Drink’N’Music 2013 – Craig’s Top 10 Albums of 2013 Paired With Drinks

Drink’N’Music 2013

10 of Craig’s Favourite Records of 2013, Paired with 10 Favourite Tipples

Craig Pinhey

It is the end of the year, and time for my annual Drink’n’Music list, in which I pair my top 10 listens from 2013 with an appropriate beverage. I am not saying these are the best 10 records released this year, just my favourites from the ones I have played and purchased.

Go to www.frogspad.ca for previous years.

Here are my top 10 albums of 2013, with recommended drinks.


 1. Elvis Costello & The Roots –  Wise Up Ghost

Watch: Walk Us Uptown

This is not Elvis Costello playing funk, nor is it The Roots punking out. It is a musical partnership that has resulted in some of Costello’s best lyrics – political and otherwise – produced in a different way, with snappy beats and in some cases funky bass, keys, lead guitar and a horn section…all behind Costello’s unmistakable voice.  My favourite track, and my Song of the Year, is The Puppet Has Cut His Strings, a bonus song on the Deluxe version, a moving ballad Costello penned about his father’s recent passing from Alzheimer’s.  Just try to listen to it without breaking down.

You may like this LP if you like:  Musicians who are not afraid to take risks.

What to Drink: An American/UK hybrid, so how about a Manhattan, but made with Connemara Peated Single Malt from Ireland, $51.59, in honour of Declan Macmanus’s heritage.

2. Bettie Serveert – Oh Mayhem

Check out this amazing video!

This Dutch combo, fronted by a Canadian vocalist and song writer, is in my opinion one of the best rock and roll bands of the past two decades. The lyrics are excellent, as are her vocals, but Oh Mayhem – released in late 2012 but available here in 2013 – is really a guitar lover’s album. It rocks!

You may like this LP if you like: The Pretenders, Juliana Hatfield, Metric, Hendrix solos.

What to Drink: Grolsch, a crisp, refreshing Dutch lager in a swingtop bottle. $3.18/450 ml.

3. Tegan & Sara – Heartthrob

Yes, I know, Canada’s indie twin darlings sold out and made a highly produced synth pop dance record, but, you know what? The lyrics are good, the tunes are memorable and catchy, and this is more original and better than the dance music that tops the US charts.  I don’t want all their records to sound like this, but this has found its way into my car’s CD player an awful lot this year.

You may like this LP if you like: dance music with both brains and a heart

What to Drink:  Something fun and bubbly but not too sweet: Segura Viudas Brut Rosé, Spain $16.99

4. Madness – Oui Oui Si SI Ja Ja Da Da

Check out this album preview

Most would say that this British pop and ska band peaked in the late 70‘s and early 80‘s, but this new album was a breath of fresh air in 2013, and as good as any of their early work.  I’m not sure there was a better 2013 LP for hot summer days.

You may like this LP if you like:  old school ska music and happy British pop,  like if the Kinks meshed with Rancid.

What to Drink: a pint of UK-style bitter. My usual choice is Picaroons Best Bitter ($3.80/500 ml)

5. David Myles– In The Nighttime

New Brunswick’s Myles is now a Canadian star, and this latest record shows his maturity as a vocalist and songwriter. These songs have a lot of soul, and he sings them convincingly. The bonus mini-CD produced by Classified is particularly groovy. I love it!

You may like this LP if you like:  Marvin Gaye, nice tall guys.

What to Drink:  I’d love to recommend a wine from Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Vineyards, as Myles’s brother’s wife is the winemaker, but we don’t have any at ANBL. Jost, owners of Gaspereau, does have a smooth red called Jost Trilogy, though, for $19.99.

6. Wesley Stace – S/T

Listen to Wesley sing When I Knew

Wesley Stace used to go by John Wesley Harding but has reverted to his own name for this self-titled record. His career as a literary novelist (read the brilliant By George if you haven’t already) has perhaps been more successful than his music career, but this new record is essentially a guidebook on the songwriting craft. The Bedroom You Grew Up In, When I Knew, and Wrong For The Part are just perfect little songs.

You may like this LP if you like:  imagine Bob Dylan with a beautiful singing voice and British accent

What to Drink:  Since Stace now makes New York his home, I picked something quintessentially American: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey, $36.99, on ice or in an Old Fashioned

7.Prefab Sprout – Crimson/Red

The video for Best Jewel Thief in the World

Iconoclast Paddy McAloon has come back in 2013 with a wonderful album of gorgeous, thoughtful pop songs. It was too long a wait for this new record.

You may like this LP if you like:  Pet Sounds, Steely Dan, Thomas Dolby

What to Drink:  a glass of pretty, aromatic white, wine, with some zip, such as Willm Reserve Riesling from Alsace, France,  $18.99

8. Miles Kane – Don’t Forget Who You Are

Listen to this great track 

A great British rock and roll record with songs co-written with legends like Paul Weller (the Jam) and Andy Partridge (XTC).

You may like this LP if you like:  Supergrass, the more rocking Stones/Kinks/Who/Beatles songs, and the best of Oasis

What to Drink: what is more British than Gin & Tonic? But use local gin Thuya, $29.99.

9. Heavy Blinkers – Health

Like their FB site

A very diverse record, long in the making, but satisfying. Lots of guest vocals, but still unmistakably The Heavy Blinkers, with the lush orchestration we know and love.

You may like this LP if you like:  Pet Sounds, Halifax indie music, Jenn Grant

What to Drink:  This is summer music, and I’m quite partial to a cold lager beer in the summer. This is tasty: Gahan Beach Chair Lager, PEI<  473 ml can/$3.29

10. Lloyd Cole – Standards

Check out Lloyd’s site

This Lloyd album could have come from the early 80’s, and that’s a good thing, as he was one of the best, and most original, singer songwriters to emerge from that age of excess.

You may like this LP if you like:  Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, alt-folk.

What to Drink:  A complex red wine, like a Spanish Rioja. Try this good value:  Antano Crianza $14.99.

Honourable mentions:  Tarmac Adam – The History Effect,Robbie Fulks – Gone Away Backwards, OMD – English Electric , Billy Bragg – Tooth and Nail, TMBG – Nanobots, Paul Mccartney – NEW.

Cheers and have a Merry Musical Holiday!

Craig Pinhey is a certified Sommelier and writer who loves good drink and music. Visit him www.facebook.com/Craig.Pinhey.FrogsPad or follow him on Twitter as frogspadca.