Monday, December 8, 2014

2014 Reader Faves: Pt. 2

Glad to see so much love for the New Pornographers album and Spoon.

I also liked Ty Segall's Manipulator a ton.

I loved Beck's record when it came out but lost the thread with it. Should pick it up again.

A couple 2013 albums that didn't really catch my ear til this year, but now on repeat play: Laura Marling's and Vampire Weekend's.

Haven't heard Ariel Pink's new album yet, but high hopes. TV on the Radio's record sounded terrific on first listen, but need more time with it.

Complete Basement Tapes and CSNY 1974 essential adds to the canon.

One discovery for me this year was Art Garfunkel's Break Away, which I bought a vinyl copy on the street for $1 and turned out to have some terrific pop on it. Would have made me vomit back in the day, but now that I'm old I can appreciate the craft. (One benefit of aging is that my taste has become much more Catholic.)

Bruce H. 

One look at this list and you'll see why I almost didn't bother. No one will know or care about any of my choices. I'm not trying to be obscure. These are some I played more than twice.

In no particular order:
1-John Luther Adams "Become Ocean"
2-John Zorn "Psychomagia"
3-Jolie Holland "Wine Dark Sea"
4-Actual Water "Call 4 Fun"
5-Zeitkratzer "Metal Machine Music"
6-Boozoo Bajou "4"
7-Shaolin Afronauts "Follow The Path"
8-The Bombay Royale "The Island Of Doctor Electrico"
9-Steve Malkmus/Jicks "Wig Out at Jag Bags"
10-Dusan Jevtovic "Am I Walking Wrong?"


For me there was no clear-cut top album this year, the way Jason Isbell was last year (with Kacey Musgraves and Brandy Clark not far behind). But there were several very solid records I found myself returning to often. For reasons I can't explain, female artists dominate my list:
(in no particular order:)

Jenny Lewis —"The Voyager"
Chrissie Hynde —"Stockholm"
Lydia Loveless —"Somewhere Else"
Nikki Lane — "All or Nothin'"
The Secret Sisters — "Put Your Needle Down"
ExHex — "Rips"
Tim Easton — "Not Cool"
The Black Keys — "Turn Blue"

(Ed. Note- The Lydia Loveless opened up like gangbusters. But it lost me soon after. I had a problem with her voice, which never really gets out of this small little range, or at least that's what I'm hearing.)

and I guess I'll get grief for this but I'm going to add
Lucinda Williams's record to my list. I look forward to your rebuttal.
I've only heard the Thompson family's album once so I'm not putting it on the list but I expect it'll be a new favorite...

Ken D.

(Ed. Note- There was a period, from "Sweet Old World" through "World Without Tears," where Lucinda Williams could do no wrong. She was never out of my rotation and I even built a long weekend in New Orleans around her House Of Blues show. But then each subsequent release started to sound more like someone trying to be Lucinda, like a comedian's comical impersonation. I really don't like this new one at all.)

Rival Sons
Rich Robinson
Prefab Sprout
Ryan Adams
Trigger Hippy
Tom Petty
Hold Steady
Drive by Truckers
Gary Clark Jr
The Church
Simone Felice

Kevin M.


William Repsher said...

I've always had a problem with Lucinda Williams' vocal phrasings. Not always -- since Car Wheels or so. She just seemed to take way too much pain and effort in how she came across vocally. I recall stories at the time of her re-doing vocals one line at a time to make sure she had each one "right."

She's always been a little nuts. I kind of like her latest album, but of course, weird vocal phrasings don't age well ... she now sounds old and weird. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing in country music. I write a lot of this down to a negative cultural influence: the refusal to age gracefully. Dolly Parton's face, Emmylou Harris' indescribable hair color (blue/gray? I don't know). Used to be women could be their age in country music, but along with everything else in music, it's just grown weird. At least country male artists have been afforded the freedom to do this (although I suspect following generations will not have this luxury).

m'bo said...

While the best of 2014 may not quite compare favorably to the best of recent years, and while it's difficult to find releases that represent the artist's best work (Dr. John, Chrissie Hynde, Joan Osborne, Leonard Cohen, and Beck come to mind), there was still a lot of fine music, much of it well off the commercial boulevard. In no particular order:

Rosanne Cash - The River and the Thread
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives - Saturday Night/Sunday Morning
Nicole Atkins - Slow Phaser
Naomi Shelton - Cold World
St. Vincent - St. Vincent
Robert Plant - Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar
Neneh Cherry - The Blank Project
Leyla McCalla - Vari-Colored Songs
Jorge Drexler - Bailar en la cueva (The Uruguayan Caetano Veloso)
Sean Rowe - Madman
The New Basement Tapes (maybe - haven't listened to it enough yet)

Just missed: Chrissie Hynde, Sylvan Esso, Nick Waterhourse, TV on the Radio, Rodney Crowell, My Brightest Diamond, Glen David Anderson, Curtis Harding, and Temples

Dave said...

Not since 1955 have I listened to less new music than this year. This is my shortcoming -- I haven't listened to 90% of the albums that have been listed so far. Only two new CDs have stuck with me: one was the New Pornographers' album, which has been name-checked more than any other so far.

The other might not be popular among your readers: Family Crest's "Beneath the Brine." I don't usually go for symphonic pop, but this album feels fresh to me, just as the Left Banke did almost 50 years ago. It's a little all over the map, but I'll take too much ambition over not enough any day. Thanks to Al Kooper's column, "New Music for Old People," for recommending this.

Dave F.