The Life and Times of Grovey Cleves

Update: You can now go here to read a digital version of The Life and Times of Grovey Cleves.

2013 Albums

These are ten of my favorite albums that were released in 2013.

By that, I don't mean that they are, on some objective scale or another, "the best." I only mean that these are the albums that I have enjoyed the most and I tend to enjoy albums the most when they have well-written songs (by this I mean strong melodies + clever lyrics) that skew toward folk and rock. I especially enjoy albums with songs that seem to cohere together to tell a story, if not a literal, narrative one, then at least a thematic one. When I feel that albums do this especially well, I sometimes write about them for, in an article called Songbook Report. I wrote articles on 7 of the 10 albums listed below and you can read them by clicking on the titles.

(The albums are listed in alphabetical order because I'm not very good at "ranking" albums. I think they're all very fun to listen to for pretty different reasons.)

Cass McCombs - Big Wheel and Others

Cass McCombs is a really brilliant, underrated folk singer who writes songs that are funny and sad and dark and friendly and you've never heard any of them, but you'll feel like you have.

Deerhunter - Monomania

Bradford Cox so consistently releases albums' worth of amazing songs, via Deerhunter and Atlas Sound, I often forget how hard it must be to sit down and write a single song as catchy as any single song on this album.

Foxygen - We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic

It's not easy to sound like everyone else, yet still somehow end up sounding like yourself, and this album blends the sounds of 60's and 70's rock, absolutely effortlessly, in a way that bands have been trying to accomplish since... the 60's and 70's.

Mikal Cronin - MCII

Mikal Cronin writes perfect pop songs, like "Peace of Mind," which sounds like a national anthem that has always existed out in the roadside soil of America, and Cronin has somehow been able to excavate it and put it onto an album.

The National - Trouble Will Find Me

I can't think of a better way to put it than that this album sounds like a band of hungover ghosts floating over America and haunting drunk girls at parties, so, that's the way I'll put it.

Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

Neko Case writes her own songs, and plays her own instruments, and produces her own music, and creates her own album artwork, and she is fucking awesome at all of those things.

Okkervil River - The Silver Gymnasium

I can't count the number of times Will Sheff has seemingly tried his hardest to break my heart this year: the lovely songs on this album, seeing him and his band perform them in person, the ingenious accompanying video game, and the absolute earnestness with which he has promoted this album with cassettes and tours and videos and short films like a god damn artist, the likes of which are rare today.

Phosphorescent - Muchacho

Matthew Houck's voice somehow manages to sound like the final pleas of a starving man on a deserted island, even on his most "upbeat" numbers, and he always seems to know exactly how to write songs that perfectly fit that most unique of instruments.

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of The City

The fact that pretty much everyone agrees that this album is amazing, and very few of those people have even bothered to scratch the surface of its thematic concerns re: religion and death, pretty much confirms that the album is, actually, amazing.

Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

I've listened to Katie's Crutchfield's lovely album countless times this year, and even now, I'm always still surprised when the next song comes on and I think: "man, this song is even better than the last one."

Special thanks to Buffablog for giving me such generous leeway to write about whatever I want (whenever I want) over the past year, and for allowing me to link to those articles here.

Henry and Pinky

These are two stories that Block Club was kind enough to publish in their excellent magazine last year.

The first one is called "Henry Gansevoort, the Mole" and it was roughly inspired by Herman Melville:

"Henry Gansevoort, the Mole"

The second one is called "The Burning of Washington" and it was completely inspired by Thomas Jefferson:

"The Burning of Washington"

More Words and Pictures

I have given "Bed" some friends that were born in the summer of 2009.

I originally wrote these words while in college and then I re-wrote them and Robert was kind enough to draw some really great illustrations to accompany them:

"Breakdown on I-75"

I wrote these words while studying for this pretty big exam I had to take:


Come Fort Able

Block Club has released a new issue of their magazine. It is about comfort and not comfort and it bears the number 30 and it contains some very nice stories. In this issue you can find a photograph of a cut-in-half tattered pink blanket that once belonged to my younger sister.

That blanket partially inspired this story that I wrote in the summer of 2008:


Later that year, my friend Robert illustrated that story for me and those illustrations have sadly been sitting in a folder in my desk and you should be looking at them instead:

"Bed" - Illustrated

I have added these collections of words and pictures to a page called Stories and soon I will be giving them friends.

The Beginning

Winter is here. Words are coming.