Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2014's Greatest Hits

This was a great year for singles but for albums, there was a falling off.  Not the usual 'today's music sucks' kinda vibe (which is tired) but the feeling that maybe the Net age is choking off creativity in some ways, especially as there's been plenty of good albums in the last few years (I heard a lot more good albums in 2013, 2012, 2011) but much less so that I've found this year, all of which might be related to digital sales falling off and streaming offing tiny paychecks for artists.  I wonder if somehow the fact that Springsteen made a really good album via re-treads and Jack White and the Pixies did the same in some ways with their new material and still make good albums might be related to this.

The most frustrating thing is the artists who have some great singles but don't really cut it when it comes to a full album, as if they're just on the edge of making something great but not quite there- I'm thinking of Imelda May, Paloma Faith and Hoody Allen in particular (maybe Prince this time too).  I also wish the TV on the Radio record and one or both of the 2014 Parquet Courts albums were a little better too though the 2nd PC album's grown on me.

Non-EDM techo still has lots of tricks in its bag thankfully (thanks especially to online stores like Bleep, Boomkat and Juno for making this readily available) and it's not just singles but also albums that are staying strong there. And I'm admittedly a sucker for indie-girl pop but there's been a spate of great music this year from Sugar Stems, Honeyblood, Beach Day and others.

For what it's worth, I'm also glad to see that some AARP artists can still make engaging albums, including Springsteen, Marianne Faithfull, Amy Ray, the Alvin brothers and Chrissie Hynde (though definitely not U2)- also De La Soul, Old 97's, the Pixies and Brad Paisley will be there in a few years themselves.

Also curious is that many great songs are still basically label-less or exist only on Soundcloud, which essentially means the same thing.  A lot of these are remixes and it's probably just easier for these artists to redo the tunes and put them out as promos instead of going through the licensing/publishing/rights/money/etc. but I'm grateful that we can hear 'em through streaming.

For singles, I'm also in love with the wonderful Hype Machine site/app to find great material and you should check out it out too and find your own favorites.  For album releases, my favorite sources are still great indie stores Other Music and Aquarius (support both of 'em, I do) and the weekly listings from AllMusic and Pause and Play.

Just like any music fan, my rankings change minute by minute but I can live with the order below, as least as I'm typing this right now...  For various publications, I'll be turning in top 10 lists and that  keep changing but I always consider a full list like this to be the real way that I relate to my fave music. If you're a music fan too, I encourage you to post and share your own lists- I find out a lot about great music from other fans and hope that you might find some great stuff here too.




ALBUMS
Many of the albums above are on this Spotify playlist.



SINGLES
Every song above that I could find on Spotify is on this playlist.



REISSUES/ARCHIVES



BOOKS




MUSIC MOVIES 
 



VIDEOS



Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013's Greatest Hits- albums/singles/reissues/books/movies/videos

A couple of things I really like about putting this annual list together:

  • Sharing my love of music with the online world (as I try to do with Perfect Sound Forever)
  • Reminding myself what I liked during the past year- it ain't easy if there's a lot of records you like
  • Helping to prove the point that there's still a lot of good music out there if you want to look around for it
  • A nice big list of recent music also puts the lie to people who keep making the old blanket complaint that "music sucks now"

I also like to do my bit to support these artists/performers by  paying out for CD's and downloads when that's possible- some acts put out music as promo and to get their name out there and there's some logic to that. I also like to support these groups by going to their shows and buying their mersh (if it's good stuff) to not only thank 'em for quality work but also to support 'em in the hopes that they'll keep doing fine work.

There's the usual caveat here for these lists- the order of preference is always changing but I really do dig everything listed here (when I'll have time to listen/read/watch/consume to everything again is another question...).

Also, year-round, I keep up lists of favorite new releases and reissues on my Pinterest account if you want an ongoing peak at all the good music that I find along the way (as well as seeing some movies and books I've enjoyed).


