The glut of “best of 2013” music lists can be overwhelming, though occasionally I’ll run across one that gives me pause and invites thinking about what shaped my year of listening, what I missed, and why the end of the year doesn’t mean I’ll stop listening to anything that came out in the past 12 months simply because I’ll be using a new calendar. Just yesterday I spent a good bit of time reading through the first part of the Passion of the Weiss’s “Top 50 Albums of 2013” (which includes a few write-ups by Reader contributor Tosten Burks) and Fake Shore Drive’s “100 Great Chicago Rap Songs of 2013” and took note of some mixtapes, tracks, and artists that I hadn’t spent much time with this year.
The size of Fake Shore’s list stands as a pretty good example of how much great rap music came out of the city this year. Much of the conversation about Chicago hip-hop in 2013 has revolved around Chance the Rapper‘s Acid Rap, and for good reason, but he wasn’t the only hip-hop artist in the city offering up fascinating music; clicking through the 100 pages on Fake Shore’s list may be irritating, but it drives that point home. So does the use of the word “great” in the title, which implies that even if a track didn’t make the cut that doesn’t mean it doesn’t slay. It also speaks to the distinct possibility that just before New Year’s Day someone, somewhere in Chicago may drop some music without much warning that will end up catching your ear—hell, Beyonce did that late last week with the unexpected release of her self-titled album on iTunes.
One new local rap release you can plan to hear before 2013 wraps up is a new seven-inch from Yoome, an experimental outfit that includes producer Tony Trimm, singer-songwriter Renee Louise Carafice, and endearingly outre MC Serengeti. Trimm tells me Chicago-slash-Grand Rapids label Heardrums will release Yoome’s “Peaches and Pebbles” b/w “Tragedy of the War” on Christmas Eve. Trimm and Serengeti are celebrating the seven-inch’s release with a party at the Whistler on Monday, but those of you who will be spending an extra day with your family for the holiday break can stream both sides of the single below. I’m particularly fond of the twinkling synths on the A-side track, which fits well with Serengeti’s sublime material, such as a touching bonus track from this year’s Saal called “I’d Prefer.”
Trimm also just released a winter mix—it’s close to an hour-long and it’s a fairly dreamy blend of tracks. The producer says it’s fit for commuting in inclement weather, and to be honest it reminds me of resting my head on the window of a CTA bus and being transfixed by snow-cloaked city blocks as they pass in and out of view. It’s also a fairly relaxing mix, and it could provide the soundtrack to your next immersive year-end-list reading.