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This Year
  • lots of good albums this year. The new fennesz is beeeauutiful

  • I’m pretty into the new Real Estate.

  • The only albums I’ve played consistently have been Pye Corner Audio (Black Mill Tapes Vol.4) and Otto A Totland (Pinô). The first is spooky retro-futurist analogue melody from GhostBox, the second memorable close-up minimal piano pieces from one half of the legendary Deaf Center.

    otto

    After that, my first impressions of the Fennesz album are pretty good, and I like and need to listen more to Helm’s two eps (The Hollow Organ and Shattered Miniatures), Valerio Tricoli’s spooky and immersive Miseri Lares, as well as Ghettoville by Actress - all quite challenging records in different ways. The main Helm ep is heavier than last year’s Silencer, Miseri Lares is dense and surprising, while the (final) Actress release is a sort of high concept ‘enjoy this if you dare’ farewell to the name.

    actress

    Ambient stuff that I’ve been playing a lot for different purposes are the third and best album by Illuha (Akari), Marsen Jules’ predictably lovely Beautyfear and Janek Shaefer’s very low-key Lay-by Lullaby (car noises ahoy!), as well as Tape Loop Orchestra’s Yesterday, This Would’ve Meant So Much To Us and Olli Aarni’s gorgeous two sides, Kimalle.

    janek

    Shackleton and Rainer Veil have put out interesting eps too, and of course there’s the usual slew of Machinefabriek releases. My favourites are the collection Dubbeltjes, Halfslaap II/Stiltetonen and most recently Bij Wat Ook Moog’ Gebeuren (as Leo Fabriek, Gareth Davis, Rutger Zuyderfelt).

    After all that, I have a few things I’m getting to grips with, like Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks (not amazing, but I’m an Animal Collective loyalist and like everything they do to some extent), Kane Ikin’s Warehouses (loved his last releases, but this one is a change of direction and taking some getting used to). Orcas and Jason Lescaleet have both put out disappointing albums after I liked their last releases a lot too.

    Lots of things I’m looking forward to though including a new batch of releases on PAN, by far my favourite label of the last couple of years (Beneath’s self-titled, Black Sites’ follow-up to Prototype, Unit 2669, and something called M.E.S.H by M.E.S.H :-) . Also, Machinefabriek has more Piipstjilling material lined up, and also an album coming out on Miasmah (!) with Gareth Davis and Leo Fabriek under the group name Shivers.

    Besides new stuff, it’s still mainly a mixture of Keith Hudson and William Basinski.

  • I like Warpaint, Two Knight’s “Shut Up”, and Jeff Ballard’s “Time’s Tales”. I’m interested in The Both’s (Amy Mann + Ted Leo) new album, as the couple songs I’ve heard were very good.

  • I haven’t listened to a single new album this year. And then I come back to you fools, and you give me some work to do. Thanks.

  • Hi WAlly!

  • NPR has the new tUnE-yArDs streaming this week on their “First Listen” page. I’ve only given it one listen so far, but my initial impression is: BOSS!

    Frameworks have just released their debut full-length, Loom (currently streaming at Stereogum), and it is masssive and amazing. I love these guys.

    And in my previous message, I forgot to mention the new Tinariwen, which I’ve been playing a lot lately, especially in the car. Great driving music. It’s no great departure for them, but if you like their sound, this is a good one.

  • Only heard the one new tUnE-yArDs song, “Water Fountain” or whatever, but it’s pretty good. Loved her last one.

    I listened to Sun Kil Moon’s Benji today. It is really excellent. Mostly just middle aged guy ruminatin’ on death, so recommended for the Very Old people.

  • Someone at work used to play Sun Kil Moon a bit and I liked it…so I suspect I am Very Old….

  • I’m not sure I’ve listening to anything from this year at all

  • Jeb, listen to Frameworks.

  • I will check it out!

  • I’m digging the new stuff by Afghan Whigs, Metronomy, Doug Paisley, Damon Albarn, War on Drugs, Tycho, Lily Allen, and Angel Olsen.

    Excited for Vacationer and Hamilton whatshisname from The Walkmen.

  • I like Angel Olsen too, but I find the production on this new one really weird, and not in a good way - plus the songs overall slightly better on Half Way Home and especially Strange Cacti, so check those out if you haven’t!

  • Apart from that, looking at my meagre 2004 list, I guess I should put in a good word for St Vincent and Carla Bozulich’s records, probably the best two at this point; Tomokawa, Neneh Cherry, Belfi-Grubbs-Pilia, Gallon Drunk, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Ryley Walker have also put out solid stuff.

  • St. Vincent is ahead by some distance for me at the moment. I’m also into Angel Olsen, Tycho and Carla Bozulich. I probably should check out the new Afghan Whigs and maybe the new Neneh Cherry and start to get an idea as to whether or not the veterans will own this year as did they last year*, but to be honest, there’s a big hole in my 90s collection where Afghan Whigs should be and I want to know what their old stuff sounds like first. I’m waiting for Gentlemen to arrive from Amazon.

    *My top 30 last year included Deathfix, Throwing Muses, My Bloody Valentine, Bill Callahan, Wire, Richard Thompson, Queens of the Stone Age, Tomahawk and Boards of Canada. Bowie’s album would have been in there if I’d listened to it in time.

  • did anyone listen to this new 5-LP vinyl-only Minus 5 album that dropped on Record Store Day? I just randomly came across it and am kinda intrigued; on the one hand, that’s a big financial and temporal commitment, but on the other, I like (and sometimes love) everything they do. Plus, one entire concept LP about the Monkees, apparently? I could see that hitting the spot right about now.

