Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2014 Volume 3 - Just Let It Flow

1. Under The Pressure - The War On Drugs
2. Past Lives - Real Estate
3. Enemy - Merchandise
4. Almost Like The Blues - Leonard Cohen
5. Return - Brian Eno & Carl Hyde
6. Mr. Tembo - Damon Albarn
7. Beginners - Hookworms
8. Talking Backwards - Real Estate
9. Revisited - The Antlers
10. Light House - Future Islands
11. Gotta Get Away - The Black Keys
12. J Smoov - Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
13. Real Life (Angel) - Elbow
14. Burning - The War On Drugs

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

About The Albums/Songs On This Mix:

One track from Future Islands’ Singles (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes) appears on each of the first four mixes in this collection, and it should come as no surprise that for this late night driving mix I went with Light House, my favorite of the more reflective, evening-tinted tracks that make up the album's back half. Just love the melancholy synth passage that adorns this track.

Book ending this mix are two more tracks (Under The Pressure, Burning) from this year's best road album and aggregate critical choice for 2014 album of the year, The War On Drugs Lost In The Dream (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes).

Revisited is another track from The Antler’s Familiars (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), which drowned the band’s downbeat, Radiohead-ish music in pools of mournful old-world brass to gorgeous effect. Love the instrumental close to this track, and sometimes wonder if it's not the best sung song of the year.

Past Lives and Talking Backwards are two more tracks from beachy dream-pop act Real Estate’s third release Atlas (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), which I found to be, by a slight margin, their best.  If there's a contemporary act out there that better evokes the sound of Forever Changes-era Love, I haven't found it.

The wonderfully chill J Smoov is our second featured track from Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks’ Wig Out At Jagbags (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes). Not my favorite solo release from the former Pavement frontman, Jagbags seems to by trying to follow in the footsteps of his playfully eclectic prior release Mirror Traffic, but overall the album just didn't offer the same bountiful number of high quality tracks.

Gotta Get Away comes to us courtesy of the The Black Keys’ Turn Blue (Amazon / iTunes). It's a classic slab of 70s Southern Fried rock; a definite high point from an otherwise spotty release.

Elbow's Real Life (Angel) is another gorgeous ballad from the band's solid but relatively unadventurous The Take Off And Landing Of Everything (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes.

Enemy is a single from the shape-shifting, Tampa, Florida art-pop act Merchandise – a very cool, early 90s WXRT type groove to this song. Almost Like The Blues is my favorite track from Leonard Cohen’s quite good 2014 release Popular Problems (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes). Hard to believe the man is pushing 80 and still putting out tracks like this.

HookwormsThe Hum (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes)  finds the organ-dominated psychedelic act picking up right where last year’s release Pearl Mystic left off, even numbering Hum’s many interstitial tracks, (iv, v, vi) as if it where disc two of Pearl Mystic rather than its own entity. Though not sporting top tracks as good as Away/Toward, Hum is a consistent album and amongst the year’s best solid recommends. The long, grooving Beginners represents here, and the punchier Radio Tokyo makes an appearance on Volume 7 – Just Slack The F Off!

Damon Albarn’s Mr. Tembo is the liveliest track from his critically lauded Everyday Robots (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), an album that, despite the acclaim, I found too sedate to bond with. But I had no such problem with  Brian Eno/Carl Hyde single Return. Starting with the oddest of guitar riffs and the most mundane of subject matter (a wife picking up her husband of many years at the airport after a long business trip), it somehow grows over its nine minutes into one of the most indescribably life affirming instrumental crescendos I’ve ever heard.  It’s a song only Brian Eno could conceive, and one 2014’s best tracks.

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