Advertisement

2014 Aux.Out. Writers’ Poll (aka Philzz Jop 2)

Advertisement
Advertisement

I’m a person who likes traditions, and so I am again writing the intro to Philzz Jop on Christmas Day. But, unlike last year, I’m not going to shout out every participant. Rather, I’m just gonna thank a few special people who have helped make Aux.Out. tick this year.

Every article that we publish goes through a combination of Matt Melis, Michael Madden, and Michael Roffman (that’s a lot of M names!), and those three guys are invaluable in making sure that the stories on Aux.Out. are the best that they can be. They work pretty thanklessly behind the scenes, but, well, this is my chance to say thank you to them.

I also wanted to throw out a special show of gratitude to Sasha Geffen, my podcast co-host (and podcast editor and trusted friend), whose contributions to Aux.Out. are many and both seen and unseen. Also Alex Young, for giving pieces social media boosts that allow for them to be better seen and for his steady encouragement. And lastly our regular writers, like Robert Ham, Laura Studarus, Chris Coplan, Alyssa Pereira, Gary Suarez, and Hilary Saunders. Your steady work of high quality provides the backbone to this thing and makes my job easier.

Dan Deacon

Making this post is a labor of love and requires days of data entry. But it is not without its joy. In making it, I discover Kim Kelly’s 2014 seems unexpectedly countrified, I get surprised that Gary Suarez’s favorite album isn’t a rap album, I find out that Jerard Fagerberg is a Cat Stevens fan… And I dunno, I get joy out of the unanticipated. Part of me just gets a kick out of the fact that 32 music writers care enough to provide thoughtful responses to this poll. My hope is that not only Philzz Jop continues to grow next year, but that its growth is indicative of Aux.Out.’s growth. I hope that this core of writers continues to contribute and that we bring in new writers as well. I hope people keep bringing in excellent story ideas.

Hope. Ha, this is a crazy idea, because the question that the most people answered on this survey was about music giving them hope. People talk a lot about the problems with the music industry, but if it were hopeless, we wouldn’t all be here. Well, here is my hope: I hope you all have a happy new year. Thanks for reading.

-Philip Cosores
Director of Aux.Out.

WHAT WAS THE BEST ALBUM OF 2014?

Another Cultural Landslide
No such thing as a best album: everybody listens with different ears.

Rachel Bailey
It’s a toss-up between Run the Jewels 2 and The War on Drugs’ Lost in the Dream.

Jody Beth
When the foul, destructive urges arise, it’s Consumer Electronics’ Estuary English or Pharmakon’s Bestial Burden. When I want a thoughtful meditation on identity politics and the struggle for self-actualization, I go to tUnE-yArDs’ Nikki Nack. And when I run into the Russian wilderness, pursued by a coven of beautiful and willful art-prog witches led remotely by a laughing Kate Bush from her cliff-side fortress on the Devon coast, only Olga Bell’s Krai will do.

H. Drew Blackburn
Young Hot Ebony – Father. That is my favorite, but probably Spoon’s They Want My Soul. Also, D’Angelo’s Black Messiah.

Dan Bogosian
I don’t remember what album I had originally picked two weeks after submitting it. I know that December 15, 1:17 a.m., just finishing the album once through, Black Messiah is the right answer. To say I waited 14 years for this would be a lie, as I didn’t like D’Angelo back then and won’t pretend to. But toward the end of my high school career, I got into him, and I ‘preferred Voodoo,’ and I ate up the long wait.

This is like Chinese Democracy dropping and surpassing expectations. The layers of guitar on “Back to the Future (Part II)”, the whistling on “The Door”, the fucking lyrics to “The Charade”. “All we wanted was a chance to talk, ‘stead we only got outlined in chalk” – yeah, it was the first lyric given to everyone. It’s just more of what ?uestlove talked about for years – literally years, when he said the percentage of readiness – about how the album was done, and the problem was D’Angelo was waiting for the right moment to release it.

Maybe D’Angelo had “outlined in chalk” written in 2007. Ferguson, Eric Gardner everything … I mean. How is Black Messiah not Album of the Year? Message-wise, it has to be; musically … it’s just the dopest thing I’ve heard since I discovered Funkadelic. Take that as you will.

Dangelo Black MessiahChris Bosman
Who fucking knows. The four I keep going between are Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2, Future’s Honest, The Hotelier’s Home Like Noplace There Is, and Against Me’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues.

Philip Cosores
Angel Olsen’s Burn Your Fire for No Witness.

Jerard Fagerberg
Run the Jewels – RTJ2. Two underground stalwarts went from being backpacker favorites to the dudes who were guesting on CNN, making cat sound records, and beefing with Taylor Swift fans, all BEFORE they dropped an absolute heater of a record.

Sasha Geffen
Run the Jewels – RTJ2

Robert Ham
Aphex Twin – Syro

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Woods – With Light and with Love

Henry Hauser
The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

Run the Jewels 2 ArtworkBrian Josephs
Run the Jewels 2

Kim Kelly
Blut Aus Nord — Memoria Vestusa III – Saturnian Poetry

Sarah Kurchak
Tanya Tagaq’s Animism. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard before and just might be the Canadian equivalent to 1989 Public Enemy. In spirit if not in sound.

K.C. Libman
Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams. Not a return to form nor a reintroduction to the spotlight, it’s a record that’s just en evolution for Adams and could easily cement him into the widespread American rock pantheon — just look at those Grammy nods.

Nathan Mattise
Singles — Future Islands

In a year where no album has leapt up and captured the critical consensus (see Frank Ocean in 2012; either Kanye West or Vampire Weekend last year), why can’t your personal favorite become your overall top LP? Singles is a coming-out party for a workmanlike band, a bit of reserved optimism and uninhibited energy in what many have noted has been a fairly dark year. This album can be both an escape and an emotional Rorschach, a perfect bit of music for 2014. The Letterman performance got the headlines, but it’s a testament to the band that this album outlasts any temporary fame.

Colin McLaughlin
D’Angelo – Black Messiah

Kevin McMahon
Mr. Twin Sister – Mr. Twin Sister

Paula Mejia
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2

Mischa Pearlman
So many to choose from, but probably Swans, To Be Kind. It’s also the best album of 2014 that I listen to least, because it’s so overwhelmingly intense, but that’s partly what makes it so good.

Alyssa Pereira
Future Islands – Singles
Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
tUnE-yArDs – nikki nack
Sylvan Esso – self-titled
Mac de Marco – Salad Days
Perfect Pussy – Say Yes to Love

Whitney Phaneuf
Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There

Lior Phillips
Equal footing: The War on Drugs and Nils Frahm’s Spaces

Alejandra Ramirez
D’ Angelo – Black Messiah. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard actual soul music. Not genre-speaking, but music that digs deep. Inspirational. Redemptive. Passionate.

Michael Roffman
The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

Hilary Saunders
Last year we differentiated between “best album” and “favorite album,” so I’m going with the latter definition here and putting in my vote for Sylvan Esso’s self-titled debut.

Laura Studarus
Future Islands – Singles

Gary Suarez
Arca – Xen

David Turner
Aphex Twin – Syro

WHAT ALBUM DID YOU EXPECT NOT TO LIKE BUT ENDED UP LOVING?

Rachel Bailey
Sam Herring from Future Islands — that guy’s voice used to really bug me, especially how it grated up against twinkly production on songs like “Balance”. It did to my ears what OJ and toothpaste do to my mouth: YUCK.

But then they came out with Singles, and I realized my tastes had totally changed. I love them now, and it’s always so much nicer to love something than to hate it.

Future-Islands-1

Jody Beth
I wouldn’t say I love Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence; it loses its way in the middle third, making me think it’d be a better mini-album than a traditional full-length. My initial concern wasn’t with Del Rey herself — I came prepared with the standard list of caveats about her — but with producer Dan Auerbach. I worried that Ultraviolence would be boilerplate blooze-rock or would smother itself in cumbersome Lanois-style atmospherics with enough implied “meaning” to choke a horse. But I like the fragility of the finished product. In a year when Beyoncé, Taylor, and Katy are selling an image of a whole, self-fulfilled, almost smugly satisfied person (and that’s fine; success is a feminist act), it’s nice to see women who are messy, imperfect, and a little codependent, which is most of us, have some time on the floor as well. Recent pop music has also seen this kind of blurred fallibility with Sia, Tove Lo, and Sky Ferreira, but they’re scrappy contenders rather than cultural monoliths. When Auerbach leaves Del Rey’s weak high notes alone rather than overdubbing or sweetening them, it’s a calculated risk that pays off by letting the singer’s vulnerability show through. The heartache in these songs is palpable.

The oft-repeated “damsel in distress” narrative attached to Del Rey is a red herring, considering the industry leverage the popularity of this album now gives her. Like Azealia Banks, she fought to put out the record she wanted to make, positioning herself as a difficult diva. It’s a tactic that has two possible outcomes: either no one wants to work with you, or people become inspired by your drive and vision and trip over themselves getting on your party bus. Whether Del Rey is built to last or has only a couple more albums in her, she definitely has our attention this time.

H. Drew Blackburn
Pom Pom by Ariel Pink

Dan Bogosian
Too Bright by Perfume Genius. Dude can write amazing songs. I don’t consider the genre my thing at all – I’m more into less straightforward music and guitar-based music. But, again: dude can write amazing songs.

Chris Bosman
Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues. I had never been into Against Me! in the past, and going into the album I hadn’t heard anything about Laura Jane Grace’s trials heading into the record, so I had no context aside from “Oh, another Against Me! record.”

But TDB is such a strong record melodically that you find yourself humming its most aggressively in-your-face sociopolitical statements before you’ve even internalized their message, and then once you get to that it’s so powerful in how it toes the line between vulnerability and invulnerability, bravery and fear.

