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.

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You can tell me that my list sucked, that some of the albums were actually EPs or debate my alphabetization over at @Chri5B_.

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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Author: chrisburrell55

Wassup.