Saturday, 20 December 2014
2014: A List
This is my list of the stuff I've enjoyed most this year. There is nothing objective about rating or comparing music, any Best Of... can only be subjective.
There are two compilations that have taken up some of my listening time in 2014- Kompackt's 'Total 14', two discs of electronic tunes from the Cologne based label, with a high hit rate. The Time And Space Machine's 'The Way Out Sound From In' was a compilation of Richard Norris remixes that worked like a proper album and sounds adventurous and open minded. I liked the Ellis Island Sound album- a bit world music, a bit Talking Heads and Brian Eno. The Amazing Snakeheads 'Amphetamine Ballads' is a menacing, swaggering rock 'n' roll record shot through with hard drink, quiffs and cigarettes. Hollie Cook put out her second album 'Twice', ace Prince Fatty reggae with Hollie's gorgeous and intimate voice. My top five, at the time of writing, looks like this.
5. Aphex Twin 'Syro'
It might not have broken new ground but as a set of electronic sounds it was as good as it was unexpected.
4. Neneh Cherry 'Blank Project'
Raw, honest and stripped back. A proper album.
3. Pete Molinari 'Theosophy'
Totally retro- good songs, well played and sung, a cut above.
2. Warpaint 'Warpaint'
I started listening to this back in January and haven't got bored of it yet. Dreamy, stretched out grooves with the songs hidden somewhere inside.
1. Jane Weaver 'The Silver Globe'
A month ago I had only just heard of the Jane Weaver lp. It's been on my turntable more or less ever since. David Holmes and Andy Votel produce. The synths are cosmic, the singing beautifully English, the arrangements fantastic.
Singles/EPs/Remixes/Internet Only Releases/Etc
I don't know what has happened to guitar bands this year. Many of them sound very hackneyed to me. Or maybe my tastes have just narrowed recently. Most of the sounds that I've had on repeat since January have been from the dance music end of things. I loved the Death In Vegas 'Gamma Ray' 12", really intense and absorbing techno. Several remixes buttered my toast- Khidja's trippy 'Mustafa' as remixed by Timothy J Fairplay and Richard Norris' 'Freaks' re-done Hammer horror style by Ivan Smagghe. I bought Maurice and Charles' 'I, Carpenter' on 12" on a whim and it throbs darkly with Escape From New York samples. I posted an Andrew Weatherall remix top nine last Saturday- the Julian Cope One Three One band Dayglo Maradona 'Rock Section' Remix (only on white vinyl novelty fans) was the best. The Hardway Bros four track 12" from last month (Sleaze) has been on heavy rotation recently.
My top five goes like this
5. Warpaint 'Disco/Very' The Time And Space Machine Remix
Rolling, sexy, trippy dance rock.
4. Junior Fairplay 'Sugar Puss'
Let's party like it's 1992. Breakbeats and Korgs. On one sided purple vinyl.
3. Tim Burgess 'Oh Men' Peaking Lights Remix
Stunning, driving, electronic reinterpretation of Tim's country song.
2. Friendly Fires and The Asphodells 'Before Your Eyes'
A two track chilled, cosmiche collaboration from the St Albans threepiece and Weatherall/Fairplay. This one came in a lovely thick sleeve and on orange vinyl and the A-side especially is superb.
1. Frank Ocean, Diplo, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon 'Hero'
The Frank Ocean, Diplo, 50% of The Clash collaboration came out on the internet as a tie-in with Converse. It is a sort of hip-hop, doo wop, punky soundclash that sounds joyously great, while Frank sings about the experience of being a black man in modern America. The only thing wrong with it is at two minutes and forty six seconds it is over too quickly.