Philip Cosores
The YG album. And Weezer for sure. And Spoon.

Jerard Fagerberg
Benji was my first real encounter with Mark Kozelek/Sun Kil Moon. I thought he was pretty overrated until I got my hands on that one, but Benji is undeniable. Even if Kozelek is a histrionic jerk.

Sasha Geffen
Lykke Li – I Never Learn

Robert Ham
Future – Honest

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
The Clark album on Warp

Burn-Your-Fire-For-No-Witness-coverHenry Hauser
Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness

Brian Josephs
Broke with Expensive Taste

Kim Kelly
Sturgill Simpson — Metalmodern Sounds in Country Music

Daniel Kohn
Hooray for Earth. Didn’t think they’d match their last record, but they manage to surpass it.

K.C. Libman
Eric Church, The Outsiders. With so much cockeyed press surrounding this record as his rumored departure from the country music norm, I was pleased to find him covering so many bases, from prog-rock to R&B, and doing it well. An insane record, no doubt, but ambition can breed brilliance in unlikely places.

Michael Madden
I was surprised by how much I liked My Krazy Life, YG’s debut album. Admittedly, I hadn’t given the Compton rapper enough of a look before its release, but the depth of his verses — along with the mostly DJ Mustard-helmed production, which is both new-school in sound and classic in its radiant West Coast vibe — sold me 400 times over.

Nathan Mattise
Seeds — TV on the Radio

2014 is a beautiful time to be a music fan. In the past, the radio silence and seeming dismissal of TVOTR’s new album would’ve led to me skipping it all together — just not worth the money or effort to find the music. But today, I previewed the album on iTunes, I heard singles in advance through Sirius XMU and blogs, and I can access the entire thing on Spotify wherever. It may devalue what music writers do to an extent (sorting through the clutter, providing a frame of reference and perspective), but the ability to try it for yourself prevented me from making a mistake and skipping TVOTR’s latest. It’s a band in transition; it’s a band lacking narrative — sure. But TVOTR is not lacking in its ability to craft interesting melodies and explore thought-provoking subject matter these days, and the emotional losses of Seeds should be more appreciated.

Colin McLaughlin
Vince Staples’ Hell Can Wait EP. There’s this thing with internet rap culture where people are always trying to lift up new acts way too early. I don’t know if it’s a lack of taste, a need to champion or what, but Vince always struck me as not ready for prime time. Then I listen to “Hell Can Wait” and had some of the same shock-and-awe feelings I had when I first heard “Straight Outta Compton” as a child. The right beats have found the right guy at the right time. Magic.

Kevin McMahon
Spoon – They Want My Soul

Mischa Pearlman
The new Weezer. And the new Smashing Pumpkins.

Whitney Phaneuf
Young Jeezy’s Seen It All

Azealia-Banks-Broke-With-Expensive-Taste-2014-1200x1200Lior Phillips
FKA Twigs – LP1

Alejandra Ramirez
Azealia Banks- Broke with Expensive Taste

Michael Roffman
Weezer. I thought that album would be another disappointing offering from Rivers Cuomo, but boy was I wrong.

Laura Studarus
I’ve never been part of the cult of Rilo Kiley, but wow — Jenny Lewis really knocked it out of the park with Voyager. Substitute Rilo Kiley with Blur and Jenny Lewis with Damon Albarn and you know how I feel about “Everyday Robots”.

Gary Suarez
Hans Zimmer – Interstellar: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

WHAT ALBUM DID YOU LISTEN TO MOST IN 2014?

Rachel Bailey
Landlady’s Upright Behavior. It’s so, so great.

Jody Beth
tUnE-yArDs’ Nikki Nack, although I could live quite comfortably without “Why Do We Dine on the Tots?”

H. Drew Blackburn
My mind’s telling me Young Hot Ebony or St. Vincent but Spotify says Future’s Honest. Spotify’s a damn lie.

Chris Bosman
Probably the Hotelier’s Home, Like Noplace Is There. It just brought back so many high school Sunny Day Real Estate memories, when I had a dumb band that tried to talk about girls and life and drugs and sex and feeling different. But the Hotelier avoided those pitfalls deftly and pulled tricks like the way they dance around the burst of catharsis on the album’s opening track or the way they just strangle you with their guitar hooks from the beginning of a song and never let go.

Philip Cosores
Strand of Oaks – HEAL

Jerard Fagerberg
Astronautalis – This Is Our Science. This will be my answer for the next 10 years.

Sasha Geffen
Ricky Eat Acid – Three Love Songs

Total ControlRobert Ham
Total Control – Typical System

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Woods – With Light and with Love

Henry Hauser
The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

Brian Josephs
Flying Lotus’ You’re Dead

Kim Kelly
Mortuary Drape — Spiritual Independence

Daniel Kohn
Jack White, Lazaretto

Sarah Kurchak
Caustic Love by Paolo Nutini

K.C. Libman
Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams

Michael Madden
Album? That would be The War on Drugs’ Lost in the Dream. I get really into one indie rock album per year, it seems, and Adam Granduciel and co.’s was it this year. But full-length musical project in general? Lil Herb’s Welcome to Fazoland, the endlessly hungry Chicago rapper’s debut mixtape.

