Spillyear 2014




A lot of love for 1968 then…

Goneforeign wrote:

So many great songs, what a creative period. Doesn’t it make you wonder what changed, what went wrong. Is it just me or do ‘they’ just not write ’em like that anymore?

We’ve had this conversation before. A playlist from 2014 self-evidently won’t contain so many classics. We probably won’t know half the songs other people nominate. Nor will it be the soundtrack to a period of such profound, youth-driven social change.

But it will still represent an amazing outpouring of creativity from vast numbers of people young and old from all over the world. I reckon we can make a damn fine playlist.

Let’s hope the collaborative YouTube link works this time


79 thoughts on “Spillyear 2014

  1. My three choices:

    St Vincent – Birth In Reverse
    I only properly started listening to St Vincent at the end of the year, when she’d topped all the best albums lists. A Great in the making.

    Tom Hickox – The Pretty Pride of Russia
    There’s so much music around these days. Not many people heard Tom Hickox’s album War, Peace and Diplomacy, but it’s an exuisite masterpiece, and contains three of the best monologue songs I’ve ever heard in this, “A Normal Boy” and “The Libston Maru”. Go listen.

    Sun Kil Moon – Pray For Newtown
    People are still writing urgent, powerful songs about social issues. Let’s hope this song is no longer as relevant in a few years.

    • Which are:
      FKA Twigs – Two Weeks
      Kim Churchill – Some Days the Rain May Fall

      Kim’s pushed out Ex-Hex who featured in my Festive Spill picks at the time and who still sound good.

  2. Some good music IMHO in 2014. I’ll go for:

    George Ezra – Budapest
    Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne – Rather Be
    Take Me To Church – Hozier

    Will try and add to the list.

  3. And every second is a pounding drum
    You’re leaning over me to put another record on
    And every other guess is just cold hard luck
    Now the life is kid creole and the coconuts
    Midnight – when you get there
    Just hold her to your chest
    And tell her loves the best
    For her
    For you
    For me
    Does the world make you crazy?
    It made me crazy too
    But I’m all out of hunger
    Because I’m a wanderer – wandering
    I’m a wanderer – wandering

    Wanderer Wandering Slow Club

    the most beautiful song written ever – in any decade – at any time.
    can only find an acoustic link – search out the original… anyone else can keep 1968; even though my motto is ‘Let imagination take power’ (wrongly translated from some ’68 Paris graffiti) – I will happily – and in ecstasy – rot down to worm food with the words:

    “You’re leaning over me to put another record on”

    drifting into my being.

  4. barbryn: a couple of suggestions
    * The YT link will not work across regions and YT has the annoying habit of asking visitors to Subscribe to the person starting the list. Even that will not work always. So please post the “Invitation Link” you get when you set the Playlist settings on Collaborate.
    * Add a few lines when you create a playlist. It helps when sharing.
    * To all contributors: please share the playlist after some songs have been added and it gains some heft. You’d be pleasantly surprised to learn that the 1968 Spillyear list has been enjoyed in San Fransisco and Poland by people who have no connections to The Spill, RR or even Guardian.

  5. An exciting musical year for me with the release of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ album Hypnotic Eye which is jolly good and proves that they’re still a proper band and don’t just go round touring their old stuff…lots of good songs, my favourite being Fault Lines.

    Megson are an RR discovery for me – thank you, Shane – and I have all their records, and a ticket to see them in May when they play King’s Place, which is the venue underneath the Guardian office. Their album In A Box came out in 2014 and I bought it from them at a gig, as I recall. I’m having Still I Love Him from that.

    Richard Thompson, once my favourite, has disappointed me a bit in recent years…and this is a bit of a cheat, but in 2014 he put out an album called Acoustic Classics which is rerecordings of his greatest hits. Yes, yes, I know: but on it is a studio recording of Persuasion, one of my favourite songs of his (he only wrote the tune, Tim Finn wrote the words) which has only been available in live versions before. So I’ll have that as well..

    [NB RT sometimes does all-request concerts where you put your choice(s) in a hat as you come in and he picks them out on stage. Apparently at one of these shows he was surprised to find the majority of requests were for Persuasion and The Mingulay Boat Song, and he thought it was a fix, because he didn’t believe people liked those songs so much. But I do.]

  6. I thought that I’d look back at my Festive Three for 2014. Unfortunately, one of the tracks was from Jonathan Wilson‘s Fanfare, which came out at the end of 2013, so that is excluded. A shame really, because the track I chose, “Dear Friend” is a lovely thing with a real psychedelic feel to it.

    Anyway, I nominated quite a few albums for the ‘Spill AWards and wrote a bit about each one. Here’s what I chose and what I had to say about each of them;

    Jack WhiteLazaretto – the follow up to “Blunderbuss” and, I think, a more fully-realised set of songs. The ones with violin on remind me of Jean Luc Ponty playing with Frank Zappa, and that can only be a Good Thing.

    Ben WattHendra – this oozes class. A lovely mature album with some wonderful songs and, inevitably, appearances by a variety of guest players (who do add to the sound and feel).

    MogwaiRave Tapes – back to what they do best. This is a real grower, and has tracks of great intensity and power. The new stuff sounded great when they played in Bristol recently.

    Stephen Malkmus and The JicksWig Out At Jagbags – this could well be my favourite album of the year. Absolutely superb songs and playing.

    J. MascisTied to a Star – it isn’t Dinosaur Jr, but at the same time it is, if you know what I mean. Softer than the day job, but still inimitably J Mascis.

    Todd TerjeIt’s Album Time – insanely catchy tunes and huge fun. This was the soundtrack to our summer holidays.

    Joan As PolicewomanThe Classic – I wasn’t really much of a fan of Joan until this album came out. Some really good songs and one or two great ones.

    OpethPale Communion – Carrying on from where they left off with “Heritage”, this album has a timeless feel to it. No stand out tracks, just a wonderfully impressive sound experience. It has the feel of a Steven Wilson album about it in places and it has lots of lovely mellotron on it.

    Robert Plantlullaby … AND THE CEASELESS ROAR – After his sojourn in the USA, Percy is back home and he sounds like he is loving every minute. My other candidate for album of the year, this has everything you expect from Robert Plant. Not a duff track or false step on the album, just superb playing and a wonderful laid-back trippy, psychedelic vibe with that Sahara Blues feel to it.

    It is always tough to pick a mere three tracks from so much great and varied music.

    I’ll most likely pick different tracks now than I would have back in 2014, having spent more time with the music.

    Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Chartjunk
    Ben Watt – Nathaniel
    J. Mascis – Come Down

    Unfortunately, I cannot add any links to the playlist, so I have created links to the songs here.

  7. my festive3 picks for 2014 were from Protomartyr, Timber Timbre and Eagulls, Plenty more to choose from so here’s 3 more (assuming i’ve remembered how to do this):

    Ty Segall – feel
    Brian Jonestown Massacre – <a href="feel“>vad hande med dem?
    The Twilight Sad – Pills I swallow

  8. The whole ccomments section has disappeared on the RR main page! Can anybody else see any of the posts? I can see comments on other pages though…

  9. Severin says he will post results on The ‘Spill and Facebook RR page, also on RR proper if possible. If we can’t use the Grauniad site I’ll do the next one on The ‘Spill, I suppose. not sure if that will work but hey ho.

