It’s the end of the year and it’s time to wrap up everything we loved, and this year I’d like to make this a buyers recommendation for records this year. At this point in my life, these are all records I think you should drop $20 on and spin the vinyl like there is no tomorrow.
I didn’t think it was proper to put these in any type of order although most people who I discuss music with will probably know what my number one is. Without further ado, here are my recommendations for records to buy that released in 2014.
Here’s part two of the list
Nikki Lane – All or Nothin’
Pairing up with Dan Auerbach on Lane’s record may have proved to be an excellent decision on Lane’s All or Nothin’ a triumph of outlaw-bad-girl country, it forges a path of unashamed honesty, cleverness and the ever presence of Loretta Lynn. It’s a fantastic album with a dozen songs of bravado.
Buy All Or Nothin’
Field Report – Marigolden
Porterfield wraps beautiful writing into these really interesting songs that are all instantly catchy and familiar, his voice raspy, warm and inviting; and there’s a subtlety to his music, it’s understated in nature yet pretty damn powerful. This might be one of my most spun records I bought this year, and I think if you sit down to listen to this, you’ll fall in love really fast.
Shakey Graves – And the War Came
Well….this record is full of those lo-fi boot-stomping americana tracks we’ve come to love Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia) for. It’s a sparse, cracky record with songs that play in your head even when you press pause. The record definitely shines a bit more when Garcia is lent a vocal hand with Esme Patterson who appears on a few extremely memorable tracks. The track for me on this record went, I love Dearly Departed, I’m not sure I love everything else, spin again, oh my god I love this…keep playing this.
Buy And The War Came
Goodnight Texas – Uncle John Farquhar
Goodnight Texas has been on a path to unearth a portion of folk music that takes you to a place, and I think they’ve done exactly that with Farquhar. Their songs are transportational, they jump you to a different time and place, and balance the unfamiliar with the familiar giving a part of the modern within the tradition of folk music. From upbeat jangly tunes about bank robber’s and horse accidents, to love-letter ballads set during the civil war. It’s a hayride of Americana filled with stories that transcend time, even with old-time aesthetic.
Shovels & Rope – Swimmin Time
I was surprised by this record, really. I said this was the ShoRo record that might alienate some fans. It’s dark, it’s not that lovey dovey, shiny husband and wife record we heard with O’ Be Joyful. This record is wet with imagery of the flood, of lost at sea, and the desperate search to find our way back to shore. None of that is a condemnation, because song after song, I find myself exclaiming just how much I like each one. This 3rd record might be their heaviest yet, but having the artistic license and the ability to pull this off marks it as a huge success in my eyes. Their talent seems to know no bounds, and this is a shining example of stepping out on a ledge, and just jumping.
Buy Swimmin’ Time
Jenny Lewis – The Voyager
Lewis’ third solo record The Voyager crept slowly on me. It took a long time to really form a bond, and all of a sudden Lewis’ trademark confessional songwriting, pop-sensibility… we find Lewis here still searching and finding her way through the breakup of Rilo Kiley, the breakup with Blake Sennett and her finding her way into her mid-thirties. The record has some great Fleetwood Mac sounding influence, it’s bigger and brighter, than the folksy record that seemed to really make her. The Voyager is a sophisticated grower of an album that might take time, but you will fall in love with it, I promise.
Buy The Voyager
Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
Man, what is there to say about Sturgill Simpson that hasn’t been heralded on every blog across the internet. But when you sit down to listen to this record, you realize Simpson’s astute songwriting, adventurous content, his exploration and his honesty turn this into a record you want to spend a lot of time with. The sound production is wonderful, the songwriting is great, and he even snuck a few amazing covers onto the record. This isn’t the album that saved country music, because that’s bullshit, it’s the record that put a fantastic songwriter in front of a lot of people for one good reason, great songwriting.
I implore you, please, buy Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
The War on Drugs – Lost In the Dream
Lost In the Dream should present the War on Drugs as one of the best rock bands making music today. It’s a bold statement, but wow, Lost in the Dream is that record that really puts them on the map. Granduciel has found a way to turn straight ahead rock music, deconstruct it and modify with who knows what white noise and create this frankenstein monster of . They’ve moved just slightly away from the haze and ambient nature of Slave Ambient and Wagonwheel Blues, found a focus, and it’s a near triumphant balance of driving riffs, and some exploratory sounds. Give this record a few spins, and if you don’t already own it, buy the damn thing.
That’s it for 2014, there are tons of other records, but these stood out to me as my favorites, and ones I think would make a fantastic gift for the holidays. Now get out there and buy some music.