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Albums and tracks: Sounds of 2014 January 1, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

All your own lists of what you liked during the year very welcome, but here in no particular order are some of the albums and tracks I’ve liked most this year.

No apologies for this which arrived very late in 2013, Chrome Hoof’s Chrome Black Gold. The Quietus asked:

Where else, in 2013, could you find a place where the Miles Davis of Bitches Brew might brush uncomfortably with Sylvester?

Where indeed? And throw in, as others do Sabbath, Magma, Pentagram, Devo, Parliament/Funkadelic, Sun Ra and a smidgen of techno and electronica to provide an entertaining and enthralling listen. Here’s the single Knopheria (featuring, as does a fair bit of the album, the amazing Shingai Shoniwa of the Noisettes) which arrived more or less on the brink of the new year which reforges the long lost link between disco and prog.

And next…

Aphex Twin – Syro

A whole lot of 1990s going on here updated to the 2010s (particularly reminiscent of the Black Dog) and none the worse for it. This track, Minipops 67 (120.2) (Source Field Mix), is representative of the mixture of sinister and off kilter melody that characterises it throughout.

Ancient Wing – Ancient Wing

Mentioned before, female stoner rock (for which read something that sounds like nothing so much as angular post-punk) from California. This track, Golden Record is brittle post-punk/stoner.

Monster Magnet – Milking the Stars

A remix of their last album, Last Patrol, replacing what seemed elegiac on that record with something that appeared almost timeless, by way of repositioning the songs in their earliest stoner/garage band incarnation. Mindless Ones ’68 powered by a skeletal organ is Exhibit A.

John Luther Adams – Become Ocean 2014

Unsettling and meditative, an album length work that rises and falls, and what’s of particular interest to me is the granular effect of the classical instrumentation which sounds distinctly different to the swells of synths.

Retape – Signals on the Double

This is perfection, Acid-house as it should be done, emotive and dancey. Love it. Cool video too.

Earthen Sea – Mirage

An album, well an EP with added tracks, but Earthen Sea’s Mirage is a perfect slice of ambient techno electronica from earlier in the year, by turns abrasive and meditative. This track sits on the edge of consciousness, soft keyboards propelled by none more subtle beats.

EMA – When She Comes

Mentioned the track Neuromancer earlier in the year. Erika M. Anderson, for it is she, is in quieter mood here, albeit with a touch of feedback. A got a lot of hype back way back when, but sometimes hype is justified. A remarkable album, of which more soon.

Temples – Sun Structures

If this is parody, and it may well be, or at least so referential as make no difference at least they do it with style. Where Oasis took the Beatles as their alpha and omega Temples decide to nod to Bolan, motorik, gulp – Donovan and just keep on going. But the foregrounded percussion is the giveaway, this is of a piece with Pond and Tame Impala, entirely contemporary psychedelia. Catchy too as Shelter demonstrates.

Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

A great album, which verges sharply from indie single “Forgiven/Forgotten” into alt-country and folk, her voice threading the sparse arrangements together.

Sontaag – Sontaag

Produced by Killing Joke’s Youth, this is something of a guiltyish pleasure, a revisiting of old prog/space rock tropes, as with this track here, Interstellar Genocide (natch!).

I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness – Dust

Time for a little post punk/neo-goth. ILYBICD released one excellent album eight years ago and then just… well, vanished. And then returned, just as abruptly.

And here’s a few tracks that stood out…

Starting with

Dego – Nuts!

Funk inflected electro. Nice.

The Black Dog – Theme For The Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire

A good year for TBD with their four EP Sound of Sheffield series released, and this too on the Werk+Play EP.

Ariel Pink – Put Your Number in My Phone

Here’s someone chanelling the spirit of Marty Willson Piper – oh, it’s professional contrarian and controversialist Ariel Pink – who is on freaking 4AD. A potentially great album hobbled by those latter qualities but this is a great song.

The Fleshtones
– Remember the Ramones

A very good album, the Fleshtone’s Wheel of Talent and a heartfelt homage to their contemporaries.

The Church – Miami

A reasonably good album, Further/Deeper, marred by a less good mid section, but this, the concluding song is great.