Colin McLaughlin
War on Drugs or Mick Jenkins.

The-War-On-Drugs-4

Kevin McMahon
Mac Demarco – Salad Days

Paula Mejia
Iceage — Plowing into the Field of Love

Mischa Pearlman
Probably Matthew Ryan’s Boxers.

Alyssa Pereira
I listened to Alvvays a lot in the latter half of the year, Mac Demarco, Benjamin Booker.

Whitney Phaneuf
Carla Bozulich’s Boy; Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There; Run the Jewels 2; Swans’ To Be Kind; YG’s My Krazy Life; Young Jeezy’s Seen It All; Jessie Ware’s Tough Love; Perfume Genius’ Too Bright; Parquet Courts’ Sunbathing Animal + (like every year) a ton of Talking Heads, Bowie, Pavement, Patti Smith…

Magnolia_Electric_Co.-SongsX_Ohia_480Lior Phillips
The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

Alejandra Ramirez
Run the Jewels – RTJ2

Michael Roffman
The War on Drugs, but also Will Butler and Owen Pallett’s score for Her.

Hilary Saunders
Songs: Ohia – The Magnolia Electric Co.

Laura Studarus
Slow Club – Complete Surrender. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they release a karaoke version.

Gary Suarez
Ratking – So It Goes

David Turner
Aphex Twin – Syro

WHAT ALBUM DISAPPOINTED YOU MOST?

Jody Beth
It was an excellent year for music and very little disappointed me in any notable sense. I had hoped that Black Bananas’ Electric Brick Wall would have more staying power in my regular rotation, but nothing on it was as wonderfully weird as their 2014 “Freezer Jam Remix” of Liars’ “Mess on a Mission”. I also wish Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music lived up to the praise heaped upon it; it’s a bit staid, even when it turns When in Rome’s “The Promise” on its ear.

H. Drew Blackburn
All of them. But most: Schoolboy Q’s Oxymoron and Future Island’s Singles.

Dan Bogosian
Atlas by Real Estate. Hey guys, we get it: you’re bored writing music for other bored people. For the band that wrote “Suburban Dogs”, they pretty much don’t run away from home at all. Maybe they should try something new, a little bit, for a little while?

No? It’s just me?

OK.

Real-Estate-1

Chris Bosman
Can I say Future’s Honest even though I love that record, just because I’m so disappointed in Future himself? “Pussy Overrated”? Are you kidding me, Future? We’ve seen Ciara and the way she can move her body, so like I don’t believe you. At all. I’m almost certain your dick game is the thing that’s overrated in this equation. FOH.

If we’re restricted to just musical disappointments, then I have to say FKA twigs. That’s not necessarily a knock on LP1, which is one of the year’s strongest albums, but more a commentary on my own expectations for an artist whose first two EPs blew me completely away. By comparison, her debut full-length was fuller, more robust, and more fully realized, but it lacked the serrated teeth that so intrigued me about her earlier work. LP1 smoothed over those teeth, and while it’s very, very good, it’s not quite what I wanted it to be.

Philip Cosores
Where do I start? The Karen O album. The Tweedy album. The Hold Steady. Based on the initial hype, I was disappointed with the D’Angelo album, too.

Jerard Fagerberg
Yusuf/Cat Stevens – Tell ‘Em I’m Gone. I said some nice things about this record, but truth be told, it was underwhelming. As a lifelong devotee of the Tillerman, I couldn’t quite groove with this one.

Xiu Xiu - Angel-Guts-Red-ClassroomSasha Geffen
Xiu Xiu – Angel Guts/Red Classroom

Robert Ham
Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Done with being disappointed in music … just focusing on what I like.

Henry Hauser
Ray LaMontagne – Supernova

Brian Josephs
Cloud Nothings’ Here and Nowhere Else

Kim Kelly
Taylor Swift — 1989

Daniel Kohn
U2. If you’re gonna drop an album has boldly as they did, it better be A++++++.

Sarah Kurchak
Timber Timbre’s Hot Dreams. It kills me to admit this, but it’s just not what I was hoping for. I don’t hate it, but I can turn it off halfway through and forget about it. Everything they/he did before Hot Dreams has woven its way into my brain like a Cronenbergian monster and remains there to this day. I can’t hum you a single thing or quote a single creepy lyric from this disc.

K.C. Libman
Foster the People, Supermodel. Some shining, trademark tracks but overall just didn’t do what the pop of Torches did for me.

Nathan Mattise
Disappointment in 2014 albums is really just acknowledgement — these acts I love did a previous album that felt transcendent, and this newest LP didn’t provide the same immediate rush. Hopefully time will look back on these releases fondly, but the new albums from tUnE-yArDs, DFA 1979, the New Pornographers, War on Drugs, and St. Vincent didn’t receive many replays.

Colin McLaughlin
Ryan Adams’ new one. I recognize that Ryan is a hit-or-miss artist, but he has so many great songs that I keep hoping for classics. This new one was a bit of wheel spinner to me. Does he have anything to really get off his chest anymore, or is life pretty fine for him at this stage? If the latter, it’s no wonder why the struggle never breaks through.

Kevin McMahon
Broken Bells – After the Disco. I think a lot of people we’re really excited for that album, and it really did not deliver.

Broken Bells

Whitney Phaneuf
I thought the new War on Drugs (Lost in the Dream) was kinda boring, in a pleasant way.

Lior Phillips
Alexis Taylor – Await Barbarians
Alt J – This Is All Yours
Elbow – The Take off and Landing of Everything

Alejandra Ramirez
Pharrell Williams – GIRL

Michael Roffman
That Foo Fighters album was pretty awful.

Hilary Saunders
The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt

(but i still love you, TGA)

Laura Studarus
I’m very much on team Charli XCX, but Sucker was a classic case of dumbing it down.

Gary Suarez
Nickelback – No Fixed Address

WHAT OLDER ALBUM DID YOU DISCOVER AND LOVE IN 2014?

Rachel Bailey
This is weird, because I worked in the offices of Paste magazine while they were in the height of their crush on The Hold Steady in the late aughts, but I pretty much wholly ignored that band until Jeremy Larson wrote a killer feature on them for Pitchfork this year, at which point I started listening to “Stay Positive” nonstop.

Oh, holy crap, and I came nice and late to PJ Harvey this year, thanks to Celebrity Chef Hugh Acheson. I was running communications for his restaurant, Five and Ten. Right after they moved into a new location, he made a pretty kick-ass playlist, considering it was for a clientele of olds and country club people. “Let England Shake” was on there, and I fell into a Harvey hole for about a month.

Jody Beth
Lesego Rampolokeng & the Kalahari Surfers’ End Beginnings (a Sowetan poet and playwright’s 1989 collaboration with the Warrick Sony–led group that Melody Maker dubbed the “first radical white African pop” artist) or Gábor Szabó’s Jazz Raga (the Hungarian jazz-pop guitarist’s sitar-inflected 1967 album, which meshes psychsploitation with Roma folk and classy dinner-jazz).

Dan Bogosian
Several answers: Foxygen’s We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (I’m late to this train), which I discovered after going to a Brand New show and a friend was singing “Shuggie”. (“Hey man, have a soda. It’s on the house.” Those two lines will forever be entrenched as the proto-chill lines to talk-sing.)

Hop Along’s Get Disowned, which I discovered after they played Brooklyn Night Bazaar. They will own the world with the next album on Saddle Creek. (Plus, she’s on the Joyce Manor album cover! Joyce Manor rules!)

Everything by Bedhead. I knew them through my fondness for David Bazan and the connection to Overseas, but I never listened. Then the re-issues came out, and I listened, and as an Explosions in the Sky fan, it’s like: how did I miss out on this band for so long?

Chris Bosman
Whatever, I don’t care. That Lewis ‘L’Amour’ record is fucking great. Yeah, it got way too much weirdo iamamiwhoami-style mystery hype but who cares? The record is captivating, spinning wildly but wound tightly, and it’s obviously very personal and heart-on-sleeve, but it is almost completely indecipherable, lyrically. Those conundrums make the record still interesting and engaging even after multiple listens, if you’re willing to push all the Twitter jokes out of your mind.

Angel Olsen - Half Way Home ArtworkPhilip Cosores
Half Way Home by Angel Olsen for obvious reasons.

Jerard Fagerberg
WHY? – Elephant Eyelash, especially “Crushed Bones” and “Waterfalls”.

Sasha Geffen
Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

Robert Ham
Howard Roberts – Antelope Freeway

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Mildred Bailey collections on warm, warm wax.

Henry Hauser
Kristoffer “Kris” Kristofferson – Kristofferson

Brian Josephs
Sun Ra – The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra

Kim Kelly
Tammy Wynette — Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad

Daniel Kohn
KISS, Destroyer

Sarah Kurchak
Various greatest hits collections involving Rod Stewart. I purchased a pair of Rod Stewart hot pants as a result of this.

K.C. Libman
The Weeknd, Trilogy. Damn, Abel. Damn.

Life-Is-Beautiful-Friday-102

Michael Madden
Wu-Tang Forever. As someone who wasn’t alive when the Wu’s debut came out, my familiarity with the group has mostly come from rap-history catchup sessions. Of course, I started with 36 Chambers, but this year I finally got around to delving into their second album, and what a follow-up it was. Its predecessor had the more memorable singles, but this is even more filling as a grimy, head-cracking rhyme buffet.

Colin McLaughlin
Underworld’s Dubnobasswithmyheadman. What a record!

Kevin McMahon
Gang Starr – Hard to Earn, been a big GS fan but never really went into the back catalog.