ALBUMS



Fidlar Fidlar (Mom+Pop)
Bad Religion True North (Epitaph)
Daft Punk Random Access Memories (Columbia)
Deerhunter Monomania (4AD)
Stooshe London With the Lights On (Warner Bros)
MacG Freedom (no label)
Telekinesis Dormarion (Merge)
Deltron 3030 The Event II (Bulk Recordings)
Melt Yourself Down Melt Yourself Down (The Leaf)
Burial Rival Dealer (Hyperdub)
Bleeding Rainbow Yeah Right (Kranky)
Ex Cops True Hallucinations (Other Music)
Banque Allemande Willst du Chinese sein musst du die ekligen Sachen essen (S.S.)
M.I.A. Matangi (Interscope)
Arcade Fire Reflektor (Merge)
Jai Paul Jai Paul (bandcamp.com)
Caleb James The Jones (no label)
J Cole Born Sinner (Columbia)
Hanni El Khatib Head in the Dirt (Innovative Leisure)
Front Bottoms Talon of the Hawk (Bar None)
Nine Inch Nails Hesitation Marks (Columbia)
Pet Shop Boys Electric (Kobalt)
Jay-Z Magna Carter... Holy Grail (Roc A Fella)
Ezra Furman The Year of No Returning (Bar None)
White+ White+ (Maybe Mars, 2012)
Gypsyphonic Disko Mardi Gras (no label)
Kate Nash Girl Talk (Fontana)
Bottomless Pit Shade Perennial (Comedy Minus One)
Brad Paisley Wheelhouse (Sony Nashville)
Radical Dads Rapid Reality (Uninhabitable Mansions)
The History of Apple Pie Out of View (Marshall Teller)
Pat Todd & The Rankoutsiders Free EP (Rankoutsider)
Joanna Gruesome Weird Sister (Slumberland)
J. Cole Truly Yours (no label)
Ghostface Killah Twelve Reasons to Die (Soul Temple)
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Aftermath)
Kim Lenz and the Jaguars Follow Me (Riley)
The Computers Love Triangles, Hate Squares (One Little Indian)
Kowton vs Bashmore Mirror Song EP (Broadwalk Records Ltd)
Le1f Fly Zone (no label)
Mikal Cronin MCII (Merge)
No Joy Wait to Pleasure (Mexican Summer)
Aceyalone Leanin' On Slick (Decon)
Mike Krol Trust Fund (Countercounterculture)
Holden The Interiors (Border Community)
Tamikrest Chatma (Glitterbeat)
Kanye West Yeezus (Def Jam)
Omar Souleyman Wenu Wenu (Ribbon)
Akkord Navigate (Hounds Tooth)
Dott Swoon (Graveface)
Bex Marshall House of Mercy (Continental)
Veronica Falls Waiting For Something To Happen  (Slumberland)
Lame Drivers Flexi-Book EP (no label)
The Cyclist Bones In Motion (Fallen)
Skip Skip Ben Ben Sacrifice Mountain Hills (Maybe Mars)
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba Jama ko (Out|Here)
