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my top 50 albums of 2014...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 11, 2014 09:30am | Post a Comment

Brad's Top 50 Albums of 2014

douglas dare#1 Douglas Dare - Whelm (Erased Tapes)
There are always a couple of albums like this every year. And I always just patiently wait for them. I just never know where they are gonna come from. I loved this album after the first listen. This album would clearly end up on the top of my most listened to albums of the year. Which naturally makes it my favorite. It is one of those albums that I prefer to listen to by myself since I am never sure if anyone is gonna like it as much as I do. Your favorite albums are the ones you keep going back to. The ones you want to start over as soon as they end. This is that album for me. An album I will always have close to my heart. This album is basically just Douglas stripped down bare with his songs and his piano. It is beautiful and heartbreaking. A fantastic debut album.



mac demarco#2 Mac DeMarco - Salad Days (Captured Tracks)
Mac DeMarco's second album was one of my favorites of 2012. Here he is again with his fantastic third album. I am still not exactly sure why I can't stop loving this dude. I actually will forget how much I love him until I go and put on his albums again and then fall in love all over again. This new album is another perfect mellow pop album. Perfect for a lazy day. It gets under your skin and becomes part of you. There is just no denying the talent of this dude. I can't help but feeling sometimes that he has somehow tricked my into liking him. You seriously can't help but love this album. There is nothing upbeat about this album. However it still manages to make me so happy every time I listen to it.

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8 New Holiday Releases That Don't Suck

Posted by Billy Gil, December 10, 2014 05:04pm | Post a Comment

holiday releases that don't suck

Last year I made a list of 10 holiday albums that don’t suck. Well there’s a whole batch of new ones out now, so listen up!

Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols

mark kozelek sings christmas carols lpIndie rock firebrand Mark Kozelek, who released one of the best albums of 2014 with his Sun Kil Moon release Benji, makes a perfect fit for these churchy holiday tunes, with his cozy, crackling voice and gentle acoustic fingerpicking. The song choices are obvious, yet Kozelek imbues them with such spare beauty that it’s impossible not to be touched by classics like “Away in a Manger.”

 

Seth MacFarlaneHoliday for Swing!

seth macfarlane holiday for swing lpWhat do you know? “Family Guy” and “American Dad” creator Seth MacFarlane ain’t a bad crooner. Actually I guess we all already knew that, since he sings regularly on “Family Guy” and released an album already, 2011’s Music Is Better Than Words, but it’s still remarkable to hear him play it straight, rein in the sarcasm and keep it classy—you keep waiting for him to drop an F-bomb or toilet joke, but he doesn’t. He works with a 52-piece orchestra here, singing only a couple of well-known classics like “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” and picking a few lesser-known tunes from the ’50s and ’60s.Best are his duets with Norah Jones (“Little Jack Frost Get Lost”) and Sara Bareilles (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”).

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10 More Essential Records from 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 8, 2014 06:20pm | Post a Comment

Last week, I posted my top 50 albums of the year. Cause 50 just ain’t enough, here are another 10 essential records from 2014:

Fear of Men Loom

fear of men loom lpFear of Men imagine a world where The Cranberries stayed good, The Sundays really got their due and Belly didn’t flame out. Led by singer/guitarist Jessica Weiss, the band calls to mind alternative/dream pop bands of yesteryear, and Weiss’ vocals call to mind the ethereality of Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser crossed with the heartiness of The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan. The band’s muscular indie-rock can move in graceful lockstep (“Tephra”) or set a pretty, yet never sappy backdrop over which Weiss can breathily intone, as on the lovely “Seer.” On the album’s most thrilling moments, Weiss will stretch her voice into territory that goes beyond the expected, singing into a lo-fi mic on the gorgeous “Descent” or looping into dizzying layers on standout “Waterfall.” One of the most promising debuts of the year.

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20 Gift Ideas for Tweens

Posted by Amoebite, December 8, 2014 12:56pm | Post a Comment

Gift Ideas Tweens

We've got lots of great stuff for tweens at Amoeba, from posters of teen heartthrobs to the latest records by Ariana Grande and One Direction. Here are 20 we think would be perfect gifts for the not-quite-teenagers in your life. 

one direction four cd

For the boy-bander:

One Direction - Four

The fourth album by European boy band One Direction shows added maturity in the lads' songwriting, with help from Good Charlotte, McFly, Kodaline, The 1975, John Legend and Emeli Sande. Features the songs "Steal My Girl" and "Night Changes."

PST's 50 Best Albums of 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 5, 2014 02:48pm | Post a Comment

50 Best Albums of 2014

This is how it always works: You think, how am I going to find 50 albums I really liked this year? Then by the end of compiling these things, you’re leaving off records you really liked and realizing that this year didn’t suck so badly after all! Here are the 50 albums I honestly felt were the most well-made, original or enjoyable this year. Check out Aaron Detroit’s list, too, for even more good shit from 2014.

 

1. Sun Kil MoonBenji

sun kil moon benji lpAmid the wrongheaded War on Drugs bashing and indulgent songwriting/self-mythologizing that came with it, it could be easy to forget the brilliance of Benji. But Mark Kozelek’s later-career renaissance reaches its apex on Benji. Whereas songs in his ’90s project Red House Painters were often autobiographical, if morose and romantic, if, to call Benji “confessional” would be an understatement. Not only is it a classic example oversharing in the social media age, it’s just a new classic period, the best thing he’s done since RHP’s heyday. Two songs directly address Kozelek’s love for his aging parents as he himself hits middle age (“I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love” and “I Love My Dad” are far from ironic, though they cover ground beyond what their titles suggest). “Dogs” covers Kozelek’s history with women in sometimes excruciating detail, from his first kiss at 5 to getting bathed by two women. Part of what makes Benji so masterful is how Kozelek blends rich physical details, with references to Panera Bread and Pink Floyd records, along with impressionistic accounts, such as his atmospheric telling of what caught his attention in a Led Zeppelin film (“I Watched the Film the Song Remains the Same”) and what that says about him as a person. It can be a lot to take in at once—“Micheline” at first feels like a diary dump, though it ends on a touching note about his grandmother—but most of the time, the details are funny or poignant or both, coming through clearly with little more than Kozelek’s wavering, creaking voice and reverbed acoustic guitar. “Ben’s My Friend,” which ends the album with its catchiest song (and curiosity value, due to its titular subject being Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie), is a sterling reminder of how many little things add up to the sum of our lives, making a pretty refrain out of “blue crab cakes,” throwing in some horns and flamenco guitar for good measure and tying the album up nicely with a reflective bow. Kozelek may be a cranky old man, but his lifetime of experiences made for enrapturing listening on Benji, which simply has the best songwriting of any music release this year.

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