Not So Critically Acclaimed Albums 2014


As we trundle on to the end of 2014 I’ve been surprised at how “off trend” my musical taste is; I thought, perhaps unwisely that I had a reasonably diverse taste and certainly The Spill and the Graun, prior to that abominable new format opened my ears to many a new band: this year’s new to me included Otis Taylor, Gov’t Mule, Cry of Love, The Twilight Sad, Blues Pills and Lucero.

I scanned through the Graun’s Top 40 albums of 2014 and hadn’t really heard any of them let alone bought them! I fared little better in Rolling Stone’s Top 50 but at least I had purchased some of their selection.

Frankly I was a little disappointed with the new releases this year, in fact some of the best “new” music in ’14 were releases of ’70’s rock; Zep IV with unreleased versions of all 8 tunes and the totally amazing live at the Rainbow performances by Queen are some of the best tunes I’ve heard in a while.

So what did “float my boat” this year:

January – Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes: having really enjoyed Wrecking Ball, despite some critical detractors I was looking forward to this album. It was part recorded in Australia whilst on the WB world tour and features some covers, re-working of old favourites including an awesome version of Ghost of Tom Joad with Tom Morello on guitar, who also played in place of Steve Van Zandt in Australia.

My choice is: Harry’s Place.

February – St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Half the City: Southern soul from Birmingham Alabama; what’s not to like, an amazing voice and wow a fantastic brass section.

My choice is: Broken Bones and Pocket Change

March -Band of Skulls – Himalayan: this is their third album and I saw them twice this year yet cannot understand why they aren’t better received either by the critics or public, shame.

My choice is: Nightmares.

April – Manchester Orchestra – Cope: Not from Manchester and not an orchestra at all but a Southern state rock band from Atlanta. This was their first of two albums in ‘14, releasing an all acoustic version of this ‘rock’ outing later in the year titled “Hope”.

My choice is Top Notch

May – The Black Keys – Turn Blue: Slightly disappointed with this the 8th album from Dan and Patrick and as such it has remained a Spotify only album. Just doesn’t compare to Brothers or El Camino (IMHO).

Instead of a tune from that album here’s one from Queen – Live at the Rainbow ’74: Son & Daughter

June – Rival Sons – Great Western Valkyrie: A random find for me during 2014, I recall it was a live EP ‘sampler’ from a certain on-line music retailer that got me on to this group. Hailing from Long Beach Ca. Rival Sons are classified as a ‘blues rock’ band, aka spot on for Leavey’s musical taste and claim influence from Zep, Free and The Animals.

My choice is:  Open My Eyes (Live)

July – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye – TP&TH doing what TP does best, light, ‘southern’ rock; definitely some great guitar work on this album and Tom’s vocals are spot on.

My choice is: Full Grown Boy (Love the languid guitar breaks)

August – The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt: A much anticipated release, I love Fallon’s vocals, a new Springsteen perhaps (Mama’s Boys) that has turned out such quality. Get Hurt remains “gritty” and determined and is, after several listens very obviously The Gaslight Anthem, though the louder, heavier tone of the one I’ve chosen shows there is some development to ‘new’ sounds.

My choice is: Stay Vicious

September – Lenny Kravitz – Strut: I love Lenny’s classics and took a listen to this on Spotify before diving in and buying it. The Chamber features in my Festive Spill tunes but it could easily have been any number of tracks from this album. I was hooked from the first listen each track is a delight.

My choice is: I’m a Believer (My Spotify tune of 2014, though it could have been New York City or Sex or She’s a Beast or any of them really.)

October – Little Big Town – Pain Killer: This four-piece country band are awesome. Hmm, so there aren’t that many country fans here or on RR but I hope you take a moment to listen; the voices, the harmonies, the simplicity of the music makes this group a beautiful listening pleasure.

My choice is: Live Forever 

November – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways: I’m perplexed that this hasn’t featured in the end of year Top album lists (not even available to vote for – as an album – in Abahachi’s end of year Spill awards!!), it graced Rolling Stones’ at No. 12* but other than that it’s been foolishly omitted.

