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.

  1. Sleaford Mods Austerity Dogs (Harbinger Sound)
  2. tUnE-yArDs Nikki Nack (4AD)
  3. Bruce Springsteen High Hopes (Sony)
  4. Bleeding Rainbow Interrupt (Kanine)
  5. Marianne Faithfull Give My Love To London (Easy Sound)
  6. Jack White Lazaretto (Third Man)
  7. Amy Ray Goodnight Tender (Daemon)
  8. Mayday! and Murs ¡MursDay! (Strange Music)
  9. Gordon Voidwell Bad Etudes (no label)
  10. Charli XCX Sucker (Atlantic)
  11. Sugar Stems Only Come Out At Night (Dirtnap)
  12. Old 97's Most Messed Up (ATO)
  13. Gold-Bears Dalliance (Slumberland)
  14. Tweens Tweens (Frenchkiss)
  15. Clouds Boys On E. Terriers (Soma)
  16. Major Lazer Apocalypse Soon (Secretly Canadian)
  17. Honeyblood Honeyblood (Fat Cat) 
  18. Eagulls Eagulls (Partisan)
  19. Beach Day Native Echoes (Kanine)
  20. 18+ Trust (Houndstooth)
  21. Khun Narin Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band (Innovative Leisure)
  22. JoeFarr Sentry (Power Vacuum)
  23. Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin Common Ground (Yep Roc)
  24. Philip Corner Satie Slowly (Unseen Worlds)
  25. Anodyne Fractured EP (Yellow Machines)
  26. Young Fathers Dead (Anticon)
  27. D'Angelo and the Vanguard Black Messiah (RCA)
  28. Tinariwen Emmaar (Anti-)
  29. More or Les Fill At Will (Bandcamp)
  30. Max Cooper Human (Fields)
  31. Boytoy Boytoy (Papercup)
  32. Pixies Indie Cindy (PIAS)
  33. First Aid Kit Stay Gold (Columbia)
  34. Beverly Careers (Kanine)
  35. Run The Jewels Run the Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal) 
  36. Muuy Biien D.Y.I. (Happy Happy Birthday)

  37. Mud Morganfield/Kim Wilson For Pops: A Tribute To Mud (Severn)
  38. The Hot Sardines The Hot Sardines (Decca)
  39. Francois X Suspended In A Stasis Field (Dement3d France)
  40. Whirlwind D Nomansland (Tru-Tone Records)
  41. Sawlin Niedertracht (Deisin)
  42. Fucked Up Glass Boys (Matador)
  43. Typefighter The End of Everything (Huge Witch)
  44. BMCCCW Spectrum (Styles Upon Styles)
  45. Hieroglyphic Being/The Configurative Or Modular Me Trio The Seer Of Cosmic Visions (Planet Mu)
  46. Brad Paisley Moonshine in the Trunk (Sony Nashville)
  47. De La Soul Smell The D.A.I.S.Y. (no label)
  48. Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols (Caldo Verde)
  49. Vertical Scratchers Daughter of Everything (Merge)
  50. LOT.TE Pressue Chant EP (The Bunker)
  51. Daniel Avery Drone Logic (Phantasy Sound, 2013)
  52. Traams Cissa (Fat Cat)
  53. Miranda Lambert Platinum (RCA Nashville)
  54. Ghostface Killah 36 Reasons (Tommy Boy)
  55. Unicycle Loves You The Dead Age (Highwheel/Mecca Lecca)
  56. Chrissie Hynde Stockholm (Caroline)
  57. Parkay Quarts Content Nausea (What's Your Rupture?) 
  58. Eyelids 854 (Jealous Butcher)
  59. Alvvays Alvvays (Polyvinyl)
  60. Various Artists All of Your Friend's Friends (K)
  61. Various Artists God Help the Girl (Milan)
  62. Beyoncé More (Parkwood)
  63. Aesop Waits Tom Shall Pass (Bandcamp)
  64. L'Orange After the Flowers (Mello Music)
  65. Peter Van Hoesen Call and Response (Time to Express)
  66. Rafter It's Reggae (Asthmatic Kitty)
  67. Monic, Oscar Mulero, Killawatt, Amorce Habits (Osiris Music) 
Many of the albums above are on this Spotify playlist.

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





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