  10. Having spent my tea break trawling for videos of songs I enjoyed in 2015, I decided to join in with everyone else and do 2014 instead. Because I am lazy, I’m going with two of my Festive Spill picks:

    The Staves – Blood I Bled
    Rekk – Silhouette

    and one that didn’t quite make the top three:

    Nathaniel Rateliff – Nothing To Show For

    My number one choice that year was ‘Try’ by the Box, but there’s no video of that, so I’m adding ‘Happy’ as a bonus track – it was also one of the last things the band did together, the video shoot being part of their prize when they won the Krach + Getöse award for young pop talent in Hamburg.
    On a personal note, TheBoyWonder’s winning that award was one of the few good things to happen all year – 2014 is tops on my list of years I’d rather forget…

    • I really can never tell what you will enjoy – to me this is derivative, but beautifully so… a perfect 2014 pastiche/wish of sitting in Andy Warhol’s factory.

      It’s like they made the 2nd Velvet Underground album but thought people might want to listen to it – rather than hold it up as challenging artefact (I’m joking – ish)…

      See what you think:


      • I have the same problem: I really can never tell what I’ll enjoy. But not that, I’m afraid. Because the music went nowhere, I couldn’t listen to all 10 minutes. And didn’t really follow the lyrics. They took all the invention and fire out of Sister Ray (one of my favourites from 1968!) and served up the remains with spacy bits. Why?

      • Chris I understand your points – all the way up to the full stop after spacey bits. Then you just have to add the final word AND with a question mark.
        Then I know you are not real; you are just my own personal spam producing comment bot. That tacks on a tiny little added word until I’m seething enough to answer.

        grrrrr why?
        (you asked, or accidentally typed, because you don’t want to know or even stop to think or consider what power that word has!).

        Because the ‘invention and fire’ in Sister Ray is the Velvet Underground’s song and the bits of it YOU like best might NOT be the bits they, or I, or anyone else liked best… and they are NOT covering it.

        Because the spacey bits are the influences they have picked up and liked best from other bands (not from 1968 – like Spaceman 3 – for instance) that they have mixed in with the bits of the Velvets that have influenced them.

        why have they done this?
        Because, for instance, I know that Giorgio de Chico produces the art I most admire – but I don’t down tools and go – “well, it bloody well isn’t worth me trying” because other people in the past have been better at it than me. I do it because I take my influence mix them up and come out the other side with something that’s mine and I just HAVE to because I want to TRY and be that good.

        that’s why – why did you have to add the why? at the end. I’m perfectly okay with you detesting stuff I like, completely understandable; sometimes I will too about an hour after I post something, but to finish with: why? grrrr.

      • Profuse apologies, shane. That ‘Why?’ was not intended as a question needing serious consideration. I have no desire to be your spambot.
        You’re right: just because something makes no particular sense to me, from my perspective, doesn’t mean it can’t have value to someone else. It’s just more difficult to assess objectively (what appears to me as) a bland take on one of my very favourite pieces of music.

      • hee hee – completely understand that answer.

        My problem is – the lack of a sensible outlet on RR (where I can try and be positive in my very limited amount of down time) at the moment.
        It means I’m reading too much abuse filled football articles – so every time I get sucked into a BTL comment – the defensive/attack mode kicks in.

        (tries to avoid Norwich City – Liverpool idiocy .. so I can enjoy my one night out with the Ms at the Broken Brass Ensemble tonight).

  11. I think 2014 may be the year in which I was least engaged in new music having just taken delivery of a lovely baby boy who occupied so much of my time in a wonderful way – so here is a shameless recycling of my 2014 festive spill choices…

    Laibach- The Whistle blowers

    A fantastic catchy number from the album where Laibach seem to nail their political colours to the mast in a less ambiguous way- describing this track as a tribute to the heroism of the “digital Promethians” of Snowdon, Manning and Asange, and as ever they use a red-army style martial beat to both at once satirise and scarily underpin their point – I know they will forever be controversial and disliked more than liked, but this was a standout tune for me for 2014.

    Gallon Drunk – Dust in the Light

    Wonderful to see Gallon Drunk make a blistering return to form this year with a great album, plus I saw them a thrillingly intense gig in a really intimate space in Liverpool. This relatively mellow offering was the standout track on the Soul of the Hour album for me.
    First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining

    A track from the lovely First Aid Kit, a beguiling melding of a dark Swedish pop sensibility with gorgeous country-ish strings, one of the loveliest melodies of the year.

  12. Quick threadjack – I’m trying to make a Spill post, but It won’t let me add MP3 files to make a playlist, it just greys out any file like that, so that it cant be selcted – any ideas anyone?

    • @panthersan
      I found the following on the WordPress help forums. It is a bit out of date but who knows. It might help.


      I’ve confirmed the problem and it’s been reported to our development team. It looks like the shortcode for creating a player is being inserted when you want just the link.
      For now you can manually fix it by removing the extra code and changing the path to a link. For example, you might see a code like this appear in the text box:

      [audio http://yourblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/song-12-04-20131.mp3 ]

      You should remove the brackets and the word audio so that only the direct file path remains:

      [audio src="http://yourblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/song-12-04-20131.mp3" /]

      Then highlight and copy that file path, and turn it into a working link by clicking the link icon and pasting in the file path.

      I hope that helps — let me know if you get stuck.

      • Scratch that. I just tried to upload a number of different mp3 files and got the same message each time – Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.

    • We can’t add mp3’s or use the WP player without paying for an upgrade $99/year.

      All the old playlists using the WP player are gone. No more playlists, including Festive ‘Spill, unless we want to pay up.

      You can add one tune at a time to a post using links to mp3’s stored elsewhere.

    • This is the problem I’ve had with Earworms, we can no longer upload .mp3s (so I have used Dropbox). There’s a bit about it on the Earworms thread but as far as I can work out we would need to upgrade the WordPress account, at a cost of roughly £70pa. No one had come back to me on whether they thought this was a good idea, but I got the impression that people would rather have a free blog and listen to music via dropbox or YouTube. It’s blimpy’s blog anyway, so I guess he would have to take the lead if we did all chip in to upgrade.

      • Hmm….interesting, thanks everyone. Surely the point of WordPress is that it’s free to use…will try to find a workaround for now

      • First the Guardian, now WordPress – why don’t our hosts like us any more? And we’re such nice guests.

        On principle, I don’t like paying for stuff on the web, but if there’s no easy workaround I’d chip in a share of £70 to keep posting mp3s.

  13. As others have said a positively skeletal year (musicwise) so

    Tweet Tweet Tweet – Sleaford Mods
    Sunbathing Animal – Parquet Courts
    I Heard You Looking – Yo La Tengo (a bit of a cheat as the album was first released in 1993 but WAS rereleased in 2014 !)

  14. Never had a comment deleted so far and in one day bang, bang, bang –three in a matter of few hours. And the latest was a very simple “So this is what is replacing Readers Recommend eh?” posted in a story on “Music to read books by” which has put out a collaborative playlist.

  15. I can’t recall what my festive picks were, but I have found Beck very relevant recently, so I shall have Blue Moon from his Morning Phase album of 2014
    Purson released an ep in 2014, if I’d booked to see the Fields of the Nephilim just before Christmas I’d have seen them live, but as Shepherd’s Bush Empire has structural faults and it all had to be moved and changed, I’m kind of glad I didn’t.
    I will be good by Purson

    I fell in love with Syd Arthur that year too, so it has to be their summery tune
    Garden of Time
    I’ve just read Viv Albertine’s Clothes, Music, Boys which came out in 2014, really interesting book, I recommend it if the world she was involved in interests you.

      • I had it for Christmas too, but only started reading it this week. I’m not the biggest fan of her music, but the book has given me a new perspective on the punk scene. On to Richard Hell’s autobiography next, I don’t expect it to be as appealing. Have we ever had a ‘music books I’ve enjoyed’ post on here? Even if I end up disliking the subject, I always learn things which give me an insight into their creative output.