***News Flash*** amylee likes both Foo songs from the Festive Spill, there’s hope that this album will find another ‘fan’ 😉

The album was released in conjunction with an HBO / BBC 4 documentary recording the production of the album across 8 key musical cities in the US. I’ll try not to be too effusive but in the first week or so of release this is all I listened to, each track is simply stunning, varied and benefits from guests that add a certain edge, the guitar from Joe Walsh on Outside or Gary Clark Jr. on my chosen track from this album.

I don’t say this lightly but for me it’s another Zep IV, 8 beautifully arranged and brilliant songs, I’ve chosen one for the Festive Spill but I heartily recommend you listen to the whole album or better still watch the documentary to understand how Dave crafted sound bites and the history of the places where it was recorded into each of the songs.

* but No. 1 in the Readers Poll; naturally (well I did vote 999,999 times)

My choice is: What Did I Do? / God As My Witness

December – have you heard the new Take That album; me neither!

Haven’t really listened to the new AC/DC album but I’ll give you a taster, enjoy.

My choice is: Play Ball

You’ll probably not agree with any of this and that’s fine because as I said at the start I’m so “off trend” when it comes to critically endorsed new music.

I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable Christmas and here’s to a new year and (hopefully) some decent new music in 2015; best wishes to everyone.

62 thoughts on “Not So Critically Acclaimed Albums 2014

  1. It’s early here and i haven’t had a listen yet, but you’ve touched on something here that i’ve been thinking about for a Spill post, in light of the FS and year end lists. Namely, where do people get their music from? People have such different tastes and choices, and coughed up so many good tunes that most people haven’t heard, i do wonder where they find their music. I never came across most of the folkie tunes i loved on the lists anywhere. Different countries account for part of it i imagine, but not all.

    Even the major mag year end lists are so different. I didn’t know most of the Guardian’s list either, and Rolling Stone had a surprising amount of classic rock. Some of my old faves lost me this year (or probably before) – yep, the Black Keys, also Mark Lanegan, Damien Rice, Morrissey, Jack White, Pumpkins, Beck. The veterans i did like (Thurston, J Mascis) didn’t seem to place on any lists that i found.

    Just for fun i checked out the Washington Post’s top 50 the other day – never heard of them either – i could only conclude that it was just one guy’s fairly narrow taste.

    • Gosh, you are up early!!

      Think that’s a great idea for a Spill post.

      Agree about Jack White too, overly hyped and you really need a limited edition, velvet lined boxed vinyl LP made out of recycled tyres 😉 (or whatever it was)

      Have enjoyed discovering Thurston from your FS and “grab bag”.

      Catch you later when you’ve had some coffee and woken up properly.

      Best wishes.

      • hi leavey:
        this year I bought because of artistic investment (to me and my youthful listening obsession) and payback for years of ‘cheap’ pleasure (gigs were £6 max):
        Pixies 10” EP collection – 3 records (because I’d pay that price for the designers artwork as a limited print anyway) and the (Indy Cindy) Double CD book – because I’ve payed way more for Vaughn Olivers book designs/ art show catalogues in the past –
        Pixies T-shirt; that I can’t wear (I don’t go out much except for the school run) as it has a giant cock in the design!

        Having new Pixies music attached is JUST a bonus/curse*.

        *delete where needed.

        Agree about the Jack White though !!! heehee

    • I was having this discussion with my dad after Christmas dinner – I was trying to explain that end of year lists will never have consensus ever again – because pre-internet there was a finite amount of music that got onto the listeners radar (Radio play or top of the pops pushed by the record labels, or if you wanted an alternative; old grey whistle test/ the tube on our 4 TV channels. If into indie, you read the music papers and hoped for the best that their ‘flowery’ writing (dancing about architecture) was what you liked too…. yet now, there can be the most amazing album/track released but only ten people will hear it. They will try and publicise it farther but, the next person might go – well it’s not as good as ‘this’ and send them back a totally different style of song. It’s brilliant… sort of…

      It could also be a garage track recorded in 1968 and pressed onto 100 discs, found in an attic and then popularised in 2014… this is such a joy. I probably have a more similar taste to the Guardian’s list – but not much overlapped either.

      I get my music from Bandcamp/ soundcloud / Noise Trade/ the record labels own sites – I have a dedicated e-mail to receive the suggestions of companies I like/ and my e-music account can be used to just play with stuff as it’s so cheap (for me 21p a track (42p normally) – the artist still gets the proper % worked out with e-music – so morally I feel good, because it’s more than iTunes) – if I like the artwork and 30 second sample, I buy it. And any old mention of something on Facebook or a blog might send me on a trail of discovery.

      Would make a good post (I think).

      • Well, if it ever gets done, i’m considering tying it in with an EOTYQ, but i can only think of one other question. Soliciting suggestions.

        Speaking of FB, and someone else i was missing on the FS lists, TonL always has great tunes that generally tend to be up my alley. Anything he posts is worth a listen to me.

        My Black Lips are a great follow for digging up old garage tunes, and anything else they find for inspiration. I do love a band that does research and homework.

        I probably have more to say about this stuff, but i’m back to silent editing for the time being…

      • about those different lists though – we’ve actually had that here for quite some time – probably since we had a split between AM and FM charts. Then there were college charts, R&B charts, hip-hop, indie, C&W, Americana, etc, etc. Just comes from having a big country with vast regional differences in music, and a lotta, lotta stations and programming. The interwebs and various digital music services only expanded the options even further.

      • big country – various lists true – and the billboard 100 was worked out with plays too, not just customer purchases (easily manipulated by companies) –

        Here: when I was growing up 3 tv channels – 4th started when i was 14
        (about 4 programmes each week that involved music)
        – bbc radio overriding everything only 1 popular music station… a few commercial stations if near the frequencies.
        Cable/ satellite TV only started when I was in my 20’s.
        Newspapers – no write ups about popular music until my teens.
        1/2 Weekly pop magazines.
        2/3 by-weekly music newspapers.

        this gave you all the knowledge about EVERYTHING!

      • Hi saneshane, your formative music year’s are very much like my own, three / four TV channels, so excited when The Tube started tho’ still not as good as The Old Grey Whistle Test (IMHO).

        Occasional purchase of Sounds a proper music news paper and Kerrang (glossy rock/metal magazine) when it first came out, that was where ‘we’ learned everything there was to know about the bands.

        Nowadays I probably spend more time exploring established bands early works once I’ve been introduced to them here and on the Mothership.

  2. Good point, I haven’t heard a lot of the albums in media lists, but when I had a go at listening to them, I didn’t like most of them anyway! I have enjoyed some Rival Sons and we’ve watched a lot of Foo Fighters videos, but don’t listen to them much, I can see their appeal though. I’ll check out your playlist later 🙂

    • Hi bethnoir, thanks for popping by. Did you see the Sonic Highways documentary?

      Whilst it is about recording the 8 songs on the Foo Fighter’s album it provides a great musical history of the respective cities where each song was recorded, well worth a watch if you can.

      • I haven’t seen the documentary, but will look out for it. Mr Bethnoir commented that the recent Foos song I was listening to sounded like QOTSA who we both like, so that was almost a compliment!

  3. I find most of my “new” music through you lot, I’d be totally lost otherwise as I’m not in a position to get out much or buy things on spec. I love the ‘Spill, musical tastes are so diverse and it sends me off in all sorts of directions I would never otherwise have considered.

    You mentioned Queen above – I never liked them at the time but appreciate Freddie Mercury much more now. A few weeks ago I visited my brother and sister-in-law and we ended up watching a BBC4 documentary about Queen while consuming rather a lot of wine … with a combined age of 247 we soon got warm and fuddled and took it in turns to doze off through the programme, which seemed to be on some sort of loop, so every time we woke up at least one of us would find themselves still watching the same bit of the documentary … kind of Groundhog Day …!!