Cyanide Pills Still Bored (Damaged Goods)
Gardland Syndrome Syndrome (RVNG Intl)
Psicomagia Psicomagia (El Paraiso)
Secret Circuit Tactile Galactics (Beats In Space)
William Tyler Impossible Truth (Merge)
Fokus Group Nut Nut (Pennyroyal)
Major Lazer LAZER STRIKES BACK Vol. 1 (no label)
Dana Coppafeel & Speak Easy Dana Coppafeel & Speak Easy (Uni-Fi Records Presents) (Uni-Fi)
The Woggles Big Beat (Wicked Cool)
Ashley Monroe Like A Rose (Warner Bros)
Ethernet Opus 2 (Kranky)
Golden Grrrls Golden Grrrls (Slumberland)
Tony Molina Dissed And Dismissed (Melters)
Cash Box Kings Black Toppin' (Blind Pig)
Major Lazer Free the Universe (Secretly Canadian)
Lotus Monks (Lotus Vibes Music)
Beach Day Trip Trap Attack (Kanine)
Branko Drums, Slums and Hums (no label)
Bed Rugs Rapids (Ample Play Recordings)
California X California X (Don Giovanni Records)
More Or Les Bigger On The Inside: A Time Traveller's Mixtape (bandcamp.com)
Various Artists Remembering Little Walter (Blind Pig)
CoMa In Technicolor (Kompakt)
Tal National Kaani (Fat Cat)
Defibulators Debt'll Get'em (PigCow)
FM3 "Buddha Machine 4" (FM3)
Fear of Men Early Fragments (Kanine)
Bilal A Love Surreal (eOne)
Team Doyobi Digital Music Volume 2 (Skam)
Best Coast Fade Away (Jewel City)
The Chills Somewhere Beautiful (Fire)
The Hot Sardines Live at Joe's Pub (bandcamp.com)
Guards In Guards We Trust (Black Bell)
Lauer Laui XIV (Running Back)
Flying Lotus Pattern+Grid World (Warp)
Thee Oh Sees Floating Coffin (Castle Face)
Chuck Johnson  Crows In The Basilica (Three Lobed Recordings)
Dwellings Don't Say Nothing (Tesla Tapes)
Hedvig Mollestad Trio All of Them Witches (Rune Grammofon)
Hartwell Littlejohn Hartwell Littlejohn (no label)
Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra For the Baby Doll (Hobo Bob's Music)
Within Reason Transient Broadcasts (Anodize)
Wayne Hancock Ride (Bloodshot)
Paint Fumes Uck Life (Slovenly)
Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement Water Rose Above the Head (Bed of Nails)
Glenn Jones My Garden State (Thrill Jockey)
Andrew Chalk & Tom James Scott Wild Flowers (Brainwashed)
The Haxan Cloak Excavation (Tri Angle)
Jacob Jones Good Timin' in Waynetown (Crash Avenue)
Wire Wired EP (Mord) (NOTE: this ain't the post-punk UK band Wire)















