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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Best St. Louis Music Releases of 2013

Posted By on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 5:04 AM

It's hard evidence of a vital music community when this local-release column only touches a fraction of what was released in 2013. Sins of omission aside, here's what caught my ear most this year: established bands hitting their stride, scene veterans trying new things and a few new faces making impressive introductions. --Christian Schaeffer, Senior Music Writer

See Also: The Top 20 St. Louis Concerts of 2013

In no particular order, these are the albums we found most noteworthy this year. Click on the band/album names to read our full reviews:

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Beth Bombara: Raise Your Flag/Blind Eyes, World Record

These two EPs were released simultaneously with a summer show at Off Broadway, and both releases find these veteran acts at their comfortable best. Blind Eyes makes its recording debut as a quartet, and writing songs with Andy White's guitar leads in mind (as opposed to draping them atop existing songs) cuts a leaner figure for the band. Bombara has likewise tinkered with lineups and found has found a groove for her rootsy, evolving song craft.

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Cave States: Great Divide

Coming at a midpoint between releases by Danny Kathriner's Half Knots and Chris Grabau's Magnolia Summer (which will release a new LP in January), Cave States finds both singer-songwriters passing acoustic, hand-hewn songs back and forth while stripping these tunes down to their Americana core.

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Grace Basement: Wheel Within a Wheel

Kevin Buckley decided to overhaul his outfit Grace Basement for its third outing by unplugging and embracing the folk music that had colored his earlier work. With a crack band and his best batch of songs to date, Buckley started his own quiet revolution.

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Kentucky Knife Fight: Hush Hush

Hush Hush was the record that matched Jason Holler's gutter-beat tone poems with the noir/blues of his bandmates. David Beeman's production fills in the creases with the right mix of analog warmth and guitar-led swagger.

Continue for more of the best releases of the year.

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