Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Songs for Cineastes: 2014 Edition

Neneh Cherry as seen by Kim Hiorthoy.
Click here for the 2012 edition.

The fol-
list repre-
sents the 
best mu-
sic I heard 
in 2014, and I 
heard a lot, but I didn't hear everything, so if you know my taste and you think 
something's missing, feel free to let me know. There's a good chance I 
simply didn't hear it. Due to income constraints--one longtime free-
lance gig came to an end and two other employers reduced hours and/or assignments--I was limited, for the most part, to music that labels sent to me (almost exclusively via stream and download). Now that I'm not reviewing music on a regular basis, since Line Out came to an end, it's possible that I'll be receiving less in 2015, though I'm still writing concert previews ("Up & Comings") for The Stranger, so who's to say. One way or the other, though, I'll continue to make every effort to listen to as much new music as I can. That will never change.

Because I didn't hear many reissues and because I don't pay much attention to singles, I've eliminated separate lists for those formats. Also, I have no interest in major labels. Never have, never will. Other than D'Angelo's long-awaited album on RCA, these increasingly irrelevant dinosaurs did nothing in 2014 to change my mind. Furthermore, major label artists will always have an easier time generating free publicity from writers like myself. I would rather show support for the minimally-funded artists who need it most. And if any of those artists should sign to a major, I will continue to support their efforts as long as they continue to make music I enjoy. That doesn't happen as often as I would like, but there are always exceptions, and I'm grateful for that. Musicians deserve to eat, to pay their rent, and to live, as much as possible, like normal human beings. Here's to them for making our lives much richer than they would be otherwise.  

Note: Due to a hard drive crash in November 2013, I didn't compile
a list for that year. Links lead to my reviews for Line Out and Slog.

The Tops
1. Neneh Cherry - The Blank Project (Smalltown Supersound)
Total Control - Typical System (Iron Lung)
3. Mike Cooper - Trout Steel, Places I Know, and The Machine Gun Co. with Mike Cooper (Paradise of Bachelors) [reissues]
4. The Coathangers - Suck My Shirt (Suicide Squeeze)
5. Meatbodies - Meatbodies (In the Red)
6. Ty Segall - Manipulator (Drag City)
7. Robert Wyatt - Different Every Time (Domino)
8. King Tuff - Black Moon Spell (Sub Pop)
9. Morgan Delt - Morgan Delt (Trouble in Mind)
10. Perfume Genius - Too Bright (Matador)

11. D'Angelo and the Vanguard - Black Messiah (RCA)
12. Quilt - Held in Splendor (Mexican Summer)
13. Stone Jack Jones - Ancestor (Western Vinyl)
14. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar)
15. Habibi - Habibi (Burger)
16. Boozoo Bajou - 4 (Apollo Records)
17. Todd Terje - It's Album Time (Olsen Records)
18. Ghetto Ghouls - Ghetto Ghouls (Monofonus Press)
19. Bitchin Bajas - Bitchin Bajas (Drag City)
20. Roll the Dice - Until Silence (The Leaf Label)

Second Runners-up
21. White Fence - For the Recently Found Innocent (Drag City)
22. The Aislers Set - Terrible Things Happen, The Last Match, and How I Learned to Write Backwards (Slumberland/Suicide Squeeze) [reissues]
23. Woods - With Light and With Love (Woodsist)
24. The Body - I Shall Die Here (RVNG Intl.)
25. Ex Hex - Rips (Merge)
26. K. Leimer - A Period of Review (Original Recordings: 1975 - 1983) (RVNG Intl.)
27. New Bums - Voices in a Rented Room (Drag City)
28. Craig Leon - Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1 (RVNG Intl.)
29. Polar Bear - In Each and Every One (The Leaf Label)
30. Paul White - Shaker Notes (R&S)

Also worthy of note: ARP - "Pulsars e Quasars" (Mexican Summer), Cave - Release (Drag City), Cold Beat - Over Me (Crime on the Moon), The Dead Space - Faker (12XU), Amen Dunes - Love (Sacred Bones), The Flesh Eaters - A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die (Superior Viaduct) [reissue], FRKWYS Vol. 11: Steve Gunn & Mike Cooper - Cantos de Lisboa (RVNG Intl.), Gulp - Season Sun (Everloving), Steve Gunn - Way Out Weather (Paradise of Bachelors), Charlie Haden and Jim Hall - Charlie Haden-Jim Hall (Impulse!-Blue Note) [new release; 1990 engagement], Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Wig Out at Jagbags (Matador), Montibus Communitas - The Pilgrim to the Absolute (Beyond Beyond is Beyond), Mutual Benefit - "The Cowboy's Prayer" EP (Other Music Recording Co), Jack Name - Light Show (God?-Drag City), Meshell Ndegeocello - Comet, Come to Me (Naïve), Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal and Parkay Quarts - Content Nausea (What's Your Rupture), Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Right (Hardly Art), Brian Reitzell - Auto Music (Smalltown Supersound), September Girls - Cursing the Sea (Fortuna POP!), Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty (Sub Pop), She Keeps Bees - Eight Houses (Future Gods), Soft Walls - No Time (Trouble in Mind), Trans Upper Egypt - Trans Upper Egypt (Monofonus Press), Turn to Crime - Can't Love (Mugg and Bopp), Doug Tuttle - Doug Tuttle (Trouble in Mind), Ultimate Painting - Ultimate Painting (Trouble in Mind), Chad VanGaalen - Shrink Dust (Sub Pop), Noah Wall - Print the Legend (Driftless Recordings), Web of Sunsets - Room of Monsters (End of Time), Wyrd Visions - Half-Eaten Guitar (P.W. Elverum & Sun) [reissue], and Yo La Tengo - Extra Painful (Matador) [reissue].

Like what I've heard (need to hear more): Willis Earl Beal - Ex-
periments in Time (No Label), Black Lips - Underneath the Rainbow
(Vice), Budos Band - Burnt Offering (Daptone), Vashti Bunyan -
Heartleap (Fat Cat/Dicristina), Cody ChesnuTT - Landing on a Hun-
dred: B-Sides & Remixes
(Vibration Vineyard), Elysian Fields - For House Cats and Sea Fans (Diluvian/Ojet), Andy Haas - Taballah (No Label), Klaus Johann Grobe - Im Sinne der Zeit (Trouble in Mind), Mogwai - Rave Tapes (Sub Pop), Ninos du Brasil - Novos Misterios (Hospital), The Notwist - Close to the Glass (Sub Pop), Soundcarriers - Entropicalia (Ghost Box), and Tele Novella - Umbrellas at the Station (American Laundromat).

Endnote: If it wasn't for 2013's hard drive crash, I would've had to come up with a #1 for that year, but I'm not sure what it would've been. Possible contenders: Cave - Threace, Bill Callahan - Dream River, or Ty Segall - Sleeper. In other words: something on Drag City!

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