Paula Mejia
Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood’s “Nancy and Lee”

Mischa Pearlman
I’m actually listening to Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers right now. I’d never heard it before, but my friend who’s visiting bought it on vinyl for me yesterday. It’s great!

Alyssa Pereira
I found an old Nat King Cole album at my house given to me by a friend a couple years ago. It has been on repeat ever since.

Whitney Phaneuf
I slept on Ciara’s self-titled 2013 album, and it’s good fun.

Image (2) Liars-WIXIW-e1338445872890.jpg for post 204506Lior Phillips
Liars – WIXIW

Alejandra Ramirez
Not so much discover, but rather rediscover: Funkadelic – Maggot Brain. Nothing better than political funk.

Michael Roffman
I really became obsessed again with Ziggy Stardust. I blame the Bowie exhibit.

Hilary Saunders
I had a few great late discoveries this year:
Valerie June – Pushing Against a Stone
Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
JD McPherson – Signs & Signifiers

Laura Studarus
Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. Maybe “discovered” isn’t the right word. More like “grew unhealthily obsessed with.” My fandom came to a head at Sled Island in June, when I somehow managed to shoot 400 photographs of him in the first three songs of his set. Which is hilarious since I’m pretty sure Jason Pierce is permanently attached to his chair.

Gary Suarez
Curtis Mayfield – There’s No Place Like America Today

David Turner
Built to Spill – Perfect from Now On

WHAT WAS THE MOST OVERRATED ALBUM OF 2014?

Rachel Bailey
I just really, really do not care for St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Sorry, guys.

Jody Beth
I can’t really think of anything I want to make a case for as being “overrated” — there are plenty of releases I’m indifferent to or stuff I know I’m not in the appropriate headspace or target demo for. I could say that Taylor Swift is overrated, but so what if she is, and what does that even contribute to the critical literature besides another oldster whining? I could say that Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues is overrated, but I’m happy for Laura Jane Grace and the outpouring of support from her fans, and I have no interest in pissing on something that very obviously has its heart in the right place. I am kind of tired of hearing about Ty Segall as a rock ‘n’ roll savior, but I’m not gonna write my congressman or nothin’. Ultimately, “overrating” is a product of media saturation, the fault of publicists, editors, and overzealous management rather than the artists who are just trying to put their work out there and make rent every month. The only way it has an impact on my enjoyment of the music is if I need to wait until the fierce roar dies down before I can approach it with a clear head.

H. Drew Blackburn
I have more fun at the DMV during the lunch hour than I do listening to Taylor Swift’s music.

Dan Bogosian
Todd Terje’s It’s Album Time.

Chris Bosman
Sun Kil Moon’s Benji. Mark Kozelek ain’t been shit since Red House Painters, and after that stupid thing with War on Drugs, let’s just burn him out of our collective memories, please.

Philip Cosores
D’Angelo. Mac Demarco. Iceage. Real Estate. Ought. Parquet Courts. Ex-Hex.

Jerard Fagerberg
Taylor Swift – 1989. I just don’t get how everyone can care so much?

Sasha Geffen
The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

TBD-Saturday-72

Robert Ham
(tie) The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream/Sun Kil Moon – Benji

Henry Hauser
Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence

Brian Josephs
YG – My Krazy Life

Kim Kelly
At the Gates — At War with Reality

Daniel Kohn
Iggy Azalea, The New Classic

Iggy-Azalea-1

K.C. Libman
ANYTHING THAT FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE DID. PLEASE FUCK OFF KINDLY BACK TO YOUR SWAMP, BROS.

Nathan Mattise
Lost in the Dream, The War on Drugs

Currently, this is besting the latest Run the Jewels for the top spot in overall year-end list performance. However, it’s the least sonically interesting of the three recent tangentially related ambient, psych rock releases (the other two being Kurt Vile’s Wakin on a Pretty Daze and War on Drugs’ Slave Ambient). The album’s year-end dominance so far says more about a year without a definitive consensus than it does about its own singular brilliance, as the efforts from bands like Real Estate, Caribou, Future Islands, Against Me!, Angel Olsen and others are just as if not more deserving of this widespread praise.

Colin McLaughlin
Benji or My Krazy Life. TRASH albums. The former’s album cover is the biggest giveaway – entertainment is not a priority; the latter is a Mustard spin on an old formula that guess what … feels formulaic. And what fun is formulaic anymore? Give us more!

Kevin McMahon
Sun Kil Moon – Benji and The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream, both mediocre albums that everyone decided to gush about.

sam smith - in the lonely hourPaula Mejia
Sam Smith — In the Lonely Hour

Mischa Pearlman
I tend to try to avoid/ignore hype as best I can, but of all the bands to release albums that got good acclaim, probably Kasabian. They’re unequivocally terrible.

Whitney Phaneuf
Taylor Swift … I just can’t stand her. Ariel Pink is also annoying.

Lior Phillips
How to Dress Well – What Is This Heart?

Alejandra Ramirez
Iggy Azalea – The New Classic

Michael Roffman
Angel Olsen. Sorry.

Hilary Saunders
Taylor Swift – 1989

Laura Studarus
Overrated albums tend to be better than you first thought they were, but not as good as everyone else says. Given that, sorry guys — I’m only mildly on board with FKA twigs. The sexy, lo-key electro R&B thing is great and all, but I feel like the whole thing is very one note. Having said that, feel free to throw this back in my face when I become her number one support during the promo cycle for album number two.

Gary Suarez
Taylor Swift – 1989

WHAT WAS THE MOST UNDERRATED ALBUM OF 2014?

Another Cultural Landslide
Probably one of the ones that didn’t get heard.

Rachel Bailey
I do think Landlady should be getting more attention. Upright Behavior is a special record.

Jody Beth
It’s striking how strapping and robust Tokolosh’s Stay Strong is compared with how little press it’s gotten. The debut album from the Mancunian band recalls the most sublime, vociferously new wave output of Trevor Horn’s Yes years and the melodic studio wizardry of Jellyfish but with a snarling post-rock beefing-up similar to that of New York’s The Big Sleep. I got into Tokolosh through my interest in The Earlies, another excellent band — Tokolosh is a supergroup made of various Earlies and members of Manchester’s The Whip — who spent unjust amounts of their career with their CDs languishing in cutout bins.

H. Drew Blackburn
The well-executed Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett album. The God Complex by Goldlink. Beautiful Pimp 2 by Rome Fortune. Is This Art? by Michael Christmas. Child in the Wild by Blue, the Misfit.

julian casablancas tyranny artworkDan Bogosian
Tyranny by Julian Casablancas + The Voidz. Not saying the album was great, but almost every reviewer acknowledged it would find a cult following without acknowledging that it would find a cult following because of the quality music. Michael Roffman’s CoS review is the only one I saw that 100% hit the album on the head.

Chris Bosman
Option 1: Gem Club’s In Roses, which is goddamn beautiful and fragile and haunting like one of those spiderweb-covered crystal chandeliers that swing, creaking like death, through the abandoned mansions of old horror movies.

Option 2: Nocando’s Jimmy the Burnout. It came out right around the time of YG’s My Krazy Life and got sort of buried by that record’s hype, but Nocando’s record was more instantly listenable while also featuring a young rapper with a killer flow.

Philip Cosores
La Dispute and Marissa Nadler and Careful and Restorations and Lydia Ainsworth and on and on.

FYF-Fest-Sunday-2014-73

Jerard Fagerberg
Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso. I didn’t discover this one until I moved to Minneapolis in September and started listening to The Current all the time, but shit this record rules.

Sasha Geffen
Foxes in Fiction – Ontario Gothic

Robert Ham
Plague Vendor – Free to Eat

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Woods – With Light and with Love

Woods-7

Henry Hauser
Jenny Lewis – The Voyager

Brian Josephs
Freddie Gibbs – Pinata

Kim Kelly
Sinmara — Aphotic Womb

Daniel Kohn
The New Basement Tapes, Lost on the River

K.C. Libman
Every Time I Die, From Parts Unknown. The most blistering release of the year, finding the Buffalo-based hardcore band at their fastest and most technical ever. ETID gets better with age.

Phantogram_Voices_Cover_FINAL-2-1024x1024Nathan Mattise
Phantogram – Voices

Seemingly invisible to the year-end list crowd, Phantogram’s Voices deserves better. The band has always toiled a bit under the critical radar, but it continues to put out a unique blend of massive beats and inescapable hooks. As perfect as their previous LP and EP are, songs like “Howlin’ at the Moon” or “Celebrating Nothing” can stand toe-to-toe with that discography. Maybe their sound is just too open to being universally loved when music journalism will always have some degree of trying to find what’s new or next. But Phantogram as a band is garnering success like never before; this fan only wishes they’d get the same amount of attention.

Colin McLaughlin
Courtney Barnett’s The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. A lot of times albums come down to something simple: can this person or group of people write appealing (or thought-provoking) songs? Courtney does. There’s nothing revolutionary about what she’s doing, but there is something memorable, and it extends across the entire album. Totally worth everyone’s time. A true creeper record, plus it reminds me of old Liz Phair so bonus.

Kevin McMahon
Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots, by far. I don’t get why it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. In my eyes, there isn’t a dud on the album, which was a rarity this year.

Paula Mejia
White Fence — For the Recently Found Innocent

Mischa Pearlman
I’m going with Matthew Ryan’s Boxers again.

Alyssa Pereira
Sylvan Esso. I loved that album. Eagulls too.

Whitney Phaneuf
Jessie Ware’s Tough Love

Lior Phillips
Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso
Wye Oak – Shriek
Woman’s Hour – Conversations
Broken Bells – After the Disco
Beck – Morning Phase
Museum of Love – Museum of Love

Alejandra Ramirez
Jessie Ware – Tough Love

Michael Roffman
Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There was the folk album everyone should have been talking about.

