The Best St. Louis Music Releases of 2013

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Pretty Little Empire: Pretty Little Empire

This third, self-titled record achieves what the band was driving at with its two previous (and worthwhile) LPs. Justin Johnson's songs simmer with a sometimes-quiet, sometimes-raucous intensity, and his bandmates match him with an almost cinematic scope throughout the album.

The Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra: Revue Songs

For a musical troupe built around prioritizing instrumental music over lyrics, the group's first proper recording turns that around. Instead of soundtracking silent films (as is its wont), R&PMPO paired up with Wax Wine's Natalie Huggins for a six-song tour of American poet Wallace Stevens' work that is dramatic and forceful.

Tower Groove 7-inch Series

Yeah, it's a bit of a cheat to include this catch-all collection of 24 local bands spread over 12 slabs of wax, but we're saluting the aesthetic and execution as much as the inspired A-side/B-side pairing. The Tower Groove honchos didn't stick with one genre or design principle for this series, and that's a hopeful thought for whatever comes next for the DIY label.

Top Ten Songs from other notable 2013 releases

Bruiser Queen: "In Your Room" (single) Jon Hardy & the Public: "In the Morning" (single) Humdrum: "Electric Dice" (We Are Electricity) Pokey LaFarge: "Close the Door" (Pokey LaFarge) Cassie Morgan: "A Day Longer" (single) Parisian: "Sean" (single) Picture Day: "Mandoline" (Every Day is Picture Day) Ransom Note: "Are You Waiting" (Big Soul) Sleepy Kitty: "Hold Yr Ground" (Projection Room) Tight Pants Syndrome: "Cherry Don't Quit" (All Alive)

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