I went into 2013 knowing that a new Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album was on the way, and the prospect of Push the Sky Away — featuring Barry Adamson back with the Bad Seeds for the first time since the 80s, but without Mick Harvey — was an intriguing one. Like past Nick Cave-related albums, it’s so hard for me to not be biased since I’m such a huge fan of his work, and the work of the musicians in and around his universe. Which is why when something by Cave comes out, I usually say that there was the Cave album, and all the other great ones.
But Push the Sky Away was my favorite album of 2013, that’s something I’m sure of. As a fan of Cave and his band, I know you go into a new Bad Seeds record with the prospect of either getting the loud or the soft; in this case, we got the latter, but it really didn’t sound like anything else the band has done before.
I found myself cruising through the California desert and listening to New Moon by The Men. I’ll probably never get sick of that one. I was definitely in the pro-Yeezus camp, and was really happy with Silence Yourself by Savages. I felt like tons of bands were trying to achieve that sound a decade ago, and either failed, or just got weirder (Liars are a good example of this). Savages showed a sort of post-post-punk poise most bands can’t muster.
Critical Mass: Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades, and Hurrahs, the collection of James Wolcott’s collected works, should be on the bookshelf of every kid that grows up dreaming of being a critic, while The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig on Pushkin Press is something everybody in love with literature should splurge on. White Girls by Hilton Als should probably have a lot of people revisiting how they write essays, and the Geoff Dyer Art of Nonfiction in the winter issue of The Paris Review could have been book-length and I would have gladly read the entire thing.
I also read a lot of Nancy Mitford, Edith Wharton’s In Morocco, and began working my way through the works of Joris-Karl Huysmans. I said I was going to spend a good chunk of 2013 reading In Search of Lost Time, but ended up taking a break after the first book. Here’s to hoping I can get past the second and third in 2014.