In only approximate order of favoriteness -- and for the twelfth year in a row (!!) -- here is my year-end wrap-up. As usual, a few of the entries on the following list were released earlier than 2014, but that is when I discovered them, so I'm allowing some slack. Though most were actually released in 2014.
This year I acquired around 62% as much new music as last year: roughly 75 new releases, almost all released within the last 3 years, more than half released in 2014.
That is really a surprising drop! I wonder how much of that can be pinned on how poorly curated SXSW was in 2014. In previous years, I discovered a lot of great music through the SXSW torrents, as well as through happenstance at the festival itself, but this year, not so much.
I should find some better festivals to travel to. Corollary: I should learn to hate traveling less.
Number of those bands that I saw perform this year: 23.
Number of those bands that performed at DNA Lounge this year: 8.
I haven't commented on all of these because I still find it really hard, and anyway, if you want to know what they sound like, that's what the corresponding mixtape is for, right? Scroll down.
I like these things. You should like them too. Here's your shopping list:
K.Flay - "Life As A Dog"
It's a bit mellower and sadder than her previous releases, with more singing and less rapping, but still some of the finest music you're going to find for feeling bad about yourself and your terrible relationships!
- The Casket Girls - "True Love Kills the Fairytale"
They've got kind of a faux-60s-girl-band thing going on, like if Bananarama were clinically depressed.
- The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - "Bring Us Together"
A good album, though I was a little disappointed that this year's live show replaced the horn section with a keyboardist. I imagine that's a lot of mouths to feed, though.
- EMA - "The Future's Void"
I think this might be indie gospel about the Surveillance State. Or something. The acompanying 90s-style cyber-zine that goes along with it is kind of amazing.
- iamamiwhoami - "Blue"
It sounds a lot like the previous one, but it's still very good, and I remain impressed at their devotion to the craft of music video and just generally being weird as hell.
- Gazelle Twin - "Unflesh"
Hey, remember when I used to listen to industrial music? I guess this is the closest thing to that on this list (and it's not really very close.) This was probably my favorite show we've had at DNA Lounge this year. Even though their live act was two people and a stack of electronics, the freakiness of her faceless urban cenobite performance made it fantastic.
- Meg Myers - "Make a Shadow"
More angry music for feeling bad about your stupid obsessions! Often the function of pop music is to let you know that there are people out there with worse ideas.
- Cathedrals - "Cathedrals"
- Fujiya & Miyagi - "Artificial Sweeteners"
This sounds exactly like Fujiya & Miyagi, but that's what I was hoping for.
- The Faint - "Doom Abuse"
This sounds exactly like The Faint, but that's what I was hoping for.
- Brody Dalle - "Diploid Love"
- Le Butcherettes - "Cry Is for the Flies"
Please don't kill me.
- Heartsrevolution - "Ride or Die"
I think they summed themselves up best with their between-song banter: "I'll be driving my icecream truck around NYC and an Indian cab driver will lean over and say 'this song is awesome' and I'll be all 'I know, right?'" She's not kidding about the ice cream truck, is the thing. And there's a vajazzled guitar.
- La Femme - "Psycho Tropical Berlin"
This is the third album on this year's list that prominently features a retro electric organ sound. I find this odd. We had them at DNA in in April, and it was a great show. Much more raucous and sweaty than you might expect.
- Ume - "Monuments"
- Giana Factory - "Lemon Moon"
- Rich Girls - "Fiver"
- Warpaint - "Warpaint"
"Third album is self-titled" is still a thing, huh? It's hard to hear them without imagining them singing in super slow motion in front of a fan.
- Ringo Deathstarr - "God's Dream"
One of these days I'm going to stop thinking that the line "these shoes aren't going to gaze themselves" is hilarious, but today is not that day. We had them in October.
- The Dollyrots - "Barefoot and Pregnant"
"Our friends are always texting us to tell us that they saw one of our videos playing in DNA Pizza" is the most unexpected thing someone in a band has said to me in some time. We had them here in May.
- Client - "Authority"
Depeche Mode cast a long shadow.
- Dead Sara - "Dead Sara"
They have a bit more of a straightforward "LA hard rock" sound than I usually go for, but their live show here in November was pretty great.
- Phantogram - "Voices"
- Keep Shelly In Athens - "At Home"
- Sinah - "Sleek"
- Little Daylight - "Tunnel Vision"
- The Mast - "Pleasure Island"
- Minipop - "Chances"
And finally, here's mixtape 147, which includes one track by each of the above artists.