2014 Faves


Just in case you thought last year’s list wasn’t random enough, I’m even more surprised with this year’s list which includes a variety of niches from early 70’s pop-heavy/prog-rock to library to electro-afrobeat to coldwave to nu folkcore cumbia. If I did have to come up with a theme, I’d have to say that for me – as a non-lyrics person – this was the year of the lyric. If you’re worried about this mix being too heavy, don’t fret, there’s still plenty of jamming, instrumentals, and a couple of non-English tracks. I didn’t get my new-to-me music from a ton of new sources this year – mainly just noting interesting tracks from Fuzzy and Groovy and Intersonik web radio stations, Basic Soul podcast, Soundcloud, and random blogs. I also still regularly listen to the summer mix I made back in July.


    1. You Don’t Know – 13th Floor Elevators [Austin, 1966]
      Sure, songs can have interesting lyrics, but it’s usually the little things that make them stand out. In this example, I just like the wobbly sound effect in the background!
      Her eyes are filled with coral snakes and liquid plastic castles
    2. Seagreen Serenades – Silver Apples [NYC, 1968]
      Not much to be said here, their whole repertoire is amazing.
      Things are what they seem to players of the mind who whistle gentle melodies and turn the world to right
    3. You’re In America – Granicus [Cleveland, 1973]
      The lead vocalist sounds like a Plant-wannabe on speed, but rather than being annoying, it keeps you in a trance-like state throughout the whole album, waiting to see what crazy scream-o heights he’ll reach next. Hard to believe Granicus is from a hardscrabble rust belt city.
      Where are you, Americaaaaans?!
    4. Nobody Else – Atomic Rooster [England, 1970]
      Atomic Rooster proves that rhythm piano and organ solos can co-exist in the same band. A nice pop mash of prog and heavy.
      My whole world is falling down
    5. Bad Boy Turns Good – Fresh Blueberry Pancake [Pittsburgh, 1970]
      1970 was a weird year for music. FBP does a nice job of bridging the transition between psych and prog.
      I cast no shadow ’cause I have no eyes
    6. Open The Door – Carolanne Pegg [England, 1973]
      Carolanne’s uniquely earthy vocals are a delight on this whole folk rock album.
      There were friends who could always see me, though the haze their smiles would greet me, saying OK, saying goodbye, saying hello
    7. The Great Silkie – Trees [England, 1970]
      Trees is one of my fave 70’s folk rock bands, but for some reason I just now got around to acquiring The Garden of Jane Delawney, from which this track is sourced.
      And you will marry a gunner good, a right fine gunner, I’m sure he’ll be. And the very first shot e’er he shoots will slay my young son and me.
    8. Vile Excesses – Mellow Candle [Ireland, 1972]
      Excellent musical arrangements and duets by Clodagh Simonds and Alison Williams (who were only teenage schoolgirls when the band formed in the late 60’s) make this album so much fun to listen to.
      Did you see shadows of unicorns? Did you wear laurels of a crown of thorns?
    9. Chimica Industriale (Industrial Chemistry) – Oronzo di Filippi [Italy, 196?]
      Library music was the stock music for TV, film, and commercial soundtracks from the 50’s through the 80’s. Because there wasn’t a lot of industry pressure to sell records, some library artists were able to push boundaries in symphonic and electronic music. In other instances, composers were able to simply make music for their own pleasure, which gives the listener space to enjoy without much commercial context.
    10. Officia Stellare (Workshop of the Stars) – Piero Umiliani [Italy, 70’s? released 2000]
      Library music instrumental – jazzy bass in outer space.
    11. The Devil’s Dancers – Oppenheimer Analysis [England, 1982]
      A blast of fresh coldwave.
      All the radon daughters wonder what they taught us
    12. Recalling You – Solid State [Belgium, 1983]
      Belgium is the best-kept secret of great 80’s music.
      You make your creation, I’m a part of your soul
    13. IC Love Affair – Gaznevada [Italy, 1982]
      A catchy ZE Records-esque No Wave/Italo mashup, but tbh mainly I just have a crush on the dude in the video.
      Ching sang a song that broke my soul, a Chinese kind of rock ‘n’ roll
    14. Stop – Valery Allington [Italy, 1982]
      Early hi-NRG Italo classic with powerful posi-sex lyrics from a female vocalist.
      Give me love, give me your soul, give me your body, baby, don’t make me wait
    15. Dr. Jekyll – Unit Eight [England, 1981]
      Darkly experimental library music.
    16. Touch As Much – Magical Ring [France, 1977]
      I’ve been an AIR fan since the late 90’s, and I’m just now beginning to understand where their influences came from.
      Keep yourself loose as the wind
    17. Electric Mountain – Jane Weaver [England, 2014]
      Best psych/soundtrack revival I’ve heard all year. Also, can’t believe I just discovered Jane Weaver in general. She’s so great.
      It’s a deluded game because there’s no justice here.
    18. Throbbing Number – J.P Decerf & G. Zajd [France, 1977]
      30-somethings look back on their youth and do a fun-yet-perfect psychedelic instrumental.
    19. Drifting Apart – Personal Effects [Rochester, 1984]
      Minimal Wave meets The Velvet Underground
      You mean the world to me, you’re all that I see, I could never write it down
    20. Bad Water – Carroll [Minneapolis, 2014]
      Don’t know much about them, but the sound is very Luna.
      Bad water makes your body glow, they’re looking for a good replacement
    21. Hunter and the Hunted – Simple Minds [Scotland, 1982]
      Oh, Simple Minds, you drama queens.
      The side effects of cruising at the speed of life, side effects of living in temptation
    22. Any Way That You Want Me – Evie Sands [NYC, 1970]
      Northern soul train chuggin’ thru.
      Nothing you could say or do could make my love grow colder
    23. Houses – Elyse Weinberg [Toronto, 1969]
      Vocalists like Elyse make you wonder why rock was such a sausage-fest.
      I could never make it in your jail, you could never make it in mine
    24. Could Heaven Ever Be Like This – Idris Muhammad [USA, 1977]
      If you like Jamiroquai, this gentle disco gem is right up your alley.
      I see music in your eyes, rainbows in your kiss
    25. Yaguareté abá – Barrio Lindo [Argentina, 2014]
      If you don’t know about all the great cumbia coming out of Chile and Argentina over the last 8 years or so, you’re living under a rock. Barrio Lindo shamanizes this ubiquitous dance beat with funky percussion and trance-y synths.
    26. Wuma Te – Francis Bebey [Cameroon/France, 1976]
      Bebey was a pioneer of combining European/American electronic music with traditional African rhythms. Wuma Te is an wonderfully fresh, catchy tune you’ll be humming for weeks to come.
    27. Good Name – William Onyeabor  [Nigeria, 1983]
      2014 was my first full year as a freelancer. Sometimes I had great months financially, other months were rather lean, but this upbeat track gave me a good buck-up when I needed a reminder of why I broke away from working for another dude in the first place. It’s not about the money, it’s about having the right kind of healthy, beneficial relationships with clients, who are being helpful and beneficial in their own  missions. Plus, almost all of my new business comes from referrals.
      Good name is better than silver and gold, no money can buy a good name… I have my conscience and no money can buy my name
    28. Maiden Voyage – Ramsey Lewis [Chicago, 1968]
      To end on an optimistic note for 2015… Ramsey Lewis’ cover of a Herbie Hancock composition, featuring backing vocals from Maurice White of Earth Wind and Fire and the astounding Minnie Riperton.