Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dedicated Ears 2014 Most Listened To List

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.

 3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.  

6. 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.

7.  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". 

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12.  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.

13. 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".

14. 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. 

15. 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.

 16. Nasimiyu- dirt. EP  This is a self assured sounding afro pop ep from Brooklynite Nasimiyu. Warning, infectious groove alert on "Biggest Drum". 

17.  Augusto Bracho - Primer acercamiento al mito  Experimental... check. Spiritual... check. Traditional Mexican music from Augusto Bracho. The slow burner "Carolita" will set you right.

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. 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. 

21. The Citradels - Nepenthe  Psychedelic buzz and unlikely pop hook litter this awesome album by Melbourne based The Citradels.  "Slow Burn" is my favorite track. 

22. DJ Seduce - Brazil:Sambossica (afro baile records) 4 bossa nova, samba, soul, from Arizona based DJ Seduce. 

23. Nice Legs - Lullaby Land  Female fronted  fuzz, pop from Seoul based Nice Legs. Track 1 is my favorite. 

24. Nicole Dollanganger - Observatory Mansions  Weird and wonderful ambient/piano fsongs from Toronto based Nicole Dollanganger. The aptly titled "Sleepy Town and Cemeteries" is my favorite track. Nicole has such a unique tone to her voice and complement it with like minded music.

25. rayos y manchas - rayos y manchas  Twee fuzzz pop from from Buenos Aires based rayos y manchas. The upbeat "memoria solar" is my favorite track.

26. The Nuclear Family - Carpet Fossils   Perfect mixture of  spoken word and music in an ambient and math rock kind of way from Cookeville Tennessee based The Nuclear Family. "RoyGeeBiv" is my favorite track.

27. the dragonfly hunters - the dragonfly hunter   Psychedelic noise pop from Atlanta based nevin lyle and the dragonfly hunters. Its a lo fi extravaganza! "my eye on you" is my favorite of these lo fi wonders.

28. Neil Finn - Dizzy Heights (Lester Records) Classic Neil Finn here. The title track is one of my favorite songs of this year. Catchy, catchy pop music.

29. Video Ranger - Video Ranger 3  Punk, cassette tape, pizza punk aaaaaand trombone? What's not to love from Video Ranger 3 by Omaha based Video Ranger. "Crytal Math" is my jam from this loud  album.

30. Stephanie Morris and the Rest - Stephanie Morris and the Rest  Folk, alternative, pop, singer-songwriter from Chicago based Stephanie Morris and the Rest. From their bandcamp page "This album was not released before Stephanie died in 2009. Read up on their story on their page, powerful stuff.

31. Collages - Windy City Mirage Electronic, experimental, pop, psychedelic, ambient, chill-wave from Chicago based Collages.  Jesse Bustamante (Collages) switches up the mood and experimentation from album to album. Windy City Mirage  is a little more based in pop structure as evidenced on "Way Of The Wind", my favorite track. The overall mood of the music on this album is a bit brighter that his previous album Pixel Swap Century. Since his first release Night Forages in 2010 his sound has grown in the variety of sounds and musical styles. There's proof of that growth on this album with the song "Time Crimez" which features and hip hop beat.

32. La Luz Mandarina - EP   Indie, pop, lo fi from Santa Cruz De La Sierra based La Luz Mandarina. Man i listened the hell out of their track "Los reyes del lugar". So wildly catchy.

33. Shanti People -Krishna Is Love   (Ulta Vague Recordings) Electronic, krishna, mantra, sanskrit, vedic, world music from Ukraine based Shanti People. Unlikely location, yet a really strong album. "Sri Radhika Stava" is my favorite!

34. Wizard Oz - Wizard Oz  Electro, pop, lo fi from Melbourne based Wizard Oz. "Black Bag" is my favorite track on here.

35.  Supercontinents - righteous and responsive  Folk, acoustic from Lexington based supercontinents. Everyday folk songs with a mixture of emotive and reflective songs. The beautiful ballad 'wave & warming' is my favorite track. Good to see Joe Harbison (supercontinents) still putting out solo work as well as his really cool band gypsy punk outfit Ford Theatre Reunion. I first came across Joe's solo work on the wonderful but now defunct CLLCT site. Here's hoping those few albums end up somewhere again.

36. Big Blood - Fight For Your Dinner Vol.1  Exp, dark folk from Maine based Big Blood.  Big 

37. Turing Apples - degrading gracefully  Alternative, indie, emo, pop, female vocals from Hong Kong based Turing Apples.

38. Trotski Nautique - mostla Trotski tape Nautique (mostla)  Pop, indie, electronic, rock from Paris based Trotski Nautique. Cool cover of Careless Whisper.

39. Twin Sons - Twin Sons EP  Acoustic, alternative rock, experimental, folk, lo-fi from Berlin based Twin Sons.

40. Dolli - Colorado EP  Electronic, experimental, cumbia, down-tempo instrumentals from Caracas based Dolli.

41. Kookie Lou - Kookie Lou EP  Alternative, electronic from Utah based Kookie Lou.

42. Magicks - Third Request  Electronic, dream pop, chillwave from Chicago based Magicks. Thanks to Magicks for the download!

43. ODEN - Sassafras EP  Beats,, electronic hip hop, from Melbourne based ODEN.

44. João Capdeville - Pausa  Folk, pop, world from Brazil based João Capdeville.

45. Just Lions - Great.Okay.   Rock, indie rock, jazz, pop from Portland based Just Lions. Thanks to Just Lions for the download!

46. Lunar Eskimo - Demo Tapes  Alternative, acoustic, jangle rock, surf rock from Dublin based Lunar Eskimo.

47. huey - Ace  Instrumental, rock, metal from São Paulo based huey. T

48. Fake Species - r=  Experimental, pop, dance, electro, indie, noise from Cleveland based Fake Species.

49. Del Plato and Kujawski - Strings and Chords  Indie rock Buffalo based Del Plato and Kujawski.

50. Coast Jumper - The End Of Broad Slough  Indie rock from Oakland's Coast Jumper.

51. Hana Vave - 1992  (eggpaper) Pop, experimental, rock from Montreal based Hana Vave.

52. Shapely Wake - Small Islands EP  indie pop, lo-fi, melancholy, surf from Morgantown based Shapely Wake.

53.  Drmanhattan - BOLO YODO  Alternative rock from Chicago based Drmanhatten

54. william alexander - Girls Basketball  Lofi pop from Long Beach based william alexander.

55. Words Like Earth - Shelves  Acoustic, americana, folk from Boston based Words Like Earth.

56. Super Brown - THREE FOR THE VOID  Garage, psych rock, lo fi from Arcata, California based Super Brown.

57. SMLH - demos/ 4 track ideas  Lofi, rock from Hillsborough based SMLH.  


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