    • I have different beef with Queen, which sort of ties in to part of my beef with the Foo Fighters. Someone is responsible for the sort of guitarwork that i really don’t like – it’s been around from hair metal to todays metal that i can’t stand, and i hear it in the FFs too. I think Brian May may have something to do with it.

      • I know the FFs are formulaic but I like David Grohl; I also like them unplugged. I get what you mean about the guitar work, this is probably why I’m not mad on Queen but if one of their songs comes on the radio I know it immediately and it doesn’t seem to bother me any more (I’m talking about the music they did with Freddie). Perhaps I’m mellowing.

    • Hi Ali, thanks for popping by.

      That sounds like a thoroughly good evening to me 🙂

      I am very much an early Queen fan, thought they started to lose it with The Game and then totally lost it with Hot Space. As I commented on one of deanofromoz’s posts News of the World is their best (IMHO of) but I had forgotten how good their early work was until I bought the Love Rainbow release.

      I understand your comment about formulaic guitar sounds and perhaps that’s what does it for me, you’ll note my comment about the guest guitarists on Sonic Highways. I have no musical talent but a guitar chord can get me every time, that’s what hooked me on Manchester Orchestra and as I was saying to Mrs. Leavey the other day when some ad was using Whole Lotta Love as a backing track “it doesn’t get better than that”. Instantly recognisable and gets you every time.

      Hope you find something to enjoy and ‘we’ll’ continue offering new and interesting music to explore.

  4. Having a listen here finally. Loved St. Paul and the Broken Bones – along with GHE’s Delines FS pick and the Waterboys – maybe there’s a soul revival going on these days too alongside of the pop and psych ones that i missed. I loved the Band of Skulls too. Getting some Cult and some U2 from that – both all good sez me.

    Having just said that about Brian’s guitar, forget about that with Son and Daughter! Long time ago DsD put up a Queen worm that rocked too – maybe this was it? Anyway, well done here, Mr. May. Freddie sounds like Ian Astbury here, but i love his pipes anyway.

    • Hi amylee, thanks for the response, pleased that you enjoyed St. Paul and Band of Skulls (yay)

      Early Queen is definitely the best, see my reply to Ali.

      • It’s the Killer Queen type guitar that i blame. It was probably the first Queen tune i ever heard as a teen and i actually liked it a lot at the time. I probably still sort of like it just for nostalgia’s sake. But that guitar has a lot to answer for 🙂

  5. Totally agree about the Sonic Highways programmes – they were great and seeing the process and thinking behind a song definitely gives it a greater resonance and meaning. I’m not usually a Foo Fighters fan, but they were just good solid well-crafted tunes and when I heard them on the Festive Spill lists out of the context of the programmes it took me a while to recognise them, but I still thought they sounded really good.

    • Hi panthersan, thanks for popping by. Pleased you enjoyed the Foo’s documentary, hopefully there’s somethign in the play list above that’ll take your fancy too.

      Tunes are boxed if anyone wants to listen on the go.

  6. Like Ali, I get lots of my new music from you lot. Or from reading various music sites: Line of Best Fit, Stereogum, Pop Matters, Pitchfork, musicOMH… Or from the Guardian of course. At the poppier end of my spectrum (yes, that is pretty much all of it…), I do occasionally dip into music telly channels like 4Music. I miss the days of music telly being watercooler viewing though. Like Shane, I grew up with three or four stations and three or four music shows (TOTP, The Chart Show and The Tube, primarily). Being a teenage boy surrounded by other teenage boys probably helped but it was exciting going into school the morning after, I dunno, All About Eve’s epic mime failure on TOTP and being able to have a communal laugh about it. I suppose things go viral now, which is the same sort of thing, but it always feels more of a solo experience to me. You may chat about it online, but you rarely have those “Oh my God, did you see…?!” conversations in person. At least I don’t.

