Dr. Plotkin’s Majikal List X-Perience: Top albums of 2014 and more

2014 was an excellent year in music and I couldn’t just write about all my favorite albums this year or I would end up talking forever. Instead, I broke this post down into five expositions on my favorite albums and short blurbs about some other ones. Finally, I couldn’t just sit back and not mention some of the great albums I’ve been digging on this year just because they didn’t come out in the last 12 months, so I threw a final couple of sentences at the page hoping they’d stick.

Top albums

5) Mehliana – Taming the Dragon

taming the dragon cover

I first heard this album in a used record store in Burlington, Vermont when I last visited my brother over spring break. The shopkeeper told me it was a duo made of Brad Mehldau, a jazz pianist, and Mark Guiliana, a visionary in modern jazz drumming (or at least according to the label’s album release page). This is more than just jazz though- the piano sizzles with ridiculously complex synthesizer lines and the drumming flies along with it, sometimes at breakneck speeds and sometimes just floating along in the background. What really speaks to me is the shear artistic creativity of this album. From the trippy vocal sample on the titular track that describes one hell of a dream starring Joe Walsh crossed with Dennis Hopper and a VW spaceship and closes with the most psychedelic synthesizer line I’ve heard in years, to the supremely chilled out sounds of “Sassyassed Sassafrass”, this an album that definitely makes its hour plus running time worth the investment.

4) Simian Mobile Disco – Whorl

whorl album cover

Simian Mobile Disco are a band that I know about, but have honestly only heard one of their albums and a handful of singles. With Whorl, the band did a live tour of the album so I got a rare opportunity to experience new music. Because the album was recorded in real time “under the desert sky”, going to various gigs with their custom built, modular analog synth setup and playing the entire album in its entirety offered not only a unique concert experience, but an eye into how the album was constructed. The album oozes into being slowly, with a more atmospheric sound and nary a kick drum to be heard. The party finally starts “Sun Dogs”, with a beat that sounds like it was brought straight from outer space. “Dervish” and “Calyx” both light the dancefloor on fire, while tracks such as “Z Space” and “Iron Henge” give you the chance to catch your breath. On Whorl, Simian Mobile Disco have shown not just the power that analog synthesizers can still hold, but created a sixty five minute experience for the listener.

3) Caribou – Our Love

our love cover

I actually heard Our Love way before it came out, when a buddy of mine was playing the leaked version in his car. It was at that point, months before it officially was released, I knew this was one the best albums I’d heard all year. “Can’t Do Without You” barely has any lyrics beyond the title of the song, yet the constant repetition of them over the escalating and swirling sounds of the rest of the song makes the not-even-four minute running time seem like an age. The title track is unsurprisingly amazing (why name an entire album after one song if that song doesn’t rule), but it’s the depth and variety of the song that amazes me the most. “Our Love” goes from downtempo house with string samples to certified dancefloor banger in less time than it takes most DJs to warm up the floor. Closing off the album, “Your Love Will Set You Free” slows it all down once again, with a callback to the same bouncing synth line from “All I Ever Need”, as well as the classic Caribou touch on the rest of the synthesizers. The album begins with a tentative sound, as if asking the audience if he is allowed to open up to us, but closes with grand sweeping sounds as if to prove that we need Caribou just as much as he needs us.

2) Chet Faker – Built on Glass

built on glass cover

To me, this album came out of nowhere. I had only heard Chet Faker on a track in 2012 from Flume and the Lockjaw EP he and Flume collaborated on last year. So I was mostly used to hearing sultry voice blocked out by Flume’s (somewhat overproduced) beats. This first time listening to Built on Glass, I was shocked at just how smooth and relaxing Chet Faker could be on his own. “Release Your Problems” opens the album on a quiet note, with Chet Faker nearly mumbling the lyrics over the rest of the song. “Talk Is Cheap” allows him to open his vocal range far wider, as he pours his heart out over his Rhodes piano and drum machine. The album takes an interesting turn about halfway through, at which point the sound of a record plays and a voice announces “That was the other side of the record. Now relax still more and drift a little deeper as you listen.” From this point on, he channels James Blake (the powerful bass in “Blush”), takes the opportunity to luxuriantly stretch out in his composition (the seven minute “Cigarettes and Loneliness”), and explore the realm of instrumentals (“A Lesson in Patience”). From start to finish, Chet Faker shows he can be so much more than just a sexy voice (and beard, GODDAMN) that once covered a Blackstreet song.

1) Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

it's album time cover

Okay, I admit it: I only listened to this album at first because Pitchfork told me to. However, when you consider their abject hatred of all things not indie rock and boring, if they were giving an electronic album (which includes their #36 ranked song of 2012) an 8.7 and a best new music tag, maybe they had finally taken their heads out of their asses long enough to listen to something besides sad white boys talking about their feelings and guitars. The main takeaway from all of this is that when I heard It’s Album Time, I was immediately transplanted to an alternate dimension where disco never died but instead morphed into a strange beast that ate all other genres and was now spewing out funk, house, and just weird fucking stuff overall (I’m looking at you, “Svensk Sås”). The album grooves, slinks, shakes, rattles, rolls, and whatever other verbs describe non-stop dancing. Trying to pick a favorite would be like when a mother tells her kids they’re all her favorite children, only this time I wouldn’t be lying to their faces. There isn’t a single bad track on here, and with the exception of “Johnny and Mary” that slows things down a bit halfway, the entire album is a non-stop party. Throw this on next time you’re strapped for music to play at your next listening party and everyone will be too enraptured by its uniqueness to ask to play whatever they brought along. Just sit back, relax, and let Todd Terje take you into the future.

Honorable mentions

Fallgrapp – Rieka

rieka cover

This album comes from the Slovokian label Gergaz, who I should really listen to if the rest of their stuff sounds this good. It’s electronic jazz for the most part, although some tracks like “Kormorány” sound like a more talented version of Goldfrapp. No matter what genre you call it, this is a really unique album, groovy and chill at the same time.

Kodomo – Patterns and Lights

patterns and lights cover

The only reason this isn’t on the above list is because I’ve only heard it like twice. It’s one of my favorite kind of downtempo music though, where everyone sounds so electronic and inorganic. “Infinity Divided” has a terrifying kind of intensity and sounds like the universe is about ready to collapse. Hmm, maybe it’s time for another listen of this album after all…

Tobacco – Ultima II Massage

ultima II massage cover

Thomas Fec, frontman of Black Moth Super Rainbow, releases far more aggressive work on his own as Tobacco. On his latest album, he gets downright heavy, with drippy, melty synthesizers that sound like they’re tripping on ketamine and PCP. It’s so raw it’s toxic, with a sickenly yellow and pink album cover to match, even garnering a parental advisory warning. Check this one out for sure, but be prepared to be auditorily pummeled when listening.

ENO ・HYDE – High Life

high life cover

Even though so much of the music I listen to is inspired by Brian Eno, I have only rarely heard any his personal work. But earlier this year, he teamed up with Karl Hyde (no idea who that is) that was a joyous mix between ambient and pop music. Center track “Lilac” swirls between the lyrics and the repetitive drums, piano, and guitar that sounds like what would happen if Steve Reich decided to write pop music.

Plaid – Reachy Prints

reachy prints cover

Honestly, this is just an album with a bunch of really cool sounds on it. Danceable, but also totally chill at times and there’s not a single song that sounds like another.

Top albums of 2014 NOT from 2014 (full album streams in titles, just for you!)

Starcadian – Sunset Blood

sunset blood cover

I actually heard this album only a few months after it came out, and it was still last year. The reason it didn’t make my (unpublished) list last year was because I simply hadn’t listened to it enough. The one day a few months ago I simply could not stop listening to it. It sounds like the album that everyone wanted Daft Punk to make, only better. It literally boggles my mind that more people haven’t heard it, so make sure to check this one out.

Air – Moon Safari

moon safari cover

Every so often, I’ll get really into this album, and it’s never a bad thing. That kept happening throughout this year, and it’s not all that hard to see why. This album has amazing summer grooves like “Kelly Watch the Stars”, but also has amazing fat, drippy, synthesizers, which for me conjures winter thoughts in my head. No matter the season, it’s a great listen.

Solar Fields – Movements

movements cover

This album is great simply because I imagine the craziest imagery when listening to it. It’s super downtempo, but with such heavy synthesizers I’m surprised I can even lift my iPod to pump up the volume. Despite that, it’s one of the happiest and most cathartic albums I know, that never fails to put me in a good mood.

DJ Koze – Amygdala

amygdala cover

A friend of mine just told me to listen to this album, his number one reason being that “Caribou and Matthew Dear are on it and they’re dope.” As I said earlier, it was only this year I started listening to Caribou, and only got into Matthew Dear’s other projects this summer. The whole thing is A+ through and through, excellently chill but also makes me want to dance at times.

DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist – Brainfreeze

brainfreeze cover

This is actually a live mixtape from Shadow and Chemist’s 1999 tour in which they only spun 45s that ranged from unmade kung-fu movies to old school funk and included jaw dropping displays of their scratching talent.

That sums it up, folks! Stay tuned here for more year-end lists from our other DJs. Even though the Love X-Perience is still on hiatus until further notice, be sure to follow @DoctorPlotkin for updates on that or your chance to discuss your favorite albums of the year with a certified Radio Doctor.

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9 albums, 7 singles, 5 shows, 3 mixes & 1 Man of the Year – Chris B’s Best of 2014

These were my favorite albums of 2014.

These were my favorite albums of 2014. I only picked 9 because they looked cool on a grid.

I made an end of year list that doesn’t suck. In terms of methodology, I started by choosing 9 albums because the covers looked cool on a grid. There was also a ton of good shit outside of albums, so then I created the other categories and capped the entries in those categories by descending odd numbers (9-7-5-3-1).

Critical reviews & ratings are arbitrary (see: Pitchfork), but rankings are arbitrary as fuck, so for each category I put all the entries in alphabetical order.

TOP 9 ALBUMS OF 2014:

Arca – Xen [Mute]

No one is making music like Arca – strange, interesting and awesome.

Caribou – Our Love [Merge]

This album is stacked with amazing songs. “Can’t Do Without You” is probably the song of the year for me.

D’Angelo And The Vanguard – Black Messiah [RCA]

Like everyone else, I’d been WAITING for this album for years. I had a hunch it would come out around Christmas too (just saying).

DJ Dodger Stadium – Friend of Mine [Body High]

Desert acid house vibes set to the narrative of the amazing novel Ask the Dust by John Fante.

Fhloston Paradigm – The Phoenix [Hyperdub]

King Britt channels futuristic Sun Ra vibes on this voyage through crisp drums & warm synthesizer sounds. Vocal assistance by the classically trained Pia Ercole for a sublime touch.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata [Madlib Invazion]

Probably my most played album of 2014. I put this right up there with Madvillainy.

Leon Vynhall – Music for the Uninvited [3024]

Lush, bright and groovy feel-good house music at its best.

Moodymann – Moodymann [Mahogani]

The Detroit OG continues to keep it interesting and fresh: short snippets, varied tempos & soulful grooves.

Spank Rock – The Upside [Bad Blood]

We were lucky enough to have Naeem in our studio to rinse this release – it BANGS. (I know that it’s actually an EP…STFU)

Spank Rock IN THE MIX at WKDU

Spank Rock IN THE MIX in our studio. Fun fact: Naeem was actually ‘too cool for school’ and went to Drexel for a year before leaving to go on and do cooler things.

TOP 7 SINGLES OF 2014:

Danny Daze – Silicon [Ultramajic]

Danny Daze & Ultramajic are on fire and this is probably the label’s biggest release to date.

DJ Slugo – Ghetto [Other People]

The best artistic response I’ve seen/heard to the deaths of Mike Brown & Eric Garner.

Josh Wink – Talking to You [Ovum]

Another dance floor bomb from the Philadelphia-based master of techno; acid & crushing drums for peak time vibes.

Nadastrom – Fallen Down (Justin Martin Remix) [Friends of Friends]

Every year, Justin Martin seems to have one remix that just kills it. This is his 2014 entry.

Percussions – KHLHI [Text]

Off-kilter drums with a sweet sample from who-knows-where; makes sense when you find out this is a Four Tet alias.

Seven Davis Jr. – Friends [Classic Music Company] 

Super funky and shuffling beat propelled by a humming bassline: “It feels good to be / Be with all my friends.”

Tiga – Bugatti [Turbo]

Tiga’s patented clever & catchy vocals over top of a simple and irresistible acid line. Sure to put a smile on your face if you’ve never heard it.

TOP 5 PERFORMANCES OF 2014:

Boys Noize @ Voyeur [Making Time], 05/10

One of the raddest Making Time’s I’ve been to (which is saying something). I remember Spank Rock was there getting the crowd hype and that near the end of the 3 hr set, Boys Noize dropped that dope Ben Klock remix of “Are You There?”

Caribou @ Union Transfer [Making Time], 11/13

Caribou truly know how to bring their recorded material to life. The new album sounded amazing and then they played “Sun” for a perfect close to the night.

Dusky @ Verboten, 10/24

Epic night as a part of the craziness that is CMJ. Dusky played a 4 hr set that ended at 6 AM with them playing “Mr. Man”.

Little Dragon @ Union Transfer, 10/13

Little Dragon are no longer little like when I saw them in 2011 at Johnny Brenda’s. They know how to own a big stage and “Klapp Klapp” could have easily been included in my best singles list if I wasn’t sticking to the odd numbering countdown thing.

Skream @ The Dolphin, 01/15

Fuck a Tuesday – this was a Wednesday – and the club was going CRAZY as Skream dominated the sweat drenched room with a set of techno bangers. One of my best clubbing experiences, period.

TOP 3 MIXES OF 2014:

Bicep – Essential Mix [BBC Radio 1]

In addition to making awesome music, Bicep are some next level DJs. Two hours of finely selected and flawlessly mixed house music – this should be Essential Mix of the year.

Erol Alkan – FabricLive 77 [Fabric]

Erol Alkan FabricLive 77 cover

FabricLive mixes are the shit and this is a standout in their excellent catalog.

Erol Alkan knows how to keep a crowd on its toes, and the same goes here for this 80 minute mix as part of the acclaimed Fabric series from London. No streams of this as it’s a licensed mix, so go get it!

M//R – 1 hr EMM set [WKDU]

If you listen to KDU regularly, you know that in October we had the MASSIVE undertaking that was the Electronic Music Marathon. M//R (Billy Werner) laid down one of my favorite sets of the EMM with an hour of throbbing gritty techno as part of the Great Circles takeover. The amazing L.I.E.S. label re-posted the mix on their Soundcloud and it got like 1,000 plays in a day – word!

THERE CAN ONLY BE 1 (ONE) MAN OF THE YEAR….

…and that distinction goes to my favorite 12 year old out there: Lil Sean.

2014 was a big year for Sean: turning 12, getting his very own day & joining the likes of David Lynch as people who have a mural on PhilaMOCA‘s walls. I frequently run into Sean at that new Crown Fried Chicken and he always daps me up with a slick handshake & smile. Sean is my MVP of 2014.

Dr. Plotkin and Sean

Dr. Plotkin, friend and neighbor to Sean, poses with the young icon and his freshly unveiled mural.

******************************************************************************************************************************************************

You can tell me that my list sucked, that some of the albums were actually EPs or debate my alphabetization over at @crispychrisx.

If you liked the list, catch my show Hot Mix on Thursday nights & peep my Soundcloud for some aural pleasure.

Happy New Year – here’s to another year of 800 WATTS OF FUCK YOU.

800 watts of FUCK YOU

That’s our slogan and we’re sticking to it…photo stolen from Folkadelphia instagram

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The Most Slept-on Records of 2014

by Glasses // @NiceTryBill

image1 It’s Christmas time for the Western world: the time for folks with way too much white privilege to go out drinking in the streets while families go out and fill their voids with vapid consumerism. This is also the time for year-end lists, where savvy music listeners seek out top album countdowns that most fit their already set tastes in hopes of some vague form of reinforcement. In response to forgettable sad boys with guitars singing about marijuana cigarettes and aimless feelings, here is a brief list of the top 10 records that you slept on in 2014:


1. Battle Trance – Palace of Wind

Four tenor saxophones. Circular breathing musicians. All playing at once. Weathered jazz musician Travis Laplante (Little Women) woke up from a dream to assemble a quartet with three musicians he had never played with before and record an album based on spiritual meditation and eastern healing. The results are astounding. There is nothing quite like this record, the best way to describe it is picturing Terry Riley and Pan Sonic meeting each other outside of their local spiritual acupuncturist on a windy autumn morning. Rhythm and melody rise from obscurity and cacophony to form beautiful moments, only to be consumed by the noise once more in a matter of seconds. Palace of Wind is an experience, and it is not one to miss. 2. Giant Claw – Dark Web Vaporwave might have faded back into the vast ocean of the collective unconscious, but that has no bearing on the dark, moody beats of the new album from Giant Claw. Roland 808s fuse with echoes of public domain pop music you once overheard that time you found yourself lost in a shopping mall. At once exultant and foreboding, Dark Web challenges the listener to grow comfortable with its dance floor beats before tearing them away with samples from an all-too-familiar past. 3. Rind – Understudy Mastered by breakcore legend Lauren Bousfield (Nero’s Day at Disneyland, Strip Mall Seizures), Rind’s newest work lives up to its underground pedigree in every way. Eerie, hungry, and downright vicious are apt descriptions for Understudy’s raw, constantly undulating sound. Reminiscent of Karin Andersson (The Knife, Fever Ray, Emperor God Queen of Mankind), Lee Ralva’s voice is a force to reckoned with, shapeshifting and surprising at every turn. 4. Ancient Astronaut – Ancient Astronaut A dance record for the end of days. Ancient Astronaut’s debut seamlessly blends noise, drone, and dance in a pleasant panoply of beats. Ancient Astronaut is also one of the newest members of Nicoals Jaar’s (Darkside) subscription based label, Other People, which has seen acclaim for its wide array of exciting new electronic artists. 5. LE1F – Hey The remaster of 2012 breakout hit “Wut” is worth the price of admission alone for this fire EP from Concord Academy/Wesleyan University trained dancer Khalif Diouf. The production hits harder, the punchlines cut deeper, and LE1F’s flow continues to evolve further into a force exceeding any rapper on the scene today. With a rumored full length for early 2015, this EP best serves as a reminder to keep LE1F on the radar as he continues to blow up. 6. Have a Nice Life – The Unnatural World Follow-up record to the 2008 masterpiece, Deathconciousness. Reuniting Dan Barrett (Giles Corey) and Tim Macuga (The Flowers of St. Francis, Nahvalr) for more sadass jams emanating from what sounds like a god forsaken cave at the end of the earth. World takes its listeners to a former youth mental asylum before launching them out of a sonic cannon into outer space with an all-out lo-fi assault on the listeners. Check out this track about how having emotional expectations is akin to the act of murder by being thrown out of a window below: 7. XiuXiu – Angel Guts: Red Classroom 8. Oneohtrix Point Never – Commissions Daniel Lopatin has had quite the busy year. Not content with touring in place of Death Grips on the Nine Inch Nails summer tour, Lopatin also opened a boiler room set for Hudson Mohawke & Lunice and performed a live rendition of an all-new soundtrack he composed for the classic anime, Magnetic Rose. Commissions is a short EP clocking it only three tracks, but the sweeping choral pads and deep drones are sure to win over any jaded electronic erudite. The record delivers stunning aural landscapes and panoramic vistas at every turn, sure to leave the listener with a tantalizing slice of oneness with the universe by the end of twenty minute run mark. 9. Swans –To Be Kind Not exactly slept on, but still demanding of a mention, To Be Kind is the second post-reunion record of industrial trailblazers, Swans. Annie Clark (St. Vincent) cameos throughout the record to provide powerful noodling behind Michael Gira’s intense performances depicting scenes of suffocation, death, and decay. Swans is a band that would cave roofs in while playing gigs in the 80s. The energy is still there, and the band shows no signs of slowing down their abrasive, glorious sound any time soon. Swans has been touring extensively behind their latest releases, so be sure to catch them if they are nearby, their live shows are known to be test-beds for improvisational new material. 10. Poemss – Poemss Aaron Funk (Venetian Snares) teamed up with Joanne Pollock for this mid-year collab project. Pollock whimsical style takes the forefront here, but is deeply enhanced by the more eccentric elements of the typically harsh Funk’s production. The result is a relaxed record that explores elements of 90s jungle in a noncommittal, non-confrontational manner, lovely for the winter time. is our current Music Director and hosts the weekly program Jet Set Radio 

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Adam B & Ultrasound Radio USA present: Our Top 20 albums of 2014 (in 140 characters or less)


rtj

 

by Adam B. & Ultrasound Radio USA 

 

from bottom to top:

20) Godflesh – A World Lit Only by Fire

Forsaking industrial for doom with spectacular results.

19) Various Artists – 8-Bit Operators Enjoy the Science: Tribute to Depeche Mode

And I just can’t get seem to get enough of…

18) Tricky – Adrian Thaws

More than just a brotastic pat on his career’s butt. Beautiful arrangements and great guests (Bella Gotti!).

17) Squarepusher x Z-Machines – Music for Robots

Electro-jazz jams for 78 fingers, 22 arms, 46 chromosomes.

16) Johnny Cash  Out Among the Stars

Even lost recordings too glossy for his taste kick most other music’s ass.

15) The Glitch Mob  Love Death Immortality

Jason Statham’s nextTransporter screenplay run through Ableton and Reason.

14) Pattern is Movement – Pattern is Movement

A swirling cloud of earnest, complex music. Want them to be the next Kurt Vile/War on Drugs.

13) Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Following Laura Jane Grace’s new normal = punk anger skillfully applied to autobiography.

12) clipping. – CLPPNG

Slides neatly into Death Grips’ industrial-rap void. When Sacramento closes a door, LA opens a window.

11) A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Sea When Absent

In the shadow of MBV’s ’13, standing along Slowdive in ’14, holding it down for neo-shoegaze.

10) Sun Kill Moon – Benji

But Mark Kozalek can still suck my cock.

9) Cocksure – TVMALSV

Chris Connelly rips open time and space, delivers us back to the days of RevCo’s Beers Steers & Queers.

8) Eno/Hyde – Someday World

Ambient legend + Underworld leader = artsy Afrobeat? I could get used to this new math…

7) Com Truise – Wave 1 EP

Dude makes 1980s beats/pads ripe like Jersey tomatoes.

6) Neneh Cherry – Blank Project

Dark horse contender for Comeback of the Year. Subtle, smart, jazzy electro-balladry.

5) Lee Bannon – Alternate/Endings

Sacramento fella born at the wrong time, assembling straight-up d’n’b to make the Metalheadz proud.

4) Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

Is it possible to improve on Daft Punk’s space disco formula from last year? All signs point to YES.

3) Run the Jewels – RTJ2

Holding the political, the personal, and the partying, this was the only rap album you needed in 2014.

2) Saintseneca – Dark Arc

Restores the creaky, creepy patina of indie-folk lost amid the pop stomp of the Lumineers and the Mumfords.

1) Aphex Twin – Syro

Having written this up in 84 places beforehand, just know this: It’s funky, it’s fun, and it’s constantly changing.

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“New” Matt’s top albums of 2014

by Matt Scottoline

real

The following are the albums released this year which I spent the most (or at the very least, some) amount of time with. The list is numbered, however, if I’m being honest, after about #4 or #5, they all fall into the category of “albums where I’ve enjoyed songs but don’t really feel an affection for on any deeper level.”

To say I really loved 10 or however many albums this year would be untrue. But I also always find myself going back to albums from any given year and finding that love in places I wouldn’t have expected. I guess what I’m really trying to say is none of these lists matter that much. Or at least mine doesn’t. But you’ve already read this far, so it would be kind of silly to stop now, right?

 

So, here is my list for 2014. Some of these albums I really love (#1 and #2) others I’m very fond of (#3 and #4) and the rest had –at the very least– songs that I enjoyed.

