2014: Other Albums

Posted on December 11, 2014

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End of year lists are quite like crack to me. As a child I was a list-maker to the point of obsession, lists of cricket players, dinosaurs, crisps, god knows what else. Music became more and more important in my begrudging existing as my teenage years built in number, but there was no let up in the love of a list. Combine the two, and voila, you’ve got yourself a Welshman doing a particularly good impression of a swine in the brown stuff. I’ve already looked at some songs I liked this year, albeit missing a few important ones (sorry Then Thickens), so let’s start making a list of albums I liked that I’ll inevitably disagree with within weeks. Here’s some albums I enjoyed, but didn’t enjoy as much as ten other albums.

Tune Yards // Nikki Nack
Pop music can be a lot of fun, can’t it? What Merrill Garbus does with Tune Yards is certainly pop music, but it’s pop music being stretched into strange shapes with a different palette of colours than most are using. She might even begin suffering from what some call ‘Dillinger Escape Plan Syndrome’, in that by constantly being expected to do something different she ends up being predictably unpredictable. Still, ‘Water Fountain’ is one of the funnest songs I’ve heard all year, and her voice is still a joy.

St Vincent // St Vincent
Much like the above, Annie Clark writes pop music using a different palette. When ‘Digital Witness’ was released as the first single, I firmly entered ‘this is going to shit on everything mode’, so the album was obviously going to fall short of expectations. Shades of her collaboration with David Byrne are all over thing, to its detriment for me, but there’s still more than enough gold within for the album to be a fine listen. ‘Regret’ for example. Bloody great.

Melvins // Hold It In
Melvins are slowly becoming one of my favourite bands in the world. 2014 saw the release of ‘Hold It In’, their 8424nd album, is a collaborative effort with the chaps from the Butthole Surfers, and it is as good as expected. The album veers from chuggedy chug to bizarre pop and plenty of little spots in between, but it is always going to be the former of those that I enjoy most about the Melvins. Opening track ‘Bride of Crankenstein’ is the best example, some lumbering chuggers underpinning the whole thing. ‘Piss Pisstofferson’ is an excellent song title as well.

Mogwai // Rave Tapes
Much like the Melvins (I’m sensing some continuity here), Mogwai have been around forever. ‘Rave Tapes’ is something like their 3434th album and continues in the vein of ‘this is bloody excellent’. At this point I can’t imagine them releasing anything shitty, apart from all the remix stuff.

Finch // Back to Oblivion
Oh, Finch. Their first album, ‘What It Is To Burn’, was a big seller back in t’day. It was loved by many, but the main issue with it was that it was a bit shit. They had the world at their feet, and the hype for second album ‘Say Hello to Sunshine’ was overwhelming. The aforementioned album numero two was released and was, simply put, one of the best albums I ever did hear. Nobody bought it though, so the band disappeared. ‘Back to Oblivion’ is the third, and it suffers from being a bit confused as to what it wants to be. Does it want to sell millions, or does it want to be good? Therefore it’s a little lost. Still, ‘Two Guns to the Temple’ is brilliant.

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