File this under “Better Late Than Never”: One sentence reviews of our favorite ten albums of 2014
#1 – “With A Little Help From My Fwends” by The Flaming Lips
Re-voiced by a cast of 30 odd characters or so the genesis of vintage psychedelia is re-mixed and re-modeled for the maturing Hannah Montana generation.
#2 – “I’m In Your Mind Fuzz” by King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard
Wading into the current wave pool of all things psychedelic these Australian boys prove that everything old can be refreshingly re-imagined anew in this deceptively low-fi and intricate affair.
#3 – “Lazaretto” by Jack White
Recorded over a two year period this somewhat disjointed yet entirely satisfying album in its compression-free analogue LP format coexists somewhere in the 1970’s ether of Bob Dylan’s “Desire” and Zeppelin 3.
#4 – “The Man Upstairs” by Robyn Hitchcock
When asked what his favorite time of year was Miles Davis simply answered, “Whenever the new Thelonious Monk record is out” and that is exactly how we feel about Robyn Hitchcock and all the exquisite beauty he has been consistently injecting into the world for the last 40 odd years.
#5 – “while (1<2)” by deadmau5
Much in the same fashion as pioneering 1970’s German electro band Kraftwerk, deadmau5 has created a refreshingly warm and entirely organic climate for today’s all too frequently cold world of electronic beats on this album which he considers to be his first and not merely a collection of separate individual mixes packaged together.
#6 – “The Endless River” by Pink Floyd
Make no mistake, this is no concept album or neo rock opera fueled by Roger Waters ego, this is a return to what Pink Floyd always did best going all the way back to the Syd Barrett years: spacey multi-layered Richard Wright led keyboard driven soundscapes to bliss out to.
#7 – “Seeds” by TV On The Radio
Big beats lushly orchestrated with what sounds like a young virile Peter Gabriel taking the helm navigating this ship through seas of finely crafted hooks and catchy melodies.
#8 – “After The Disco” by Broken Bells
This aptly titled second album by the ingenious pairing of producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) and Shins lead singer James Mercer find the duo at home mining the AM radio friendly blue eyed melodic soul of their youth growing up in the 1970’s when the likes of Saturday Night Fever era Bee Gees and Hall & Oates ruled the airwaves.
#9 – “Art Official Age” by Prince
Unlike the latest offering from Pink Floyd, Prince’s 2014 album “Art Official Age” IS a concept album (of sorts) where the listener is comfortably lead, along with the album’s protagonist, one Mr. Nelson, by the soothing strains of an imagined female nurse’s comforting voice through the musically artificial age which we have all just escaped through the wonders of 45 years spent in suspended animation (think Vanilla Sky meets Around The World In A Day).
#10 – “Dconstructed” by Various Artists
File this one under “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em Join ‘Em” as Disney takes deadmau5 head on out of the law courts and onto the dance floor with some of the planets most outstanding re-mix DJs (we dare you to just try and not dance).
“Everything Will Be Alright In The End” by Weezer
Weezer doing what they do best mostly, catchy melodic and sometimes anthemic power pop with just enough Pinkerton thrown in to keep things interesting and nuanced, along with some sugary sweet Brian Wilson Beach Boys vox and the majesty of an oddly present regal feel to some of River Cuomo’s Brian May inspired multi-layered guitar solos.
“Commonwealth” by Sloan
Andrew Scott’s 17 minute 49 seconds long “Forty-Eight Portraits” song that takes up the entire 4th side of the double album makes this LP necessary.
Thank you for listening. And reading. See you on the flip for the 2015 wrap up. HAPPY NEW YEAR!