06/24/2013 08:58 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

My Midyear Crisis: A Musical Revue

There was no way I could stop. I had been hooked for most of my existence -- without a doubt the addiction had fueled my entire adult life. Traveling from one dark, but well populated, room to another, I'm greeted by those with familiar faces, hardly trading a word beyond basic greetings. It wasn't until this year that I started to show some wear. The skin had been reduced to little more than scar tissue. My coworkers, those who I saw when the sun was up, began to take notice. They started talking. Even those who were one of my own started asking questions. I started receiving unsolicited advice from complete strangers. As if they knew how to take better care of myself than I could. "Just a little bit of nail polish remover," they always said, as if it was an original thought. But they didn't understand. It was too late for me. I had to heal first. The evidence of my evening exploits needn't be on my display during the day, inches from the sleeve of my dark, D.C. standard issue suit. Slogging through failed experiments, I found a a way. It would take risking making bad first impressions. They all might know from the moment they shook my hand. But what choice did I have? So I started going to shows with Aquaphor on the back of my right hand. And lo and behold, the handstamp would wash away with the slightest bit of water. The days of harsh scrubbing and self-mutilation were over!

The slight discoloration on the back of my right hand is evidence of, if we are to trust my back of the envelope math (a.k.a. counting), over 160 temporary tattoos permitting entry into nearly 130 shows -- in 2013. And if only Bob Boilen would keep count like a normal and decent obsessive, we could engage in a proper pissing match. But until then...

There were ones I missed and nights spent at what turned out to be the wrong choice, but it's been a pretty great six months of music. And once again, because I'm putting pen to paper, I have the nonsensical perception that my opinion is worth a damn. With all of the opinions I give below, I reserve the right to change my mind entirely in December when assessing the year as a whole. This is how I'm feeling right now. I may just realize I was wrong.

My 5 Favorite Concerts of 2013 (so far)

Ke$ha (January 21 - 9:30 Club)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (March 20 - Strathmore)
Sigur Rós (March 24 - Patriot Center)
Goat (April 25 - Black Cat)
Marijuana Deathsquads (June 9 - DC9)

For all the momentous live occasions, there is the foundation of it all. They are the songs, the EPs, and the long playing records that become our discoveries, our companions, and our survival guide on a morning commute. Running the risk of turning my mid-year favorites into an everyone-gets-a-trophy end of the season little league pizza party, I have avoided overlap in the three categories below. For example, my favorite song of the year is "Twin Size Mattress" by The Front Bottoms, but have reserved their mention for my top albums. There is just too much music worth mentioning to allow for duplication, no matter how deserving. These are not just my favorites, they are what I want to share.

Videos and links are provided for your viewing and listening pleasure.

My 5 Favorite Songs of 2013 (so far)

Chlöe Howl - "No Strings"

Kvelertak - "Bruane Brenn"

Laura Marling - "Little Love Caster"

The David Mayfield Parade - "Human Cannonball"

Telekinesis - "Power Lines"

My 5 Favorite EPs of 2013 (so far)

Deap Vally - Get Deap!
Hesitation Wounds - Hesitation Wounds
The Snails - Worth The Wait
Andrew Thomson - Honesty Is A Confidence Problem
Wardell - The Brother / Sister EP

My 13 Favorite Albums of 2013 (so far)

Gabriel Bruce - Love In Arms
Coma Cinema - Posthumous Release
Daughter - If You Leave
Deafheaven - Sunbather
Filthy Boy - Smile That Won't Go Down
The Front Bottoms - Talon Of The Hawk
Husky Rescue - The Long Lost Friend
Scout Niblett - It's Up To Emma
Mikhael Paskalev - What's Life Without Losers
Rhye - Woman
Savages - Silence Yourself
Marnie Stern - The Chronicles Of Marnia
Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt