2014: High Notes

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I covered a lot of ground in 2014 – from Rio to Wan Chai, Monaco to Niigata, and Salt Spring Island to Playa del Carmen. The best music of the year kept me moving and kept me from asking, “Are we there?” Here’s to enjoying the journey as much as the destination in 2015!

1. Sharon Van Etten: Are We There
The best thing I heard all year was this stately meditation on the follies of the heart. Song of the year for me – “Every Time the Sun Comes Up.”

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2. Thee Silver Mount Zion: Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything

Bono recently wrote, “Capitalism is not immoral, but it is amoral. It gets its instructions from us.” Clearly, arse-head hasn’t reckoned with the force of “Austerity Blues.” If “us” includes SMZ, he and his Davos privateers best watch their backs.

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3. Real Estate: Atlas

First saw them at Coachella in 2012 and was summarily seduced by their sweet, summery pop. Earworm – “Talking Backwards.”

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4. Katerine: Magnum

Philippe Katerine, a Gallic trickster, captures some of the worst of the 80s and makes it all seem worthwhile.

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5. Mac DeMarco: Salad Days

Man-o-man, Mac is such a wingnut. And from Edmonton, oi!

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6. Spoon: They Want My Soul

I continue to be mesmerized by the short-sharp-shock of überfunkster Britt Daniels and his Spooners. Their Ann-Margret cover is the coolest of year, btw.

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7. War on Drugs: Lost In the Dream

Hazy, euphoric ennui. Political statement of the year from white Amerika.

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8. Sun Kil Moon: Benji

The year’s best bunch of sad-sack from another aging, white guy “staring down the barrel of obsolescence.” Epic Led Zep nostalgia where it hurts.

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9. Ariel Pink: Pom Pom

A sincere provocateur…anyone who can conjure a performance like this for “Picture Me Gone” deserves high praise.

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10. Sinead O’Connor: I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss

Fantastic – one of the GMFs on the planet.

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11. Perfume Genius: Too Bright

A grand, emancipatory gesture from a golden “Queen.”

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12. Wussy: Attica!

From the wastelands where “Baba O’Riley” lines up with the beat of your heart

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13. Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems

We all got ’em, and the doctor knows the cure – keep it slow, make it last.

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14. Lucinda Williams: Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

Expansive and raw, signs of compassion.

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15: D’Angelo: Black Messiah

Well worth the wait. Bring on the apocalypse.

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