This years was a busy one for the blog. Over 500 albums posted on the free blogs so the year end list reflects that. Such a joy to catch back up with all of these albums at the end of the year. Thanks again to the artists and sites and labels that put that great music out there. Thanks to DC at The Waiting Room Radio Show, for a ridiculous amount of great tips as well as the friendship we've built. Thanks to Sounds And Colours a great many South and Central American tips. Also thanks to my newest go to music source very cool French blog Ziklibrenbib.
Thanks to all of you that follow my blogs. This new year is year number 6 for the blog and there are some good and big changes on the way!
1. Liam Finn - The Nihilist (yepROC) On this go around Liam seamlessly matches up the 60's analog production with current indie rock cues to bring a varied sound from song to song. My favorite tracks are the driving rocker "Burn Up The Road" and the syrupy sweet sounding "Snug As Fuck". Also great are the lo fi burner "4 Track Stomper". Add in a splash of indigenous music sounds as on the song "Arrow"and a few weeper tracks like "Dreary Droop" and this album with its varied sounds and different sounding production makes this album the one that I can't get enough of this past year.
2. Tune Yards - Nikki Nack (4AD) On yet another release Merrill Garbus and company bravely put sound and rhythm that you won't hear anywhere else. With a shake your ass rating of 10 out of 10 these songs thankfully keep to Merrill's incredible ear for production... and not overdoing it! From the sure fire playful dance track "Water Fountain" to the r'n'b production of "The Real Thing" to the straight forward lo fi production of "Rocking Chair" Merrill has added more soundscapes with littering said soundscapes with too many distractions.
Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes Another solo fine solo album from Mr. Yorke. Part slinky grooves, part pop construction, part ambient chill-out. There are accessible tracks like "Guess Again" as well as less accessible tracks like "Pink Section" that balance out the sound a bit. The end result is a really strong album which , which frankly, is not a surprise.
Mas Agua - Mas Agua EP These 5 songs by Londoner David Ellis are a perfect example of making less more. The production is sparse and there are no vocal runs that the tv shows wrongfully tell the kids is the way to sing a soul or r'n'b song. "Be Like You" is the catchiest anthem you've never heard of. It's the type of song the radio should play. The song has current production with a major dose of doo wop. Man did I play the shit out of this little EP that could. David does things that the likes of other white soul contemporaries could learn a thing or two from.
Lobo Marino - City of Light Folk, chant, drone, kirtan, spiritual, tribal, world fusion from Richmond based Lobo Marino. "City Of Light" is named after the city Varanasi, in India. Laney and Jamison went to Varansi and volunteered at a music and arts school there (all the proceed from this album's sales goes to that school, a very worthwhile endeavour. The info to do so is on their bandcamp page). As far as the music itself, stellar as is the case with their last release "Kite Festival" which ended up on my year end list. Its a really good blend of west and east influences. The drone aspect doesn't make tracks stand out, rather when consumed as a whole a singular, pretty amazing, sonic experience.
Parasol - I Close My Eyes Again (kiiro records) Japan based fuzz/dream rock from PARASOL, who have a big, bright guitar sound that's a throw back throw back to the 90's indie bands. Pretty much an album of shoe-gaze bliss. My favorite track is the title track. Really nice melodies on these tracks.
Ant The Symbol - Act Natural (2 of 3) My favorite sometimes electronic from Richmond's Ant The Symbol. These machine sounding electronic songs have a depth to them. These are best listened to as a whole experience that sound wise runs the gamut from ambient, to synth pop to hip hop beats. My favorite tracks are "Through You Chest" and "Electrik Blu Two Point Oh".
Ego Ella May - Breathing Underwater Londoner Ego's release last year was on my year end list and she picks up where she left off on Breathing Underwater. This album features that nice mix of r&b, jazz and poetry that makes it a very dynamic release. My favorite track is "Underwater" which features cool word play as well that reminds me, in a good way, of Erykah Badu. Her sultry vocals are very memorable.
Gia Margaret - Dark/Joy Beautiful melodies and a beautiful voice from Chicago based Gia. The ambient tinged track "Next Town " is my favorite track. Love the way Gia phrases her vocals. "Celica" is another home run of a song with strings that compliment her beautiful voice. I'm fortunate to have booked her for some shows as well as seen her play multiple times, sometimes with Alain in the duo Little Light. Always knocked out seeing her sing live.
Car Seat Headrest - How To Leave Town Car Seat Headrest makes psyh-pop and dabbles in electronic music. The Virginia act's sound has really grown and is quite the prolific artists. From the melodic hooks of "Beast Monster" to the start and stop and start again of "I Want You To Know That I'm Awake/I Hope That You're Asleep", How Tow To Leave Town has many facets and even when they are unconventional they seem the work towards a bigger picture that pays off even more with subsequent listens.
Adrian Juarez - Araucarias "Los rugientes", the chipper upbeat opener sets the table for the album of danceable folk/pop songs from Argentina's Adrian Juarez. Adrian has a way of seamlessly fitting South American rhythm and contemporary indie pop, as on the song "Los nube" that really sets him apart from others.
Jake Tobin - Torment (Mega Records)From the opening track "Torment" on which the sax sounds like it may be on drugs itself to the funky, addictive and unconventional riff on ""Pain, On Leave", Jake Tobin is his own man, and you may or may not enjoy that. I certainly do. This album sounds like Jake had a plan for these sounds that may appear more random in nature because of the jazz elements. This album's overall sound is an eclectic joy to listen to.
The Fucked Up Beat - Investigates Strange Weather Patters and the UFO Cults of Cold War Nevada What happens when you mix and affinity for the cold war, UFO's and an avant-garde, minimalist electronic music? The Fucked Up Beat happens. Were I to explain this album to you you would think I were a tad bit off. But this album is a seamless trip into another reality as on the "rag time flavored track "UFO Archigrams/ Hinterland Techtonic".
La Tabu - Live at Hertenkamp 30 November 2013 I love tango music. I also love this live recording from Holland based Tabú. The weepy, pretty strings on "Nada #1" are my favorite on this album.
Grandkids - Time Sensitive Material Now Chicago based, once Champaign based Grandkids offer up a more experimental release on Time Sensitive Material Vol. II than found on Their self titled ep and full length Timeshare. The whimsical track "Locusts of the Ring" is my favorite track. This whole album seems a half step off, which makes it a unique offering.
Nasimiyu- dirt. EP This is a self assured sounding afro pop ep from Brooklynite Nasimiyu. Warning, infectious groove alert on "Biggest Drum".
Augusto Bracho - Primer acercamiento al mito Experimental... check. Spiritual... check. Traditional Mexican music from Augusto Bracho. The slow burner "Carolita" will set you right.
Lupe de Lupe - Quarup Situatedin Belo Horizonte, Lupe de Lupe have scaled their sound back a bit and incorporated more melodies and it suits them just fine. "O Arrependimento" is the track I keep coming back to listen to.
Curt Oren - I Love My Dog Experimental, saxophone, indie from Iowa City based Curt Oren. Curt album Home was one I played quite a bit at the end of last year. There is something refreshing about his sax playing. It takes more liberties than traditional experimental jazz does. The track "Everything's Gonna Be Okay" is my favorite. It features a recognizable rhythm that descends into noisy chaos and then returns to that rhythm. I listen to thousand of albums every year and Curt's music really stands out, in the best of ways.
Wood Spider - Decadence (birthquake records) Decadence is a sprawling dissonant chamber punk album featuring accordion, banjo. This gypsy punk, chamber pop bastard child is a thing of uneven beauty. The waltz timed "Verb Fiction" is my favorite track.
The Citradels - Nepenthe Psychedelic buzz and unlikely pop hook litter this awesome album by Melbourne based The Citradels. "Slow Burn" is my favorite track.
Indian Wells – Pause
2 years ago