Well, it is the last day of the year 2014. I am compiled my list of favorite 15 releases of the year 2014.. Or as I have cleverly titled this post “15 for ’14”.
1. Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
Timber Timbre’s “Hot Dreams” was an unexpected surprise this year. For me at least. I streamed it via NPR and would fall asleep listening to it. That is a good thing actually. This would actually be my first purchase of any Timber Timbre album and I am glad I did. Cinematic, haunting, are just a few words I’d use to describe it… and for that it tops my list. I did a write-up a few months ago so I will leave it at that.
2. The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream
Not surprising, The War On Drugs “Lost In The Dream” ranked so highly on my list of purchases this year as it did others. It’s probably my most listened to album, but falls only slightly behind Timber Timbre as one of my favorite purchases this year. A lot has been written about this album ranging from Adam’s obvious influences that shown through on the album so I wont retread what we already know.
3. Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything
2014 needed a new Silver Mt. Zion album, and it got one. The album questioned what we value as we grow older and as children enter the picture (as Efrim Menuck had a child a few years since the last SMZ release). 2014 also marked the year I tried to see them live in Los Angeles but failed miserably. I will save that for another reflective music post.
4. Future Islands – Singles
My introduction to Future Islands came via a suggestion that I “check out this dude dancing on David Letterman” and I was hooked. I am also a sucker for some good synth-pop melodrama too.
5. Curtis Harding – Soul Power
I look to Burger Records for some great up and coming artists. Especially on the lo-fi garage/synth-pop spectrum. Curtis Harding is an exception to that rule. His debut album “Soul Power” perfectly captured the feel of early R&B and vintage soul… and it was nice to hear that this year, especially from a Burger artist.
6. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!
Yeah, jazz still exists. And it’s good. FlyLo managed to create a free flowing album that doesn’t veer too far off track and does it all within 38 minutes.
7. Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems
Leonard Cohen released “Popular Problems” this year and then turned 80 years old. He’s still got it. I read that “love isn’t a reprieve so much as it’s a rabbit hole, a shared space in which to hide from the world when it can’t be escaped.” and I always get that from Cohen’s music.
8. Ty Segall – Manipulator
Ty Segall’s “Manipulator” is a nice hook laden rock album. Nothing more and nothing less. It doesn’t need to be.
9. Ryan Adams – Self Titled
Ryan Adams dropped an album this year that was focused, polished, and all around good as a Ryan Adams album can be. He also played every instrument on the album from what I read… So that can also explain why this is so focused. Honorable mention goes to him using the same font style as Bryan Adams 1984 “Reckless” album on the cover of his album.
10. Jack White – Lazaretto
Album gimmicks aside (referring to the vinyl release) Jack White’s “Lazaretto” is really a good album. Why? Because it touches upon everything that Jack White is good at. And on this album that is all crammed onto it.
11. Foxygen – And Star Power
Foxygen’s “..And Star Power” is a sprawling lo-fi effort which kind of veers off course at times but comes back together to make it all worth it.
12. Swans – To Be Kind
Set aside two hours of your life to take in this album. It’s a demanding album, and that’s the kind of music I like.
13. Guided By Voices – Cool Planet
Guided By Voices did what they do best this year and that is releasing a lot of music..
14. Guided By Voices – Motivational Jumpsuit
…..But for many, I guess, we didn’t think they’d once again call it quits. In retrospect their two albums released this year seemed more like an attempt to get everything out there while Robert Pollard plans his next big thing than less of a swan song of sorts.
15. Lost In The Trees – Past Life
“Past Life” is an understated release from earlier this year. Lost In The Trees crafted a wonderfully atmospheric and somber album that deserves listen.