I listen to a lot of music on any given year. On many occasions I’ve had the privilege of listening to some quality music. This year has been no different. There were many songs this year that piqued my interest but didn’t quite necessitate into enjoying the full album.
The Honorable Mentions 2014 mix is compiled of songs that were outstanding but were single songs that stood out amongst the rest. I usually put this mix of songs in the order that I feel the most listened to song leads you through this musical journey that fades out. Hopefully this will prepare you for the Top Ten Albums Of 2014 mix in which I feel has some of the most enjoyable songs of the year.
Honorable Mentions 2014 .ZIP
Self – Splitting Atoms
Those who know me well are pretty aware that I am a loyal and lifelong fan of Matt Mahaffey. This was an extra special year in terms of my fandom for Self reaching one of it’s ultimate highs. Not only did Self release their debut album on vinyl for the very first time in 20 years. I had the opportunity to see them perform live in Los Angeles performing that record in it’s entirety. Self also released an EP this year, the first new release of music in several years. I was blown away with the output of Matt Mahaffey this year. I absolutely adored every song on the Super Fake Nice EP and this song “Splitting Atoms” was probably the least talked about and most interesting new song on the vinyl. This song had so many elements I’ve wanted to hear in a Self song in quite some time. It’s a very upbeat song with some kick ass drums, piano and cool guitar sound unlike I’ve heard in the Self catalogue. I almost put the song “Runaway” on this mix but I felt I overplayed it and it was the most successful mainstream Self song in quite some time. This EP almost made it on the Top Ten Albums Of 2014 mix but I relinquished because it’s an EP not a full album like the others.
Mother Mother – Monkey Tree
This is a silly title for this song but it’s so beautiful sounding and magical to me. Mother Mother have always had some enchanting vocal harmonies. When this album came out I immediately skipped through the album to find this track because I heard a clip of it and I became obsessed with the song. I’m still going through this album and finding new things I like. It’s one of the stronger albums in their catalogue. This has been the most synth heavy output they’ve had and I’m really enjoying new things about it every time I listen to it. I like this band a lot and have been a fan for a while, give it a listen and it might make you a fan if you weren’t already.
Yelle – Un Jour Viendra
I’ve become quite a fan of French language music and Yelle. She has this awesome sound that makes you overlook the fact that she’s singing in a foreign language. I find myself on many occasions singing along and brushing up on my French so I can understand the emotion and character she brings out in the lyrics of this song. It’s really catchy and had me hooked for days. This wasn’t her strongest album in my opinion but the songs that stuck literally embedded themselves deep into my heart and mind.
NORM – The Fog
I’ve really enjoyed The Privates for a few years now and this solo project of Dave Paulson has been blowing my mind with his eclectic indie electronic song craftsmanship. This song is trippy, lo key and very very entertaining. His vocals are so sharp and powerful on this song. I love how ambient and roomy this song sounds. It’s got some really sweet percussion and some exquisite keyboard activity throughout. I’m hoping he puts out a full album of this quality of work. In the meantime his output is a true BandCamp gem if ever there was one. Big thank you to Michael Eades for showcasing Dave’s songs on his site a while back or else I wouldn’t be clamoring for more music from this project.
OK Go – Upside Down & Inside Out
When I first listened to this album I couldn’t believe this was the band that had already impressed me on many occasions. This is such a strong output from them and the energy they have throughout the record is highly entertaining. This opening track set the tone for such an ambitious and fun album. Less rock than previous efforts this is just fun to listen to and dance to. Once again they have some of the most impressive music videos ever. These guys keep getting better with age. I love the intensity and intelligent play on the lyrics.
Hospitality – I Miss Your Bones
The last Hospitality record was so gentle,cute, and hypnotic. This new album was very fun, rocking and energetic. I love the change of pace between albums. They guitars are kick ass, loved the drums and Amber Papini once again kills it on vocals. This is one of the tightest songs instrumentally on the album and I love how they had fun and turned it into such a sick jam.
Stars – Are You OK?
