A the year comes to a close, there is a group of likeminded music enthusiasts that puts together their favs for the year. This year is no different–although like always I tend to stretch the rules and this year is no different! Some of these releases are vinyl re-releases that came out long ago; and some of these releases are not from 2014 but I learned about them and picked them up in 2014. Finally, some of these releases are not albums but rather singles–likely found on Soundcloud.
Would love to hear your opinions and comment on your favorites of the year; or perhaps give me some tips on releases I should have heard but didn’t!
First, some local artists…
Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots (Pesanta Urfolk 032-1)
Bummed that I didn’t get the colored vinyl version (I even pre-ordered), it would be amazing with the gatefold artwork of this double vinyl release. Heavy 200g vinyls to boot! This is classic Munly, not really country but definitely a rural vibe. Munly’s unique vocals (sometimes high, sometimes low) and various stringed instruments in the composition give this record a very unique feel.
Reighnbeau x Sister Grotto – Highways
Remix by New Mexico artist Reighnbeau, this is a classic shoegaze pop track featuring Denver’s Sister Grotto. I first saw Sister Grotto open for Mark McGuire earlier in the year and really enjoyed her ambient/melancholy set. Soon thereafter she released this track and I have been enjoying it on my commute for the rest of the year! Definitely worth checking out!
Obsolete Future’s House of Mutes Vol.1
Coming from around the world, Denver/Austin based Obsolete Future describes this compilation of electronic music / techno tunes precisely. Beautiful artwork on this cassette release (think ANALOG) and overall great presentation of local and global artists. In the electronic high rotation bin for sure! A must listen!
Carpe Sonum’s Veni Vidi Audivi
This was just released at the end of the year and already is in high rotation. For those unfamiliar with this label, it is a tribute label to the late Pete Namlook (think FAX – the pioneering electronic music label out of Germany). This is an excellent lineup of ambient artists and look forward to what 2015 has to bring from this label!
Symbols & Translations? This is banned media from some Austin freak. This track is solid techno and makes you yearn for the next release. I happened to find a bootleg of the upcoming Austin show and that track is amazing. Clubs, beware!
Now some not so local artists…
I’m a big fan of Trentemøller; his latest couple of albums have been more listening albums than his earlier dancefloor style. This album is great; excellent female vocals throughout; some really mellow tracks while others are seriously rockin’. Several tracks remind me of older The Cure, especially in the guitars! Got to see him on this tour at the Gothic and was a stellar show! Full band…he’s a very talented individual!
Hank III – Long Gone Daddy
This is a great record of probably mixed timeframe of tracks on Curb Records. Hank III has departed ways with Curb (seems pretty nasty relationship) but they must have a wonderful archive of his stuff. I liked this better than his Brothers of 4×4 and punk albums he came out in 2014 as well. Classic country, as only Hank 3 can pull off!
Terranova – Hotel Amour (Kompakt)
I’ve been a big fan of this German producer and this album took me by surprise. Vocal electronic tech house music, but a little more soulful than I typically listen to. The album has grown on me and I listen to it often. I recommend all his releases!
Kid Koala – 12 Bit Blues (Ninja Tune)
Ok, the gimmick lured me into this album, but after the first listen I loved it. Kid Koala mashes up old blues tunes as only he can. The best part, though, is on the CD there is a small turntable you put together (cardboard) with a flexi record you can listen to! Now this I couldn’t turn down.
Bonobo – Cirrus (Ninja Tune)
What a cool picture disk. This is a zeotrope with a cardboard zoetrope viewer. The limited picture disk was made available only to fans with a voucher (from the fan club I think). The track is really nice, and the picture disk and its Zoetrope video is incredible. Super sweet!
Blawan – His He She & She EP (Hinge Finger)
Love this straight up techno track. Why they hide bodies under my garage? Don’t know, but it definitely inspired an amazing track. The other 3 tracks on the EP are killer tracks too. Mostly dancefloor techno tracks, one is an amazing “anxiety” track ala Demdike Stares. Highly recommended! Oh, and the video is amazing; again Zoetrope! Took 2 years to track this bad boy down; but acquired the single in 2014 so it made the list!
Plastikman – EX (Novamute)
Richie Hawtin was commissioned to perform at the Guggenheim Museum and this is the set he put together for it. Classic Plastikman minimal acid techno, I really like the album. Lots of work on the EFX and straight up 303 and beats like only Richie can pull off!
Luke Vibert – Ridmik (Hypercolor)
Luke Vibert is one of the kings of acid music, and this is a great expedition down that classic acid sound like no one but Luke can do. FUNKY beats and soulful techno acid. Super sweet!
Bjork – Bastards (One Little Indian)
This was a record store day special from several years ago, Angelos had it for 1/2 price. Great album full of limited edition remixes from the album Crystalline. Bjork remixes are typically more fun and I like them better than album versions. Bjork was ahead of the game (image that) creating an interactive iPad app for this album. For fans of Bjork; even includes a Daniel Bell remix, who passed this year; his Dancer In the Dark soundtrack was amazing!
Kline Coma Xero (Medical Records)
Tony Williams I first heard on Soundcloud, the Left Behind track. I’ve been following him since. This is his first album and it is absolutely classic EBM. Very talented, can’t wait for future releases from him!
Happy New Year S/T
I bought this on a whim; the discogs seller had it cheap and it was free shipping; sometimes you have to take a chance to get something new. This would fit perfectly at The Road House opening for Julee Cruise! Sometimes you get lucky. Also on pretty white vinyl!
And finally some classic reissues on vinyl…
- Lassigue Bendthaus – Atom Heart’s first project, essential EBM, an absolute classic! Comes with a 12″ and 7″.
- Siouxsie and the Banshees – Songs from the Void. The earliest Siouxsie recordings available, on incredible orange marbled vinyl (my favorite color and rare color for vinyl). Amazing bootleg!
- Psyche – Re-membering Dwayne. Tribute album of Skinny Puppy band member Dwayne Goettel. He was in Psyche and crushed the band to join up as a permanent member of Skinny Puppy until his overdose prior to The Process album. I am a big fan of Psyche after Dwayne left; and this album doesn’t disappoint; much more aggro–all the stuff Dwayne recorded with the band including his diary/notebook as an insert!
- Skinny Puppy – The Greater Wrong of the Right. Classic re-issue of this album when they started their comeback in my opinion. Only available on DVD/CD combo (concert) and Metropolis released this super packaging gatefold release. Classic “new” album in the Skinny Puppy catalog.
- Xymox – Subsequent Pleasures. This album has been impossible to find over the years, and recently repressed in high quality vinyl with a remaster. This is the first Xymox single before they signed to 4AD Records as Clan of Xymox. If you like early Clan of Xymox, this is a must!
Singles – Soundcloud playlists
Finally, I have been finding a bunch of music on Soundcloud. As you probably know, you have to dig to find gems; and many times you come up empty handed; but as prospecting for gems in the real world; when you hit a pocket you are treated with many incredible finds. That’s Soundcloud for me. I have been interested in 140/Dungeon style of Dubstep…very slow funky beats with cinematic backdrops and just amazing bass. Check out some of these tracks…