Best Albums of 2014

What we’ve all been waiting for.  My list of the best albums of the year.  This year brought us releases by some of my favs, Spoon, TV on the Radio, and of course the man of all men…Moz.  I listened to every one of my top 10 at least dozens of time throughout the year but there can only be one #1 record.  Enjoy friends.  What a great year.  Thanks to Thom and Lindsey for their contribution.  Scroll down to read theirs…

1)  The War On Drugs- Lost In The Dream

I can’t begin to tell you how amazing this album is from start to finish.  One of the most complete albums in years.  Heartfelt and complex, whatever the great Philly does next is something that we should look out for.  I dare you to put this record on (and on record preferably) and not be lost in Adam’s vocals.  Easily the best album of the year.The War on Drugs

2)  Sharon Van Etten- Are We There

I love everything she does.  If I had one complaint, 11 songs aren’t enough. Sharon Van Etten

3)  Run The Jewels- Run The Jewels 2

The 2nd full length from the best duo in rap (definitely) but perhaps in all of music.  How they feed off of each other is incredible.Run the jewels

4)  Real Estate- Atlas

The latest from the Jersey boys.  My favorite of theirs.  And each one they make makes this list.real estate

5)  FKA Twigs- LP1

This album hits you at your very core and doesn’t let up.  Every song is incredible.fka twigs

6)  Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band- Landmarks

I didn’t know much about the Louisiana jazz musician.  I’ll know everything about him from now on.  This is beautiful music.brian blade

7)  Panda Bear- Mr. Noah (ep)

Normally I make a separate list for ep’s.  Not this year.  Probably my favorite musician working today.  His latest drops in January and I’ve heard it, guaranteed to make next year’s list.panda bear

8)  Wye Oak- Shriek

Love the completeness from a 2 member band.  A big fan since their debut.  This may be their best.wye oak

9)  Angel Olsen- Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Another album that I haven’t stopped listening to since I heard it.  One of the best sophomore efforts I’ve heard in years.angel olsen

10) Warpaint- s/t

What’s not to love by the all female band from LA?warpaint

11) Spoon- They Want My Soul

When you are a band for as long as Spoon has been and an album this complete happens you have to be considered one of the better Indie rock bands of all time.  I think a lot of people would agree.spoon

12) Morrissey- World Peace Is None Of Your Business

Moz.  One of his best in years.moz

13) Jessie Ware- Tough Love

As beautiful as her debut.  Exquisite vocals.jessie ware

14) Ex Hex- Rips

The great Mary Timony returns in a huge way.  Note to new musicians…this is how you make good music.ex hex

15) Shellac- Dude Incredible

‘At Action Park’ is one of the greatest Indie albums of all time.  This record kicks ass so hard.shellac

16) Peter Matthew Bauer- Liberation!

Anything anyone has to do with ‘The Walkmen’ is ok in my book.  A great debut.peter mattew bauer

17) St. Vincent- St. Vincent

Think this sums her up…

‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

– John Keatsst. vincent

18) Protomartyr- Under Color of Official Right

Volatile, ferocious, oppresive post-punk from Detroit’s ‘Protomartyr’.protomartyr

19) Wild Beasts- Present Tense

Love this band.  wild beasts

20) Juliana Barwick- Rosabi (ep)

Juliana Barwick just makes beautiful music.  That simple.  Pair this with the equally impressive ‘Dogfish Rosabi Ale’ an exquisite imperial pale ale made with wasabi.  Yes, it’s even better than it sounds.c6ff2657

And the rest…

21) Flying Lotus- You’re Dead!

22) Fear of Men- Loom

23) TV On The Radio- Seeds

24) The New Pornographers- Brill Bruisers

25) Schoolboy Q- Oxymoron

26) EMA- The Future’s Void

27) First Aid Kit- Stay Gold

28) Mas Ysa- Worth (ep)

