Vinyl isn't cheap, nor is is tawdry, so the collecting of it has become much more a matter of discernment than it used to be.
The following is a list, alphabetical, perchance by merit, of the vinyl (new titles and re-issues) that made the cut in 2014. It doesn't presume to be a "Best Of," as I am very aware of the peculiarities of my particular set of listening apparatuses. It is a list of the vinyl that my scattershot attention locked on to, brought home and allowed to bed down in the limited space that I allot for records in my home.
AMEN DUNES Love (Sacred Bones)
Folky, trippy, with that under-water production we've heard from the likes of KURT VILE, except where VILE is stoned and hanging with his buddies, AMEN DUNES' Damon McMahon is lost in a vast open space, deep in the mushroom and calling "Marco Polo" to the night sky. Stark and brittle while somehow managing to remain lush. I don't think I listened to any album of 2014 as often as I've listened to this.
As for what Kev thinks makes the Wu-Tang such an important and essential music group? "At no time before, and arguably since, has that much talent been assembled in one package with that sort of game-changing production, concept, and execution. It was literally the perfect storm, and that’s why it hit the entire culture like a thermonuclear bomb,". he replied quickly adding for further emphasis, "And you know what a bomb sounds like, right? Bong bong!"
As a club and radio DJ (his long-running KZSU show "The Drum" is both highly influential and legendary - read the Amoeblog profile on it and Kevvy Kev here) he has personally known the Wu members from their inception - even before in fact. "I met RZA first, as a solo artist when he was on Tommy Boy," he recalled, continuing. "After that record, he went solo and released "Protect Ya Neck" independently, and the streets went crazy! So when Loud picked up the group, they flew ‘em out to Cali and did a run from LA to the Bay. The [Bay Area Hip-Hop] Coalition handled the Bay Area part of the run, so we had a chance to build with the clan," he recalled pausing for a moment. "Too many stories to go into here, but you can imagine!" And as for Kevvy Kev's top five favorite Wu-Tang Clan joints of the moment - whether group, solo, or side projects? "With the caveat that this list changes frequently and for often arbitrary reasons,," he replied. "For the purposes of this list, I’m only picking songs from the Wu albums - not solo joints or collabos."
While there have been at least six or seven quality television programs, the telecommunication device has for seventy years or so more often been derided for the lack of quality programming. Whereas US forces regularly play awful music to tortured captives, no one with even the tiniest remaining shred of humanity would force even the worst villain to watch Access Hollywood or Extra so how bad, then, must a show be to be cancelled after a single episode?
Of course, television is valued by network executives less for its artistic quality than its ability to sell advertising space, which is why we have Big Brother. What then would result in the plug being pulled after just once episode? Let's have a look.
FUN AND FORTUNE (6 June, 1949)
Fun and Fortune was a game show hosted for its only episode by Jack Lescoulie. The object of the show was for contestants to identify a mystery item concealed by a curtain after being given four clues. It certainly sounds no better or worse than most game shows that came before. Perhaps ABC execs, then in their second year of television broadcasting, were merely hoping that something better would come along in its wake.
Blues-rock rivivalists The Black Keys have been on a steady climb to the top. In 2010, the band saw mainstream success with their sixth studio album Brothers (Nonesuch). From Billboard Top 20 singles and commercial placement to constant radio play and GRAMMY wins, The Black Keys have been everywhere! On their eighth full-length release, Turn Blue (Nonesuch, 2014), the duo once again teamed up with longtime producer Danger Mouse. The album boasts 11 solid tracks of catchy blues infused rock that remind us how great Danger Mouse and the Keys work together. The band was just recently nominated for Best Rock Song ("Fever") and Best Rock Album (Turn Blue) at the upcoming 2015 GRAMMY Awards.
Patrick Carney recently spent time with two very lucky fans (pictured above) at Amoeba Hollywood, picking out some of his favorite records for them as part of a radio contest for Alt 98.7FM. He tells a hilarious story about hearing Led Zeppelin for the first time after buying a Vanilla Ice record, how trying to rip off a Can beat led to the band's first hit record, and so much more. Watch the full episode below for all of Patrick's picks.