 

1) Real Estate – Atlas

 

2) Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

 

3) Ex Hex – Rips

 

4) Allo Darlin – We Come From The Same Place

 

5) Spoon - They Want My Soul

 

6) The Vaselines - V For Vaselines

 

7) Jessica Lea Mayfield - Make My Head Sing

 

8) Eno + Hyde - High Life

 

9) Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business

 

10) Eternal Summers - The Drop Beneath

 

11) Thurston Moore - The Best Day

 

12) Bob Mould - Beauty and Ruin

 

 

The New Matt Show is Tuesdays from 4-6pm.

 

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Badgalkiki’s Top Albums of 2014

by Kirsten Becker
2014 was an incredible year of great rock and roll music. Here are some of my favorite albums, in kind of an order, but not really.*~~

 

1. Aphex Twin- Syro
Kool album following a long period of just about nothing from this guy. Bonus points for being the only Aphex Twin album to not make me have a panic attack.

 

2. FKA Twigs- LP1
What a year for powerful women makin music. Lots of cool collabs featuring Dev Hynes, Sampha and company.

 

3. Actress- Ghettoville
Favorite album cover this year. Glitchy, minimalist techno vibes. Ninja Tune goodness.

 

4. Die Antwoord- Donker Mag
Wowie, nothing was quite better than catching Die Antwoord playing at 2AM at Bonnaroo this year. I still don’t understand the zef side but I am forever in luv.

 

5. Caribou- Our Love
THIS ALBUM IS SO FREAKIN GOOD. Reflective pop album about loss and love. Guaranteed to get u dancin.

 

6. Quilt- Held in Splendor
Throwback to 60’s psychy-folky stuff.

 

7. Cibo Matto- Hotel Valentine
I never thought I would ever see another album from this crazy Japanese duo. Sp00ky stories about ghosts, trip hop, lo-fi funk.

 

8. Hookworms- The Hum
The first track is such a good intro, haven’t stopped listening to this album just yet. The people describe this as “scuzzy,” I think that’s a good word for it.

 

9. Azealia Banks- Broke With Expensive Taste
FINALLY. I have been holding out for almost 4 years for this album to come out<3

 

10. Temples- Sun Structures
Still a pretty new band, this release follows in Tame Impala’s footsteps in the psych rock revival genre,

 

11. King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard- I’m In Your Mind Fuzz
Nothing compares to randomly seeing this band during this year’s CMJ. GREAT ROCK MUSIC.

 

12. London Grammar- If You Wait
Swooning female vocals and reverb-heavy pop stuff.
Honorable Mentions:
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
Gardens & Villa – Dunes
The Horrors – Luminous
Spoon - They Want My Soul
Les Sins – Michael
Clipping – CLPPNG
Holy Wave – Relax
Snowmine – Dialects

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6 Shots of Black Friday Angst

By Esmail Hamidi
This mini-playlist comes from a particularly grumpy November afternoon – not necessarily Black Friday, but you get the idea. Songs that go through your head while you’re getting trampled trying to buy something you don’t need. Or something. Consumerism normally inspires positive emotions. In this playlist, this is not true.

1. I’ll Buy Myself – Suicidal Tendencies
Crass commercialism has never been far from music. I see this song as drawing connections between the self-indulgent similarities of music and consumerism, but that’s just me.

2. Every Table Needs a Knife – Vulture Shit
These boys got it covered. Their tunes draw comparisons to DFA1979, but fronted by the most charismatic, demented lead singer you could possibly pull out of a record crate, and sporting riffs that would set your local Guitar Center’s doorbuster effects pedal display on fire.

3 . Human Being – Coloured Balls
Step back. Think about it. You’re running through a crowd, and why is everyone here? To buy stuff. What? To me, the underlying theme of this song is getting wrapped up in thinking too hard about things. “What is a human being?”

This Australian proto-punk foursome laid the roots for AC/DC and tons of other rockers. They also tend to rip.

4. Goes Black – BIG UPS 
This day has gone black. Friday, that is.

5.  T.V. – Blink 182 
Before they were the poster boys of mallcore, Blink 182 kinda ruled. It reminds me of playing dumb PC skateboarding games. RIYL scrappy Ramones-esque harmonies and a straight California vibe.

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6. $$$ Problems $$$ – Brown Rainbow  

There are just some feelings you can’t put on layaway.

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