It’s been another great year for new music, 2014 did not disappoint at all. This post is always my favourite one to put together, the problem is always trying to keep the number of songs down. I settled on 50 tracks (listed here in playlist order, not a ranking) that rocked my year, take a look below and agree, disagree, discover of just hit play. As usual, I did my best to make these playlists on soundcloud, spotify, rdio, youtube and this year on Dropmark (which I use for saving videos). For those who like to watch your playlists, try out my collection.
1. The War On Drugs – “Red Eyes”
2. Jungle – “Busy Earnin'”
3. Saintseneca – “Happy Alone”
4. Ryn Weaver – “OctaHate”
5. Broods – “L.A.F”
6. Death From Above 1979 – “Trainwreck 1979”
7. Brolin – “Swim Deep”
8. Bastille vs Haim – “Bite Down”
9. Moscow Metro – “Future Fades”
10. Austin Basham – “All Is Well”
11. Alvvays – “Archie, Marry Me”
12. Sego – “Wicket Youth”
13. Ghost Beach – “Moon Over Japan”
14. Sucre – “Young And Free”
15. Strand Of Oaks – “Shut In”
16. Lowell – “The Bells”
17. Arkells – “Come To Light”
18. Nate Eiesland – “Drifting”
19. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
20. Ben Khan – “Youth”
21. Prinze George – “Make Me”
22. Bombay Bicycle Club – “Luna”
23. Sylvan Esso – “Coffee”
24. Caribou – “Can’t Do Without You”
25. Fickle Friends – “Swim”
26. Snakadaktal – “The Sun II”
27. Old Man Canyon – “Wiser”
28. Chad VanGaalen – “Monster”
29. Cloud Nothings – “I’m Not Part Of Me”
30. Skaters – “Miss Teen Massachusetts”
31. Spoon – “Inside Out”
32. Haerts – “Giving Up”
33. Kevin Drew – “You In Your Were”
34. Wye Oak – “Glory”
35. SOHN – “Artifice”
36. Hey Rosetta! – “Kintsukuroi”
37. Wolf Saga – “You Only Live Once (Strokes Cover) feat. Lyon”
38. Seoul – “Stay With Us”
39. Panama Wedding – “All Of The People”
40. Magic Man – “It All Starts Here”
41. Phoria – “Atomic”
42. Vance Joy – “Mess Is Mine”
43. New Pornographers – “Brill Bruisers”
44. Tove Lo – “Habits (Stay High)”
45. Prides – “Messiah”
46. Operators – “True “
47. Snowmine – “Tidal Wave”
48. Still Parade – “Beach”
49. Breakfast In Fur – “Shape”
50. Odesza – “Say My Name (feat. Zyra)”
BEST SONGS OF 2014 (RDIO PLAYLIST) / BEST SONGS OF 2014 (SOUNDCLOUD PLAYLIST) / BEST SONGS OF 2014 (SPOTIFY PLAYLIST) / BEST SONGS OF 2014 (YOUTUBE PLAYLIST) / BEST SONGS OF 2014 (DROPMARK VIDEO PLAYLIST)
Caribou: Our Love
Until last week, my awareness of Caribou consisted seeing them a couple of times at festivals and putting them on my ever expanding ‘I must remember to look them up when I get home’ list. I made the fortunate decision of picking up Our Love and have been struggling to take it off my proverbial record player, and by that I mean my Steve Jobs Music Box Classic, ever since.
The man behind the curtain, Dan Snaith, is intriguing in the respect that he doesn’t fit the musician archetype in the slightest – a teetotaller with a doctorate in maths, he reportedly keeps his band entertained on tour by inviting lecturers onto their bus to give presentations on Marxism and economics. Hendrix he ain’t, but boy can the man make music.
The album opens with ‘Can’t Do Without You’, maybe the most straightforward offering of the collection, initially adhering to a deceptively simple house structure, the bass synth builds the track into a gorgeous Bonobo-esque maelstrom which lets you know you are in for a ride.
A key component of the record is subversion – many of the songs start on a road well travelled and end up in a bizarre cul de sac. ‘Our Love’ starts as a deceptively simple club anthem, before the detuned vocals build a poly-rhythm of their own, and bursts of orchestral flourishes, courtesy of the avant-garde pop nutter Owen Pallet, used so sparingly you could have almost have imagined it. ‘Second Chance’, the ear bending key change sends ripples down the song, turning what could be 90s Christina Aguilera into a weird breed of wonk pop.
There are a couple of curious instrumentals, like ‘Dive’, which is reminiscent of Purity Ring’s brand of post-RnB (again my own nomenclature) and ‘Julia Brightly’, which sounds like it would belong on the soundtrack if Danny Boyle made a good film again. These interludes that may on first listen may sound like a wasted opportunity, add colour to the album on repeat listens.
One of the triumphs of the record is that at moments (such as in ‘Mars’ and the closer ‘Your Love Will Set You Free’) it sounds like a 70s proggy afrobeat demon playing different film soundtracks at the same time, yet somehow it never loses cohesion or purpose.
My personal highlight is ‘Back Home’, which channels the simple modern soul songwriting of Jungle and the pulsating synths of Jai Paul and mixes them in what David Brent would call the melting pot to glorious effect. Here Mr / Dr Snaith has somehow turned something private and confessional into something warm and celebratory, which is no mean feat.
Using the official Phoria rating system as created by this fine young man, I give this shimmering spectral sex-pop album four Mickeys!
Fellow IMF contributor Lior and I raced to our emails to give each other the same news: the wait is over! Dan Snaith has dropped a new song in “Can’t Do Without You” that will appear on his first LP under the Caribou moniker in four years, titled Our Love.
Dan Snaith’s compositions have always featured beautiful build-ups and swells, and this one is no different. It isn’t until almost halfway through that all of the pieces come together into quite the simmering, sexy stew. Lyrically, the sentiment may be easy to relate to, but this track is not at all a back-to-basics: It builds, it burns, and it tantalizes.
Our Love, featuring spots from Owen Pallett and Jessy Lanza, is out on October 7th.
Its been a couple days away from the blog, sorry for the dust thats started to collect on the site. I spent my long weekend in Montreal and Montebello for a wedding of one of my best friends. Amazing time, minimal internet access.
Here’s what I’ve been hearing:
–Friends With Both Arms posted the new Memoryhouse video for “Caregiver”. The band are one of the many great artists playing the SXSW Silver Series, a busking-style event run by Invisible Children to raise awareness for the 25th year of war in East Africa.
–Wolf Gang does an amazing cover of Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song”.
–Head to Soundcloud to hear Altrice’s take on Caribou’s album Swim. Remember that contest to remix Caribou’s record? Altrice took top honours.