5 Things: Favorite Music of 2014

One: click here for a Spotify playlist of forty-two favorite tracks from the year (including “O Canada” by Jill Sobule, video for which is embedded above).

Two: A complete list of all the albums I liked, ranked (click here and scroll to read further about the top twenty more or less in order):

    1. Jill Sobule – DOTTIE’S CHARMS
    2. Future Islands – SINGLES
    3. The New Pornographers – BRILL BRUISERS
    4. St. Vincent – ST. VINCENT
    5. Jessie Ware – TOUGH LOVE
    6. Lykke Li – I NEVER LEARN
    7. Cibo Matto – HOTEL VALENTINE
    8. Emm Gryner – TORRENTIAL
    9. Leonard Cohen – POPULAR PROBLEMS
    10. Stars – NO ONE IS LOST
    11. Gruff Rhys – AMERICAN INTERIOR
    12. Sun Kil Moon – BENJI
    13. Neneh Cherry – BLANK PROJECT
    14. Mac DeMarco – SALAD DAYS
    15. The Both – THE BOTH
    16. Ben Watt – HENDRA
    17. Suzanne Vega – TALES FROM THE REALM OF THE QUEEN OF PENTACLES
    18. Owen Pallett – IN CONFLICT
    19. Erasure – THE VIOLET FLAME
    20. Jenny Lewis – THE VOYAGER
    21. Sharon Van Etten – ARE WE THERE
    22. Perfume Genius – TOO BRIGHT
    23. Tori Amos – UNREPENTANT GERALDINES
    24. Spoon –THEY WANT MY SOUL
    25. Damon Albarn – EVERYDAY ROBOTS
    26. Lake Street Dive – BAD SELF PORTRAITS
    27. Real Estate – ATLAS
    28. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT
    29. Broken Bells – AFTER THE DISCO
    30. War on Drugs – LOST IN THE DREAM
    31. London Grammar – IF YOU WAIT
    32. Beck – MORNING PHASE

Three: Among the older albums I heard for the first time this year, I particularly liked the following: Fleetwood Mac – TUSK, Matthew E. White – BIG INNER, Jill Sobule and John Doe – A DAY AT THE PASS, John Grant – PALE GREEN GHOSTS, Prefab Sprout – STEVE McQUEEN/TWO WHEELS GOOD, The Dirtbombs – ULTRAGLIDE IN BLACK, Lalo Schifrin – BULLITT, Fairport Convention – UNHALFBRICKING, The Turtles – PRESENT THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS, Harry Nilsson – PUSSY CATS, Bob Mould – WORKBOOK

Four: I’ve made it one-fifth of the way through my ambitious 100 Albums project, finishing twenty essays so far (plus an introduction). Here are links to the five I like best, possibly because they are the most personal:

The Beatles, ABBEY ROAD
Joni Mitchell, BLUE
Stevie Wonder, INNERVISIONS
Talking Heads, REMAIN IN LIGHT
Kate Bush, THE DREAMING

My goal for this project is to at least make it to the half-way mark before 2016, but no big deal if I don’t, because I want these essays to be good.

Five: as for 2015, Belle and Sebastian, Sleater-Kinney and The Decemberists all have new albums coming out on January 20, so that’s a heck of a start. Also on the way: a reunited Juliana Hatfield Three, the first ever solo album from Kate Pierson (of The B-52’s) and Laura Marling–will her fifth LP be her fourth in a row to make my year-end top ten? Stay tuned…

2014 Mid-Year Roundup

“Seasons (Waiting On You)” by Future Islands is my favorite track of the year so far, and I only first heard it a month ago (I missed the band’s career-making Letterman performance from early March); unlike last year, I’m not as quick to pick a single favorite album (it’s not Singles…yet), although I could’ve easily added five more to the shortlist below (I’m limiting it to ten). As for movies, I do have a clear single favorite of those I’ve listed here–looking forward in seeing how well it holds up to a second viewing during its theatrical release later this month.

In alphabetical order:

ALBUMS

Ben Watt, Hendra
The Both, The Both
Cibo Matto, Hotel Valentine
Emm Gryner, Torrential
Future Islands, Singles
Jill Sobule, Dottie’s Charms
Neneh Cherry, Blank Project
Owen Pallett, In Conflict
Suzanne Vega, Tales From The Realm Of The Queen of Pentacles
Tori Amos, Unrepentant Geraldines

FILMS

Boyhood
God Help The Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Mood Indigo
Only Lovers Left Alive
Under The Skin
We Are The Best!