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THE BEST LOCAL ALBUMS OF 2013

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10. Johnny Polygon The Nothing 2013 belonged to the introspective rappers — the ones who found their strength in going soft and whose heads, hearts and souls lay open for listeners to poke around in. Tulsa emcee Johnny Polygon tips open his brain like a cap on The Nothing, baring weed-soaked nuggets of self-truths that are as sonically immersive (“Purple Mess”) as disarmingly honest (“Love Sick (Super Nintendo)”). — Joshua Boydston 

9. John Moreland In the Throes If
Oklahoma’s vast plains of wheat could sing, they’d sound a lot like
John Moreland, whose impassioned bellow, deeply embedded rasp and head
for Southern poetry must have been forged through the same cast that
gave us Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen. In the Throes stands as a humble collection of songs (highlighted by “Gospel”) that might belong to the past but still echo true today. — JB 

8. Depth & Current

Transient Few
terms are as cringeworthy as “darkwave.” Yet while you probably spent
way too much time figuring out what labels you want to slap on them,
Norman’s Depth & Current were busy chugging out hypnotically
abrasive sound collages, just as they did on Transient. No
matter what you settled on — darkwave, no wave, post-industrial,
shoegaze, whatever — Depth & Current remain as studious as any when
it comes to their craft, and Transient is a fine example. — Zach Hale 

7. Poolboy Soda Kids Frenetic is a most apt descriptor for Norman punk trio Poolboy’s debut EP, Soda Kids, a
blink-and-you’ll-miss it, four-song, six-minute snot rocket that takes
off like a Mountain Dew bottle fresh out of a paint shaker.

Beneath
the face-shredding whip of fuzz lies an impressive propensity for
sweet-as-spiked-lemonade melodies that hold up well against Thee Oh Sees
or Wavves, best heard in “The Thing About It Is” and “Explode.” — JB 

6. Power Pyramid The God Drums Like so many before them, The God Drums owes
more than a debt of gratitude to My Bloody Valentine. Yet where other
shoegaze acts might shy away from the comparison, OKC’s Power Pyramid
revels in it. You would too if you could craft soundscapes this
immersive, melodies this haunting or songs this mesmerizing. In this
sense, The God Drums is one of the year’s most confident and
riveting debuts, one that offers potential as vast as the sonic terrain
the album inhabits. — ZH

5. Samantha Crain Kid Face Had
she been born 40 years earlier, Shawnee’s Samantha Crain would have
been a household name. Her music ubiquitously recalls those from decades
past — from Joan Baez to Grateful Dead — with songwriting so crisp
you’d think it had been baking in the Woodstock sun all afternoon. With Kid Face, Crain
won the hearts of critics and fans alike through refined songcraft and
her uniquely saccharine singing voice. It’s music that, no matter how
far it reaches, will always belong to Oklahoma. — ZH 

4. Skating Polly Lost Wonderfuls You’d
find no shortage of aspiring rock stars roaming through the halls of
your local high school, but Skating Polly is about the only pair who
make songs catchy and clever enough that make veteran musicians take
notice. Lost Wonderfuls — anchored by “Placer,” “Carrots” and
“Mr. Proper English Man” — chugs along with a Pixies-esque veracity,
viciousness and potency to each passing track, and this sophomore
release accelerated Skating Polly’s departure from novelty amusement to
star attraction. — JB 

3. The Flaming Lips The Terror You
could probably count on one hand the bands that rejected creative
stagnation three decades and fourteen albums in, but The Flaming Lips
would be one of them. The Terror is unlike anything the Oklahoma
mainstays have released in a career defined by capricious evolution and
reinvention. While drawing on the harrowing drones and clankity-clanks
of 2009’s Embryonic, The Terror completes the transformation from
radio-friendly poptimists to finger-giving sound experimentalists. And
why the hell not? They’ve earned that right. — ZH 

2. Husbands Singles While
OKC natives Wil Norton and Danny Davis have yet to put out an album, EP
or cohesive release of any sort, this list would be remiss to not
include their bedroom beach-pop project Husbands. The duo eschewed a
traditional release model by posting a song a week to their Bandcamp
page, which now features 16 of the most alluring and enveloping pop
songs put out by anyone — local or otherwise — this year, leaving those
fortunate enough to have followed them awash in reverb-doused melody. — ZH 

1. Tallows — Memory Marrow There’s
little in this world as refreshing as the wide-eyed, childlike wonder
bottled up and sprinkled into the nine songs that make up Tallows’ Memory Marrow, a
debut album that sprints across musical borders — freak folk, indie
rock, twee pop, electronic — like its life depended on it. By the
record’s end, the fourpiece has returned with the most beautiful piece
of each territory, both captivating (“Soft Water,” “Flat Bones”) and
soothing (“1414”) us in near-transcendental fashion along the way — no
small feat for a first expedition. — JB

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