Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2014 Volume 8 - Layin' It Bare

1. Dogs - Sun Kil Moon
2. Afraid Of Nothing - Sharon Van Etten
3. Blue Moon - Beck
4. I Never Learn - Lykke Li
5. Late Bloomer - Jenny Lewis
6. JM - Strand Of Oaks
7. Forgiven/Forgotten - Angel Olsen
8. My Wrecking Ball - Ryan Adams
9. Pray For Newtown - Sun Kil Moon
10. Holding - Grouper
11. Heart Is A Drum - Beck
12. Cedar Lane - First Aid Kit
13. Plymouth - Strand Of Oaks
14. Your Love Is Killing Me - Sharon Van Etten
15. Ben's My Friend - Sun Kil Moon
16. Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone - Lykke Li
17. Grow Old With Me - Tom Odell

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

About The Albums/Songs Featured On This Mix:

Sun Kil Moon’s phenomenal Benji (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), Strand Of Oaks’ Heal (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), and Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There (Spotify / Amazon / iTuneshave already been discussed on Volume 1 - Best Of The Best and Volume 2 - Nancy's Favorites.  One caveat, though – Dogs, the Sun Kil Moon song that opens this mix, is very, shall we say, frank in a kiss and tell sort of way - not something to listen to when impressionable children or the easily offended are present.

Beck’s Grammy Album Of The Year winning Morning Phase (Spotify / Amazon / iTunesis a return to his Sea Change-era James Taylor obsessions; only with a more positive tone this time out. I didn’t love it – the album sags big time in the middle - but its best three or four songs are as good as the top songs on any record released this year. Ironically, Swedish indie-pop star Lykke Li’s I Never Learn (Spotify / Amazon / iTunesis, just like Sea Change, her attempt at a 70s singer-songwriter break-up album.  I liked her previous two efforts - the charmingly amateurish Youth Novels and harder rocking Wounded Rhymes - better, but I Never Learn still delivers a number of solid songs, especially the haunting title track, and the naked-to-the-bones Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone.

Probably no album is more criminally underrepresented in this year’s mix collection than Chicagoan Angel Olsen’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), a spiky singer-songwriter album where Olsen applies her impassioned, almost Roy Orbison-like croon over songs alternatingly rocking and eerily restrained. The album’s moving closer, Windows, not included in this collection, is along with Hookworms Retreat, the first song I would have added to this collection had there been room for a few more tracks.  The harmonically explosive Cedar Lane is my favorite track from cute-as-a-button Swedish sister folk duo First Aid Kit’s latest effort Solid Gold (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), a respectable addition to their catalog, but not as striking as predecessor The Lion’s Roar.

Of the singles included on this mix, Late Bloomer is a sweet coming-of-age tale and one of a couple big 2014 hits from ex-Rilo Kiley/The Postal Service vocalist/songwriter Jenny Lewis. I liked it a lot better than the even more enthusiastically received Just One Of The Boys. MyWrecking Ball is my favorite new Ryan Adams acoustic ballad (this song killed at Coachella 2015), Holding is another gorgeous, barely there ambient track from acoustic Pitchfork darling Grouper, and Grow Old With Me is another sentimental charmer from up-and-coming British crooner Tom Odell.

No comments: