Monday, December 30, 2013

Best of 2013 - Strike Gently

Best of 2013

Song: Wheel of Fortune
Artist: The Virgins
Album: Strike Gently

It's that time of year again where I take a look back at my favorite tracks and albums of the past year...

In a year filled with louder, more in-your-face music than ever before, it was nice to discover a subtle, throwback rock record in a sea of... well wrecking balls.  New York City-based band The Virgins took five years to follow up their self-titled 2008 debut, and Strike Gently was worth it, a Tom Petty-meets-Dire Straits moody record that really grabbed me, despite how un-attention-grabbing it was.

Many would write the band off as a Strokes look-and-sound-alike but I hear more "classic" rock influences from The Virgins, and when compared to the Strokes album from this year, The Virgins come out on top.  "Impressions of You" is still my favorite song here, but this is a great album, starting with the great one-two punch of "Prima Materia" and the lost-classic sounding "Wheel of Fortune," which seems built for meditative, soul-contemplating drives through the desert.  Actually, it's a classic driving record through and through and a different sort of 80s-leaning record than we've heard lately, less focused on birth-of-electronic New Wave and more toward Talking Heads/Elvis Costello art rock.  I really love it.

I got to see The Virgins open for The Killers this past May and they were great, despite playing for a fifth of a half-paying attention crowd.  I'm a little crushed this AM as I discovered that the band has in fact split up, just this past November.  Founder and lead singer-guitarist Donald Cumming is apparently starting a solo career, so if he was the main creative force behind this record, we possibly have more to look forward to.  As it stands, "Strike Gently" could be looked back as a forgotten classic.  Yet I haven't seen it mentioned in any year-end lists... making it important to highlight here!


Wheel of Fortune
Prima Materia
Impressions of You

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