December 16th, 2014 | Features | 0 Comments
Yes, it took a bit more than a day for me to post the second part of this list. You can blame that on my studying for the civ pro exam I completed today. Four intense hours that basically ruined me for the rest of the day. Since I cannot bring myself to get to work studying for my contracts exam until tomorrow, here’s part two of my favorite albums of the last year.
5. Julia Brown – An Abundance Of Strawberries
If I were the king of reality everyone would see mainstream pop artists as the vain, shallow posers they are and we’d all gawk at the brilliance of Julia Brown, a crew of wonderful young music makers who put out this gorgeous album with no hype, no Pitchfork review; just a Dropbox link.
4. A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent
I’ve been listening to A Sunny Day In Glasgow for years and thought they’d keep putting out cool, dreamy albums until everyone just got tired of them. Then they decided to let Jeff Zeigler produce one of their albums and he apparently decided, “you know, it’d be really cool to turn up the low end on this and give it some oomf.” The result was, as Pitchfork accurately pointed out, the band’s best album and one of the best albums of the year.
3. Nothing – Guilty Of Everything
Philly’s Nothing came out of nowhere (as far as I was concerned) to deliver the best shoegaze album of the year. It also holds the distinction of being perhaps the only shoegaze album to mine Slowdive‘s pretty, cavernous eeriness rather than My Bloody Valentine‘s wall of romantic noise.
2. Spoon – They Want My Soul
If Transference was the all-over-the-place White Album following Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga‘s focused Sergeant Peppery genius, They Want My Soul is the Abbey Road return to form: 10 songs, more hooks than you could ever keep track of, and everything in its right place.
1. Sun Kil Moon – Benji
I take back what I said in the first half of this list about there not being any clear masterpieces this year.
I’m not really a fan of music that’s too ‘talky’ – and sometimes Sun Kil Moon walks that fine line pretty wobbly – but the purity and depth of feeling Mark Kozelek displays on Benji is so astounding and overpoweringly beautiful that I’m ready to forgive a lot. Being a big city Jewish kid from Toronto, Canada, I often can’t relate to the simplicity and earnestness of ‘real America’ and those who live there in my imagination: farmers, gas station attendants, waitresses, etc. But if one of those gas station workers created a work of art that encapsulates, from his perspective, the tragedy and wonder in ‘the life of man’ the way a Saul Bellow novel or Blood On The Tracks can, perhaps it would sound something like Benji. And it would touch my soul just as profoundly, regardless of our differences.