      • Ha ha, yeah. I always found The Word a bit too post-pub grungey. I do like a bit of glamour in my pop and The Word was resolutely unglamorous. Everyone seemed to be pissed and lairy, the presenters were kinda amateurish, the camerawork was (deliberately) all over the place… I know that was sort of the point, but I tended to find it a bit of a tawdry viewing experience! Which is a bit sad given that I was pretty much the target audience age-wise. If it were on these days, I’d probably be writing letters of complaint and disgust to directors general!

      • Not only fun, they pretty much defined my whole identity back then! If you had missed that crucial RATM performance there was no way to go back and watch it, you were out of step, out of time and officially a pissant/bell-end/spunkbubble/knobrot to use some of the more printable parlance of my particular acquaintances at the time!

    • As to where i find the bulk of my tunes though (no point in doing a separate post, as we seem to hav co-opted Leavey’s thread for purpose), i probably get most of mine the same places you do, Bish. Here, sometimes FB, Stereogum and Pitchfork, the odd tune i hear in someone’s car or in a store (but those are usually shit). Youtube surfing, and more rarely these days, iTunes surfing. The only real active searching i do is to every now and again is to fart around on Indie Shuffle, that’s probably where i find a bunch of my garage and indiepop tunes. And sometimes soundcloud surf from there. Check the mid-year and year end lists and blogs to see what i missed. I’m not as dedicated as Shane in terms of letting my inbox get bombarded.

    • Never really got in to The Word, though thinking about The Tube I dimly recall a lot of fuss about Bowie’s China Girl video and staying up late one night to watch the first airing of that; please remember this was when TV programmes finished around midnight and the BBC still played the national anthem and then closed down till morning!!!

      • For late night here we had Don Kirchner’s Rock concert, which rocked when we were teens. Later on with MTV we had Headbangers Ball.

  7. I tend to get my new music from the following sources:

    Readers Recommend
    The Spill
    Rolling Stone
    YouTube surfing
    Wiki list of forthcoming releases for each year. (not that much scheduled for 2015, tho’ perhaps the RHCP and Frank Turner will be of interest.)
    Band’s own web sites
    Adverts – Cobra beer got me in to The Black Keys (Gold on the Ceiling), Duracell (The Big Pink Dominos) Peugeot (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes – Home)
    My Kids (ages 23 and 27) Though they have ‘nicked’ most of ‘our’ music, Led Zep and Jethro Tull to name two.

  8. Where do I get my music? Same places as bishbosh. But I also go to Resident Advisor and The Quietus for most of my ageing hipster electronica and those out there sounds. They’re not something I read a lot though.

    I still buy albums based on their cover and title. Recently bought nordic Giants’ “Build Seas/Dismantle Suns and Arovane’s “Ve Palor” cos I liked how they looked. I wasn’t disappointed.

    Just checked The Quietus’s albums of the year for 2014. Wow! Gazelle Twin at No. 1. Brilliant. Must buy that. And they have Cooly G in the top 20 as well. Sexy. She’s on Hyperdub. I trust certain record labels with a strong vision.

    For Finnish sounds is good. Basso is yer dance (soul, jazz, rap, funk, indie dance, folktronica) news and radio station. And is a nice mix of Finnish indie sounds and americana.

    You’ll like one chord to another. The guy helps to organise a monthly indie night at which they even have international stars like, er… Withered Hand.

    Here’s one chord’s top 15

    Oh! His top 10 Finnish songs of the year has a cracker at the top. Should appeal to many on here.
    Lac Belot – Elizabeth.

    • ha ha – I don’t agree with skipping ‘Heart Heart’ (I was reading onecord earlier) but I do agree with Freschard – Boom Biddy Boom – I have this on record and had it in my top final 10 last year – I think the label wiaiwya… sent me an e-mail that went: 12″ orange vinyl in handmade sleeve sung by accented female with amateurish (Stanley Binks) music – and began the process of cashing my money before they pressed send.