This band puts out consistently awesome albums. They always have a special place in my heart. I love everything about them and the way they are able to maintain their sound but explore all these wonderful areas with it. Amy Millan leads this song off with her consistently beautiful vocals. The guitar technique on this song is so good, it’s very diverse and has a little bit of that 80’s distortion going on. The synths in this song are absolutely mind blowing, the progression throughout the song keeps getting better and better. Another solid output from this band. Definitely a sneaker in terms of making it’s way into your subconscious.
Antemasque – 50,000 Kilowatts
My good friend Dylan McLaughlin played this song for me in his car on a ride and I finally figured out why a lot of my friends were telling me to listen to this album. This was such a throwback and refreshing listen to hear the rock idols tone it down and do a low key but kick ass rock album that had tinges of their musical influences growing up. Each time I listen to this song I go back in time and get reminded of awesome it is to rock out and sing along to some really fun rock songs by whoever is rocking out. This albums is really really awesome. I’m excited for the vinyl to finally be released. It’s been growing on me.
Gob – Terpsichore
I’ve been waiting for this album to come out for a while and it’s as good as I hoped it would be. I usually get stuck on a few songs on their albums. Another solid album to this punk rock outfit I’ve been a fan of for quite some time. It’s got all the elements I enjoy about this band. Loud chord progressions with Tom’s signature vocals. This song repeats the super catchy bridge and chorus and is layered with some vocal harmonies that they’ve incorporated in their later albums. There is even some twinkling of piano layered in there to complete that signature sound.
Gerard Way – No Shows
I was late on the My Chemical Romance craze and didn’t start enjoying them until the Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys albums blew my mind. I still listen to that album on regular rotation. I was online late one night and decided to see what Gerard Way was up to. The music video for “No Shows” popped up and it totally took me back to those nights when I was a kid watching bands on MTV late at night. This song just floored me and I loved the build up. This song was weird and catchy to me at first but I wasn’t sure about the guitar solo. It was so good that it kinda sounded bad to me. Eventually I finally understood it and the song keeps impressing me. One of the strongest songs on his solo album.
Angel Olsen – Stars
I didn’t know this sweetheart had it in her from the earlier recordings I had heard of he past work. This album showcases a rock side that I wasn’t familiar with but totally dig. Her vocals are so trippy and gorgeous. It was nice to get this ambient rock vibe from her. There are some really brilliant moments musically with the guitar and percussion on this song. Several of the songs on the album were incredibly good and this happens to be the song that really made me explore more of her songs and ultimately pick up the entire album.
Interpol – My Blue Supreme
It’s really nice that these guys can get together and have this kind of output and fresh new face to their sound. I liked this record a lot because it showed some real maturity and different sounds than their previous efforts. This song made the album for me. There are several songs I really enjoyed listening to but Paul Holmes vocals and the guitar on this song were so haunting. The drums throughout are also a high note on this song. I felt this was new territory and some of their best song structures in some time.
Juniore – La Fin Du Monde
One day a mutual friend Ana Le Clezio was passing through Santa Fe and gave me a 7″ vinyl with songs from her band Juniore. I had heard one song online previously and I had this holy shit moment. She’s awesome. Her band is awesome and she just gave me a record. So a year later I find out they released another 7″ and I ordered it. Just as the previous record transports you to another time and place this one did just the same. The song is so beautiful, her vocals are insanely good. I’m pretty mind boggled that she’s that good of musician, she wrote these songs and they sound so good. By the way it’s sung in the French language. It’s incredibly well produced. It got stuck in my head and it’s been on heavy rotation on my record player this year.
Starwalker – Losers Can Win EP
This EP was just a glimpse of how incredible this band will be. I saw a the music video they did for another song and was enamored by it. Once the video premiered for this song I was hooked. It’s so dreamy, catchy and captures this slow motion cinematic feel that is conveyed in the videos. It’s a bit trippy and weird like you would expect from a European band but this just made their sound more intruiging. I’m looking forward to the full length. This is just an indication of greater things to come.
Beck – Country Down
The arrangements, country feel and emotion that Beck conveys in this song are a wonderful showcase of his songwriting skills that haven’t really appeared like this since the Sea Change era. From the moment I heard this song I was emotionally attached and it’s one of my all time favorite Beck songs. It has such a beautiful and sad feeling but it’s still full of hope. The lyrics and vocals are a high note on this album and it was a refreshing listen.