Friday, 19 December 2014

Best Of 2014 - Albums & Mixtapes

Pom Pom - Ariel Pink
Heavenly West Coast pop hits, delirious goth, over wrought glam, funk, glitter scuzz rock and demented bubblegum psych (sometimes all within the same song). I can't possibly write another word on the subject.

Black Portland - Young Thug & Bloody Jay
Atlanta's stellar nutcase duo make mental rap classic. Demented euphoria.

You Might Also Like - eMMplekz
More funny shit and mental absurdity ranted by Baron Mordant over some of Nick's most accomplished trax to date.

Unfidelity/Four Track Mind - Ekoplekz
Two classic double LPs in one year! Maybe Four Track Mind just pips Unfidelity at the post but these albums are inseparable as they came from the same recording sessions, I think. Nick Edwards reigns in his wayward machines like never before to achieve stunning results.

Oxymoron - Schoolboy Q
The title says it all. Killah state of the art sex, drugs and rap 2014 stylee. Oxymoron not only refers to Oxycontin addiction but to the dichotomy of Schoolboy Q's being ie. trying to be a good dad but being a bad ass gangsta.

Reconsider Lounge/Session Man - Rangers
I thought they'd vanished but praise the lord here they are again twice! This time in snippet and snapshot mode on Reconsider Lounge, a bit like they were on 2010's classic Suburban Tours. Session Man is almost like stoner jamz but in a Rangers universe. OMG these are guitar albums! Remember them? It's all about past pasts, past presents, past futures and the present present and future past, present and future. Memoredelia! The talented Joe Knight is a star. Why aren't Rangers as big as Coldplay?

By Any Means - Kevin Gates
King Kev's got the best voice in the game and his flow's incredible. An intimate insight into Kev's life. From being dirt poor with no electrical, being incarcerated, having children and being signed to major record label Atlantic. His life's a movie. Louisiana trap at it's finest.

Gangsta Stripper Music 2 - Beatking
He is the Beat King and he's had a sterling year. This was the Club God doing his Houston ratchet thang which is the best mix of 10s rap and 90s rave these ears have ever heard. Crank this sucker up to 11!

$hmopcity - Kool John
The most underrated mixtape of the year. Bay Area ratchet from the HBK Gang that was all killah no filler. Kool John makes the best HBK Gang recording to date. It's party time, are you putting on 10 Summers or $hmopcity? It's a no brainer.

Underground Tape Cassette Music - Gangsta Boo & Beatking
Fucking great collaboration from 666 Mafia's legendary Gangsta Boo and Club Godzilla Beatking. 80s electro & fucked up 90s rave flavas clash with 2014 Texan Ratchet and 90s creepin Memphis shyt. Rewind!

Life After Death Row - Boosie Bad Azz
Lil Boosie gets out of prison and makes a hell of a poignant mixtape about the experience. True Detective had nothing on this Louisiana rapper's gritty reality.

Tony - King Louie
Gangsta tales from Chicago set to mini cinematic synth symphonies. Louie's a King, a God, a Don and they call him Tony after Tony Soprano. Futuristic sex, drugs, violence and megalomania!

Under The Skin OST - Mica Levi
Best soundtrack since _________. Intensely sinister, harrowing and still. A bit like Bernard Hermann if he'd had a stroke and was wasted on painkillaz. Who'd have ever thought I'd enjoy something by Mica Levi? The world is a strange place.

Beautiful Pimp II - Rome Fortune
Atlanta's one of a kind suave space age rapper makes a sequel better than the original. Cito is on the beat throughout the entire mixtape which was a great move.

Heat Vol. 1 & 2 - YP Spoelstra
Two volumes of choice 2014 ratchet from California's HBK Gang. YP's giving Mustard a run for his money and he's just put out a 3rd Volume, bloody hell!

Leporine Pleasure Gardens - Moon Wiring Club LP 
Hallucinatory, phantasmal and lysergical. This is Moon Wiring Club severed from their beats and it's probably the closest sonic equivalent to dropping acid I've ever heard. Flashbacks man!

Torridon Gate - Howlround
Who'd have thunk a 24 minute recording of a garden gate would be this enjoyable?

R.O.C. - IX Tab
A trip into creepy electronic zones where funny things happen.