Sleaford Mods – Jolly Fucker

I can’t help thinking of Fad Gadget or even DAF whenever I listen to Sleaford Mods. The English DAF, well, not quite. This, from the Chubbed Up+ mostly compilation of odds and ends with a few new tracks, released earlier this year is excellent. SonofStan noted during the year that the music press coverage of them is telling, as if their reports on working class life are utterly exotic rather than the norm for many many millions. It’s a real indication of none too subtle shifts in who and how music is made, isn’t it?

Inspiral Carpets with John Cooper Clarke – Let You Down

And appropriate, is it not, to have this with Sleaford Mods. The Inspiral Carpets release an album with their original pre-hits singer and rope JCC in on this track. I like it a lot more than I probably should but there’s something about the combination of flat singing and the organ sound…

Void Vision – Sour (Vanzetti & Sacco Remix)

A fantastic remix. Cold wave, or so it is said, with great synths.

Mentioned both of these last year and no reason not to mention them again. First up the neatly composed off-kilter Italian indie electronica crossover…

Niagara Currybox

Elon Mentana feat. DJ Khalab (Black Acre) – Clap!Clap!

Rival Sons – Open My Eyes

An entirely unguilty pleasure…

There’s lots more, Rrose’s Pentagon’s, Silent Servant’s shift to near enough EBM on the Violence and Divinity EP, Pangaea’s Mackerel, Kitten Pyramid, Blank Realm…


1. Starkadder - January 1, 2015

Any love for the eponymous album by St. Vincent?


WorldbyStorm - January 1, 2015

Yeah, good in parts.


2. sonofstan - January 1, 2015

Computer moving at the speed of the revolutionary transformation of society, so no links, but a few highlights of the year…

Best rerecording of an unreleased record from 30 years ago:

Vic Godard and Subway Sect – 1979 Now! His ‘Northern Soul’ record, songs written and performed back then and never released. Saw him in Birmingham in Sept. after a 30+ year wait and it was brill – bonus was the Blue Orchids

Two country gems:

Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country and Western (bonus points for title) – The Waylon comparison is unavoidable, but, well, Waylon ain’t here and this is hard, tough country with a beat.

Lee Ann Womack – The Way I’m Livin’ – LAW’s recent career tells a depressing tale of the gender politics around mainstream Country at the moment – while two of the world’s biggest pop stars are women who came out of country – Miley and Taylor – Nashville itself seems to have decided on near parodic good ol’ boyness and misogyny as its USP;look, if you can stand it, at Toby Keith’s recent output. Bit like hip-hop these days – determined to live down to what its detractors think of it.

Anyway, this record, actually recorded, for the most part, a few years ago, is superb, Americana flecked, but beautifully played and sung. Look for ‘Sleeping with the Devil

Post Grime, post everything comedown record.

Actress – Ghettoville – In the absence of new stuff from Burial, this is the catatonic big city buzzkill sound. I’m nervous of the word ‘hauntology’ but this is probably what it should be.

Obvious one:

The Gloaming S/T – just tremendous.


Lewis -L’Amour – it’s an amazing story and one told in great detail all over the net; really is a lost masterpiece and suggests all sorts of alternative histories.


WorldbyStorm - January 1, 2015

Cheers for that – a lot to get the teeth into there, in particular I’m keen to hear the Vic Godard stuff. Sounds great. Will check out the Actress, had heard other good reports about it.


sonofstan - January 1, 2015

+1 on Sleaford Mods and Angel Olsen btw – need to listen to the rest of yours.


WorldbyStorm - January 1, 2015

EMA is interesting, she comes from the… er… ‘drone-folk’ scene. That somehow escaped my attention previously.


3. Mark P - January 1, 2015

The DJ who finished the NYE event in District 8 (the Tivoli) last night, Ian O’Donovan, put up a three hour “best of 2014” mix the other day. Probably worth listening to, if you are partial to a bit of techno. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, but his set last night was amazing.

Incidentally, it’s good to see the club scene in Dublin back in such rude health. For quite a while the Twisted Pepper was almost flying the flag on its own.

Thanks for the recommendations WbS and SOS. Techno aside most of what I’ve been listening to this year isn’t really new. My biggest discovery has been Arthur Russell, who a couple of friends introduced me to. I’d heard a few of his songs before, but never realised they were by the same guy, or that he had produced such a hoard of great material.


WorldbyStorm - January 2, 2015

Great stuff Mark P. Thanks for that…


eamonncork - January 2, 2015

Plus 1 to Arthur Russell, fascinating figure.


Mark P - January 2, 2015

Yes, I was initially taken aback by the idea that the same guy did all of this incredibly divergent but still excellent stuff. Consistently ahead of his time but persistently not very widely known.


4. DJ John Spart - January 2, 2015

The following list has been shaped heavily by what I’ve listened to the most. I think they’re all awesome but then I’ve been described by Paul Murphy TD in Stellar Magazine as an “arrogant, loud and dogmatic Trot”. Other great moments came from albums including Solens Arc (Kangding Ray), The Rites of Wrong (Automatic Tasty), The Power and the Glory (Perc), Par Avion (Xeno & Oaklander), Games Have Rules (Function & Vatican Shadow), Human (Max Cooper), Vermont (Vermont), Aurora (Ben Frost), Irreformable (Adam X) and Lament (Einsturzende Neubauten).

The highlight of my year was watching Einsturzende Neubauten perform their requiem for the First World War in London’s KOKO. It was theatrical in scope with Emperor Bargeld as imperious as ever. It’s also heartening to hear from Mark P about Dublin’s revitalised club scene following the dark mephedrone-fuelled dubstep years. My New Year’s resolution is to dust off my mixer and start writing gig reviews again. All the best for 2014!

#10. D.A. Terence – ‘Kernow’ [Perennial]
I came across this on The Wire Tapper 35. Originally from the Six Counties but based now in the US Pacific Northeast, he presents an abstracted take on rave and acid house.

#9. Blue Hawaii – ‘Try to Be’ (Catz ‘n Dogz Club Edit) [Pets Edits]
This featured regularly on An Taobh Tuathail towards the end of the year. The emotive intensity of the original’s acoustic guitar, skittering clicks and Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s vocals are retained in this new dancefloor statement.

#8. Helena Hauff – ‘Hiemal Quietus’ [Lux Rec]
Last year I recommended CLR readers to keep an eye on Helena Hauff as she made the transition to producer. This year look out Eli Verveine.

#7. Simian Mobile Disco and Roman Flügel – ‘Hachinoko’ [Delicacies]
This collaboration keeps the rhythms minimal until the final third where the pressure is ramped up. Hachinoko is a Japanese desert made with bee or wasp larvae.

#6. Powell – No U Turn [Diagonal]
Great noise tones and a throbbing oscillating bass on this track. Powell likes to flit between post-punk, industrial techno and dubstep’s low-end frequencies.

#5. Aphex Twin – ‘Minipops 67 (120.2) (Source Field Mix)’ [Warp]
WBS has already highlighted this as the standout track from Syro. Not much else to be said.

#4. Lakker – ‘Mountain Divide’ [R&S Records]
Dublin duo Lakker have garnered critical acclaim with both releases on R&S Records this year. The only constant is the rhythm as this track grows into an all-enveloping cacophony of distortion and feedback.

#3. Lucy – ‘The Self As Another (Eomac Remix)’ [Stroboscopic Artefacts]
Eomac (Ian McDonnell) is one half of Lakker. On this remix he goes for the jugular with a clever juxtaposition of masochistic techno against deeply intense soundscapes

#2. Objekt – ‘Ganzfeld’ [Leisure System]
I don’t normally connect with critics’ end of year lists but that has been featuring highly in most and rightly so. In just under six minutes he manages to distil the finer elements of modern electronic dance music into this track.

#1. Mondkopf – ‘Cause & Cure’ [In Paradisium]
French producer Paul Regimbeau has aligned his longtime love affair with black metal to a darker, industrial-focused sound where stark atmospheres are key. ‘Cause & Cure’ is a virtuosic feat of sound design.


Mark P - January 2, 2015

Deadly, thanks.

I was pleasantly surprised by the rebirth of the club scene here. There’s techno on in multiple clubs with big crowds every weekend again. And a fair bit of house and other stuff. It’s like the bad years never happened.


WorldbyStorm - January 2, 2015

DJ, I kind of like the Objekt album too, and with precisely the same reservations as you. Helena Hauff and Simian Mobile Disco tracks fantastic on first listen. Lovely stuff. I genuinely find your lists (and those of the others who post them up on this slot) one of the real pleasures of the year. Always appreciated.


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