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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lance Freely's Best of 2014

My best good pal Lance Freely has submitted his very first CNQ post, his faves from 2014. He has had excellent taste in music since 1986, so you can read and listen with assurance. Here's his post:

Morgan Delt - s/t
Goat - Commune
Ariel Pink - Pom Pom
White Fence - For the Recently Found Innocent
Black Lips - Under the Rainbow
Foxygen - ...and Star Power
Ty Segall - Manipulator
King Tuff - Black Moon Spell
Twin Peaks - Wild Onion
Thee Oh Sees - Drop

Feel like I started the year off with the Morgan Delt record. It was soundtrack music for freaks. Thick/syrupy psychedelic music with neat changes, vaguely sinister, and some back beat.

Goat's Commune feels like a bookend to the Morgan Delt album but I liked it so much it needed to be near the top of the list. It's afrobeat. At first it sounded like psychedelic rock with a tribal rock flavor, and its got that going on for it too. Moreover, there are raw vocal harmonies at just the right places. The vocals even more than the auxiliary percussionist (bongos) make this afrobeat. Think Fela Kuti patterns from turns out very Northern Europeans. Music for a weird world.

I'd like to know more about the Ariel Pink album. He did not have the Haunted Graffiti, and that does not seem to make a difference. Did he compose the tunes? What instrument did he write with? I have more questions than answers, but will go along for the ride anyway.

When I first saw the schedule of 2014 releases I was psyched to see White Fence and Ty Segall had records coming out in the summer. For the Recently Found Innocent has some very hard rocking parts, nice dynamics between the loud and soft parts, and it sounds more cohesive than any of his work to date, without compromising the sonic excursions and dead ends.

Under the Rainbow is not a compromise either, but the Black Lips continue their trajectory towards pop.

Foxygen thought they could skew expectations with a double "album" that is maybe not as well developed as their other records. Maybe it has too much filler. But there are still moments when it feels right and some the filler sounds good too.

Manipulator is long too but there is no real filler, he's really telling stories with each song, mostly character sketches, and it all seems essential to having a big record. The hooks are also bigger, pushing towards some sort of imaginary arena show.

King Tuff is at the same arena show.

Wild Onion is manic energy between punk rock and pop rock and pop punk. It also has several tight songs that would not sound out of place on the radio, if the radio weren't fucked.

Thee Oh Sees also seemed to progress, or at least shift, on the logical path for a good band. For several records you could count on an Oh Sees record being an energetic guitar romp, with an occasional flute rock jam, but the last two records have featured some songs that added more instrumentation, particularly the cellos and synths. Drop takes the new sonic ideas that the band has been feeling out and makes it into an entire record.

--Lance Freely