Wednesday, December 3, 2014
The Best Records of 2014: A Narrative Analysis
Unlike last year, when I basically had the collected works of the National on repeat, I actually listened to some current music in 2014! Imagine that. Here are a few newish albums I really liked, in no particular order.
Bahamas--Bahamas Is Afie
For a brief period in the middle of the year I was some kind of weird magnet for Bahamas. Everytime I turned on the radio, no matter what station (full disclosure, I only listen to three stations: CBC 1, CBC 2, and Indie88 when I feel SAUCY), there he was, charming the pants off me with that sweet sweet falsetto. (Side note that didn't get mentioned in last year's list because of my utterly destroyed mental state at the end of 2013: one of my top musical moments of THAT year was Bahamas' encore cover of Hey-Ya by Outkast at Wolfe Island Music Festival. Its awesomeness was made all the better by my best friend's presence in the audience, because as she and everyone around us already knows, what Andre 3000 is REALLY singing is Frey-Ya.)
Speaking of Wolfe Island Music Festival, these guys were such a standout at this year's show. Apparently my musical sweet spot is a distant Rankin Family cousin with bleached blonde hair and jangly guitars and a vague connection to Charlottetown--GO FIGURE.
Bry Webb--Free Will
And speaking of Wolfe Island AGAIN, Bry Webb and his band were so good they hurt my feelings. When they closed their set with a cover of China Cat Sunflower by the Grateful Dead and Bry called the audience a bunch of hippies (in a KIND way) and commanded us to dance, I died of happiness. There are those who might say I am an easy mark.
Hamilton Leithauser--Black Hours
Hamilton's old band The Walkmen have saved my life a few hundred times over the years. This solo record is such a fucking treat. It has a bit of a Hungover Vegas Showman vibe and is rife with gorgeous tributes to relationships gone awry. I think it was my brother who said that Hamilton Leithauser is the kind of guy who you can imagine just going down with the ship, leaving it all on the floor, screaming his last breath. Yeah, I get that. I really get that.
The New Pornographers--Brill Bruisers
Perfection as usual. No further comment.
I threw those last couple in just to throw you off the chase, but here is ANOTHER amazing album by ANOTHER Wolfe Island Music Festival alumnus (Frontenac County, I'm forever your girl). Shad is amazing and he raps about Jack Donaghy and being a feminist ally and when we saw him live Freya's kids threw their hands up in the air immediately and sincerely when he instructed them to and it was adorable as hell and that's pretty much all you need to know about that.
Beck is one of those artists whom I'll pretty much always enjoy. I especially dug this record because it reminded me of Sea Change, which came out in like 2002 and at the time made me want to open up a vein in the best way (there's a story there for another day, I promise). Morning Phase was also given to me, on vinyl, by a boy, which, as you can probably guess is a fairly ultimate Flirting With Caitlin situation. The boy turned out to be the kind of disappointing dud who ruins your birthday weekend and breaks up with you twice, but we had a good run, I guess? ANYWAY.
I know this album technically came out last year but if you hung out with me AT ALL in 2014 then you are uncomfortably aware of its impact on my world, not to mention my FEMINISM and also my pumpkin carving choices.
It's been a hell of a year.