  16. For some reason goneforeign can’t post to WordPress. But he’d like to leave this comment:

    Something that all you young ‘uns need to know is that we ‘old farts’ are living in the past, it’ll come to all of you eventually. Specifically in my case in the 1960’s – 70’s, in 1968 I was 34, I was at UCLA and also teaching at another university, I had unlimited time and plenty of cash, I literally went to clubs or concerts several times a week and I bought unlimited numbers of LP’s. I was in total awe of just the sheer number of great bands that I saw and heard and the imagination that went into so much of the music, plus I was quite proud that so much of it was created by my visiting countrymen.
    I feel the need to apologize to all Spillers for my comment: times change, everything changes, life goes on. In my dotage I’ve become lazy, I no longer listen to or seek out new music the way I used to, so I accept all of the above comments and will make my resolution for 2016 to be more open and willing to ‘suffer’ all the offered contemporary Spill music. When I say ‘times change’ it means in this case, the way I listen changes, in 1968 I listened live or to LP’s in my living room, that’s a whole different proposition to staring at a Mac screen plugged in on headphones in a computer room, it’s too easy to click the mouse and move on or to go back to iTunes and all those favorite pieces from the past,
    So my thankyou’s to Barbryn for giving me this opportunity to re-asses my comment and also to all Spillers for putting the dotage on hold.
    Regardless of my feelings about the music I always enjoy reading your comments and feelings about your music.

    • Interestingly, I rarely listen to music on my PC, except for stuff posted here or if it is otherwise inescapable.

      I think that, in general, it trivialises the music. I prefer to sit in a chair and listen to the hi fi.

    • Hey gf,

      I get riled easily by the 60’s folk and their “it was the best most creative music era ever”.

      Not because it wasn’t – it WAS a fantastic creative time – one only equalled by every decade before and after – since music was invented.
      Because creativity is inherent in all ages, stages and times. Creativity is still active even if it’s something you detest and the more things exist – the MORE creative you have to be to come up with something interesting and unique… (scrap unique, the 60’s was 80% blues theft – (joke)).

      The decade/era that IS the most creative is the one each person connects with in their own way. Be it someone who lived through it – or someone that wishes they did… and each and every one of us could argue that fact.

      But there is so little point in narrowing your choices down to such a limited palette – unless you want to – it’s fine to like one band and play them non stop until you die (if anyone choses to do that). Why not? You don’t obviously.

      I like the 80’s/90’s
      The charts were full of (what I considered) pop toss… except the left field stuff that wasn’t.
      The bands I liked had more creativity thrust on them by their producers than they accidentally came up with themselves.
      Other bands I liked were so over indulgent that I now find whole albums almost impossible to listen to (but I love them, so I forgive them, and still try to play the obviously pants tracks)
      Some bands believed their own hype and progressively proved that their brilliant debuts were just a quirk of timing and musical brain farts… and they’d never hit those heights again.

      Others, well others, seep into my soul and make me happy to have existed in a time when the people I enjoyed making music – were there for me creating that shared experience.

      Weirdly, or not…
      I believe that’s probably true for those that discovered:
      Gene Vincent
      The Monkees
      The Animals
      Amon Düül II
      Lenny Cohen
      Peter Tosh
      Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
      The Past Seven Days
      The Specials
      etc etc etc forever for ever.

      • I don’t disagree with you about the music, Shane.

        For what it’s worth, I think that the whole 60s thing was about the opening up of society and the way that the music, the arts, television, theatre etc all seemed to coalesce around changing things and finally turning the page on the past. It was the culmination of lots of things that had been going on under the radar since, pretty much, the end of WW2. It was the whole coming together that seemed to make the 60s different.

        It might have been an illusion, over-hyped or an ephemeral blip but I think that the 60s really did change the way that people thought about the world and how and where they fitted into it.

