Boxx couldn’t let the year end without taking a look back at music’s high notes. From our favorite albums and music videos to the breakthroughs and comebacks we didn’t see coming, our critics have assembled a yearbook of Top 10 lists. Today, we list our Top 10 Comebacks of 2013 (in no particular order). Stay tuned in the days ahead for more coverage, culminating in our 2014 preview.
Sure, the Deal sisters have kept busy with solo projects and knitting the past few years, even touring and releasing albums under the Breeders name as recently as 2009’s Fate to Fatal EP. But for old-school Breeders purists, the Last Splash-era lineup of Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson will always trump any other incarnations. Like so many ‘90s icons, the band decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their flagship album with plenty of touring and a box set—but unlike so many others, the Breeders sound like they haven’t missed a beat.
Technically, it was 2011 when former Hole drummer Patty Schemel stepped back into the spotlight with Hit So Hard, a documentary about her wild experiences in the ‘90s grunge and punk scenes. But this year she dove headfirst back into music, joining forces with Jennifer Prince (La Sera) and Ali Koehler (ex-Vivian Girls, ex-Best Coast) to form pop-punk trio Upset, who just released their catchy debut She’s Gone this fall. Schemel is also drumming with psych-garage rockers Death Valley Girls.
Floria Sigismondi’s 2010 film The Runaways (based on Cherie Currie’s memoir, Neon Angel) brought the “Cherry Bomb” singer and Runaways frontwoman back into the spotlight. But Currie waited until May’s Girls Got Rhythm Fest in Minneapolis to make her triumphant return to the stage and promote the release of her long-awaited solo album, which features guest appearances from Slash, Billy Corgan and Juliette Lewis. Currie’s label dropped her soon after the fest, yet she’s continued touring the country and has vowed to find a way to finally get her record released. (Oh, and she recorded this little Christmas ditty with fellow Runaway Lita Ford along the way.)
Ronstadt, a Grammy-winning, genre-hopping feminist icon, retired in 2011 and announced two years later that she was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and could no longer sing due to loss of muscle control. That didn’t slow down this multifaceted storyteller and artist, though. Ronstadt’s autobiography, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir (Simon & Schuster, 2013), dishes all the dirt on her decades in the music business, and in December it was announced that she’s been selected for the Rock Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Magic Hour, released in November, is the NYC band’s first album since 1999’s Electric Honey—and it was crowd-funded in three days, if that tells you how badly fans wanted the band back together. While it’s disappointing that former keyboardist Vivian Trimble (who left the band in 1998) wasn’t on board with the reunion, it’s great to see these retro-rockers at it again.
Kristin Hersh’s solo albums, her side project (with Throwing Muses bassist Bernard Georges) 50 Foot Wave, her memoir Rat Girl (Penguin, 2010) and the 2011 release of an anthology spanning the Boston band’s decades-long career was enough to tide over Throwing Muses fans—for a while. It had been 10 years since Throwing Muses graced us with new music, and 2013’s Purgatory/Paradise more than scratches the itch. Now here’s hoping for a tour in 2014.
This avant garde Argentinian composer and musician returned this fall after a five-year break (2008’s Un Dia was her last release). Wed 21 doesn’t stray far from the focused looping, breathy vocals and earthy beats of her previous albums—and that’s a good thing.
Swedish siblings Karin Dreijer Anderson and Olof Dreijer are no strangers to social critique, or to challenging their audience. Their first album in seven years, Shaking the Habitual, is no exception—and it works. The lauded political commentary-laden record isn’t easy listening, but it’s interesting listening. Angular rhythms and Dreijer Anderson’s soothing-yet-jarring vocals and subject matter touch on everything from gender politics to class warfare.
Nineties reunions are a dime a dozen these days, but few bands garner as intense a reaction as these Irish shoegaze trailblazers. After several years of playing the festival circuit, MBV, the band’s first new material in 22 years was released via its website in February—and immediately crashed the site due to high traffic. A world tour ensued, and rumors of another new album in 2014 are rampant.
Since the late ‘90s, the Fleetwood Mac keyboardist/singer (and one of the band’s key songwriters) has lived in Europe, refusing to perform with her cohorts even as they continue to cash in on tour after tour. Stevie Nicks even publicly resigned herself to disappointment over her bandmate and friend probably never playing with Fleetwood Mac again. All that changed in September though: McVie joined the band in London for “Don’t Stop,” and subsequently told The Guardian that she’d reconsider joining Fleetwood Mac if the rest of the gang would have her. Note to Stevie: Call Christine already.
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