Whoa, we’re done with 2014. This year, I experienced an acute acceleration of the speed of time. I found less time to play alone in exploration and appreciation of music. In my downtime around the holidays I had a lot of catching up to do. End of year lists pushed Gibbs & Madlib, Shabazz Palaces, and Ricky Eat Acid over the edge for me. Heading into 2015, I’m wanting to hold onto 2014 just a bit longer. But time marches on, and there’ll be plenty of experiences ahead still to cherish.
- On the Regular | Shamir
On the Regular – Single | 2014
Thank you, Shamir, for carrying the cowbell torch for me in the absence of LCD Soundsystem and Gene Frenkle. You are the bright future we all have to look forward to.
- High (feat. Danny Brown) | Frankie Gibbs & Madlib
Piñata | 2014
Why did I think I was going to be bored by this album all year? That Danny Brown guest appearance is impressive.
- Ishmael | Shabazz Palaces
Lese Majesty | 2014
Again, why would I expect this to be boring? So many playful elements in “Ishmael” especially.
- The Charade | D’Angelo & The Vanguard
Black Messiah | 2014
No brainer that you’d find D’Angelo in this mix. The lyrical theme of “The Charade” rings true against the absurdist tableau of failures by police around the country and the judicial branch of our government.
- Hypnotized | Dream Police
Hypnotized | 2014
I couldn’t stay away from this side project of a couple dudes from the Men. Sort of like the Handsome Furs – Wolf Parade dynamic, I’m thankful for the former but prefer the latter.
- Grid | Perfume Genius
Too Bright | 2014
Too Bright is the absolute perfect step for Perfume Genius. One of my favorites of the year.
- It will draw me over to it like it always does | Ricky Eat Acid
Three Love Songs | 2014
This song sort of is a stand-in for the entire Three Love Songs album. I went into it expecting a really well done tapecore kind of thing and found something way better. It’s like Boards of Canada and the Microphones to me.
- Everyone Needs Love | Foxygen
…And Star Power | 2014
Man, I almost gave up on Foxygen. And I suspect I still will. But “Everyone Needs Love” fascinates. It opens with a great Beck-setto, somehow gets to a point where it’s sort of like listening to all of those studio takes on the Pet Sounds box set. Then, it comes back strong with a psychedelic send-off. LA through and through.
- Shadow Bros | Steve Gunn
Way Out Weather | 2014
Left with only tidbits of new things from Cass McCombs this year, I went searching for other contemplative, down-to-earth songsmiths. Steve Gunn did the trick.
- Break | Aphrodite’s Child
666 | 1972
A gift from brother Dane. There’s something still thrilling about dropping on the turntable a record named 666 for the first time. At first I was struck by the Animal Collective-sounding “Babylon”. Then, the very fast, proto-of-something “Do It”. Then, the hilarious “The Beast”. And, finally, the tender “Break”.
- All the Time | Bahamas
Bahamas Is Afie | 2014
Another gift from another brother, Brian. Actually, we’re what I call double-brothers-in-law. We married two sisters, you see? Anyway, “All the Time” is like Jack Johnson put on a very believable Grizzly Bears costume.
- I Don’t Wanna Go | Paul Butterfield
Put It In Your Ear | 1975
From a record Margaret grabbed simply because of its cover, “I Don’t Wanna Go” sums up my sentiment about 2014, and, at the same time, Butterfield’s vocal performance sort of makes me think of all of the greatness of Mac DeMarco’s cover of “Wicked Game”.