29) White Lung- Deep Fantasy

30) Zola Jesus- Taiga

31) Aphex Twin- Syro

32) Alt-J- This is All Yours

33) Lykke Li- I Never Learn

34) Cloud Nothings- Here and Nowhere Else

35) Jenny Lewis- The Voyager

36) Lia Ices- Ices

37) Perfect Pussy- Say Yes to Love

38) The Notwist- Close to the Glass

39) Painted Palms- Forever

40) Hamilton Leithauser- Black Hours

41) Ben Frost- AURORA

42) Courtney Barnett- The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas

43) Sylvan Esso- s/t

44) Parquet Courts- Sunbathing Animal

45) Alcest- Shelter

46) Amen Dunes- Love

47) Clark- Clark

48) Foxygen- …And Star Power

49) Andy Stott- Fait in Strangers

50) Tune-Yards- Nikki Nack

Thom’s Best of…

1) Ryan Adams “1984” e.p
2) Crow Bait “Sliding Through The Halls Of Fate”
3) Ryan Adams “S/T”
4) Chumped “Teenage Retirement”
5) Perfect Pussy “Say Yes To Love”
6) Run The Jewels “Run The Jewels 2”
7) Jack White “Lazaretto’
8) Damien Rice ” My Favourite Faded Fantasy”
9) Taylor Swift “1989”
10) Dolly Parton “Blue Smoke “
Lindsey’s Best of…
1) Ned Doheney – Separate Oceans
Every single song on this album shreds.  Can’t help but sway.  Favorite tune, probably of the year, is his “Get It Up For Love”
2) The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream
Yeah, yeah, I know, but it really is one of my favorite albums of ALL TIME!  Even before we started dating!  My parents even love their tunes.  Such great driving/exploring music.
3) Natalie Prass – Bird of Prey
OMGGGGGG, her cover of Janet’s Anytime, Any Place….I can’t even handle it.  MW is featuring her in March btw.
4) Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness
Such an amazing voice.  Not my  favorite album of hers but still SO great.  I love her sh!tty sense of humor and sarcasm, for example “Hi-Five” about two friends in that got royally screwed in relationships.  Why not celebrate that?!
5) King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Oddments
Major Jimi H vibes here.  Totally psychedelic stoner rock.  Makes you ZONE out without even trying.  Fav tracks on this album are “Work This Time” and “Stressin”.  Very young and large Australian group.  By large, I mean LARGE….10 band members minimum at each show.  Nuts.
6) Peter Matthew Bauer – Liberation!
Something about this dude’s voice, DIG IT! Fav tunes “Shiva the Destroyer” and “Liberation!”
7) Eccentric Soul – The Way Out Label
All Numero Group comps shred. Here’s their latest.
8) Foxygen – …And Star Power
Really didn’t like the album as a whole but “How Can You Really” is a great song….these kids are way ahead of the game.  If they can keep their sh!t together, I think they’ll be big time

Best of 2014…so far

As we reach the halfway point of 2014, I give you my best of list…so far.  I’ve included my favorite albums, books and tv up to this point.  Don’t be sad, everyone will get the full list in a couple of months.  Did I leave anything out?  Have a suggestion or two?  Send me an e-mail.  I leave all of you with this…and as always, enjoy!

Albums (in alphabetical order)

  1. Angel Olsen- Burn Your Fire For No Witness
  2. The Antlers- Familiars
  3. Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks- Enter the Slasher House
  4. Ben Frost- AURORA
  5. Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band- Landmarks
  6. Cloud Nothings- Here and Nowhere Else
  7. Courtney Barnett- The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas
  8. Death Grips- niggas on the moon
  9. Dum Dum Girls- Too True
  10. EMA- The Future’s Void
  11. Fear of Men- Loom
  12. First Aid Kit- Stay Gold
  13. Fucked Up- Glass Boys
  14. Hamilton Leithauser- Black Hours
  15. James Vincent McMorrow- Post Tropical
  16. Juliana Barwick- Rosabi (ep)
  17. Lykke Li- I Never Learn
  18. Mas Ysa- Worth (ep)
  19. Morrissey- World Peace Is None Of Your Business
  20. The Notwist- Close to the Glass
  21. Painted Palms- Forever
  22. Parquet Courts- Sunbathing Animal
  23. Perfect Pussy- Say Yes to Love
  24. Protomartyr- Under Color of Official Right
  25. Real Estate- Atlas
  26. Schoolboy Q- Oxymoron
  27. Sharon Van Etten- Are We There
  28. Sylvan Esso- s/t
  29. Tune-Yards- Nikki Nack
  30. The War On Drugs- Lost In The Dream
  31. Warpaint- s/t
  32. White Lung- Deep Fantasy
  33. Wild Beasts- Present Tense
  34. Woods- With Light and With Love
  35. Wye Oak- Shriek

 

Books (in alphabetical order)

  1. This Dark Road to Mercy- Wiley Cash
  2. Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?- Dave Eggers
  3. To Rise Again at a Decent Hour- Joshua Ferris
  4. In Paradise- Peter Matthiessen
  5. Praying Drunk- Kyle Minor
  6. In the Light of What We Know- Zia Haider Rahman
  7. What We’ve Lost is Nothing- Rachel Louise Snyder
  8. Boy, Snow, Bird- Helen Oyeyemi
  9. The End of the Book: A Novel- Porter Shreve
  10. What’s Important is Feeling- Adam Wilson

