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Top 20 Rock Albums, December 2013

Top 20 Rock Albums, December 2013


Napster's final Top Rock Roundup of 2013 is a hodgepodge of new releases (Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones' Foreverly), expanded editions (Van the Man's Moondance boxed set) and in-depth anthologies (Yes' The Studio Albums: 1969-1987). But it also contains a few titles I inexplicably slept-on the first time around. These include Laura Marling's Once I Was An Eagle and Natalie Maines' Mother.

As for fans of classic rock, they certainly will be stoked for Neil Young's Live At The Cellar Door, a collection of solo recordings captured at the legendary Washington, D.C. club in 1970. Though the material and mood don't differ all that much from the 2007 set Live at Massey Hall 1971, it does boast rare acoustic renditions of "Down By The River" and "See The Sky About To Rain." The studio version of the latter wouldn't appear on album until 1974's On The Beach.

Yet another live collection worthy of exploration is Exit Stencil Recordings' expanded reissue of Jimmy Bell's Still In Town. Originally released in 1976 on Pere Ubu's Hearthen imprint, the record captures Kent, Ohio's Numbers Band (a cult act, if there ever was one) at the very top of their game. The group was utterly daring in how they fused blues and funk to long instrumental stretches of experimental rock that at times presage the post-punk movement. Happy New Year -- and see you in 2014!

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