet with John Fullbright.
  • The Levins, "Dropping Keys"
  • The Lone Bellow, "You Never Need Nobody"
  • Lorde, "Royals"
    Not really for Sunday Breakfast, but who can resist it?

Alisa Ali

The Alternate Side Host, Producer & On-Air Interviewer for WFUV

  • Phosphorescent, "Song For Zula"
    This might be the most perfect song of the year. It's absolutely gorgeous. I won't hear otherwise!
  • Laura Mvula, "Green Garden"
    Possibly the most impressive vocals of any release in the past few years. Stunning. And so catchy too.
  • Courtney Barnett, "Avant Gardener"
    This song is amazing. Funny. Witty. Smart and rockin'. Love love love.
  • Torres, "Honey"
    This woman's voice is so emotional and raw and she is a guitar shredder too. What a perfect combo.
  • Kurt Vile, "KV Crimes"
    I love his guitar style and this is also one of my favorite albums of the year.
  • Jim James, "Know Til Now"
    Hard to pick just one fave. This song is from his solo album, Regions of Light and Sound of God, which is in my top ten albums of the year.
  • Yo La Tengo, "Ohm"
    This is one of the many beautiful songs from their album Fade which is one of the best releases on 2013 (in my humble opinion). Also, Yo La Tengo have been consistently putting out great albums for so many years and have always "resisted the flow" of the obvious and instead create a sound completely unique to them.
  • Washed Out, "It All Feels Right"
    I love the warmth of this song — in fact the whole record. The video to this is great too!
  • Chvrches, "The Mother We Share"
    I feel a little guilty listing this song since I first heard it in 2012 (it was released as a single) BUT the song is featured on the band's debut EP and full-length album which came out this year and I still love it, so it makes my list.
  • Disclosure, "When A Fire Starts To Burn"
    This album is really awesome. This song in particular gets me — especially the sample of the guy saying, "Don't wanna do nothin' with they life." I love that. This song brings that attitude home!

    Honorable mentions to:
  • Andrew Bird, "Pulaski at Night"
    I pounce on any new material from him. Why do I love Andrew Bird so much? His voice, smart and clever lyrics and... the strings. It makes my heart swell.
  • Neko Case, "Night Still Comes"
    Her cadence is so moving and hil-arious. I've had the line, "You never held it at the riiiight angle" looping in my brain for a long time.
  • Portugal. The Man, "Holy Roller"
    Hard to pick just one fave. This song is from their album Evil Friends, which is in my top ten albums of the year.

Eric Holland

Host, WFUV, FUV Music Weekend and The Alternate Side

  • Tame Impala, "Elephant"
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, "Jubilee Street"
  • Lorde, "Royals"
  • Josh Ritter, "Hopeful"
  • Arctic Monkeys, "R U Mine?"
  • Clairy Browne & The Bangin' Rackettes, "Love Letter"
  • The White Buffalo, "Joey White"
  • Billy Bragg, "Handyman Blues"
  • Daft Punk, "Get Lucky"
  • Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, "Party Kids"

Paul Cavalconte

WFUV Guest Host

  • Iron & Wine, "Grace For Saints And Ramblers"
    Sublime. The 21st Century's "Madame George." The coming-of-age song for people who actually grew up happy.
  • Lorde, "Royals"
    2013's most irresistable earworm. A teen anthem for all ages.
  • Neko Case, "Night Still Comes"
    A noble ballad of disenfranchisement and loss. And catchy. Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day?
  • Little Green Cars, "My Love Took Me Down To The River To Silence Me"
    Neko Case's trip, but from the 20-year-old's point of view. And Irish. Red hair, tears and harmonies. Have you ever heard a song quite like this before?
  • Jake Bugg, "Two Fingers"
    Smoke 'em if you got 'em. I don't anymore, but Jake, you can have my collection of lighters.
  • Arcade Fire, "Reflektor"
    The get-down groove for a Godless age. A whole new spin on the mirror-ball from the band that re-invents at every turn.
  • David Bowie, "The Stars Are Out Tonight"
    Only Bowie could (a) come back (b) be relevant (c) charm and creep you out at the same time. Hey creepy stars — mind your own business.
  • Phosphorescent, "Ride On/Right On"
    The best rationale for blowing retirement savings on a convertible I've ever heard.
  • Vampire Weekend, "Diane Young"
    It's been a long time since we've rock and rolled. Glad that our beloved Columbia boys still remember how.
  • Daft Punk, "Get Lucky"
    In a year of one ridiculous retro-pastiche after another (have we all forgotten Foxygen yet?) this one's a keeper. But Nile Rogers never went out of style.

