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The Best Albums of 2014 So Far

Posted by Billy Gil, June 27, 2014 04:54pm | Post a Comment

It is now almost exactly halfway through 2014! It’s time to look back on the last six months and see what’s it’s had to offer music-wise. There’s already been a bunch of great records released this year, including a couple of excellent ones released just this week. If you haven’t checked these out, they’re all worth getting—pick ’em all up and catch up on what you’ve been missing.

Sun Kil Moon Benji

Some people write memoirs. Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek write songs crammed with details, from a brutal story about a distant cousin’s death by a freak fire to mundane details about Panera bread and sports bar shit on the walls, that somehow come together to form something called a life. Just when you feel like the songs are too stuffed to keep up, Kozelek will let his breathy “sadcore” folk open up and focus on a seemingly trivial line like “blue crab cakes” in the song “Ben's My Friend,” and in doing so perfectly captures the weird things that stick out in our heads when we reflect. Simply put, listening is like attending a master class in songwriting.

 

Swans To Be Kind

Let’s just say Swans’ To Be Kind isn’t an album you put on while you’re working. It’s an album where you light some candles, lower the lights, stop what you're doing and put it on in order to fully experience the moving madness Michael Gira and co. have created on the two-hour album. You’d do the same for a great film. Besides being a remarkable, if occasionally difficult and harrowing album, To Be Kind hearkens back to a time when albums were treated as events, things to be fully absorbed rather than sampled and tossed like so many records. We can thank them for reminding us of that. And don’t be afraid—To Be Kind has an oft-overlooked, David Lynch-style black humor that makes its orchestral calamity more palatable.

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