A Que Fresco - Que & Mike Fresh
Like Speedy Gonzales, the subject in one of their songs, these guys don't mess about. This is 2014 rap at it's most buoyant and audacious. A pop triumph.

Butterfly Effect - Shinishi Ataobe 
Some of the most enjoyably serene ambient dub tech I've ever heard. There's also some slightly noisier dub tech trax in a Basic Channel stylee (Ataobe once released an EP on the Chain Reaction label). Hypnotic and beautiful.

From Out Here - The Advisory Circle
Perhaps their most fully realised LP to date. A musical interzone somewhere between idyllic and peculiar. An album that plays tricks with your memory.

My Krazy Life - YG
Monster - Future
Fearful Wiggings - Dave Graney
The Power And The Glory - Perc
Bullet - Zuse
The Mobb Tape - Zmoney
Wet 2 - Skipper
Tha Tour Part 1 - Rich Gang
Leporine Pleasure Gardens cd - Moon Wiring Club
Audio Rehab Vol.1 - Various
Definition Audio Presents Vol.1 - Various
Oculus OST - The Newton Brothers
Pavilion - Panabrite
Influkz - Ekoplekz
We Invented The Bop 2 - Various
8 of The Moon Ballades Series - Motion Sickness Of Time Travel

Benji - Sun Kil Moon
20 years since I've listened to anything by Mark Kozelek but I couldn't ignore this album's cult groundswell on the interweb. Holy shit things have changed since Red House Painters Ocean Beach (well mostly, he is still singing about his mum) ie. Mark's way more hokey now, getting back to his Ohio roots. There are no Johnny Marr-esque guitar licks or 4AD flourishes of sound here. This is bare bones recording wise. Less is more, keep it simple and let the words paint the pictures. Who would have thought he could get more morose? Well he has! This is a stunning work of a master songwriter. The words just pour out of him unfiltered and somehow it works. Benji is an insight into a tragedy strewn life and a morbid mind like no other. Although he finally makes a joke on the last track. One does also wonder how much of this is possibly black humour like when he's asking you to think of mass murderers when you're feeling happy. I've always thought he was pretty funny I must admit.

Rustie - Green Language
Peaking Lights - Cosmic Logic
Young Thug - 1017 Thug 2
Skrillex - Recess
DJ Mustard - 10 Summers 

Mr Mitch - Parallel Memories
Apparently this is connected to grime. I have no emotional investment in grime so it doesn't bother me. Like last year's album from Logos I didn't even know it was somehow comin from grime. I just liked the tunes. When I first heard Parallel Memories I thought it was like an electronica LP from 1994. Hey 94 was a great year for electronica and it's pretty good....
Vessel - Punish, Honey
Daft Industrial throwback of the worst kind or kinda cool weird noise? I dunno.

Kevin Gates - Luca Brasi 2 (Only got it yesterday)
Starlito - Black Sheep Don't Grin (As above)
YP Spoelstra - Heat Vol. 3 (As above above)

Ian Crause - The Vertical Axis. I noticed this in Simon's list. I assume it is he of the great Disco Inferno. I totally did not realise he'd released an album this year as I don't read music magazines anymore and only skim the online one (you can probably guess what that may be). I think I bought one issue of The Wire this year. I've gone from being a chap in the 90s who wouldn't miss an issue of The Wire to someone now who can barely give a toss. Sure things change in 20 + years but who'd have thought so many bad writers would be employed there. Sure the music scene's not the same either but there is still great music being made. The evidence is right here in my list but I wonder how many of the above recordings even got coverage in The Wire? The thing is I probably wouldn't want to read it anyway unless it was written by Mark Fisher. Anyway back to The Vertical Axis, fuck I'm looking forward to hearing that. Mark Fisher probably reviewed it. This is actually from 2013.

True Detective
Orange Is The New Black

Ghosts Of My Life - Mark Fisher
Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop - Bob Stanley (sure I got this for xmas 2013 but fuck it took me 4 months of 2014 to read it ie. many pages)

Ripping off Young Thug is dumb. It's like ripping off Mark E Smith ie. he's so idiosyncratic if you're copying him it's so obviously not you. It makes you an instant joke.

To bang on about artists that are dull, overrated or just plain shite like grouper, blanco husalah kokane, salva, fka twigs, beyonce, ben frost, 1001 Young Thug wannabes, popcaan and whoever else innit?

There's only one Young Thug (he's on the left).


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