 

TV (in alphabetical order)

  1. The Blacklist
  2. Breaking Bad
  3. Girls
  4. House of Cards
  5. Louie
  6. Mad Men
  7. Orange is the New Black
  8. Parenthood
  9. Parks and Recreation
  10. True Detective

 

 

 

 

Best of 2013…

What a long strange year it has been dear friends.  While this year was tougher to read, watch and hear all the great books, movies and music of the year.  I did come up with a best of list that will surely knock your socks off.  Alas, here it is…

Best Films of 2013

My apologies to the millions of you that look to this blog for your yearly re-cap of what was great in music, film, tv and books.  I only saw a handful of movies this year so the list is a little abbreviated.  While it doesn’t equal the total of years past here are my favorites I did see.  Enjoy.

1)  To The Wonder- (Terence Malick)

Far and away the world’s most beautiful filmmaker.  His latest is another breathtaking display of visual virtuoso that is untouched in the other filmmaker’s of today.  What Terence Malick does with a camera should be taught in every film school forever.  And his story telling is just as amazing.  I thought ‘The Tree of Life’ was one of the most poetic films I’ve seen in my life, this is better.

2)  Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)

Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy return with the 3rd and last installment of arguably one of the greatest trilogies of the past 50 years.  The most heartbreaking and disturbing, this is a film that will resonate with every viewer that has watched the 2 of them grow these past 27 years.  This is outstanding filmmaking.

3)  Blue Jasmine- (Woody Allen)

Those of you that know me are familiar with my love for Woody Allen films.  This one takes us to San Francisco following Jasmine who is trying to pick up the pieces to her life after her swindling husband lands himself in jail.  She hooks up with her sister, Ginger and tries to put things together after her life of incredible privilege goes to hell.  As with every Woody Allen film, the actors are first-rate and this one especially showcases the talents of Cate Blanchett.  Already one of the best actresses of her time, this is her best film to date.  And further proof that there is no better writer for women than Woody Allen.

4)  The Bling Ring (Sophia Coppola)

Very few filmmakers could take the true life tale of privileged kids stealing from the wealthy and famous and turn it into a study on our obsessive society.  Loud and abrasive, the film hits on all the right levels and puts Sophia Coppola back as one of our best filmmakers around.

5)  Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)

We’ve seen and heard the cute “coming of age New Yorker” story before but in the hands of Noah Baumbach (who is hit or miss with me) and shot and told in the Big Apple, this one bests most of them.  Greta Gerwig gets her first leading role and here’s to hoping it results in many more shots.

Best Albums of 2013

What an outstanding year 2013 has been for music dear readers.  Kanye West continues to shock and ignite us.  Lorde and Sky Ferreira show us that woman in rock and roll can do just that.  Haim is one of the better all around new artists that we’ve seen in years and experimental music is taking over the world.  Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for all year…the best albums of 2013! Enjoy!!!

1)  The National- Trouble Will Find MeNational

The Brooklyn via Cincinnati band releases its finest record to date.  Perfectly balanced, beautifully created and easily the most listened to record of the past year.  With every growing year the band improves on every creative level.  This is the best album of 2013!

2)  Kanye West- Yeezus Kanye West

While it may be tough to ever best ‘My Dark Beautiful Twisted Nightmare’ it doesn’t mean that the latest Kanye record isn’t one for the ages.  Unabashed then the previous record and at times even more nuanced, this record wallops a punch from start to finish.  Not only one of the greatest rap/hip-hop artists of our time but one of the best musicians working in music.  Bar none.

3)  Empire Of The Sun- Ice On The Dune Empire of the Sun

Maybe besides ‘Trouble Will Find Me’, my 2nd most listened to record.  Poppy without the sweetness, dancey without the heavily techno.  A great record from start to finish.

4)  Frightened Rabbit- Pedestrian Versefrightened rabbit

The Australian natives record their finest record to date.

5)  Haim- Days Are GoneHaim

Much has been written about and discussed from the Haim sisters.  The heir to Chrissy Hynde and ‘The Pretenders’.  This is 2013 indie pop music at its finest.  And one of the genres best albums in years.

6)  Disclosure- SettleDisclosure

I was instantly blown away when I heard the British brothers known as Disclosure.  Still only in their 20’s the dance/tecno/house record will do the same to you as well.

7)  Sky Ferreira- Night Time, My TimeSky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira has been in the music biz for some years now and finally releases her debut album.  This is the indie ingenue we’ve been waiting to take the world by storm.

