Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2014 Volume 7 - Just Slack The F Off!

1. Talking Trangender Dysphoria Blues - Against Me!
2. Sunbathing Animal - Parquet Courts
3. Brother - Mac DeMarco
4. War Paint - Ex Hex
5. The Lord's Favorite - Iceage
6. Radio Tokyo - Hookworms
7. These Boots Are Made For Walkin' - Parquet Courts
8. Jell-O - Ariel Pink
9. Encrypted Bounce - Thee Oh Sees
10. Salad Days - Mac DeMarco
11. Liveable Shit - Sleaford Mods
12. Scum, Rise! - Protomartyr
13. Housebroken - The Hotelier
14. Pretty Machines - Parquet Courts
15. Unconditional Love - Against Me!
16. Just For You - White Lung
17. Beast - Ex Hex
18. I'm Not A Part Of Me - Cloud Nothings
19. Pearly Gates - The Men
20. Instant Disassembly - Parquet Courts

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

About The Albums/Songs Featured On This Mix:

The prolific Brooklyn art-punk quintet Parquet Courts followed up 2013’s awesome Light Up Gold with not one, but two 2014 releases, both of which offered multiple pleasures, but neither as good as their 2013 classic.  Sunbathing Animal (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), the first to arrive in 2014, is the more consistent of the two, and finds the band exploring longer, slower song structures than on Light Up Gold.  Musically, it’s reliable if unspectacular, but the lyrics are as great and off-the-wall as ever.  Content Nausea (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), under secondary moniker Parkay Quartz, is less consistent, but has the better highlights, especially the Velvet Underground aping Pretty Machines.

Getting out in front of the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner Zeitgeist in 2014 was southern punk act Against Me! whose Transgender Dysphoria Blues (Spotify / Amazon / iTunesdocumented, in sometimes heartbreaking, intimate detail, lead singer Thomas Gabel’s transition to his/her present Laura Jane Grace identity. But make no mistake, despite the subject matter, this is still a hard-hitting rock album, not some Anthony & The Johnson’s quaverer.

All-girl trio Ex-Hex’s Rips (Spotify / Amazon / iTunesis one of my favorite punk-pop albums of 2014.  The band, led by Helium/Wild Flag guitarist/vocalist Mary Timony, adopts a super clean, super catchy, super energetic glam-rock crossed with early 80s girl group (The Go-Gos, The Bangles) vibe – and the results are tremendous fun. Chock full of fist-pumping three minute anthems and tight, tasty riffs, Rips is one of the year’s better party-rock albums. White Lung’s Deep Fantasy (Spotify / Amazon / iTunespresents a tougher spin on the classic female punk sound, but is near equally impressive.

Hookworms’ The Hum (Spotify / Amazon / iTunesfinds the organ-led psychedelic act picking up right where 2013’s Pearl Mystic left off. The long, flowing groover Beginners was included on Volume 3 - Just Let It Flow,  and the more punkish Radio Tokyo makes an appearance here.

After gifting two tracks to Volume 2 - Nancy's Favorites, Brooklyn's shape-shifting noise rockers The Men get one more representation here from their foray into Springsteenland Tomorrow’s Hits (Spotify / Amazon / iTuneswith the oh-so-rowdy Pearly Gates.

On the crazier end of things is Ariel Pink’s Pom Pom (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), which finds the LA Lo-Fi rocker getting really zany, to a sometimes crude and often humorous end.  It’s been decades since I’ve heard an album that reminded me so much of Frank Zappa’s anything goes early recordings.  Providing similar laughs, though of an even more profane variety, is British rap duo Sleaford Mods, who seem to be trying to revive last decade’s Streets-led grime rap movement with as many toilet references as humanly possible on their one-of-a-kind debut Divide & Exit (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes).

Coming at things more earnestly are Cloud Nothings, with Here And Nowhere Else (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), their raw, percussion-fueled, less-appealing follow up to their poppier 2012 hit Attack On Memory, and funny but defeatist Detroit-based post punkers Protomartyr with the pointed, consistently well played and well written but tunelessly sung Under Color Of Official Right (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes).  If you can deal with lead singer Joe Casey’s anti-melodic, Billy Bragg like croon, there’s a lot to like…if you can’t, Official Right is a definite skip.  Canadian slacker extraordinaire Mac DeMarco’s latest Salad Days (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes)  is a modest but winning collection of light, breezy, almost Ray Davies-like rock tunes, most concerned in some way with the highly ambitious agenda of how to be a slightly better boyfriend.

Finally, on the singles presented on this mix - Iceage’s The Lord’s Favorite finds the Danish Post-Punkers softening their sound and moving in a looser, drunken, slightly country-ish direction.  Encrypted Bounce is the latest in the seemingly unending stream of great psych-rock ravers from San Francisco’s Thee Oh Sees, and Housebroken is an appealing, almost Ted Leo-ish track from Worcester, MA emo act The Hotelier.

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