I still only half believe it – but 2014 is just about over.
That means it’s the time of year again where we haphazardly judge all of the music that’s been filing our heads for the past 365 days and put our findings in list form.
Here are ours!
caitiebee top picks:
1) Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
I never thought that a punk album would make me cry. But man oh man, this one has made me sob. In case you were living under a rock in 2014 – this album is a BIG deal, and it’s incredible.
2) William Onyeabor – What?
Remixes of a Gongbanter favorite, by some other favorites. Word on the street is he will put out a new album about his new-found savior Jesus, that one will probably make it on the list next year.
3) Homeboy Sandman – Hallways
Most everything this man touches turns to gold. Every song on this album brings something new to the table, maybe because just about each song is produced by someone new – from the likes of Jonwayne and Oh No.
4) Iceage – Plowing Into The Field of Love
Iceage made an album that I could actually maybe show to my parents. It may have pissed of some fans, but it’s a welcomed change for me.
5) Merchandise – After The End
I hate to repeat myself, but Merchandise made an album I could maybe show my parents, and it’s not a bad thing.
6) Hozier – Hozier
I LOVE THIS MAN AND EVERYTHING HE DOES. He has this talent to make us fall in love with his music, and there is no contest after you’ve seen him live. I’m excited to what more is to come with this shining star.
Sorry, I can’t decide which makes me want to dance in my chair more.
8) The Acid – Liminal
This album is beautiful.
9) Gardens & Villa – Dunes
Again another Gongbanter favorite with their second full length album. Word on the street is that they are already cooking some more tunes up in studio.
10) D’Angelo – Black Messiah
This one if for all of the suckers that posted their lists before it came out.
rye top picks:
1) Sharon Von Etten – Are We There
Very emotionally raw and intense album. She let’s it all bleed out on this one.
2) Frankie Cosmos – Zentropy
Another emotionally raw record, but in a different way. Makes the list mostly due to the lyrics “My ass is made of velvet and my hips are made of stone/ And if you really love me you will leave me alone.” Lyrical poetry
3) Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty
Power follow-up to the killer “Black Up.” As many have pointed out, the spirit of Sun Ra runs strong throughout, which no one seems to be complaining about.
4) Adult Jazz – Gist Is
In 2014, very few albums managed to challenge and disorient me while staying as insanely hooky as “Gist Is.”
5) William Onyeabor – What?!
Hats off to the folks at Luaka Bop for their persistence in making the initial compilation and remix album happen. I’ve gotten sucked into this hypnotic pop gem an embarrassing amount of times this year.
6) Spoon – They Want My Soul
In a landscape where the concept of the “album” slowly goes the way of the dodo, it’s particularly sweet to hear a crushing record from start to finish.
7) Aesop Waits – Tom Shall Pass
Most mashups these days seem lazy and uninspired, and seem to exist just because they can. Enter “Tom Shall Pass”, an album that combines the works of Aesop Rock and Tom Waits. They complement each other so well it’s stupid.
8) Various Artists – The New Basement Tapes
Love when an idea delivers beyond sounding good on paper. Contemporary artists recording songs inspired by a collection of unearthed lyrics from Bob Dylan. Featuring an all-star team of T-Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Dawes and Jim James among others.
9) Hozier – Hozier
Jesus, this man rips. Did anyone actually dislike this album? If so, come at me, I’ll be posting up at the Cowboy Palace Saloon for the holidays.
10) Shintaro Sakamoto – Let’s Dance Raw
I’ll always be a sucker for albums that masterfully juggle genres. In this case, folk, funk, jazz and country elements come together in a record that aims to move and succeeds in a big way.
“His troubles are like bananas– they come in bunches!
“Quick– does this quote come from a sports announcer commenting on the current affairs of the owner of the LA Clippers, or a mysterious voice from the most recent L’Orange album?The answer is maybe both. Though for the purposes of this music blog, we’ll choose to discuss the mad scientist who seems to reside in a dark cave and emit creepy, muffled sounds from a bygone era that occasionally border on terrifying. And no, I’m not referring to Donald Sterling.
The man machine I speak of is L’Orange, whose new record “The Orchid Days” seems to transport me to a different world by way of Charon’s boat on the river Styx. Essentially a jazzy trip/hip-hop album (to crudely simplify it), his most recent release contains a beats bouillabaisse of obscure jazz loops and radio horror dramas from the 40s with guest verses from the likes of Homeboy Sandman and Blu. While I’ve struggled to identify many of these samples (no thanks to WhoSampledWho), I’ve managed to identify the source of one that appears in my favorite cut off the record, “The End”:
“What are all those sounds, all those things…that live in the dark. I don’t know. But if you want to find out– come with me.”
Turns out this voice belongs to Robert Dryden on a 1973 children’s horror story record entitled “Scary Spooky Stories.” Through this sample, L’Orange poses the question that plagues my mind throughout my countless listening experiences of this album. And by placing it more or less at the end of the record, I’m given no choice but to come with him..and listen from the beginning. Again, and again.
Check it out “The End” (feat. Billy Woods) below, and listen to the entire damn album already.