Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Top Ten Albums of 2014

I heard some great sounds in 2014 and normally this’d be the part where I’d write about them.

But it doesn’t make much sense, if you think about it, really, to go and write a bunch of words about sounds when the sounds can speak for themselves. So that is what I’m going to try and do this time around.

My Top Ten Albums of 2014 is the only year-end list you will ever need, and here it goes:


10. Ian William Craig – A Turn of Breath


9. Hail Mary Mallon – Bestiary



8. Scott Walker & Sunn O))) – Soused


7. Have a Nice Life – Deathconsciousness

6. Pallbearer – Foundation of Burden

5. Have a Nice Life – The Unnatural World



4. Juan Wauters – N.A.P. North American Poetry



3. Sunn O))) & Ulver – Terrestrials

2. Amen Dunes – Love



1. Kissed Her Little Sister – Mbube






What great sounds did you hear in 2014? 

38 comments:

  1. The tradition continues

    A link to this post was added to your "special box" in my Facebook play list
    (12 rows down - left side)

    http://tinyurl.com/goodstuff-playlist

    What can I say... I am a classic Rock and Roll Dude

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    1. Thanks, GOODSTUFF!

      This is a huge tradition for me, and to some extent, I remember my years fondly or negatively depending on how my album list turned out. That sounds wrong, but it's true.

      This year was my better ones for music!

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  2. Believe it or not all my music this year has been old. I don't think I have listened to a single song - not one - produced in 2014.

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    1. Then you have a lot of Nicki Minaj and Iggy Izalea tracks to catch up with!

      I'm kidding.

      Did you even avoid the song from Frozen and "Happy"?

      How do you consume music? Old compact discs? internet radio?

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    2. These days mostly YouTube videos which I download to my hard drive. Usually eighties to nineties hard rock. That's the era my musical tastes are stuck in.

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    3. What's the song from Frozen and "Happy"?

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    4. Bill, if you haven't had your "Frozen" and "Happy" cherries popped yet, I am not going to be the one to inflict them on you. Enjoy your Alice in Chains or Rage Against the Machine or whatever. Don't ever change, baby.

      Delete
  3. Wait... I've gone over your list twice and didn't find anything by Taylor Swift. Are you sure you're finished with your list? I mean, she's all we hear or read about here in Nashville, so she HAS to be one of the bestest singer/songwriters of all time, right?

    I'm so disappointed in you, Katy.

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    1. Haha... With my apologies to Nashville, there's no Taylor on this list. I'm sure she will do her surprised face when she learns of this.

      Believe it or not, I don't believe there's anything on my list that sold in the range of Taylor Swift's "1989." The Pallbearer album is probably the biggest seller on the list.

      I buy popular albums once in a while, in part to keep up with what the kiddies are listening to. The only popular albums I heard this year were Lana del Rey's surprisingly good "Ultraviolence" and, of course, the U2 album that appeared on all my devices one morning.

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    2. Now, I don't listen to T. Swizzle (as I like to call her) for the music. Instead, I choose to listen for the lyrics. There you'll find something truly magical, like in her hit song "Shake It Up," in which she bravely states:

      "Cuz the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
      And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
      Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
      And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
      Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off."

      Gritty and breathtaking all at once. She's like a modern day Bukowski set to pop music.

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    3. Damn youz! Now I have that ear worm burrowing through my brain.
      I've said it before but, Taylor Swift's lyricism makes me nostalgic for the gritty feminism of Shania Twain.

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    4. I have the closed captioning on my television all of the time, so I saw how there were some great damn lyrics in pop music this year.

      My favorites were Ariana Grande passionately singing "I only want to die alive" and Iggy Azalea/Rita Ora singing "I'm gonna love you/Until you hate me." with a straight face.

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    5. It's heresy to belittle Taylor Swift's lyrics by actually printing them out and reading them without her sterling vocal interpretations. She's quite obviously the Joni Mitchell of her generation. Without the poetry. Or technical ability. Or vocals.

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    6. Squat, I am hesitant to say anything bad about her lyrics, because I think a couple of her new songs might be about me.

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  4. I think one of those videos you posted had about 200 views, which was impressive, but then another had 40.... 10 of which was probably from this post alone. That's taking hipster to a whole new level.

    My 2014 looked like my 2013, in which I found a bunch of great new Indie music that I loved, and then tried to share those titles with people in a way that didn't make me sound like a complete hipster douche. I mean, I'm not anti-popular album, but I can't remember the last time I heard one that didn't sound just awful.

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    1. I've come to accept the fact that I'm a bit of a music snob. Fortunately now I have kids, so I can direct my music snobbery at their impressionable young ears.

      I can show them stories about the tragic fire at the Great White concert 10 years back or the Sugarland concert more recently to demonstrate how important it is to listen to good music. I mean, do you REALLY want your last ever memory to be of Great White?

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  5. Tell you what I'm listening to? Oh no no. And open myself up for clear judgement of my taste in rhythmic symmetry? Nope. Besides, I've fallen out of love with searching for new music. I think my musical sensibilities crystallized around early 90's punk/ska. Which explains why I refuse to throw out my checkerboard slip-ons. I do appreciate you exposing me--albeit unwittingly--to new music. I really liked Juan Wauters.

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    1. MIghty Mighty Bosstones? Sublime? Rancid?

      I have a psychologist friend who sends me lists of people's favorite albums to see what I can tell her about them. I can usually at least get the age about right. I don't know what I'd say about someone with a list like mine, other than maybe this person needs to get out of the house and enjoy life more.

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  6. Not only have I not heard any of these albums, I haven't even heard of any of these people? Did Dean Martin put out a new album this year? ha

    Maybe I should listen to some of them. I might like them.

    Jay

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    1. It's never too late to be young again!

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  7. My dear ... here are some bands you should certainly check out:

    Amplifier
    Sons of Huns
    Sir Admiral Cloudesley Shovell
    Blood Ceremony
    Purson
    Wooden Shjips
    Wolf People
    Kadavar

    Great stuff! (I like your list as well)

    - Sterno

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    1. I trust your judgment, Sterno. I am going to download the latest from some of these without previewing them (because that's how I get my best results).

      It will be a good start for next year's list.

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    2. I'll be curious to know what you think. Went on a road trip with my daughter (who I imagine is close to you in age) and we have identical musical tastes. We listened to the above for hours and hours and it was just glorious. I'm so happy that I can be jazzed by NEW rock bands. Makes me very happy. Cheers for the holidaze, Katy!

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    3. I love the reply by sternodox! I think we should all submit our very own mix tapes for Katy to sort through, because we'd probably learn a lot more about one another that way than if we spent a weekend together at a chalet.

      Personally, I share a disdain for classic rock and roll that goes WAY back. If you're still stuck on "Free Bird" and "Stairway to Heaven" to the exclusion of all tunes recorded since, your opinions on other matters take a hit.


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    4. As the 11th Doctor says, "we all end up somewhere," but I HOPE that i don't stop finding new stuff. There's tons of really cool new stuff around, and thanks to websites like bandcamp, it's a free-for-all.

      I'm not sure you can change your musical values after a certain point: For me, artists have to write their own stuff, they can't really let their stuff be used in advertising, they have to use the album as an art form, etc.

      But beyond that, yeah! Wouldn't it be great to be 50? 60? and still be finding great new stuff? Who wants to be 60 and be trying to remember what it felt like the first time you heard the Stones? To be listening to the new U2 and trying to pretend it's "Achtung Baby"?

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    5. Agreed. When people ask me what kind of music I listen to, I say, "I only listen to one kind of music. EXCELLENT music." If it ain't excellent I'm not interested. When listening to rock music I do like reference points, which to me are Zappa, Beefheart, King Crimson, outside prog like Henry Cow and Can, strange post-punk like Chrome and Tuxedomoon. But, you see, I've HEARD all that stuff before and, much as I love it, I want to hear what brand new bands are bringing to the table. And Katy's right ... the internet is an amazing tool for discovering this stuff. I would put most of the bands I mentioned earlier in the "prog" category but there are many, many others in other categories that I love to death. The Salty Dogs for country and western. Amy LaVere for gypsy jazz/country soul. On and on. Music saves my life every day.

      - Sterno

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    6. Yeah. I absolutely love Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters-era Pink Floyd, Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, Robyn Hitchcock, Legendary Pink Dots and Incredible String Band. I don't listen to any of them very much anymore, though, because I've internalized them so deeply that I can pretty much operate within their worlds.

      It's going to take me a few more years to completely get Deathspell Omega's "Paracletus."

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    7. Hi Katy,

      If you can find it, check out Deathspell Omega's contribution (along with five other bands) on the collection "Crushing the Holy Trinity." DsO has one long song called "Father" and it's one of the single most amazing evolutionary jumps in black metal I've ever heard. Astonishing!!! DsO are certainly compelling black metal fans to reevaluate the genre's "rules" and are also probably steering them toward more progressive leaning music as well. DsO is a band to keep eyes and ears on!

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    8. I haven't heard of that one, but I'll have a look. I just have the last two full-lengths and an ep by them. That Paracletus album, though. I can't just say enough good things about it.

      Delete
  8. I really gotta start adding a wider mix of music Katy and thanks for broadening my musical tastes!

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    1. You're welcome, Maurice, and thank you for what you do over at Geek Twins!

      Delete
  9. Where's the Billy Joe Shaver? The Elizabeth Cook? The Waylon Jennings?

    Do you even Texas, bro?

    You're killing me, Katy.

    (I kinda liked the Hail Mary Mallon, but don't tell anyone.)

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    1. Texas? Sure. Daniel Johnston? Jandek? No?

      There's never ever explaining musical tastes, but I hope to get around to almost everything before I go...

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    2. Oh Shit.

      Are you one of those "Austin" Texans?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nG7aix-VO4

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    3. Haha... No, don't care much for Austin, actually. I'm pretty much pure East Texas redneck. I've just picked up too much music along the way.

      Delete
  10. I'm home sick. Illin and chillin if please. Resting and recuperating if you must. I prefer- dying a dark and lonely death.
    Irregardless, it gives me time to work my way through the list. So far I like some of Hail Mary Mallon but it all sounds of too much sameness.
    Have a Nice Life is a new favorite- honestly surprised it hadn't popped up somewhere along the line as a suggested something I might like thing.
    I'm not sure but that might be the first time I used irregardless in a written sentence.
    Does it drive you nuts when people use that non-word?
    I'm exhausted. Good night.

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    1. I thought of you a few weeks back with Have a Nice LIfe because you have a thing for prominent bass lines, as I recall.

      There's a guy named Aesop Rock in Hail Mary Mallon who is just about my favorite right now and I have no objectivity when it comes to him. I find myself listening to his B-grade stuff on repeat when I run.

      But honestly, other than Amen Dunes and Juan Wauters (who should be listened to by everyone), the rest should be listened to by almost no one.

      Delete

Hey you! Why not leave a comment to tell me what you think of what I wrote?