8)  Vampire Weekend- Modern Vampires of the CityVampire Weekend

The only thing I can say about Vampire Weekend that hasn’t been said is that with their 3rd album, they are quickly becoming one of the world’s great bands.  With this record they have proven that there isn’t a style of music from the world that they aren’t knowledgable about.  A truly smart and innovative band, and that’s something that doesn’t come about in music these days.

9)  Kurt Vile- Wakin’ on a Pretty DazeKurt Vile

One of the finest musicians working in music.  The ex-‘The World on Drugs’ frontman releases his fifth and finest record to date.

10) Darkside- PsychicDarkside

I can’t begin to put into words how amazingly beautiful this record is.  The sounds and noises that Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington put into my ears is beyond me.  Please find this record and listen to it over and over.

11) Foxygen- We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & MagicFoxygen

A debut record for the ages.  20 somethings from San Francisco find the perfect balance of 60’s era pop and 2000’s era rock and roll.  Fantastic.

12) My Bloody Valentine- MBVMBV

The most surprising record of the year, not because it’s good but because it came out.  Finally!!!  26 years in the making and Kevin Shields and company have hit the highest point in their careers.

13) Blood Orange- Cupid DeluxeBlood Orange

An outstanding hip-hop/r&b album that came out late in 2013 that should be listened to by everyone.

14) Depeche Mode- The Delta Machine/ Superchunk- I Hate MusicSuperchunk depeche mode

Easily 2 of my favorite bands and most influential bands in my life both came out with records in 2013.  I hope everyone working in music takes notes that anything is possible by just sticking together and being in the band.  As good as anything they’ve each released in 15 years.

15) Lorde- Pure HeroineLorde

Have you heard of this girl yet?  The album is so good that the worst song on the album is, “Royals”.  That’s saying a lot.

16) Ryan Hemsworth- Guilt Trips/Still Awake (ep)Ryan Hemsworth

A beautifully record (both the full length and the ep) that I just can’t stop listening to.

17) Chvrches- The Bones of What You BelieveChvrches

They release a small ep late last year (and one of my favorite tracks of 2012, “The Mother We Share”).  This is their full length and it was well the worth the wait.

18) Tim Hecker- VirginsTim Hecker

While not as good as 2011’s ‘Ravedeath, 1972’, this record is just perfectly created music that I think anyone will fall in love with.

19) Daft Punk- Random Access MemoriesDaft Punk

Each and every song on the latest Daft Punk record is a single waiting to be released.  With the help of some of the best musicians working in music this is a complete record from start to finish.

20) Danny Brown- OldDanny Brown

My favorite hip-hop record not released by someone named Kanye.  Better than 2011’s XXX.  If this (along with fellow rappers/friends A$AP Rocky and Schoolboy Q) then the music will be better for it.

And 20 more…

21) Mutual Benefit- Love’s Crushing Diamond

22) Bleached- Ride Your Heart

23) The Weeknd- Kiss Land

24) Justin Timberlake- The 20/20 Experience

25) James Blake- Overgrown

26) The Julie Ruin- Run Fast

27) Autre Ne Veut- Anxiety

28) Deafheaven- Sunbather

29) Juliana Barwick- Nepenthe

30) Mazzy Star- Seasons of Your Day

31) Drake- Nothing Was the Same

32) Bill Callahan- Dream River

33) Chelsea Wolfe- Pain is Beauty 

34) M.I.A.- Matangi

35) Neko Case- The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

36) Washed Out- Paracosm

37) Okkervil River- The Silver Gymnasium

38) Oneohtrix Point Never- R Plus Seven

39) Death Grips- Government Plates 

40) Indians- Somewhere Else

 

Most overrated album of 2013:

Arcade Fire- Reflektor

Most disappointing album of 2013:

Jay-Z- Holy Grail

Most underrated album of 2013:

Mutual Benefit- Love’s Crushing Diamond

 

A Second Opinion…(Thom’s)

1)   Chelsea Wolfe- Pain Is Beauty

2)  Kanye West- Yeezus

3)  Dropkick Murphy’s- Signed and Sealed in Blood 

4)  My Bloody Valentine- MBV

5)  Frank Turner- Tape Deck Heart

6)  Iron Chic- The Constant One

7)  Run The Jewels- Run The Jewels

8)  Arctic Monkeys- AM

9)  Johnny Marr- The Messenger

10) Kylesa- Ultraviolet

11) The Julie Ruin- Run Fast

12) Future of the Left- How to Stop Your Brain In An Accident

13) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals- Walk Through Exits Only

14) Sky Ferriera- Night Time, My Time

15) Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds- Push The Sky Away

 

