Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2014 Volume 10 - Odds & Ends

1. Show Me Love - Hundred Waters
2. Klapp Klapp - Little Dragon
3. Gooey - Glass Animals
4. Siren Song - Flying Lotus
5. Out Alee - Hundred Waters
6. Words I Don't Remember - How To Dress Well
7. Raised By Wolves - U2
8. Figure It Out - Royal Blood
9. Lazaretto - Jack White
10. The Lottery - The Afghan Whigs
11. Trainwreck 1979 - Death From Above 1979
12. This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now - U2
13. Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck) - Run The Jewels
14. High - Freddie Gibbs & Madlibs
15. Crown - Run The Jewels
16. People Don't Get What They Deserve - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
17. Betray My Heart - D'Angelo & The Vanguard
18. Bull - Scott Walker + Sunn O)))

Track List / Printable Mix & Year End Summary / Spotify /
McQ's Best Albums Of 2014

On The Albums/Songs Featured On This Mix:

A closing collection of tracks I either ran out of room for or that didn’t make sense on the previous mixes, Odds & Ends is broken into four self-explanatory suites – Electro-Soul Overkill, Brotastic Brouhaha, A Token Shout Out To Hip Hop & Soul, and A Repulsive Room Clearer To Close It All Out.

Starting with the Electro-Soul Overkill Suite: Hundred Waters’ dreamy, sample-heavy, Xx-like The Moon Rang Like A Bell (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes) proves when it comes to music, dub mega-star Skrillex may not be the most inspiring of artists, but he’s got promise as a label head, Hundred Waters being one of the first bands he signed to OSWLA. Cutting edge producer Flying Lotus’s You’re Dead (Spotify / Amazon / iTunesfinds the Alice/John Coltrane grandnephew incorporating vast elements of pure jazz into his daring sonic abstractions. Hard to pin down but consistently trippy and engaging, I feel this is his second best album after 2010’s Cosmogramma.  Klapp Klapp is a pounding electro-soul number not dissimilar from Neneh Cherry’s work this year via Sweden’s well-regarded Little Dragons.  Words I Don’t Remember finds electro-soul pioneer Tom Krell of How To Dress Well going more for straightforward soul passion that experimentation this time out. And Gooey is an odd, silly number from UK art-rockers Glass Animals that I couldn’t discipline myself to hold for next year’s Coachella Starters mix.

Moving on to Brotastic Brouhaha: What to make of U2’s free, forced download fiasco Songs Of Innocence (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes)? In truth, despite the bad publicity, the album’s not half bad. Like all the band’s desperate-for-attention late career work, it’s got its unintentionally cheesy moments (several in fact), and the whole thing has an odd emo-ish feel, but if you can get past these things, this is their hardest rocking, most sonically interesting release in quite some time. Consider it the year’s best guilty pleasure.

Delivering none of those guilty pleasures is Jack White’s tired, unappealing, Nashville-accented Lazaretto (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes). Too-prolific Jack exhausted his songwriter’s bag of tricks years ago, and as his songs have grown weaker, and the repetition of his core motifs grows ever more stale, all one is left with these days is his annoying and often pointless instrumental business.  Only the title track and the instrumental High Ball Stepper engaged my interest this time out.

The Afghan Whigs’ Do To The Beast (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), as noted in Volume 4 - Coachella Starters, marks the first return to the public arena in 12 years for the late nineties alt-rock darlings. More varied and aired out than their classic releases, how much fans will like this release depends in large part on how much one feels guitarist Rick McCollum was critical to the band success. I actually like the way the less dense textures give leader/vocalist Greg Dulli more room to melodically roam, but I have friends who feel the original thrust of the band has been forever lost. Fleshing out Brotastic Brouhaha are Figure It Out and Trainwreck 1979, two kick-ass rockers from similar sounding drums and bass duos Royal Blood and Death From Above 1979.

In A Token Shout Out To Hip-Hop And Soul we profile four artists/albums: Run The Jewels 2 (Spotify / Amazon / iTuneswas the year's most celebrated rap album...a lively, adventurous industrial rap victory lap for collaborators El-P and Killer Mike, who together have taken their careers to heights neither was able to achieve on their own. The rap single High comes to us courtesy of talented gantsa-rapper Freddie Gibbs and his production partner, the esteemed Madlib.

Sharon Jones’ People Don't Get What The Deserve is the second of two Dap Kings tracks included in this year’s collection, and again stands in for her fine return to Motown/Stax form following a serious bout with cancer. And after a fifteen year hiatus, D’Angelo returned with Black Messiah (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes). Another amorphous, throwback soul album in the vein of Sly & The Family Stones’ There’s A Riot Goin’ On, it’s a challenging, highly political work, but just may be the reclusive artist’s best. I gravitated towards the albums more streamlined tracks, and none came more streamlined than the stripped down Betray My Heart.

Finally, a genuine Repulsive Room Clearer To Close It All Out, but far more appealing than it wants to be is the unexpected Scott Walker/Sunn 0)))) collaboration Soused (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), which somehow finds the fringe-dwelling nightmare collagist Walker and the Swedish drone masters becoming more accessible together than either is on their own (not that most of you won’t skip past Bull in the first thirty seconds.)

And that brings the 2014 collection to a close. I hope you enjoyed, now on to 2015!

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