Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2014 Volume 5 - Just Another Damn Electro-Pop Mix

1. Can't Do Without You - Caribou
2. Doves - Future Islands
3. Sweet Spot - Wild Beasts
4. Vox Tuned D.E.D. - Liars
5. Two Weeks - FKA Twigs
6. Alfonso Muskedunder - Todd Terje
7. Logic Of Color - Wye Oak
8. Sometimes Your Friends Are Not Your Friends - De Lux
9. Fall - The Bug
10. Tropical Chancer - La Roux
11. Heaven, How Long - East India Youth
12. CIRCLONT6A [141.98] [syrobonkus mix] - Aphex Twin
13. Out Of The Black - Neneh Cherry
14. Pro Anti Anti - Liars
15. A Simple Beautiful Truth - Wild Beasts
16. I See You - The Horrors
17. Johnny And Mary - Todd Terje

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

On The Albums/Songs Featured On This Mix:

Three of the albums profiled here have already been featured on earlier mixes. Future Islands’ Singles ( Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), one of my absolute favorite records of the last few years, Wild Beasts’ excellent Present Tense ( Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), and legendary soul chanteuse Neneh Cherry's dive into electronic minimalism, the Four-Tet produced Blank Project ( Spotify / Amazon / iTunes). From Singles here I selected Doves, the most purely dance and dare I say R&B oriented of all the albums tracks, from Present Tense, two, the swirling Sweet Spot and the stately A Simple Beautiful Truth, though it killed me to not have room for  one more track, the awesome Mecca, and from Blank Project the super cool Robyn collaboration Out Of The Black

As to the rest, Los Angeles art-rockers Liars’ Mess ( Spotify / Amazon / iTunescontinues the band’s recent forays into electronic music, but whereas previous release WIXIW was all beauty and haunting textures, Mess is all techno-aggression, its first half as in-your-face as any release this year, and all the better for it.

Aphex Twin’s Syro ( Spotify / Amazon / iTunes)  finds the electronic music pioneer proving that while he may no longer on the cutting edge, he’s still one of the genre’s top talents…not to mention a champion in the fight against illegal downloading, listing every cost associated with the production of Syro on the album’s cover. The rambunctious, ever shifting CIRCLONT6A [141.98] [syrobonkus mix] represents Syro here.

After Mess and Syro, Swedish DJ Todd Terje’s hammy, lounge-y disco album It’s Album Time ( Spotify / Amazon / iTunes)  was my favorite pure electronic release of the year. Angling for instrumental warmth, playfulness, and humor where most releases in this field shoot for cerebral cool or mind-numbing, Pavlovian drops – It's Album Time was a very silly breath of fresh air.  Besides, what’s not to love about a disc that first credits the dozens of analog synthesizer brands employed in its making before mentioning a single individual.

Caribou’s Our Love ( Spotify / Amazon / iTunes)  was a breakout hit for the veteran Canadian producer, mostly because of the monster single Can’t Do Without You that opens this mix. Like that single, Our Love finds Caribou moving in a more electro-soul direction, but for me, despite the heaping critical acclaim (top 7 for 2014 in most aggregate polls), this is far from his best album, with a very sluggish mid-section.

I had a similarly less-than-enthusiastic reaction to the year’s #2 critical consensus album, FKA Twigs LP1 ( Spotify / Amazon / iTunes). In giving the Weeknd’s ominous, decadent, breathy soul formula an empowered, more positive feminist twist, FKA Twigs has certainly landed on an interesting sound, and the record is full of fascinating production details – but overall, I found these whispery, almost melody free tracks to be a tough slog, especially when taken back-to-back-to-back on the album. Hit Two Weeks represents LP1 here.

Of the slightly less buzzed about albums featured here, The Horrors Luminous ( Spotify / Amazon / iTuneswas a nice continuation of the more electronic/psychedelic merge they began to explore in 2011’s slightly better Skying. Total Strife Forever ( Spotify / Amazon / iTunes)  is a solid, eclectic offering from British DJ East India Youth that features vocals on about one third of the tracks. La Roux’s Trouble In Paradise ( Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), though lacking any monster songs, might have been the best female dance-pop album of the year. Much of the album has slight Caribbean tilt to it, so Tropical Chancer felt like the best song to feature. And dub step pioneer The Bug’s long awaited follow up to London Zoo, Angels And Devils ( Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), was an interesting push forward for the genre – exploring a gentler, groovier palette in the album’s opening half before closing with a series of his trademark hard-dub bangers. The Fall is my favorite track from the Angels portion of the album.

Finally, one single I had to include, Baltimore duo Wye Oak’s gorgeous, 1000 Maniacs-styled Logic Of Color, a track I had originally slotted for Volume 4 – Coachella Starters but which ultimately felt like it belonged here.

No comments: