List: Top 20 Favorite Tracks of 2014 (11-20).

January 2, 2015

This year, I paid less attention to what blogs and the internet in general gave high reviews and instead just stuck to my own thing and paid attention to when musicians I liked came out with new stuff. Shows I went to this year also greatly influenced what was playing on my stereo. For instance, I had no idea who David Bazan was before I saw him play and he almost had me in tears by the time the show was over. My taste in metal shifted slightly as well; I started to give death metal and other faster styles a chance whereas last year I would’ve turned my nose up at it. Lots of great doomy stuff came out this year as well and I legitimately had difficulty narrowing down which 10 plus minute tracks I liked to zone out to the most. What it came down to is I had to remind myself that this was a list of favorite INDIVIDUAL tracks which I like on their own, not necessarily played with the whole album. Here’s the bottom half of my list (11-20).

11) David Bazan & Passenger String Quartet-Cold Beer and Cigarettes.

NOTE: I couldn’t find a good version with the string quartet.  So here’s the song from 7 years ago.

David Bazan released an album this year titled simply “Volume 1.” Here, he teams up with the lovely and at times heartbreaking accompaniment of Passenger String Quartet. From what I understand is this is not new material but older songs arranged to have string accompaniment. They came to my town and I went at the suggestion of a friend of mine. I’m sure glad that I did. Bazan himself is an interesting character with a very unique song writing style. The string accompaniment definitely added to the experience rather than distract the listener from the very sobering bits of realism in Bazan’s storytelling style lyrics. A wonderful experience. I suggest you see him live if he ever plays in your town.

12) Abysmal Dawn-Inanimate.

Metal is not my favorite genre of music, it just happens to be what I listen to most often while training (and relaxing nowadays). Death meal is probably my least favorite type of metal and is probably why I had no idea who these guys were until I randomly stumbled upon their new release this year. Surprisingly catchy. They’re coming to SF in February but unfortunately I’ll be in OKC for JR nationals.

13) RATKING-So it goes.

Overall, there wasn’t a whole lot of hip-hop that came out this year that I gave a chance outside of the Hellfyre crew. This track however, falls under once of my favorite styles; that repetitive, stoneresque east coast style reminiscent of Curren$y.

14) Misery Index-Conjuring the Cull.

This is something I would’ve listened to in high school, which doesn’t necessarily make it bad, just not something would normally give a chance. A fun listen. Heavy but accessible enough with good tempo changes.

15) Water Fountain-Tune Yards.

It seems like the internet LOVED this album which to me seemed strange since that sort of “afro-pop” style went out of style a few years ago. I like this track though and I’d definitely be interested in seeing a live performance from this group.

16) Earth-Even Hell Has It’s Heroes.

Longtime fans of this band it seems did NOT like this addition of vocals to the usual stoner/americana ambiance. I couldn’t really notice the difference because I’d be nodding off half asleep by the time a song is usually over. I saw Dylan Carlson and crew live this year and it was awesome. Just make sure you got a full tall-boy in hand because you’ll be there a while.

17) Ringworm-Hammer of the Witch.  

The current lead singer of this group calls himself “The Human Furnace.” See these guys live and you’ll see why. Listen to those raw vocals though. I had a really great time seeing these guys play live and ended checking out their older stuff too; an evil baby of hardcore, punk and thrash metal.

18) Sun Kil Moon-Dogs.

I’m never usually like this, but I honestly feel like the image this guy portrays takes away from how good his music is. Check out the beef he started between him and The War on Drugs this year. It’s like 2Pac and Biggie for yuppie faux-bohemian types. But, dammit I do like this song; honest, introspective and chalk full of insecurity.

19) Blonde Redhead-Dripping.

The internet hated this album, saying it was pleasant but empty. Hey man, sometimes I like pleasant; which this song certainly delivers. Sexy like The XX. Relaxing and not requiring of much analysis. A good one to unwind to at the end of a long ass day in the gym.

20) Sleep-The Clarity.

I know this joke has probably been said probably by a hundred different people since this song came out, but it’s REALLY funny that these guys now have a song entitled “The Clarity” considering the rumors (legends rather) that in their heyday, the band blew ALL of their record deal money on weed. That being said, I was more than excited when Sleep dropped the new track this year after being split up for so long. “Dopesmoker” was the album that really sparked my interest in the genre as I’m sure it did for a lot of people so the potential for a new album or at least some reunion tour dates had me as giddy as a big, brown, weightlifting schoolgirl. The track itself actually IS a lot clearer sounding than their previous recordings. Matt Pike’s tone isn’t so befuddled with fuzz and ganja smoke. The rhythm section drives the 10 minute opus forward at the pace of a stoner caravan lead by elephants with amplifiers strapped on their backs. In summation, buy yourself some Funyuns, crank this bad boy up and get glued to the couch as you see sounds and hear colors.

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