vəˈräɡō/: a woman of strength or spirit; a female warrior.

Top 10 Albums of the Year (at least some of them)

Phil’s Top 5

1) Earl Sweatshirt: Doris: Hip hop MVP delivers his ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ sophomore opus. Standouts: CHUM, Sasquatch

2) Janelle Monáe: The Electric Lady:  Monáe once again bends genres to her will. Standouts:  Q.U.E.E.N., Dance Apocalyptic. Read our review here.

3) Jake Bugg: Shang-ri-la: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Earl Sweatshirt. His second album is a hot brew of old-school Brit-invasion, Dylan swagger and new school, Hip hop-blues. Standouts: Kingpin, What Doesn’t Kill You

4) Freeze-Tag: Eskimo: If Gary Numan and Marvin Gaye were spliced together into a totally modern, electro-soul venture, you get Freeze-Tag. Standouts: Title track and Fall In love. Read our interview here.

5) The Atomic Tanlines: DEMO: Pure, hardqueer, punk-fury spat at you by Ally Playnice, a mutant offspring of Wendy O. and HR (no, I’m not bullshitting). Standouts: BDSM vs. Tupac, Dirty Queer Rock ‘n’ Roll

Kristen’s Top 5

1) Danny Brown: OLD. Holding his own as one of the most versatile rappers out there right now, OLD manages to be a  mash-up of hard-step, rap rebellion, political satire, sexual prowess and socio-economic realism, yet it’s still FUN? Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Standouts: Kush Coma (featuring A$AP Rocky & Zelooperz), Side B (Dope Song), The Return f. Freddie Gibbs.

2) Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience. I live tweeted my track-by-track reaction to this album. I can’t say enough. Pieces of Prince, MJ and Marvin Gaye with Timberlake’s Mayfield-like falsetto coupled with stellar Timbaland production made this the baby-making album of 2013. Standouts: Blue Ocean Floor, Pusher Love Girl, Don’t Hold the Wall. Read our review here.

3) Savages: Silence Yourself: For only having been around for a couple of years, this fearless, in-your-face foursome is Slits-style punk rock. Stand-outs: The Entire fucking album, but check out “Husbands” and “Shut Up.”

4) The New Highway Hymnal: Reverb Room EP. Boston natives, The New Highway Hymnal (Vanya records) may have made one of the fastest progressions this year, from playing dusty basements to being featured at the Boston Music awards. Check out this psych-pop trio. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.  http://thenewhighwayhymnal.bandcamp.com/album/reverb-room-ep

5) David Bowie: The Next Day: This is fairly self-explanatory. I mean, NO ONE can build a musical tapestry like Bowie. Longevity aside, this is a beautiful album. Standouts: Where Are We Now, The Stars (Are Out Tonight), Love is Lost

These are a few of our favorite things and by new means an exclusion of all the amazing bands we got to meet and interview this year. It has been one hell of a  ride.  Special thanks to my team of incredibly writers. We went from an idea to something great and we’re grateful for all of your submissions (so many that we’ve been challenged just keeping up with them!)

Keep creating. All of our love and support!

About Kristen Demesilda

Kristen Demesilda
Writer and Photographer for Virago Magazine, Kristen grew up listening to vinyl and highlighting the dictionary. Her work has appeared in IrockJazz.com, The East Harlem Journal, Boston's Culturehive, the Ithacan and other publications. Her love of music cannot be eclipsed by her love of words. She's been coined the "Akira Kurosawa of Blogs" by such people as herself. An aspiring musician, she has a serious penchant for peach-flavored anything, multi-tasking, slow-paced thrillers and dreams of going back to South America, laying on the beach, and drinking from a coconut.
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