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Things that I loved in 2013 / by Jes Skolnik

2013 was the year that the bottom dropped out. It was a year, personally, that started with getting evicted (through no fault of our own, we were on a month-to-month lease and our landlord decided to give our spot to their family) and ended with getting laid off (again, there was nothing I could have done to prevent it). Some beloved people and one pet passed away. I started one band and quit another. I learned to get really, really comfortable with uncertainty, liminality, change, loss.

It was a year in which the conversations happening at the margins were pushed to center stage by necessity. Conversations about how independent art, music and film can survive without fucking people over; conversations about the failures of liberal commercialism; conversations about the necessity of centering women of color (particularly Black women) and trans* women in feminist discourse. Through all the failures of the old systems, we held up a mirror and light cracked through.

Into all those empty spaces, all those crumbling halls, we started building.

Here are some things that I loved in 2013:

The Best Show on WFMU getting its due

Young women in music and music criticism being brilliant both above and below the margins

The incredible people and relationships in my life, which only got stronger in the face of situational adversity

Working on the Beyond Inversion comp with fellow Media contributor Sean Gray

Split Feet, a band that brings me an absurd amount of joy to play in

Living a block and a half from our practice space

#solidarityisforwhitewomen / #fasttailedgirls and similar complicated, nuanced discussions getting the attention they deserve

Here is some music that I love that came out in 2013 (not a complete list by any means, or a ranking, just a sampling):

Criaturas – Espiritu de Libertad LP

No Statik – Unity and Fragmentation LP

Flesh World – s/t MLP

Fake Limbs – The Power of Patrician Upbringing LP

Shannon Wright – In Film Sound LP

Joel RL Phelps – Gala LP

Las Otras 12”

Bottomless Pit – Shade Perennial LP

Una Bestia Incontrolable – Observant com el mon es destrueix LP

Pharmakon – s/t LP

Ebony Bones! – Behold A Pale Horse LP

Fielded – Ninety Thirty Thirty LP

Azar Swan – Dance Before The War Le P

Yi – Punk Memories 7”

Good Throb – Culture Vulture 7”

Claps – Lies 7”

Bad Idea demo

Failed Mutation demo

Big Zit demo

Nervous Trend demo

Frau tape

Kelela mixtape

For the life of Renisha McBride and so many others. For CeCe McDonald, who is still fighting within prison walls. For the kids here in Chicago whose schools have been closed and privatized who are fighting so hard for the resources they deserve.

2014 enters with sorrow and celebration, with loss and the chance to build something beautiful in the empty spaces. I run my tongue over a broken tooth in the back of my mouth and I think about strength, about persistence.

Born and raised in the DC area, Jes has lived in Chicago since 2005. They play in the band Split Feet, build and repair amps and pedals, maintain a pretty active blog, freelance elsewhere and have a pretty damn good queer punk life with their partner, two cats and many excellent friends. You can find them at and @modernistwitch on Twitter.

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