      • She’s very selective as a detective. Boom diddy diddy boom! She’d completely passed me by until I read onechord. It’s always worth going to a specialist site that loves what they do and listen to. It’ll always turn up something great that gets lost in other sites that covers a broader range. Her videos are great too.

  9. Like Shane I am on quite a few e-mail lists of bands, record labels, record shops which keeps me up to date with stuff I already kind of know. I also check the Quietus, sometimes the NME website and the Guardian. I hear most new stuff on various podcasts I listen to and recently have got nearly all of my music from Bandcamp….although that may soon be coming to an end, don’t think it will affect US bands/labels, but I got this e-mail from one of my favourite independent labels Riot season this morning:

    As you may have heard by now, as of January 1st 2015 every business selling any digital products (inc small labels like RS that are barely making ends meet) have been told they must become VAT registered if they wish to sell digital products direct to the public via their own sites or Bandcamp.

    As this contains FAR too much paperwork and is a total clerical ballache i’ve had to make the decision to stop selling any digital items via Bandcamp forthwith. It’s a kick in the balls as that income, even though it was small all helped keep the label afloat. Sad times.

    Put into context, the current UK business turnover threshold before you are required to be VAT registered is £81,000 per annum (that’ll never happen!) whereas this new Digital VAT ruling means you’d have to register from the first £1 you earn from digital sales!

    It looks like the independent labels that do it for the love of releasing great music just got fucked over again….sad times indeed.


      As the above article points out, it’s a pain in the arse and will make more work for people who really only want to release music. Still, bandcamp seem to be doing all they can to make it work. Hope that interim stage, until they get the VAT for each country, doesn’t drag on for too long. Bandcamp’s pretty important for me too; I usually go there to check out recommendations.

      • I’ve found a lot of stuff I wouldn’t otherwise be able to hear on bandcamp too, I hope they will keep going, it’s going to affect small book sellers too, not good news at all for independents 😦

      • It’s not good news at all. I had a quick look to see what Finns think about this but couldn’t find anything yet. I would have thought it would cause a lot of work for Finnish bands who release a few hard copies but sell quite a bit abroad via bandcamp .

        Hopefully, it will just be this short period of six months or so before bandcamp makes it easier. Besy of all, it would be ideal if there was a postponement of the law. There must be another way of getting at tax-dodging multi-national corporations without harming independents.

      • interesting article, it sounds like Bandcamp are trying to do the right thing. It seems like it only applies to EU resident customers. So, if I, as a non-EU resident buy something from a UK-based Bandcamp website, then they don’t pay the VAT? Or did I get that wrong?

  10. Oh….and of course I get new music from The Spill, I find RR not so good for new music after about ooh….1978…(gives a cheeky wink!) !

  11. I’ve been hoping for several years to come across some new music to love. There’s plenty of stuff I can enjoy/find intriguing/admire but I need to re-discover the love that I last found for Pavement and Peej back in the nineties.
    I listen to most of the tracks that appear here on the Spill, I try the clips they push on the Graun, I sample many of the RR noms, I give most BBC4 docs a go…yet I usually only succeed in reinforcing my own prejudices.
    It’s definitely the GD’s fault, of course, in that I find they provide a depth and range of music that obviates the need to look elsewhere, and the volume of their stuff that’s come to market in the last 15 years keeps filling the well. Although, tbh, I’m not sure there’s much of the great stuff left to be released now, which makes me crave a new love even more.

    I watched the first two Sonic Highways docs and, yes, the thought and care that went into the music was impressive. The playing is impressive, too. But it rather confirmed that I don’t like ‘guitar rock’. Jim Marshall provided the means for too many blokes to use the guitar as a blunt instrument and/or a dildo.

    I still cling to the idea that music doesn’t have to be part of the entertainment industry (although I haven’t a clue how such musicians survive in iWorld), so tend to prefer the off-beat fuel-ly, shane-y stuff, falling short of the pantherzone. I probably should explore these trails more but I seem not to be arsed…..