Best Songs of 2013

Always the hardest list to make.  2013 was an outstanding year for music.  Some of the better bands currently released great records and the newcomers are getting better and better.  Here’s to hoping that 2014 is just as good and that all of these bands work on making great records.  Enjoy…

1)  Haim- The Wire

2)  The National – ‘Don’t Swallow the Cap’

3)  Daft Punk- ‘Doin’ It Right (Panda Bear)’

4)  Charli XCX- ‘You (ha ha ha)’

5)  Frightened Rabbit- ‘The Woodpile’

6)  Empire of The Sun- ‘Concert Pitch’

7)  Bleached- ‘Dead in Your Head’

8)  Kanye West- ‘New Slaves’

9)  Katy Perry- ‘Roar’

10) Ellie Goulding- ‘Anything Can Happen’

11) CHVRCHES- ‘Gun’

12) Vampire Weekend- ‘Diane Young’

13) Drake- ‘Started From the Bottom’

14) James Blake- ‘Retrograde’

15) Justin Timberlake- ‘Mirrors’

16) Sky Ferreira- ‘You’re Not the One’

17) Disclosure- ‘When a Fire Starts to Burn’

18) Thao & The Get Down Set Down- ‘We the Common’

19) Polica- ‘Chain My Name’

20) Eleanor Friedberger- ‘She’s a Mirror’

21) Jay-Z (ft Justin Timberlake)- ‘Holy Grail’

22) Lorde- ‘A World Alone’

23) M.I.A.- ‘Bad Girls’

24) Palma Violets- ‘Best of Friends’

25) Unknown Mortal Orchestra- ‘Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)’

26) Regina Spektor- ‘You’ve Got Time’

27) Miley Cyrus- ‘Wrecking Ball’

28) Ryan Hemsworth- ‘Empty Thoughts Over a Shallow Ocean’

29) Savages- ‘She Will’

30) Foxygen- ‘No Destruction’

Best TV of 2013

I must say that I do get pickier and pickier with the tv I watch.  This year there weren’t too many but the ones that I (we) did watch were outstanding.  This is just a few…enjoy.

1)  Girls (HBO)-  

For the 2nd year in a row the Lena Dunham scripted/co-directed HBO show tops the list.  Never has a show so personified what it’s like to be young, up and coming and trying to make it the cruel, cruel world of New York City.  With the outstanding supporting cast to help out, this may be one show that continues to get better and better.

2)  Parks and Recreation (NBC)-

Not only the best comedy on network television but easily one of the best in many years.  Amy Poehler and her “troupe” find new ways each season to push the comedy envelope in many years.

3)  Mad Men (AMC)-

The staple (arguably) of the AMC oeuvre.  The past season was one of the best.  With each season the creepy display and behavior of Don Draper seems to get more and more repugnant.  Yet, we the viewer still watch and watch.  The amazing Linda Cardellini plays an integral part in this season.  One of the best shows of our time.

4)  Parenthood (NBC)-

There are times when a tv show just hits all the right buttons.  Emotionally the show resonates like no other and continues to be one of the best scripted and acted dramas on network tv.  Whether it was the addition of Ray Romano’s, ‘Hank’ or Matt Lauria’s, ‘Ryan’,

5)  Homeland (Showtime)-

What is with all the haters on this tv show this year?  With the large amount of crap on tv why is everyone so down on the 3rd season of one of the better shows on tv?  While I won’t reveal the end of the season, I will ask all of you this…did you see that coming?  I didn’t.  Cannot wait to see what they do next season.

6)  The Blacklist (NBC)-

Guilty pleasure of 2013.  Addicting.

7)  Brooklyn 99 (FOX)-

From  the creators of Parks and Recreation.  Andy Samberg and the amazing Andre Braugher star in the most original comedy of the new year.  Funnier with each episode.

8)  House of Cards (Netflix)-

The first original Netflix series was one that started the great year of 2013 in tv off with a huge bang.  Kevin Spacey is as good as he has ever been and Robin Wright as his wife is just as great.  Finally a great political drama with an original voice that isn’t afraid to push the envelope.

9)  The Office (NBC)-

The last year of one of the better American comedies (even though the British was better) finished it’s last year with such original beauty that I hope comedy series on it’s last legs watch and take note.  Even though the beginning episodes were a little far fetched and forced the ending episodes encapsulated 7 years perfectly.  Well done.

10)  The Americans (FX)-

Only reason this show is so low on the list is that we are working through it as we speak.  Fantastically acted and brilliantly told.  The amazing Keri Russell finally finds a role that best her ‘Felicity’.