In addition, there were some OK records that I kind of admired and wished that I liked more: Flying Lotus' Ideas+drafts+loops,  Scntst, Janelle Monae, Kacey Musgraves, Clairy Browne (some of which I found good singles for below). I have a Spotify playlist too with many of the albums listed here.

I highly recommend two sources for finding out about new releases each week: Pause & Play and All Music Guide.



SINGLES

Twin Shadow "Old Love/New Love" (Rockstar Games)
Kastra "Eminem vs. Daniel Portman vs. Zeds Dead - Breathe In That Air" (no label)
Robin Thicke "Blurred Lines (Buffetlibre Remix)" (no label)
Ezra Furman "American Soil" (Bar/None)
Rudimental Featuring Emeli Sande and Nas “Free (Remix)” (Big Beat Records/Atlantic)
Big Sean Featuring Kendrick Lamar & Jay Electronica "Control" (no label)
Nonono "Pumping Blood" (Warner Bros)
Cumulus "Hey Love" (Trans- Records)
Konshen "Gal a Bubble" (Major Lazer x Bro Safari x ETC! ETC! Remix)" (no label)
Hellsongs "Equality" (Tapete)
Alex Metric & Mark Yardley "Ilium" (OWSLA)
Blackstreet "No Diggity (Fare Soldi RMX)" (no label)
Tony Molina "Don't Come Back" (Melters)
Aaron Neville "Gypsy Woman" (Blue Note)
Ex Cops "Separator" (Other Music)
Janelle Monáe featuring Erykah Badu "Q.U.E.E.N. [Tradelove Remix]" (Bad Boy)
Miguel "Can't Sleep 2gether" (Adult Swim)
Prince "Screwdriver" (3rdeyegirl.com)
The Royal Concept "World On Fire" (Lava Music)
Jamie Lidell "You Know My Name" (Warp)
Stooshe "Slip" (Warner Music)
Ayer "Circle Down (Keljet Remix)" (no label)
Coeur De Pirate "Comme Des Enfants (Le Matos Andy Carmichael Remix)" (no label)
Lorde "Royals" (Lava Music/Republic)
Lion Babe "Treat Me Like Fire (Star Slinger Bootleg Mix)" (no label)
Esther Philips "All The Way Down (Leftside Wobble KGS Rework)" (no label)
Omar Souleyman "Wenu Wenu" (Ada)
Kavinsky "Odd Look"(A-Track remix)" (no label)
Rizzla "Battyjack (Club Mix)" (no label)
Jack Beats "Knock You Down (Major Lazer vs. Jack Beats Remix)" (OWSLA Official)
Kanye West "Black Skinhead" (Def Jam)
Eleanor Friedberger "Stare At the Sun" (Merge)
MS MR "Bones (Ianborg x PRFFTT & Svyable Remix)" (no label)
Lotus featuring Lyrics Born "Cannon in the Heavens" (Lotus Vibes Music)
MS MR "Hurricane (CHVRCHES remix)" (Columbia)
Johnny Stimson "Daddy's Money" (Johnny Stimson)
IO Echo "When the Lilies Die" (IAMSOUND)
Disclosure "Voices (Le Youth Remix)" (no label)
Best Coast "This Lonely Morning" (Jewel City)
Martin Garrix "Animals" (Spinnin)
Bingo Players "Get Up (Rattle)" (Republi)
Robby Hunter "Corazon" (New World)
Ebone East "Get Low, Get Nasty" (Table)
Stooshe "Kiss Chase" (Warner Music)
Amtrac "Walkin' (Original Mix)" (no label)
Memoir "Los Angeles" (Deadly Love)
Beaches "Send Them Away" (Chapter Music)
Bear Mountain "Congo" (no label)
Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z "Suit & Tie" (RCA)
Juno Reactor "Invisible" (Metropolis)
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell "Get Lucky" (Sony)
