Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2014 Volume 9 - Just Another Damn Indie Mix

1. Jackson - Cymbals Eat Guitars
2. MTLOV (Minor Keys) - A Sunny Day In Glasgow
3. Rainy Taxi - Spoon
4. Water Fountain - tUnE-yArDs
5. Happy Idiot - TV On The Radio
6. Prince Johnny - St. Vincent
7. Habit - Ought
8. Evil Blooms - Dum Dum Girls
9. Oxygen Tank - Avi Buffalo
10. Why Do We Dine On The Tots? - tUnE-yArDs
11. Queen - Perfume Genius
12. Put Your Number In My Phone - Ariel Pink
13. Outlier - Spoon
14. You Tell Me Where - The New Pornographers
15. When She Comes - EMA
16. Perfect World - Broken Bells
17. Left Hand Free - Alt-J
18. Huey Newton - St. Vincent
19. All Along - Perfume Genius
20. Archie, Marry Me - Alvvays

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

About The Albums/Songs Featured On This Mix:

The indescribably awesome Jackson opens this mix and comes to us courtesy of idiosyncratic East Coast rockers Cymbals Eat Guitars from their career best release, Lose (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), one of the year’s better rock offerings.

I also enjoyed Broken Bells After The Disco (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes).  Looser and less obviously Shins-like than the Danger Mouse/James Mercer side project’s first outing, it’s rarely great aside from nifty opener Perfect World, but maintains an easy, more synth-based likeability throughout without hitting the dull patches that plagued their debut.

MTLOV (A Minor Key) is one of several engaging dream pop numbers from A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s sonically dense and adventurous Sea When Absent (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes).

Several returns to artists already featured in this mix collection, starting with two more cuts from
St. Vincent’s (Spotify / Amazon / iTunesaptly self-titled fourth effort, the record where all of singer-guitarist Annie Clark’s disparate, at-odds influences…her love for old time Disney songs, her love for Bowie, her love for gnarly punk guitar…finally cohere into a one magical, exciting…and very freaky…whole. 

When She Comes is one of the lightest moments from, EMA’s intensely dark The Future’s Void (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes)an at times harrowing exploration of the emotional impact of today’s social media.

Rainy Taxi and Outliers offer two more choice glimpses into Spoon’s They Want My Soul (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), one of the  revered indie act's best and funkiest efforts. Habit gives us another taste of the Fear of Music-styled paranoia that permeates Ought’s laugh-out-loud-funny More Than Any Other Day (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes)Evil Blooms delivers one last gloriously distorted sampling from the Dum Dum Girls’ Too True (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), one of the 2014’s best sounding records, and Put Your Number In My Phone is one of the sanest and most popular tracks on Ariel Pink's otherwise unrelentingly zany, Zappa-esque Pom Pom (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes).  

Excellent songs from four of my most disappointing albums of 2014 also make this mix. The garage-y Left Hand Free is the one of only a few standout moments from Alt-J’s otherwise dull and meandering sophomore release This Is All Yours (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes).

No album disappointed me more this year than tUnE – yArDs’ follow up to 2011’s dynamite Who-Kill, Nikki Nack (Spotify / Amazon / iTunes), not because it’s bad, but because it feels so close to being a pop classic. The album is over-the-top adventurous, and fronted by one of the most unique singers in music right now in Merrill Garbus, but the record sabotages itself with a clumsy left turn every time momentum picks up and things start getting really good. After the swaggeringly confident Who-Kill, I found this lack of self-assurance distressing.

The New Pornographers latest Brill Bruisers (Spotify / Amazon / iTunessuffers no such fitfulness. It’s a competent, well-performed power pop release, and livelier than the band’s previous two outings, but its offerings are a far cry from the band’s peak early work – I makes me fear we won’t ever get the magic of Mass Romantic and Twin Cinema from this band again.

Art Garfunkel-voiced balladeer Perfume Genius’s All Along (Spotify / Amazon / iTuneswas a coming-out of sorts, mostly fueled by smash gay power anthem Queen, one of the year’s most talked about songs. Far more varied, rocking, and experimental than 2012’s piano-ballad heavy Put Your Back N 2 It, it’s got several exciting tracks, but it’s also got several straight-up experimental failures, hence I’d still recommend the 2012 release first to newcomers. 

Of the singles featured on this mix, Happy Idiot is another nice mid-tempo rocker from indie-stalwarts TV On The Radio. The No Country For Old Men referencing OxygenTank is a Flaming Lips-flavored ballad from the recently revamped Avi Buffalo, and yet another 2014 track to boast a thrilling instrumental close. And the love-before-costly-wedding-industry-nonsense championing Archie, Marry Me, from Canadian jangle-pop outfit Alvvays, is simply the most infectious song of 2014.

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