  • I must be having a brain fail but the only thing released this year that springs to mind apart from the amazing Otto A Totland album Nick mentioned is Bohren & Der Club Of Gore’s “Piano Nights” which may be the best thing they’ve done. Like their other albums were leading up to this almost perfect hour of music.

  • I agree that bohren album is really good

  • would you say it’s the album to beat this year??

  • . I got a hold of a copy of Sun Kil Moon’s - Benji because my library had a copy, and its proving worth the Best New Album stamp from Pitchfork, but in a really leisurely slow growing way. The guitar is just gorgeous and some of the songs are wrenching, but its basically just Mark Kozelek making a song out of everything around him even if his observations don’t rhyme or fit a vocal pattern - which includes some powerful family tragedies and tender memories, and also some really mundane details of his life. Did I mention the guitar though, the guy has golden fingers.

  • New Excepter!

    ex

  • With a couple of months left, I thought I’d put a rough list up. I don’t know why but keeping these kinds of lists always plays a part in my listening habits, and actually makes me listen and re-listen to things that I might otherwise forget. I have kept ‘top 50’ type end-of-year lists back to 2006, which can be fun to look back on.

    After a slow start, I think it’s turned into a really good year, especially for electronic music.

    As usual, there are lots of shorter releases that I’ve loved but don’t feel quite substantial enough for the full list - Bass Clef, Powell, Beneath, Bronze Teeth, Olli Aarni, Helm, Kane Ikin, Shackleton, Claro Intelecto, Deaf Center, Δkkord, M.E.S.H. and Demdike Stare all put out brilliant singles and eps.

    The albums I’ve enjoyed look something like this (in alpha order within groups

    The best:

    • A Winged Victory For The Sullen - ATOMOS
    • Eric Copeland - Ms Pretzel / Logo My Ego
    • Excepter - Familiar
    • Jon Brooks - 52
    • Objekt - Flatland
    • Otto A Totland - Pinô
    • Pye Corner Audio - Black Mill Tapes Vol.4 / The Black Mist / Intercepts (with Not Waving)
    • Zammuto - Anchor

    Also really good:

    • Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks - Enter The Slasher House
    • COH - To Beat
    • Dalglish - Dorcha Aigeann
    • Erik Thielemans - Sprang
    • Grouper - Ruins
    • Hacker Farm - Dreamware Reboot
    • John Foxx and Steve D’Agostino - Evidence Of Time Travel
    • Lee Gamble - KOCH/Kuang
    • Machnefabriek - Drum Solos (and many more)
    • Not Waving - Voices I / Voices II
    • Woodbines & Spiders - W & S

    Good:

    • Bruno Pronasto presents Archangel - The Bedroom Slant
    • Janek Shaefer - Lay-by Lullaby
    • Lawrence English - Wilderness Of Mirrors
    • Pjusk - Solstøv
    • Robyn Hitchcock - The Man Upstairs
    • The Soundcarriers - Entropicalia
    • Valerio Tricoli - Miseri Lares

    Decent:

    • Actress - Ghettoville
    • Fennesz - Bécs
    • Koen Holtkamp - Motion
    • Kyle Bobby Dunn - The Infinite Sadness
    • Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country
    • Piiptsjilling - Molkedrippen
  • i really like that lawrence english album

  • other than GBV-related stuff, I think the only album I’ve listened to extensively and loved this year has been the Lawrence Arms, which really kinda kills me. I actually keep meaning to listen to the Conor Oberst record, then finding better things to do like reading comments on Slate articles.

  • I should check out the Winged Victory for the Sullen, I liked their last one.

  • It really is excellent (as is the first, as you know).

    I’ve pretty much only been listening to that and the new Aphex Twin album for the last month or so. I took a brief break to listen to that new Run The Jewels record several times in a row, but I’ve kind of cooled on that one.

    The new Aphex Twin is really good. I keep meaning to write a thing about it, but haven’t quite got round to it yet.

  • Liking the new Run The Jewels. Also listening to clipping., and Every Time I Die, which are both great. I’m a little surprised I’m into Every Time I Die, maybe I’m really into mathcore now.

  • Just realised that the latest Swans album, To Be Kind, came out this year and it’s excellent (and probably my favourite of their albums, though I should note I’ve only heard the recent ones). That, Aphex Twin’s Syro and the Squarepusher x Z-Machines EP are almost certainly my favourite three this year, given that each one has had me obsessed and listening to little else for weeks at a time.

    I like RTJ2 more after a few more listens than I did at first. I’d probably put it on a level with Cancer4Cure and RAP Music, i.e. still excellent but I don’t quite love it as unconditionally as I do the first RTJ and I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. Yet…

  • As well as those albums, I really like the new Bohren (Dolores is still my favourite though!), the AWVFTS album is great as discussed above, Boris’ new album (called Noise) is reassuringly solid, and I’m surprised to find myself saying that Ratking’s So It Goes is probably my favourite rap album this year.

  • alistair said: Aphex Twin’s Syro

    I really have to listen to that some time

  • Looks like Pan are going to squeeze one more out…

    a

    Afrikan Sciences - Circuitous

  • Another last-minute 2014 release that would probably have been a top 10er for me:

    ac

  • yes that one is good :)

    my late addition is shinichi atobe- butterfly effect:
    sa

  • That’s an amazing album.

  • pants + kdsb double endorsement = must hear now