Tricky featuring Nneka "Nothing Matters" (False Idols)
Ella Fitzgerald "Too Darn Hot" (RAC Mix) (Verve)
Holy Ghost! "Bridge and Tunnel" (DFA)
Juicy J featuring Justin Timberlake "The Woods" (Kemosabe Records/Columbia)
Guards "Silver Lining" (Black Bell)
The Replacements "Lost Highway" (New West)
Thermals "Born To Kill" (Saddle Creek)
Du Tonc "Surging Memories" (Cheap Thrills)
Gretchen Wilson "Dust & Bone" (Redneck)
Joanna Gruesome "Secret Surprise" (Slumberland)
The Men "Freaky" (Sacred Bones)
ZZ Ward featuring Kendrick Lamar "Cryin' Wolf" (Hollywood, 2012)
The Emperor Machine "Like A Machine" (Southern Fried)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra "No Need For A Leader" (Jagjaguwar)
Kacey Musgraves "Stupid" (Mercury Nashville)
Lorde "Glory & Gore (Unlike Pluto remix)" (no label)
Suburban Living "Always Eyes" (Dialog)
Aoki Takamasa "Rhythm Variation 01" (raster-noton)
Rogue Wave "College" (Vagrant)
Veronica Falls "Teenage" (Slumberland)
Rose Falcon "You Stole My Heart" (Show Dog/Universal Music)
Olly Murs featuring Chiddy Bang "Heart Skips a Beat" (Epic)
The Knife "Full Of Fire" (Mute)
Neko Case "Man" (Anti)
Aluna George "You Know You Like It (DJ Snake Remix)" (Universal)
Tshetsha Boys featuring Themba Manganyi "Bafana Bafana" (Jiaolong)
Boz Scaggs "Cadillac Walk" (429)
Jagwar Ma "The Throw" (Marathon Artists)
Hanni El-Khatib "Family" (Innovative Leisure)
Thee Oh Sees "I Come From the Mountain" (Castle Face)
They Might Be Giants "Call You Mom" (Idlewild)
Sally Shapiro "All My Life" (Paper Bag)
Nari & Milani "Kendo" (Southern Fried)
Bruno Mars "Locked out of Heaven" (Atlantic, 2012)
Jonwayne "Numbers on the Hoard" (Stones Throw)
Clairy Browne & The Bangin' Rackettes "Good Problems" (Vanguard)
Major Lazer Featuring Busy Signal, The Flexican & FS Green "Watch Out For This (Bumaye)" (Secretly Canadian)
Lindi Ortega "I Want You" (Last Gang)
Cheetahs "The Swan" (Wichita Recordings)
!!! "Slyd" (Warp)
Chelsea Light Moving "Sleeping Where I Fall" (Matador)
Wampire "The Hearse" (Polyvinyl)
Olly Murs featuring Flo Rida "Troublemaker" (Epic)
Chance the Rapper featuring Vic Mensa & Twista "Cocoa Butter Kisses" (no label)
Ben Khan "Drive (Part 1)" (no label)
Pusha T "Numbers On The Boards" (GOOD Music)
Deltron 3030 "Melding of the Minds" (Bulk)
Coma "Hoooooray" (Kompakt)
Steel Pulse "Put Your Hoodies On [4 Trayvon]" (steelpulse.com)
James Blake "Retrograde" (Universal)
Dog Bite "Native American" (Car Park)
Jamie Lidell "In Your Mind" (Warp)
Panama "Always" (Future Classic)
Ezra Furman "Anything Can Happen" (Bar/None)
Tweens "Be Mean'" (no label)
The National "Don't Swallow the Cap" (4AD)
The Del Lords "Me and the Lord Blues" (Megaforce)
Brad Paisley "Runaway Train" (Sony Nashville)
Joywave featuring Kopps "Tongues" (Joywave Industries)
e-dubble "Plan A" (no label)
Blludd Relations "Anything But the Fingers" (Deek Recordings)

