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Carlita’s Top Artists of 2013- Part 3

posted January 22, 2014, 6:00 am by Carlita | Filed Under Editorial, Festivals, General Interest, Interviews, Music News, Releases | comment Leave a Comment

Ahh, Part 3. This is it. All good trilogies (Scope Part 1 and Part 2 in case you missed them) must come to an end. The last but not least of the blessed trinity groups of artists that stoked my curiosity and left me longing for more in ’14. Let’s finish strong:

17. Arctic Monkeys


Simultaneously getting props from the underground and mainstream, this British foursome’s huge album , “AM”, remained stuck on my radar like a smushed bug on a windshield as I knew I “wanted it all” before hearing the first notes. Seductive, slick, sexy. Cutting across several ME staff’s top lists, I think we all desired “one for the road”.

18. Mala Rodríguez


Repping for the mujeres, her Spanish hip-hop album “Bruja” worked its magic and stayed on repeat as I loved her aggressive style as she reminded folks to be brave y “no tenga miedo a volar”. A winner for “Best Urban Music Album” at the Latin Grammys this year, when I read she wore her “Mala” nickname given to her by a tia “ as a cape”, the deal was sealed.

19. Draco Rosa

draco rosa

As a kid who remembers watching Menudo on my abuela’s TV with bunny ears, I naturally gravitated to Draco Rosa’s phenomenal “Más”. Adding other former Menudo member, Ricky Martin, to the mix on one of the best duets of the year which I saw them perform live in Vegas, I did want “Más y Más”. Battling health problems, I wish him a speedy recovery y un año de salud.

20. Gaby Moreno

gaby moreno

Watching Gaby Moreno as a singer-songwriter performing in LA over the past few years, I could tell she was destined for great things. Listening to her album, “Postales”, she brought her retro sensibilities with hints of rock and soul, a little “luz y sombra” which worked. Interviewing her on a Latin Grammy event red carpet and seeing her win “Best New Artist”, there’s nothing “tan mal” about her.

21. Rival Sons

rival sons

Checking the late night live band schedules as I am nerdily prone to do, this Long Beach based band caught my ear immediately. Lead singer Jay Buchanan’s evocative voice and Scott Holiday’s epic guitar riffs hit you and “keep on swinging”. Featuring a pointed “Burn Down Los Angeles”, it was hard to “keep your head down” and not notice this dope band. Road warriors throughout much of 2013, I spoke to Jay before a European tour to chat about classic rock band comparisons, secret nicknames and more. Am hyped to hear they’re recording their next album!

22. Chance the Rapper


Following the release of Chitown native Chance the Rapper’s much buzzed “Acid Rap” mixtape, yup, “Everything’s Good” indeed. For those who knew “#10Day”, it was quite amusing seeing the attention lavished by mainstream media. Commenting on friends “lost” but not forgotten, paying tribute with a few notable 90’s samples and featuring memorable appearances by Action Bronson and Childish Gambino, Chance’s got “juice” to spare.

23. J. Cole

j cole

Reflecting growth, some rejection angst and a little sellout remorse, J. Cole returned in 2013 with his sophomore album, “Born Sinner”. Boldly dropping this on the same day as “Yeezus” , it’s clear, inner turmoil and all, there’s no need for self-doubt and he’s ready and worthy to stand among the young hip-hop titans.

24. Aloe Blacc

aloe blacc

Teaming with EDM king Avicii on one of the monster hits of the year, “Wake Me Up”, this song went #1 in over 102 countries. Coming across his acoustic version of “You Make Me Smile” he did in a subway station years ago, I dug his smooth voice and did indeed smile. Rocking his “Wake Me Up” EP and seeing his fun stage show over the summer, I also interviewed him and discovered he’s also one half of hip-hop duo Emanon. “Hey Brother”, this dude does it all.

25. The Grouch and Eligh


Underground hip-hop’s beloved duo G&E ended a blessed 2013, launching a fully funded Kickstarter campaign that featured unique items for purchase to prepare for their release of their triple album, “The Tortoise and The Crow” in ’14. In constant communication with their fans (many artists could learn a lot from this approach), the audience screamed “G&E!” and responded in kind. I got a hint something was coming when I spoke to them in May and am looking forward to these solo and joint album releases 2/18/14!

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