    ……My advanced age is another problem, inevitably. Having been a teenager in the golden age of musical discovery and diversity, far too much recent stuff sounds like the T-shirt I bought ages ago. It’s often decorated with shiny things in materials not invented back then, but it still begs comparison.

    Anyway, this is just to excuse my general lack of contribution and enthusiasm on any/all of the music posts this Xmas. It’s not you, it’s me.

    Maybe one of you will introduce me to the love of my life in 2015. Failing that, there’s bound to be a few nuggets unearthed in the GD Anniversary year…..

    • On a different note, I was kind of hoping for a Chris’ film round up of the year, I got a lot of good pointers from the last one and am after some fresh fare to …ahem…acquire digitally!

      • tbh, I’ve not been blown away by any film of the last 12 months, panth. I see that I did the Oscar post last February, so may do so again. I should at least wait until Aba reveals the Spill choice and the Academy reveals its nominees…

        But if you’re being a naughty boy I may have to tell. (I couldn’t give a toss about Hollywood’s profits but the independents need all the money they can get.)

      • Did you see The Lunchbox, panth? It’s not the most technically innovative film ever, but it’s so charming. My favourite film of the year (inasmuch as I can remember what I’ve seen this year). I also really enjoyed Pride, but that really is stylistically/narratively unoriginal (but so full of heart as to be undislikeable).

        Boyhood was meant to be the film we should have seen this year, wasn’t it? Somehow I missed it…

      • Haven’t heard of The Lunchbox, will check it now.

        Pride was a bit cheesy for me, but like you say, very hard to dislike.

        Richard Linklater is one of my favourite directors, so I couldn’t miss Boyhood and I absolutely loved it!

      • I really must check out Boyhood when it hits dvd – really not sure why I missed it. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for certain films when they hit cinemas, I think. Same happened with Mr Turner. Also, I have a slight problem with Ethan Hawke: I find his face really unappealing to look at. Obviously he’s not an unattractive man and yet… Anyway, given the adulation hurled at Boyhood from all directions, I deffo must check it out. Birdman seems to be getting all the plaudits at the moment – looking forward to seeing that. Can’t think when I last went to the cinema to see Michael Keaton in something. A Batman probably…

      • @Amy

        Under the Skin is on my long list of films to check, but it has just been bumped up to the top spot (after The Lunchbox of course Bish!) on your recommendation. Haven’t heard of the other one, but looks interesting too….cheers!

      • I didn’t see The Lunchbox and, although I’m also a big Linklater fan, I found Boyhood disappointing. It’s a fantastic achievement, and watching people change before your eyes is fascinating, but I didn’t think the story amounted to much.

        I was similarly underwhelmed and unconvinced by Under The Skin, much as I like the idea of Scarlett Johansson as an alien in Glasgow.

        I loved Pride. Yes, it’s something of a cartoon – and Dominic West did not convince at all – but it’s historically pretty accurate and it made me shed tears of genuine pride.

        Mr Turner was beautifully done but was as flat as a canvas and slightly hackneyed. The creation of three actual Turner paintings were preceded by scenes that ‘inspired’ them. Filming by numbers?

        Two Days, One Night I found a strange mix of sharp social criticism and contrived emoting. As in Rust And Bone, Marion Cotillard does good emotional turmoil. But isn’t it a film about modern capitalism’s casual degradation of the working class? Debatable.

        I think you’d enjoy Leviathan, panth. It’s as black as black comedy gets and opens a window into the post-Soviet Russian mind, which is an embittered, selfish, corrupt, vodka-soaked thing.

        There’s an interesting religious slant to Leviathan (the Russians have re-discovered God) and I found the religiously-themed Calvary enjoyable and enlightening. A funny, oddball cast of sinners being redeemed by the wonderful Brendan Gleeson’s fallible priest allowed me to understand the idea of dying for others’ sins. As an atheist, I found that powerful.

        Others worth a look are: the ‘Frank Sidebottom film’, Frank, The Double, Manuscripts Don’t Burn, Maps To The Stars, Ida and The Imitation Game (despite its historical inaccuracies). 2014 seemed a bit light on documentaries, although anyone with an interest in the Israel/Palestine issue will find The Green Prince interesting (to be viewed in conjunction with 2012’s The Gatekeepers). Just don’t mention either on CiF.

        These are all my humble opinions, of course, and are subject to the bish-mood factor. That’s why I didn’t see The Lunchbox.

      • Thanks Chris – Leviathan (a great metal name for a film!!) has been duly bookmarked, it certainly looks/sounds interesting and I fancy the Double and Manuscripts Don’t Burn too – thanks a lot!

        (I loved Frank and probably put it as my best if the year)

    • “Although, tbh, I’m not sure there’s much of the great stuff left to be released now, which makes me crave a new love even more.”

      I think there is, although granted i may be too optimistic. All this shiny retreaded retro stuff, as you say, is all good as i figure (or hope) it. In addition to retropop, there seems to be retrosoul, retro grunge, retro garage, and i’m finding a spate of retro surfguitar stuff a la Ventures for some reason, can’t say i understand the point. But. I’m hoping it’s getting a grip on the past stuff to break through blast forward to something different. Like punk did, or grunge, or whatever else. And also as you say, how these musicians are going to survive in the iWorld is going to be an issue to figure out. As one guy said on an art thread elsewhere (which was handwringing that artists were failing the public by not addressing the political issues of the era in the way they thought that they should be), you thought the art wasn’t ours, you thought it was yours, but it isn’t. So artists took their ball and went home, but they’re waiting still for the public to come around and cough up some respect again. They’re pissed off these days too, but however they address it, it won’t be the way the public wants and expects it to, they’ll do it their own way. Or as another guy on the same thread said, you have to give artists some time. They’re broke, they’re working 3 jobs and trying to raise a kid while trying to squeeze in doing some art, and they’re just really tired right now.

    • Hi chris, thanks for popping by and taking the time to post a few thoughts.

      We’ll keep looking for that replacement for the Dead, not sure it’ll be found in 2015 but might find something interesting on the way.

      • I’ve just listened to your playlist, liab. A tad too Marshall-heavy for my tastes but I liked the quieter ones.

        I not a Brooce fan but that track sounds like something off John Cale’s Hobo Sapiens. Even his voice sounds like Cale’s. This is a good thing.

      • Well, there is that Dead documentary coming out.

        Another trend i kinda notice. Here in the US, we’re gearing up for the 2016 elections, and we have essentially fa for candidates of any party or none. We have big problems which seem kind of unsolvable at the moment, and the disaffected (most of us), seem to be demanding an “inspirational” candidate. And since there isn’t one, they’re trying to make some relatively mediocre or worse candidates into rock stars and projecting on them what they’re not. Why can’t we just have someone well rounded and level headed and well versed in the issues and competent to get us through the morass for the time being is what i want to know.

        Same with music. Same with painting. Same with literature i reckon. Sometimes good enough is good enough for the time being. There’s plenty of good stuff out there to enjoy and glean from without demanding they be love of my life (which i’m reckoning that no one save Mick and Keith will ever be for me). Then again maybe i’m hanging out in the wrong genre too – i love classical music but know essentially dicksquat about it. If i’m bored with contemporary (i get that way), that’s a project that can take me through the rest of my life.

      • Chris, cheers for listening. John Cale isn’t my normal fare but I hear what you mean about the similarities. Harry’s Place was actually written in 2001 and was intended for The Rising but missed the cut and wound up on this year’s release.

  12. My fave is St. Paul but that band is only one of many making really great soul music. Check out Sharon Jones, The Stepkids, Soul Investigators, The Bamboos, Osaka Monaurail… I also liked AC/DC (cos they still have that boogie to their sound) and er… Tom Petty because he’s so relaxed at being Tom Petty.

  13. Leavey – sorry for taking over the thread with film comments. Liked the Bruce a lot, the Gaslight Anthem too and was surprised by the Queen….I mean it hasn’t turned me into a fan or anything, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting – cheers!

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