Published Dec 27, 2013When the world starts to spin faster, it helps to dig in heels. Throughout 2013 — a generation past the post-millennial tension of OK Computer and The Sophtware Slump — electrofied indie has once more rebuffed technology's advances, using instruments of the modern condition to barricade against its onrush. Here are five records that, implicitly or otherwise, address a world complicated by advertising, invasive technology and social media.
See our 2013 in Lists section for more of the Year in Music.
5 Tech-Weary Albums of 2013:
Following the youthful insecurity of Native Speaker, Flourish//Perish awakened a more profound unease — that of identity loss and aspiration fatigue in a fast-evolving culture. Tenting self-searching vocals beneath polished-chrome synths, the record explores a technological disconnect shared by fellow Montrealers Doldrums and Blue Hawaii.
"Oversaturated and underwhelmed" begins the quartet's debut, linking online music saturation to postmodern love's inferiority complex. That malaise persists through songs such as "New House," subtly depleted and computerized, and elevates the album as a reflexive comment on the subtleties of modern love, both romantic and musical.
On Me Moan, former trucker Daughn Gibson challenges folk and country tropes for an electrified reimagining of authentic Americana. Rather than directly addressing technology, he signals a comprehensive shift in how folk music views electronic instruments: not futuristic, but realistic.
Innocence is Kinky
One of many modern developments that terrorize Hval is our increased visual media dependency. Here, she addresses the fallout: the title track relates Internet porn's butchering of women's figures to literal disembodiment, while "Oslo Oedipus" describes a familiar metropolitan dystopia, where blank people walk "like friendly zombies."
These New Puritans
Field of Reeds
Ignore the pastoral title: insurgent synths and particle-rush electronics quickly displace Field of Reeds' tranquility. The nature obsessive record's portentous undercurrent crests with "Organ Eternal," all computational organs and glitched rhythms. Note the Kid A-esque closing lyric: "I am in the wrong place, so I will go away."