      • gf has answered this in an e-mail to me:

        Shane: I agree with much of what you say, I disagree with the rest, but I’m not going to get into that argument, we’d be here forever repeating ourselves ad nauseum. The only point I will make is one that echoes Carole’s.
        Post WW2 was a miserable time in UK, with rationing extending well into the 50’s, there was very little creativity in most of the arts, music, TV, Film etc. it was drab. if you doubt me ask Google, they’ll tell you. I think the major changes in pop music started with the Beatles, what they were doing in the studio once they were established was beyond anything that had gone before, consider ‘A day in the Life’, That couldn’t/wouldn’t have happened in the 50’s, just one example of hundreds. Sheer creativity.
        And that final list, I’ll only comment on one, The Monkeys!
        For you to include them on a list that’s about creativity suggests that we have widely differing ideas about what creativity is. The Monkeys didn’t have a creative idea in their heads, they were a commercial ‘made to order’ band to cash in on the Beatle’s success. Literally!
        I seem to remember that on TV they had off camera musicians playing the hard bits

      • Yes, our ideas of creativity do widely differ.
        I believe everything is creative to an extent, not just the stuff I approve of from the era that I most associate with.

        The point of writing The Monkees – is everyone expects me to type The Beatles. I typed the Monkees to make people jolt in the reading.
        This is creative writing.
        I also wrote The Past Seven Days – a band that produced one 7″ single that hardly anyone would have heard of. I choose that list carefully with a smile. To show that there is an amazing amount of different creativity.

        The Monkees were a commercial/manufactured band – someone had that idea and it was genius – they were creatively thinking and followed it through. The Monkees are amazing for a manufacture TV band, whomever was behind the idea is irrelevant – as a band, they are more relevant to my comment, than typing The Beatles.
        Composers were often paid to order – classical pieces were just as much a product as Lou Reed sitting in the pop factory writing 60’s novelty hits like “do the ostrich” his job before the Velvet Underground.

        I said the 60’s WERE incredibly creative. I agree there with all the 60’s is the ‘best’ brigade – it’s incredibly creative – but NOT the MOST creative – the 60’s were differently creative, that is all, and the one you like best:
        The 50’s might have been drab – but the shock of rock and Roll couldn’t have happened in any other decade.
        The 60’s dream turned into a nightmare ruining the decade I was born in; the 70’s gave us British PUNK, it couldn’t have happened in any other decade.
        The 80’s had a working class female prime minister – how cool should that have been? she split the haves/ have nots and made greed the ideal option. First we dressed up to counter the bleakness (new romantics/new wave/goth – then we too dropped out. New age travellers and raves could NOT have happened in any other decade.
        The music was soundtracked to these issues (whatever decade – that IS MY point) and is JUST as creative as some off putting noises in the middle of a perfectly good pop song – as they did in ‘A day in the Life’**

        (hint – **this is a final controversial statement to make people jolt and take notice – It might NOT be a fact that I believe!).

      • 2014 just a couple of years back, so I thought of Steve Wilson’s Raven and Kate Bush’s snow both 2013 and PJ’s Shake- 2010 ..it says on the sleeve .. is someone stealing time .. how can the years go so quick

    • If you join The Guardian’s Wine Club – you can get 12 bottles of ‘Middle Aged Anarchists’ for the very reasonable price (in London Town) of £480 for the crate.

      … after various tasting the verdict is: ‘A good year’!

      (delicious hint of tyre rubber and brake fluid notes on the palette I’m told)

  17. Just a quickie:

    Bridie Jackson and the Arbour – The Scarecrow
    Sharon Von Etten – Your Love is Killing Me
    The War on Drugs – An Ocean in Between the Waves

    Will try and post later.

  18. My picks at the time were:

    Haley Bonar – Last War
    Blaue Blume – In Disco Lights
    Mark Kozalek & Jimmy Lavelle – Somehow The Wonder Of Life Prevails

  19. Andy Stott – Faith In Strangers
    Hollie Cook – Postman
    Francis Harris (featuring Gry Bagøien) – You Can Always Leave

    Didn’t make’em like this back then, tha’knows. 😉


    • I added in “Companion” by Frank & Tony feat. DJ Sprinkles because the Francis Harris tune was, of course, a late 2013 release. 😀

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