Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2014 Volume 4 - Coachella Starters

1. Lost Boys And Girls Club - Dum Dum Girls
2. Spirit - Future Islands
3. Mesmerise - Temples
4. West Coast - Lana Del Rey
5. Hisingen Blues - Graveyard
6. Feel - Bombay Bicycle Club
7. Kong - Bonobo
8. It's Over - Ty Segall
9. Red Dust - James Vincent McMorrow
10. A Button On Your Blouse - Drowners
11. That's It - Preservation Hall Jazz Band
12. David - Courtney Barnett
13. Chamakay - Blood Orange
14. Mitsume - Bo Ningen
15. Royal Cream - The Afghan Whigs
16. Winter - Daughter
17. Edge Of The Earth - Syd Arthur
18. Good & Gone - Frank Turner
19. Gathering Of Ancient Tribes - Goat

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

On The Albums/Songs Featured On This Mix:

Courtney Barnett’s The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes) is a winning gathering of the lyrically talented Melbourne garage rocker’s early work, and the tunes from it made up the bulk of her Sunday afternoon Coachella set. David, representing here, was one of that show's many highlights.

It's Over come to us courtesy of San Francisco psycho-rocker Ty Segall who set the tone early Saturday with a scorching, jammy set made up mostly of material from his sprawling and uneven but soaring in it's best moments 2014 release Manipulator (Amazon / iTunes)

After Strand Of Oaks’ Heal, Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes) was probably my biggest 2014 surprise…I never thought I’d like it as much as I do.  Produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Ultraviolence coats Del Rey’s femme fatale turns in an eerie, bluesy vibe that comes off as a cross between Mazzy Star’s psychedelic shoegaze and Julee Cruise’s creepy/dreamy work for Twin PeaksWest Coast, the album’s top hit, stands in here for her Outdoor Theatre performance, though other tracks like Brooklyn Baby, Money Power Glory, and Fucked My Way Up To The Top are equally compelling.

Lyrically lightweight, but gloriously wrapped in distorted Jesus And The Mary Chain-flavored guitars, Dum Dum Girls’ Too True (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes) was one of the 2014’s best sounding records, and Lost Boys And Girls Club, which I originally slated for my Best Of The Best mix until I decided Coachella Starters needed a more kick-ass opener, was one of the year’s very best songs. Another of the all girl garage rockers jangly gems, Evil Blooms, appears on Volume 9 – Just Another Damn Indie Mix.

The warm, delightful Feel represents Bombay Bicycle Club’s So Long, See You Tomorrow (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), a mildly impressive twee indie album with East-Asian accents that would have been dime-a-dozen four years ago, but because the music scene has shifted so dramatically, now feels rare and almost essential.

Mitsume is the one track off Bo Ningen III (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes) that genuinely captures how explosive the band is on stage. An expatriated Japanese post-punk crew anchored in London, the band produces a massive, genre-mashing sonic cocoon that is thrilling to experience live, but unfortunately, their music, much like LA art rockers Warpaint, depends on a separation of sound one only gets on stage, and their recorded work suffers as a result.

Daughter is another band that comes off much better live than on record, but unlike Bo Ningen, their moody, lilting, slightly Sinead O’Connor-ish dream-pop album If You Leave (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes) is still fairly solid. Opener Winter represents here.  From female introspection to heightened male aggression, Do To The Beast, The Afghan Whigs (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes) first release in twelve years, finds lead screamer Greg Dulli and his Ohio-based alt-rockers haven’t lost any of their predator sexual swagger, albeit having to take a slightly different sonic tack this time out minus original lead guitarist Rick McCollum. Royal Cream, the album’s best track, appears on this mix, and another winner (pun intended), The Lottery appears on Volume 10 – Odds & Ends.

UK pub rocker Frank Turner delivered one of the 2014 festival’s three best performances.  His track Recovery off 2013’s likeable if unspectacular Tape Deck Heart (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes) opened last year’s Earnest mix, but his performance was so good I decided to feature another track from the album here, the witty ballad Good & Gone.  The mysterious, costumed Scandinavian tribal collective GOAT produced one of the year’s better psychedelic albums with the Woodstock-y Commune (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes). A marvelously bookended record, its closing track Gathering Of Ancient Tribes concludes this mix as well.

Drowners are east coast band working under a Franz Ferdinand/Vaccines template.  Not too special on record but a lot of fun live, their best track A Button On YourBlouse stands in here. Temples’ Tame Impala-like Mesmerize and Syd Arthur’s Jethro Tull-ish Edge Of The Earth represent two young British bands jumping on the pervasive pysch-rock bandwagon. Hisingen Blues is a pyrotechnic burner from old school Swedish hard rockers Graveyard, who also put on one of the better shows I saw week one of the fest. Kong is a nifty mood piece from chill, new agey British electronica producer Simon Green, aka Bonobo, who grafts a lot of natural world samples into his work. He performs with a full band live, and his set was one of my favorites of week two. Red Dust, a near perfect song title for a Coachella Mix, comes to you courtesy of Bon Iver-like Irish vocalist James Vincent McMorrow. Adding some eclecticism to the 2014 fest was the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band with their famous That’s It, and adding some serious sexy was British bedroom-soul act Blood Orange with Chamakay off of its Avalon-like 2013 release Cupid Deluxe (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes).

Finally, Spirit, another cut off the magnificent Singles (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes) from the already discussed Future Islands, who were the best band to perform either weekend not named The Replacements. After finishing this song, lead singer Sam Herring proclaimed it was the best he had ever performed the number (and that’s exactly how it felt watching), hence its inclusion here.

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