Sarah Wardrop

Assistant Program Director, FUV Music Weekend Host

    (alphabetical by artist)

  • Arcade Fire, "Here Comes The Night Time"
  • Neko Case, "Ragtime"
  • Elvis Costello & The Roots, "Wise Up Ghost"
  • Deer Tick, "Big House"
  • Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, "Shivers"
  • Leagues, "Spotlight"
  • Lucius, "Turn It Around"
  • Man Man, "Head On"
  • Erin McKeown, "Histories"
  • Laura Mvula, "She"/"Green Garden" (tie)

    Also stuck in my head a lot (in a good way):
  • Daft Punk, "Get Lucky"
  • Iron & Wine, "Grace For Saints and Ramblers"
  • Little Green Cars, “My Love Took Me Down to the River to Silence Me”
  • Lorde, "Royals"
  • The Replacements, "I'm Not Sayin'"
  • San Fermin, "Sonsick"
  • Tegan & Sara, "Closer"

Kara Manning

UKNY Host, Content Editor for The Alternate Side, On-Air Interviewer for TAS/FUV

  • These New Puritans, "Organ Eternal"
    A song that reaches for infinity; an astonishing and beautiful idyll from a band that shapeshifts with every album.
  • Jon Hopkins, "Immunity"
    The breathtaking title track — and closing movement — of Jon Hopkins' all-night East London odyssey of clubbing, comedowns, late night introspection and morning meditation.
  • Atoms For Peace, "Ingenue"
    Has Thom Yorke ever sounded more sexy? The album (and video) version of this lovely track is as delicate as a dandelion, but the acoustic rendition that Yorke did for ITV's The Jonathan Ross Show serves up a greater emotional wallop.
  • Public Service Broadcasting, "Night Mail"
    PSB's superb debut album, Inform-Educate-Entertain, is a spirited union of propulsive motorik, smartly sampled film dialogue, driving guitar, cantering banjo and a sly sense of humor. "Night Mail," a single inspired by Britain's overnight express mail trains, burns with a thrilling moment of tension resolved with a screeching release.
  • Karl Hyde, "Your Perfume Was The Best Thing"
    A dreamy, shimmering love song inspired by a close call; a perfectly-crafted realization of the joy and fragility of life on an otherwise mundane day.
  • Yo La Tengo, "Ohm"
    This trio can do no wrong, can they? Perfection. "Ohm" is epic in its simple, boundless grace and breadth.
  • Samaris, "Góða tungl"
    This trio of Reykjavíc teenagers released a compilation of their two EPs, every song featuring lyrics gleaned from 19th century Icelandic poems. The incantation of their single "Góða Tungl" is as hushed and magical as a midnight snowfall.
  • Everything Everything, "Duet"
    This third single from Arc sums up everything that's so appealing about this Manchester band: sophisticated arrangements, an unpredictable destination, deft musicianship and Jonathan Higgs' wistful, soaring falsetto.
  • Laura Mvula, "That's Alright"
    Perhaps it's the "Tusk"-like beat accompanying Mvula's mighty presence on this single that appeals to me so much, but it's the whole of her debut album, Sing To The Moon, that resonates with diverse threads, musical acumen and quiet artistry.
  • My Bloody Valentine, "New You"
    So pretty. Kevin Shields' hazy, obfuscated equivalent of a Bacharach-David song punctuated by Bilinda Butcher's cryptic coos, as if Dusty Springfield enveloped in mist.

    Bonus Albums:
  • Jagwar Ma (Howlin)
  • Daft Punk (Random Access Memories)
  • Daniel Avery (Drone Logic)
  • Boards of Canada (Tomorrow's Harvest).
    A wealth of fine "singles" define Jagwar Ma and Daniel Avery's impressive debuts and Daft Punk's juggernaut of a summer album. Boards of Canada's Tomorrow's Harvest is an immersive experience; it feels meagre to define it by one song (something to be said about everything on this list).

