Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Best Of 2014, Album Edition + 2009 Best-Of Report Card

Don't let the title fool you; this is almost definitely going to be the only best-of 2014 post. Here's what this particular old man liked to listen to in 2014.

1. Wussy - Attica!, which dug right in and took over my consciousness in the last few months.

2. Sun Kil Moon - Benji, which did the same in the first few months of the year. I hear Kozelek is kind of a dick, but his bizarro rhyme-and-meter-denying confessional folk songs may be the best thing he's done since the second Red House Painters album.

3. Boris - Noise, because I love rock music in all of its variances almost as much as they do.

4. Bob Mould - Beauty & Ruin, which - like the last Mould album - is unexpectedly fantastic.

5. Fucked Up - Glass Boys/Glass Boys (Slow Version)/Year of the Dragon EP, in which I combine all of the Fucked Up releases for the year into one entry because all three have been inseparable on my playlist since I added them and because Glass Boys - while not their greatest effort - is great enough that I've essentially bought it twice in one year, just so I could hear the version with the more conventional drumming (which, ironically, actually made the songs sound less conventional).

6. Deerhoof - La Isla Bonita, which is the latest entry on this list, but after a few listens, I think this may be the best Deerhoof album in a few years.

7. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2, which is jam-packed with ideas, many of which I have yet to parse, but all of which I like.

8. Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country, because - like Fucked Up - it breathes life into a rigid genre.

9. Earth - Primitive And Deadly, which has abandoned the cello and electronics of the Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light era (and I really, really loved those albums) in favor of guitar work that is simultaneously massive and more subtle than their past and vocal work that is better-integrated into their sound.

10. Spoon - They Want My Soul, which is my favorite Spoon album since Gimme Fiction.

Also considered and regretfully not included:
Thee Oh Sees - Drop
St. Vincent - St. Vincent
Dean Wareham - Dean Wareham
Mastodon - Once More 'Round The Sun
Drive-By Truckers - English Oceans
Hartle Road - Hartle Road EP
Through The Sparks - Invisible Kids
The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams
Andrew Bird - Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of...

Bought too recently to be heard yet, but maybe a contender later:
Hookworms - The Hum
Melvins - Hold It In


Although I haven't been so good at doing this lately, I generally like to go back and look at my best-of from five years previous to see how well my end-of-the-year choices held up. So, my best-of for 2009 was, as of January 5, 2010, as follows:

1. (Tie) Yo La Tengo - Popular Songs
1. (Tie) Vic Chesnutt - At The Cut
3. Mastodon - Crack The Skye
4. Isis - Wavering Radiant
5. Dexateens - Singlewide
6. Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
7. Oneida - Rated O
8. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion/Fall Be Kind EP9. Akron/Family - Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free
10. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm

Other albums considered were:
11. Tortoise - Beacons of Ancestorship
12. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
13. Sonic Youth - The Eternal
14. The Bats - The Guilty Office
15. Pelican - What We All Come To Need
16. Darcy James Argue's Secret Society - Infernal Machines
17. Sunn 0))) - Monoliths and Dimensions
18. The Clean - Mister Pop
19. Mission of Burma - The Sound, The Speed, The Light
20. A.C. Newman - Get Guilty
21. The Soft Pack - The Muslims
22. The Clientele - Bonfires On The Heath
23. The Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to Come
24. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
25. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse - Dark Night Of The Soul
26. The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away
27. Molly Berg and Stephen Vitiello - The Gorilla Variations
28. Sparklehorse + Fennesz - In the Fishtank 15

With five years of hindsight to work with, my Revised 2009 Best-of List is now:

1.  Vic Chesnutt - At The Cut/Skitter On Take-Off (was 1/unranked)
2. Dexateens - Singlewide (was 5)
3. Baroness - Blue Record (was unranked)
4. Sunn 0))) - Monoliths and Dimensions (was 17)
5. The Clean - Mister Pop (was 18)
6. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm (was 10)
7. Yo La Tengo - Popular Songs (was 1)
8. Tortoise - Beacons of Ancestorship (was 11)
9. Jay Reatard - Watch Me Fall (was unranked)
10. Darcy James Argue's Secret Society - Infernal Machines (was 16)
11. Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder EP (was unranked)
12. Mastodon - Crack The Skye (was 3)
13. Isis - Wavering Radiant (was 4)
14. Pelican - What We All Come To Need (was 15)
15. Andrew Bird - Noble Beast (was 6)
16. Sonic Youth - The Eternal (was 13)
17. Om - God Is Good (was unranked)
18. Che Arthur Three - Like Revenge (was unranked)
19. Bob Dylan - Together Through Life (was unranked)
20. The Bats - The Guilty Office (was 14)
21. Girls - Album (was unranked)
22. DOOM - Born Like This/Unexpected Guests (was unranked)
23. My Dad Is Dead - New Clear Route (was unranked)
24. Mission of Burma - The Sound, The Speed, The Light (was 19)
25. A.C. Newman - Get Guilty (was 20)
26. The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away (was 26: SCORE!)
27. St. Vincent - Actor (was unranked)
28. Wooden Ships - Dos (was unranked)
29. Strange Attractors - Sleep And You Will See (was unranked)
30. The Clientele - Bonfires On The Heath (was 22)

Now unranked:
7. Oneida - Rated O
8. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion/Fall Be Kind EP9. Akron/Family - Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free
12. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
21. The Soft Pack - The Muslims
23. The Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to Come
24. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
25. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse - Dark Night Of The Soul
27. Molly Berg and Stephen Vitiello - The Gorilla Variations
28. Sparklehorse + Fennesz - In the Fishtank 15

In short, there were 13 2009 albums now in my top 30 that I had not heard at the time I made my list. Seven albums moved up and nine ranked albums moved down. Ten slipped off the list altogether, including three from my top ten. Pretty poor showing, Childs. I'm giving myself a C- for 2009.


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