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.