Most of the single links go to YouTube pages where you can hear the songs.  For everything that I could find there, I also made this Spotify playlist of fave 2013 singles too.  In the spirit of boosting these acts and their songs, next time I'll try to remember to instead include links to where you can buy these tunes.

Should also note two great resources for finding good songs: Hype Machine and Bleep.






REISSUES/ARCHIVES

Ella Fitzgerald Best of BBC Vaults (Universal Music Group)
Various Artists Scared To Get Happy- A Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989 (Cherry Red)
Grateful Dead May 1977 (Grateful Dead)
Miles Davis Quintet Live In Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol 2 (Legacy)
George Jones The Complete United Artists Solo Singles (Omnivore)
Swamp Dogg Total Destruction to Your Mind (Alive)
Shoes Present Tense: Demos 1978-1979 (Numero Uno)
The Clean Vehicle (Captured Tracks/Flying Nun)
Orchestre Poly-rythmo de Cotonou Volume 3 The Skeletal Essences Of Voodoo Funk (Analog Africa)
Various Artists The Rough Guide To Latin Psychedelia (World Music Network)
John Coltrane Sun Ship- Complete Sessions (Verve Select)
Roky Erickson The Evil One (Light in the Attic)
Various Artists The Devil Is Busy In Knoxville (Mississippi)
Various Artists The World's End- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Abkco)
Harold Budd Wind In Lonely Fences (All Saints)
The Waitresses Just Deserts: The Complete Waitresses (Omnivore Recordings)
Bernard Parmegiani De Natura Sonorum (Recollection GRM/Editions Mego)
Four Tet 0181 (Text)
Merle Haggard The Complete 60's Capitol Singles (Omnivore)
Various Artists 42: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Watertower)
Various Artists The Twisted Wheel: Brazennose & Whitworth Street, Manchester 1963-71: It's Where It's At (Snapper)
Chet Baker Quintette Chet Baker Cools Out (Boplicity)
Dennis Johnson November (Irritable Hedgehog)
Dub Club Foundation Come Again (Stones Throw)
Doug Sahm Best Of Doug Sahm & Sir Douglas Quintet (1968 - 1975) (Mercury)
Swamp Dogg Gag a Maggot (Alive)
Luc Ferrari Presque Rien (Recollection GRM / Editions Mego)
Harold Budd Perhaps (Root Strata)
Nile Rodgers B-Movie Matinee (Rhino/Warners)
Various Artists Where The Girls Are Volume 8 (Ace)
Tom Robinson Band Anthology 1977-1979 (EMI)
Art Brut Top of the Pops (The End)
James Booker Classified- Remixed and Expanded (Rounder)
Digable Planets Blowout Comb (Light in the Attic)
Leon Thomas The Leon Thomas Album (BGP/Beat Goes Public)
Various Artists Surf Age Nuggets- Volume 1 (Rockbeat)
Various Artists The Rough Guide To African Disco (World Music Network)
Lobi Traoré Bamako Nights: Live at Bar Bozo 1995 (Glitterbeat)
Massacre Love Me Tender (Tzadik)
Various Artists Change The Beat - The Celluloid Records Story 1979 - 1987 (Strut)
Freddie King The Complete King Federal Singles (Real Gone)
Jack DeJohnette Special Edition (ECM)
Various Artists These Men in Love: Northern Soul Rarities (Libra Verde)
Various Artists I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990 (Light in the Attic)
Matthew Shipp Greatest Hits (Thirsty Ear)
Various Artists Kassidat: Raw 45s from Morocco (Dust To Digital)
Various Artists 100 Moons: Hindustani Vocal Art, 1930​-​55 (Canary)
The 49 Americans We Know Nonsense (STAUBGOLD)
David Tudor The Art Of David Tudor 1963–1992 (New World)
Iannis Xenakis GRM Works 1957-1962 (Recollection GRM/Editions Mego)
Sekou Batourou Kouyate Et Sa Cora (Tembo)
Hawkwind Leave No Star Unturned: Cambridge January, 1972 (Dirter)
Various Artists Not So Quiet On The Western Front (Alternate Tentacles)
Laraaji Cosmic Tape Experiments 1979 - 1987 (All Saints)
George Jones & Tammy Wynette Classic Christmas Album (Sony Legacy)
Super Onze  Super Onze - Gao (Sahel Sounds)

There were a number of other drool-worthy boxes that came out in 2013:
  • Ella Fitzgerald The Voice of Jazz (Verve)
  • George Jones Absolutely Essential Collection (Ais)
  • Sly and the Family Stone Higher! (Epic/Legacy)
  • Various Artists Dues Paid: The Bluestime Story (Ace)
  • Various Artists I Heard the Angels Singing (Tompkins Square) 
  • Various Artists The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records Volume 1 (Revenant) 
  • Various Artists Verve: The Sound Of America - The Singles Collection (Verve)
These were ones that I couldn't honestly list just 'cause I didn't get to hear them, which is a cute way of saying that I couldn't shell out for all of them.






 
 MUSIC MOVIES/DVDs
Just a note to say that this was an especially great year for music documentaries.  Hope that 2014 can keep up the momentum.







MUSIC-RELATED READING LIST

Sad to say, the books/bios that Pete Townshend and Neil Young both came out were kind of disappointing. Questlove and Morrissey, along with Hell, Davies and Jourgensen, were much better- they were much more engaging and better able to tell their own stories.



VIDEOS
Yep, that includes two commercials but they were good ones and much better than a lot of music videos out there otherwise.