Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 Highlights & Show # 540

The following is a collection of some of my favourite releases from 2014. Songs from these albums plus several others can be heard in the podcast below. It can be downloaded below the play list.

As a bonus, this year Revolution Rock featured a co-host on several occasions. I have included Adam’s (my occasional co-hosts) top ten in this post as well.

1. Thee Oh Sees - Drop

After announcing that the band will be taking a hiatus last year, Thee Oh Sees released their eighth full-length album at the end of April. Entitled Drop, the album brings in an intense focus to the band’s already established San Franciscan psychedelic garage sound. Apparently recorded in a banana ripening factory, there’s gritty garage sounds with scruffy guitars, psychedelic solos, a bit of kraut rock and elements found on 2012’s Putrifiers II and 2013’s Floating Coffin. Drop is victorious in its savage, primitive and unrelenting garage psych riffs, while the pop elements sink in deeper amongst the synthesizers and crude album cover artwork.

2. Teenanger – E P L P

E P L P is Teenanger from Toronto’s fourth studio album. The album has an undeniable garage punk sleaze to it. The sound on this album is one that is difficult to describe specifically, it is the sound of a band in their element. On E P L P the new wave/post punk influence from previous albums is still apparent, but there seems to be more voluminous guitar riffs that are like shards of shrapnel. Basslines sound thick and at times fuzz addled, as analog sounding drums, snotty vocals by Chris Swimmings and backing vocals provided by Melissa Ball add to the overall battlefield of dynamics found here. With E P L P Teenanger does not misfire. Throughout this nine-track launch the band hones their sound and are right on target.

3. White Fence - For The Recently Found Innocent

Aesthetically, For The Recently Found Innocent finds a balance between the last two releases from White Fence, 2013’s Cyclops Reap and Live In San Francisco, the later of which was an album that showcased White Fence in a full band and in a more revved up fashion. The album features not only Segall on some drum tracks, but also Nick Murray from White Fence’s live band further connecting his last set of releases. On the album’s front cover we see a painted self-portrait of Presley, not unlike Bob Dylan’s own self-portrait cover image from the 1970 album Self Portrait, but those two albums only have a connection with the artwork, not the music. We can see the same gritty canvas beneath the smeared messy painting on the cover, it is still the same White Fence. On For The Recently Found Innocent, Tim Presley has merely stepped out of his home and upgraded to a more proper studio environment utilizing an 8 track recorder (instead of a 4 track) with the help of Ty Segall and in the process, displays a new type of innocence.

4. The Black Lips - Underneath The Rainbow

Recorded with Patrick Carney (The Black Keys) and Tommy Brenneck (Budos Band), The Black Lips take their “flower punk” garage sound adding some southern and country influences. There is a brief moment in the music video that was created for the song “Justice After All” that perfectly describes what to expect from Black Lips on this album and more than likely in the future. In the video, we see shots of the band performing live and running down a street. At one point during the solo we see a shot of guitarist Ian Saint Pe playing a solo as another shot of guitarist Cole Alexander slides in and he pukes on the ground. This moment shows the listener and viewer that while they are trying new things, they are still the same band that we have all known. They may have branched out on Underneath The Rainbow, showcasing a slightly different spectrum of sound with Southern twang influences, but they are still the same Black Lips.

5. Ty Segall – Manipulator

Manipulator is a double album that contains a multitude of layers. This 56 minute double album also took fourteen months to record, every other Segall release was recorded and released quickly. Musically the album combines elements of Segall’s most recent projects Fuzz, sounds from the album Slaughterhouse with the Ty Segall Band, acoustic elements, and the garage sounds that he has been known for. Additionally, the influence of 70s glam rock and classic rock sounds dominate this seventeen track release.

6. James O-L & The Villains - On The Banks Of The Detroit River

On The Banks Of The Detroit River was recorded in Kingsville, with Brett Humber at Sound Foundry Studios and overall the album has “More of a bigger sound” and “In general the songs have gotten more aggressive”, as James tells me. Lyrically, this album pulls inspirations from its surroundings. Songs on the album seem to evoke a certain tone, one that comes with living in Essex County. Musically this album draws from the folk/country dynamic that James O-L & The Villains have displayed in the past, but it also mixes with an aggressive, punk/90s rock edge. The songs that make up this album portray the subtleties of a band mixing elements of folk, country and the heavy rains of aggressive feedback.

7. Paul Jacobs - Do It Again

Do It Again was the fourth release by the prolific garage rock machine Paul Jacobs in 2014. His first two releases, a split with Vaguess entitled I’ll Listen To This Later and the full-length I Need A Place To Keep My Stuff, both featured Paul Jacobs in his one-man band setup. Paul released the Mouldy Love EP in June of 2014, doing things a bit differently recording with a traditional full band set up and bass, something that has been absent from his solo recordings. Released in October 2014, Do It Again featured the same full band more traditional setup. This release was a collection of re-recordings from Paul Jacobs back catalog even featuring a song from Raised By Weeds, a three-piece band that he played with back in 2012. With Do It Again, Paul Jacobs reworks some of his best songs, presenting them in a compilation-like fashion. The songs still sound as fresh, exhilarating and sometimes better than the original versions. Paul Jacobs does it again, in more ways than one.

8. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Gates Of Hell

Four of the album’s tracks were recorded with Ben Cook of the band Fucked Up. Sam Coffey covered the rest of the production, recording in the band’s practice space and a variety of other locations adding to the album’s character, as he has done with previous Iron Lungs recordings. Gates Of Hell covers a lot of topics lyrically and musically adds to the Iron Lungs palate. Sam Coffey originally from Waterloo, Ontario, recently relocated to Toronto and expanded his band to a six-piece group. More people in the band means there could be more complication in the overall sound of the group. The band does not fall into this trap here. The band’s sound may have expanded with more members and higher production values, but on Gates Of Hell, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs deliver an album that deals with many hellish complex subjects, whether metaphorically or bluntly throughout the album’s lyrical content. Musically they still keep the rowdy, pub-crawl spirit that drew us to them in the first place.

9. Guided By Voices - Motivational Jumpsuit

The first of two albums that Guided By Voices released in 2014, before their eventual split. This album finds the band in one of their unique, prolific creative pockets featuring songs drawing comparison to 1994’s Bee Thousand, 1995’s Alien Lanes and 1996’s Under The Bushes Under The Stars. With Motivational Jumpsuit, Guided By Voices zip up all the loose ends, but not too tightly. Featuring twenty tracks under forty minutes, this album proves that they can still make a great album twenty-one albums into their career.

10. Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal

Sunbathing Animal, the band’s third full-length album was recorded in between touring, the sessions also produced an EP beforehand entitled Tally All The Things You Broke. With Sunbathing Animal, Parquet Courts lean more towards the punk, post punk and garage elements of the band with hints of their early noisy beginnings. The band also released another album Content Nausea near the end of 2014 under the band Name Parkay Quarts. The band features a slightly different line-up, but is primarily the work of Andrew Savage and Austin Brown from Parquet Courts.

Adam’s Top Ten for Revolution Rock:

1. Sun Kil Moon – Benji
2. Swans – To Be Kind
3. Perfume Genius – Too Bright
4. Iceage – Plowing Into The Field Of Love
5. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
6. Aerial Pink – Pom Pom
7. Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
8. Ty Segall – Manipulator
9. White Lung – Deep Fantasy
10. Ought – More Than Any Other Day

Best of 2014 Play List:

1. Parquet Courts - Instant Disassembly (Sunbathing Animal - What's Your Rupture? 2014)
2. Parkay Quarts - Content Nausea (Content Nausea - What's Your Rupture? 2014)
3. Guided By Voices - Planet Score (Motivational Jumpsuit - Guided By Voices Inc. 2014)
4. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Hold Me Close (Gates Of Hell - South Paw Records 2014)
5. Paul Jacobs - Waking Up (Do It Again - Self Released 2014)
6. James O-L & The Villains - Late Night Drive (On The Banks Of The Detroit River - Famous Last Records 2014)
7. Ought - Weather Song (More Than Any Other Day - Constellation Records 2014)
8. White Lung - Just For You (Deep Fantasy - Domino 2014)
9. Ty Segall - Connection Man (Manipulator - Drag City 2014)
10. Mac DeMarco - Blue Boy (Salad Days - Captured Tracks 2014)
11. Ariel Pink - Nude Beach A Go-Go (Pom Pom - 4AD 2014)
12. King Tuff - Magic Mirror (Black Moon Spell - Sub Pop 2014)
13. OFF! - I Won't Be A Casualty (Wasted Years - Vice 2014)
14. Chad Vangaalen - Leaning On Bells (Shrink Dust - Sub Pop 2014)
15. The Black Angels - The Flop (Clear Lake Forest EP - Blue Horizon Records 2014)
16. Kestrels - Wide Eyes (The Moon Is Shining Our Way EP - Noyes/Sonic Unyon 2014)
17. Ty Segall - Manipulator (Manipulator - Drag City 2014)
18. St. Vincent - Birth In Reverse (St. Vincent - Loma Vista/Republic Records 2014)
19. Iceage - Forever (Plowing Through The Field Of Love - Matador 2014)
20. Perfume Genius - Longpig (Too Bright - Matador 2014)
21. The Black Lips - Dorner Party (Underneath The Rainbow - Vice 2014)
22. White Fence - Anger! Who Keeps You Under (For The Recently Found Innocent - Drag City Records 2014)
23. Swans - A Little God in My Hands (To Be Kind - Young God/Mute Records 2014)
24. Sun Kil Moon - Pray for Newtown (Benji - Caldo Verde Records 2014)
25. Teenanger - Sky Saxon (E P L P - Telephone Explosion 2014)
26. Thee Oh Sees - Drop (Drop - Castle Face 2014)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 27. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

For those keeping track, episode number 538 was a repeat of show number 531.  It can be downloaded here.

No comments: