Favourite albums/music of 2014

Other music and recommendations.

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davidsutter
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Re: Favourite albums/music of 2014

Post by davidsutter » 01 Dec 2014, 23:18

Everyday Robots is nothing like Leisure.
Oh wait, you said Think Tank was the worst Blur album. :P

mr_spenalzo
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Re: Favourite albums/music of 2014

Post by mr_spenalzo » 02 Dec 2014, 18:29

Heh, I didn't say "worst".. technically it is, but that word's too negative: I still like Think Tank better than most Gorillaz records too, for example.

mr_spenalzo
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Re: Favourite albums/music of 2014

Post by mr_spenalzo » 12 Dec 2014, 20:39

Got it down to 10 of them... got two new records last week I needed to get acquainted with, and have decided they deserve a place in my list... here goes.

10 - The Smashing Pumpkins - Monuments To An Elegy
I spent some time debating this one: is it too soon to place it inside this list? Should I go with Interpol (which Monuments To An Elegy pushes to number 11). But I like Corgan's latest better than El Pintor today, so there you go: the least complicated of Smashing Pumpkins albums makes it. Nine songs of simple pleasures: some pop, some synths, some of those typical fuzzy guitars, Corgan's distinctive voice. There'll never be another Siamese Dream, but that's ok too.

09 - Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Wanderlust
... on which Sophie (whom I had a huge crush on when she was in theaudience) returns to her indie roots. Or at least makes an interesting break from murdering on the dance floor. Opener "Birth Of An Empire" and the absolutely beautiful "Young Blood" are among the year's very best. Loving the cover too: unlike with some other teenage crushes (Lauren Laverne, Courtney Love) I still kinda fancy her.

08 - Tindersticks - Ypres
It would be a slight exageration that every year we get a WWI-related modern classic from a significant force in early nineties indie, but after Let England Shake Tindersticks impress with their completely instrumental album inspired by the nasty battles if Ypres, Belgium. It's scary, claustrophobic, utterly impressive and not a lot of fun to listen to. But music doesn't have to be fun all the time.

07 - EMA - The Future's Void
Erika Anderson made my favourite album of 2011 with Past Life Martyred Saints, and although this isn't quite as great (well, it was a masterpiece) the follow-up is still quite great. A lot of pretty music and touching lyrics. I'm not big on raving about authenticity, but for EMA I'll make an exception: all the pain on her records is real, the fears are real, and when she sings that she gets "way down low" on "Chtulu" you know she does.

06 - Panopticon - Roads To The North
Although released in August I only found out about this album when Popmatters did a countdown of their favourite metal albums of the year. Black metal meets banjo and bluegrass? Count me in. But seriously, all the most interesting music happens in black metal, and although on paper it sounds gimmicky in reality it's fucking brilliant. The shouting won't be for everyone, but if you want to hear something you haven't heard before try Panopticon.

05 - Warpaint - Warpaint
The year's sexiest album, from the sleeve down to the disc, and I cannot hear this without getting a little lusty. Combine this with the inventive songs and careful sounds (everything in its right place), and really Warpaint are a Radiohead for the 2010's: same drive to create something special (frequently hitting target), only good looking and female.

04 - Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence
I spent most of the year thinking Lana's second isn't nearly as good as her first (or the mini album Paradise), and the last few months knowing it's better. It's just a lot less accessible, with paranoia, nasty sex and drugs, enormous amounts of reverb. It's Del Rey's Dog Man Star (it's got some proper Butler-esque guitars too). And great great songs, especially the title track, "Shades Of Cool" and "Fucked My Way Up To The Top".

03 - The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream
Also known as the album that made every list this year (alongside St. Vincent), and with reason: it's a fantastic album. I read Tom Petty everywhere, but to me this is what happens if you get Don Henley and the E Street Band collaborating with Tears For Fears. But damnit it "An Ocean In Between The Waves" isn't a song that's far too short at a little over seven minutes. Or has there been a more euphoric moment on any album in recent past than the shouts in "Red Eyes" (the first in particular). What a leap ahead from their previous one. Fabulous.

02 - Agalloch - The Serpent & The Sphere
This bunch has never made a bad album, in fact never even a merely quite good one, and they continue to be excellent. Their fifth is Agalloch loudest-yet-subtlest, best sounding, most expansive, most impressive. You go from silently picked guitars on "Birth And Death Of The Pillars Of Creation" to proper blastbeats on "The Astral Dialogue" to clockwork rhythm-sectioning on "Dark Matter Gods". Just when you're ready to get all spritual a block of noise comes along, and just when you're ready to shout "ENOUGH WITH THE NOISE!" you're rocked to sleep. This band knows how to take the listener's predictions and turn these inside out.

01 - Marissa Nadler - July
On paper it wouldn't work for me. Singer-songwriter, acoustic guitars.. I'm no fan of either. But Marissa Nadler's clearly insanely talented, and with her creepy songs, dark imagery and thick production (all of which may be related to her connections with the black metal scene) breathes life into a type of music I wouldn't normally touch. It's simple: more than half of the songs on July touch me like nobody else's songs. Every song is amazing, but let me single out "We Are Coming Back" and "Dead City Emily" as two particular highlights. The former particularly wrecks me: every time I hear that sad voice sing "we are coming back 'cause everything is here" ("here" being "the house where we lost our way") I feel emotions that no recent music makes me feel. Not just the best album this year and one of the very best of the decade, but already one of my favourite albums ever. The fact that this is making so few lists is appalling.

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Miki
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Re: Favourite albums/music of 2014

Post by Miki » 13 Dec 2014, 11:12

I should add Sharon Van Etten's Are We There to my list.
I've been drifting along in the same stale old shoes
Loose ends tyin' a noose in the back of my mind...

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