Bob Sherman

Woody's Children Host

  • Brother Sun, "These Hands," Some Part of the Truth
  • John Wort Hannam, "Radiant Land," Brambles and Thorns
  • Kim and Reggie Harris, "Roll On Woody," Resurrection Day
  • Anne Hills, "Time To Spare," The Things I Notice Now
  • Mara Levine, "When I Sing With You," Jewels and Harmony
  • John McCutcheon, "Forgotten," 22 Days
  • Naming the Twins, "Huckleberry Finn," Drifters and Dreamers
  • Tom Russell, "If I Were a Child," Salute to Nanci Griffith
  • Laura Smith, "Safe Home Sweet Light," Everything is Moving
  • Dar Williams, "Write This Number Down," In the Time of Gods

Laura Fedele

New Media Director

  • Calexico, "Para," Algiers
  • Dawes, "From a Window Seat," Stories Don't End
  • Iron & Wine, "Baby Center Stage," Ghost On Ghost
  • Lorde, "Royals," Pure Heroine
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, "Same Love," The Heist
  • Neko Case, "Night Still Comes," The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
  • Phosphorescent, "Ride On/Right On," Muchacho
  • The Head and The Heart, "Gone," Let's Be Still
  • The Lone Bellow, "Green Eyes And A Heart Of Gold," The Lone Bellow
  • The National, "Don't Swallow the Cap," Trouble Will Find Me

    This is my year for the deep tracks — that deep, too-long-for-radio anthem. See: Calexico, Iron & Wine, The Head and the Heart.

Jim O'Hara

Associate Director of Technical Operations

   (in order of awesomeness)

  • Man Man, "Head On"
  • Phosphorescent, "Song for Zula"
  • Nice Cave and the Bad Seeds, "Push The Sky Away"
  • San Fermin, "Sonsick"
  • Local Natives, "Heavy Feet"
  • James Blake, "Overgrown"
  • Lucius, "Don't Just Sit There"
  • The National, "I Should Live in Salt"
  • Little Green Cars, "My Love Took Me Down to the River to Silence Me"
  • Haim, "Forever"

Shari Rosen Ascher

Corporate Underwriting Sales Director

  • Vampire Weekend, "Ya Hey"
  • Mayer Hawthorne, "The Stars Are Ours"
  • Billie Joe and Norah, "Long Time Gone"
  • Elvis Costello and The Roots, "Walk Us Uptown"
  • Dawes, "Most People"
  • The Tedeschi Trucks Band, "Made Up Mind"
  • Daft Punk, "Get Lucky"
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead, "Life is Better With You"
  • Lorde, "Royals"

Joey Delvecchio

Traffic and Continuity Director

  • Pearl Jam, "Mind Your Manners"
  • Jason Isbell, "Elephant"
  • Jason Isbell, "Live Oak"
  • Jason Isbell, "Cover Me Up"
  • Frightened Rabbit, "The Woodpile"
  • Foals, "Holy Fire"
  • Kings of Leon, "Temple"
  • Lorde, "Royals"
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Sacrilege"
  • Tired Pony, "All Things All At Once"

Quinn Harris

WFUV Music Manager

  • Swamp Dogg, "Synthetic World"
    This year his legendary 1970 southern soul masterpiece Total Destruction to Your Mind was reissued. Once you get over his name, purchase this record immediately. “Synthetic World” is one of the best soul songs of all time and I’d stand on Otis Redding’s coffee table and say that.
  • Parquet Courts, "Stoned and Starving"
  • William Onyeabor, "Fantastic Man"
  • Lucero, "The Other Side of Lonesome"
  • Charles Bradley, "Strictly Reserved for You"
  • King Khan & the Shrines, "Bite My Tongue"
  • The Replacements, "I'm Not Sayin'"
  • Kurt Vile, "Wakin' on a Pretty Day"
  • Foxygen, "No Destruction"
  • Milk Music, "Illegal and Free"

Luke McCanna

WFUV Music Librarian

  • Janelle Monae feat. Erykah Badu, "Q.U.E.E.N."
  • Chance The Rapper feat. Kiara Lanier, Will from the Omy's, B.J. The Chicago Kid, Lili K, Peter CottonTale, "Good A** Intro"
  • Savages, "Shut Up"
  • Deafhaven, "Dream House"
  • Autre Ne Veut, "Ego Free Sex Free"
  • James Blake feat. Chance The Rapper, "Life Round Here"
  • Thundercat, "Oh Sheit It's X"
  • Earl Sweatshirt feat. Vince Staples & Casey Veggies, "Hive"
  • Shlohmo, "Later"
  • August Alsina feat. Trinidad James, "I Love This S**t"

Diona Phoenix

Management Graduate Assistant

  • Daft Punk, "Get Lucky"
  • Lorde, "Royals"
  • The Internet, "Dontcha"
    Interesting facts: lead singer is Syd from Odd Future, song was co-produced by Chad Hugo of The Neptunes and Mike Einziger of Incubus.
  • Pharrell, "Happy"
  • J. Cole, "Runaway"
  • Wale, "LoveHate Thing"
  • John Legend, "Made To Love"
  • Aloe Blacc, "Wake Me Up"
  • The Strokes, "Slow Animals"
  • Jhene Aiko, "The Worst"  

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