Friday, 28 November 2014

2014 review by Everything Flows

I started 2014 by buying quite a lot of new music, then tended to delve back into a lot of older music as nothing new was exciting me enough to buy it. Just when I was feeling a little downhearted I got into the albums by War On Drugs and First Aid Kit.

There are songs and albums that have been released in 2014 that I will discover years down the line and kick myself for not buying them at the time and seeing the act live - so I thought that I would use my blog to ask bands, artists, labels, writers, fellow bloggers and friends to do their own mini-review of 2014 so I might discover some music released in 2014 that I might have missed.

So throughout December you can expect to read mini-reviews from Vigo Thieves, Kevin Harper, Olive Grove Records, Skinny Dipper, Woodenbox, Crash Club, TeenCanteen, Model Aeroplanes, Duglas T Stewart, Hot Gem Records, Atom Tree, Machines In Heaven and more.

In the meantime - here is my own mini-review.

1. Singles/songs that have been released in 2014 have stood out for me

Seasons - Future Islands

I'm not the only person who fell for this after seeing the Letterman performance on YouTube. A brilliant song performed with real passion and panache.

You're Still Mine - TeenCanteen
Vagabond (live) - TeenCanteen
You're still mine is Phil Spector mixed with New Order, whilst the live video of Vagabond is jaw droopingly gorgeous 3-part harmonies and heartfelt lyrics.

This Love - Vigo Thieves
Epic anthem from Vigo Thieves, a taster of the epic new material they have been working on this year. I have been fortunate to hear some demos, 2015 will be their year.

Desired Effect - Atom Tree
Ones to watch in 2015, building a superb collection of songs. Electronic wonder.

Blue Moon - Beck 
Heart Is A Drum - Beck
2-tracks from Beck's beautiful album. Melodies delivered in real style and with true soul.

The Secret Of The Tibetan Grapefruit Is...? - Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab
(Return To) Nineteen Canteen - Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab
2-tracks also from Glasgow's Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab. The first is pure Beta Band while the second is rammed full of McCartney melodies

Sweet Discontent - Tuff Love
I loved this track on first listen and still do, great guitars and soft melodic vocals.

My Girl Midge - BMX Bandits
Duglas T Stewart comes up with a real heart breaker. Soulful vocals and Stewart always has a knack for a melody.

Single Spies - The Vaselines
This is a real stand out from The Vaselines album. The melody flows superbly. 

My Silver Lining - First Aid Kit
The gorgeous First Aid Kit won my heart this year with their album and live show at the Old Fruitmarket. This is stunning, check them out and they may win your heart too.

Inspector Norse - Todd Terje
Strandbar - Todd Terje
Playful and melodic electronica. This album was on in my car for ages and these 2-tracks in particular.

An Ocean In Between The Waves - The War On Drugs
Under The Pressure - The War On Drugs
2-tracks from one of my albums of the year, it is so easy to get lost in this album. 

Tears of Joy - Slow Club
The opening track from their fantastic album, modern day soul.

I've also fallen for the Frozen soundtrack and whilst my daughter Zoe's fave track is Let It Go, I 
absolutely love Do You Wanna Build A Snowman? Genius.

2. Albums released in 2014 I have enjoyed

Morning Phase - Beck

Beautiful on first listen, loads of depth to come back to, an exceptional album.

Stay Gold - First Aid Kit
Stunning harmonies and melodies, First Aid Kit have raised the bar for themselves. An exhaustive tour has taken them around the world and won them many new fans. 

Lost In The Dream - War on Drugs
Springsteen fed through a reverb machine with echoes of Dylan as well. This blew me away.

Ever Evolving Lounge - Dr Cosmos Tape Lab
Home grown psychedelia - two friends in Glasgow get together and record on an old fashioned 4-track and produce staggering tunes that recall the Beatles and the Beta Band amongst others.

It's Album Time -Todd Terje
Superb electronic melodies and a guest appearance from Bryan Ferry. This album was on in my car for about a month.

V for Vaselines - The Vaselines
Raw guitars, hooks and melodies are all over V for Vaselines. It sounds like the band enjoyed making it and that transfers with ease to the listener.

Tied To A Star -J Mascis
We get to hear the mellow side of Dinosaur Jr's J Masic on this gorgeous solo album. The guitar playing is still exceptional, Mascis' vocals still strain, and with J Mascis you are always going to get some majestic moments. 

Complete Surrender - Slow Club
I was late getting into this album so I'm kicking myself for missing live shows this year. Slow Club come of age with a beautiful soulful album. Fantastic song-writing and they've found a producer who has brought out a whole new side of them.

3. Old music/bands I have discovered/gone back to in 2014

I still have loads of CD's that I haven't transferred on to iTunes, so I'll still wander in to look at my collection and pick an album to play in the car. I was amazed that I hadn't transferred Flaming Lips Yoshimi album, so I dug it out and played it for about a week.

Earlier on this year I discovered Controversy by Prince after a friend made me a mix. It is an incredible song and I have played it regularly through the year.

I've discovered loads of good stuff through the DJ Greg Wilson who regularly posts his mixes on his sound cloud page. He'll play anything from The Smiths to disco, house, electro and gospel - basically anything good. His taste is impeccable and his re-edits are sublime.

Summer shows by Belle and Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub caused me to delve into their extensive back catalogues (not that I need much excuse). 

I enjoy buying Northern Soul compilations and discovering some classic tracks via friends who are part of the scene in Scotland.

I've been listening to a lot of Chic since watching them at Wickerman in summer 2013. I can't believe no-one has brought them to Glasgow other than for a Ryder Cup Gala performance!

4. Musical highlight of 2014?

Teenage Fanclub at Kelvingrove Bandstand was just perfect - sunshine, friends, beer and a trawl through the Fannies extensive back catalogue. The mass outbreak of pogo-ing down the front was brilliant.

5. Plans for 2015

I'm looking forward to Teenage Fanclub and The Charlatans releasing new albums and playing live. These bands have been helping to soundtrack my life since 1991.

I hope to get to at least one festival, attend gigs as often as possible and to discover brilliant music - be it stuff from the 60's or brand new bands.

I'd love to see Vigo Thieves get the record contract they deserve and go on to release a brilliant album  and smash it. They have the songs up their sleeves, their progression over the last 2-years has been staggering.

My sisters band TeenCanteen are going into record some songs in the new year and I hope they can get enough money together to finance a full album, then hopefully get someone to release it.

Elsewhere on the Scottish music scene I think Atom Tree have all the makings of a good album and Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab have already announced their second album will come out in March.

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