Matt’s Top 10 Albums of Twomp-K-4-Deen

19Dec14

Well it’s that time of year for the very first time since last year at this time. To be less specific: it’s A time of year… again. Aren’t you excited? I sure amn’t.

Yikes.

What I mean to say is: TOP TEN ALBUM TIME, BITCHES.

While not the most flashy year of music to date, I feel 2014 was much needed. I don’t care what anyone else says, but really and truly, we all could’ve done without the junk from the last couple years. It was almost as if the International Musical Overseer Council gathered in a small, hidden, dimly-lit room, situated somewhere in the Sahara, and collectively hit the “This new crap is getting out of hand and it, well, pretty much sucks. It’s time to start over.” refresh button. This of course is the only explanation for the opening up of the massive, inside-out, time-vortex that has been spewing sounds of classic rock and smoky lounges into the malleable ears of musicians everywhere.

bopit

According to several terrible sources, this is a photo of the button that changed the musical world forever this year.

That’s enough of my blabbing. You didn’t actually show up here to read anything.

In no particular order, besides the exact order of which they are presented to you on this very page, here are my absolute favorite musical albums of 2014 (if you’re looking for “My Favorite Facebook albums of 2014” write up, you’re in the wrong place. You can find that one HERE):

Last things first, Honorable mention: No top-10 list would be complete without a number 11. With that promptly forgotten:

10. Pink Floyd – The Endless River

Pink_Floyd_-_The_Endless_River_(Artwork)

Um, I’m pretty sure a river, by definition, has an end… but hey, the members of Pink Floyd have spent the last 40+ years in a endless SEA of hallucinogenics, so I’m willing to let it slide…

Remember when Arcade Fire won that Grammy for The Suburbs? And everyone who wasn’t like, “Who the balls is Arcade Fire?” was like, “If this is good enough for a Grammy, then Funeral deserves its own country.”? Well The Endless River is kinda like that. Right place, right time. That said, in my eyes, Pink Floyd has always been the “Album King.” Their self-proclaimed, final studio-release is no exception. Utilizing seamless transitions from one soundscape to the next, The Endless River sticks together like glue, which is an unfortunate rarity in today’s industry. As now band-leader David Gilmore told Mojo Magazine “Unapologetically, this is for the generation that wants to put its headphones on, lie in a beanbag, or whatever, and get off on a piece of music for an extended period of time. You could say it’s not for the iTunes, downloading-individual-tracks generation.” In other words, this is a true album (and get the laser-light show in your basement planetarium queued up ‘cause this ish is the real deal). And by the way, don’t expect the usual, somewhat philosophical lyrics that Floyd is known for- only one of the 21 tracks has actual lead vocals. The original atmospheric, psychedelic, progressive, tripp-errific rock band has delivered one last time. Eat your hearts out, dying swans.

Listen to: Side 2, Pt. 1: Sum

*EDIT* At one random point while listening, I handed my dad (a guy who MOSTLY remembers the 70’s) my headphones. Before I even had a chance to tell him who it was, he shouted, “SOUNDS LIKE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON!” Then proceeded to loudly tell me the story of when he saw Pink Floyd play with Deep Purple in Austin, TX. After several minutes of me desperately trying to pry the headphones off his head so as to quiet him down before being fined by the H.O.A. for, yet, another noise complaint, he realized that it wasn’t in fact Pink Floyd he had seen that night. It was The Moody Blues.

9. Childhood – Lacuna

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I know I should’ve patented my “Sneeze as an Album Cover” idea…

OK, so Lacuna sounds a little like Diiv covering M83 songs… well NEWS FLASH: Diiv covering M83 songs would be rad. So get off my hairy back, ya bunch of bananas.

Listen to: As I Am

8. I’ve never really liked the number 8

no8

 

7. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

Todd Terje - It's Album Time Cover

When does Leisure Suit Larry come out on Oculus Rift? 

It’s funk; it’s lounge; it’s jazz; it’s samba, it’s disco; it’s what’s playing in all of the hippest elevators in town; but most of all, it’s the sound of confidence. I could mention how I think it’s what dance music is supposed be (i.e. there’s no shitty remixes within earshot) but I won’t.

Listen to: Svensk Sås

6. Perfume Genius – Too Bright

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Does this top make my butt look too bright?

Reader Involvement Time: In a large mixing bowl, combine equal parts Antony & The Johnsons, Ziggy Stardust, Asaf Avidan, James Blake, Tom Petty, The Knife, and Mount Kimbie until smooth. Poor mixture into a large, lightly-greased baking pan and bake at 700ºC for 3 1/2 months (or until golden). Slice into 11 song-sized pieces, serve immediately. 2 days later, poop into a tape deck. Hit play.

Listen to: Queen

5. Temples – Sun Structures

Temples-Sun-Struc1188E77-400x400

I have an idea, let’s just stand around outside this little building and not look at each other. It’ll be super fun and make an exciting album cover that will draw in potential listeners.”

-Should’ve said no one

The problem with most new music is that if you’re listening while stuck in traffic, you remain stuck traffic. Nobody likes sitting in a hot, stinky car for an extended period of time, yet many of us don’t take the necessary preventative measures to ensure a smooth, congestion-free ride. As an experiment, the next time you’re at a stand-still on the 101 heading towards downtown LA, listen to Mumford and Sons. Spoiler alert: you’ll be just as bummed (if not more so). What I’m getting at here is, wouldn’t you rather be someplace else? How about on a ride at Disney Land? My thought is: I could be free-falling down the Tower of Terror, or chatting up the single moms in the Enchanted Tiki Room… I don’t care, let’s just freaking GO SOMEWHERE. Enter: Temples- instant flashback to 1974; The world misses The Beatles; Ford Mustangs are ugly as sin; the Happy Days pilot airs; and my dad is stoned at a Pink Floyd Moody Blues concert. Full disclosure, I have no actual clue as to what life was really like in the 70’s, but partly thanks to Sun Structures, I can make a poorly educated guess. What’s important here is that I am, in fact, inspired to make said guess.

Listen to: Sun Structures

4. Benjamin Booker – Benjamin Booker

album-art

“No wonder TSA gets freaked every time I step into the body scanner.”

Raw, rugged, real, and rip-roaring are just a few words begining with the letter “R” that happen to describe Booker’s sound. Some other words that are not at all applicable in this situation are: potato, flounder, adhesive, and transmission.

Listen to: Violent Shiver

2 (TIE!!). Robert Ellis – The Lights From The Chemical Plant 

**AND** 

John Gorka – Bright Side of Down

Robert-Ellis-The-Lights-From-The-Chemical-Plant1bright_side_of_down

No. I didn’t lose count, look it up.

Now call me old fashioned, but music made for the sole sake entertaining the masses should be taken out back and clunked right in the dome. I’m not saying that music shouldn’t be entertaining, because it, in fact, should be… but it has to be more than just that to have any sort of lasting power. When J-Lo’s abomination of a song, “Booty” finally fades to black, and Adam Levine’s face ceases to appear on the boxes of Costco’s worse-than-having-no-guitar-at-all guitars, Robert Ellis will still be standing tall, creating expressive, reflective, relatable, timeless music. Part of what makes Ellis so effective is the balance he obtains between many of the old, story-telling greats (such as Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Steve Earl, James Taylor, Tom Waits) and his own, modern portrayal of the folk music genre. One other name that comes to mind is John Gorka. Gorka, while not very well known in the main stream, is one of those responsible for the New Folk Movement that first took hold in the early 90’s, and to a lesser extent, continues today. Robert Ellis may be just the kick in the pants that the genre needs to regain some lost traction. In fact, Ellis may specifically draw attention to Gorka’s equally fantastic 2014 release “Bright Side of Down.” Both albums really shine when some time can be dedicated to a quality listening sesh. So your homework assignment for this year is to do just that. If all goes well, I guarantee you’ll learn something- and if you don’t, I’ll eat my pants (jokes on you, I’m not wearing any pants).

Listen to: Robert Ellis – Houston **AND** John Gorka – Bright Side of Down

Bonus Listen: John Gorka – Armed With a Broken Heart This is some O.G. Gorka, but it proves even further that Homeboy’s got the skillz to pay da billz.

1. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

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Oh, there I am- always in the last place I look.

So as you may have noticed, my mind works (or doesn’t) in a, let’s say, “unique” way. For example, my immediate train of thought the very first time I hit play was: Bob Dylan + Paul Simon ≈ Dyson –> Dyson vacuums suck –> “I did not inhale.” –> Clinton –> Monica –> Joey –> Friends –> 90’s TV –> TGIF –> Family Matters –> childhood –> Chicken curry sandwich. That is one serious journey that took place in under a minute and, um, in case you didn’t notice, it almost ended at CHILDHOOD. Kudos to The War on Drugs for making me forget about my jacked up, old-man back; the, at times, overwhelming weight of my unpaid student loans; the rough reality of not knowing what lies ahead whether it be success or struggle. Instead, for a brief, invaluable moment, my biggest concern was what my mom may or may not have packed me for lunch when I was 10.

Bottom line: If my mom’s chicken curry was an album, it would be #1 on everyone’s list, forever.

Listen to: it.

For the full 2014 playlist, give THIS a click.

ALSO: A big thanks to CKTK for letting ruin their blog again this year! Keep checking back for other guest spots, and don’t forget to take a look at the previous few posts by theirs truly (CK and TK) for some serious insight into the 2014 (or as I never refer to it: Twomp-K-4-Deen) music scene.

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