Hilary Saunders
The Barr Brothers – Sleeping Operator

I somehow wrote about this record objectively, but I can’t talk about how much I actually love it without gesticulating wildly and overusing the exclamation, “dude!”

Laura Studarus
::throws dart at my board of under appreciated semi-newbies:: Craft Spells. Nausea was a quantum leap forward from his already great debut album … not like anyone noticed or cared.

Gary Suarez
Iggy Azalea – The New Classic

David Turner
Future – Monster

WHAT SONG FROM 2014 SHOULD MORE PEOPLE KNOW?

Rachel Bailey
“Madman” by Sean Rowe. It’s such a lovely, celebratory song about being a person who’s chronically on the road. It’s not explicitly about touring, just about being on the move, and it resonated with me a lot. Plus, it has some chill horn vibes, which always gets me.

Jody Beth
It’s not from 2014, but it was released as a piece of music for the first time by Death Waltz Recording Company this year: “Ms. 45 Dance Party” on Joe Delia’s original soundtrack for the 1981 Abel Ferrara feminist revenge fantasy Ms. 45. Woozy and teetering on the edge of a bad scene, the descending, mantra-repetitive horn refrain is debauched fusion disco that feels like it’s a couple drinks past where the bartender should have cut it off. Members of Delia’s band were sidemen of Sonny Sharrock and Ornette Coleman, which legitimizes things just enough while still radiating the unseemly musk of the paid entertainment at a ‘70s seaside wedding reception in Malta.

H. Drew Blackburn
Tropical – “Rome Fortune”

Dan Bogosian
“Special Snowflakes” by Pile. As far as I’m concerned, Pile is the best band in rock & roll, or indie rock, or just music. This song is probably their best. They’ve recorded a new full-length for 2015, but go check out this song and get ahead of the wave before Pitchfork gives them Best New Music and you pretend you already liked them.

Pile is the best United States indie rock band alive.

Chris Bosman
Becky G’s “Shower”. It’s the most innocent little bauble of a pop song, but it also has a monstrous, cavernous bass

Philip Cosores
Restorations – “Separate Songs” and Marissa Nadler – “Drive”

Jerard Fagerberg
Krill – “Peanut Butter.” Krill forever, y’all.

Sasha Geffen
Mitski – “Townie”

Robert Ham
Kaiser Chiefs – “Coming Home”

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
The Deloreans – “As Long As It’s You”

Henry Hauser
The New Pornographers – “War on the East Coast”

Brian Josephs
Freddie Gibbs – “Knicks”

Kim Kelly
Yellow Eyes — “One Rock for the Wild Dog”

Daniel Kohn
“Coffee” by Sylvan Esso

K.C. Libman
Rae Morris, “Do You Even Know?” Wild, left-of-field production and some really great vocal inflections/performance at work here. Video is gorgeous to boot.

Michael Madden
“Darkness (HBU)” by NehruvianDOOM, the horn-blasting lament from the pairing of teenage New York rapper Bishop Nehru and MF DOOM.

Nathan Mattise
“Driver” by Perfect Pussy

This band is easy to dismiss as gimicky — they were literally created to film a John Cusack movie, and their live performances are punk cliches turned up to indecipherable levels. But no one has questioned the albums. I Have Lost Desire for All Feeling rightfully garnered a lot of attention, yet Say Yes to Love is being forgotten as list season kicks into full gear. “Driver” is the lead track to the band’s first full-length, and it’s the most fitting song title in 2014. Sonically, it’s a blistering two minutes driven by a screeching bit of synth. Lyrically, it’s dense and a bit gloomy, but it’ll make you think about mortality. Things end but they can be glorious in the meantime, kind of like a punk song with Perfect Pussy heights.

Colin McLaughlin
“No Way” by Young Fathers.

Kevin McMahon
Arca – “Thievery” or Damon Albarn “Heavy Seas of Love”

Paula Mejia
“Motion Sickness” — Shabazz Palaces

Mischa Pearlman
“Child Bride” by Cymbals Eat Guitars. It genuinely stopped me in my tracks when I heard it.

Whitney Phaneuf
I listened to Future’s “Benz Friendz (Watchutola)” ft. Andre 3000 bout a hundred times this year.

Lior Phillips
The Acid – “Basic Instinct”
Spookyland – “The Silly Fucking Thing”
Tomas Barfod feat. Luke Temple – “Bell House”
Sylvan Esso – “Uncatena”
Gazelle Twin – “Belly of the Beast”

Alejandra Ramirez
Le1f – “Wut” O.K. the song was released in 2012, but still this year was the perfect year for it to gain some traction.

Michael Roffman
Hospitality’s “Last Words” was a great six-and-a-half minutes. What an addicting groove.

Hilary Saunders
I’m being rebellious here, but more people should listen to Hurray for the Riff Raff’ Small Town Heroes LP because they balance astute commentary on social issues with twangy country and New Orleans-rooted swank.

If you must have one singular song, check out one of the first fully formed protest songs that hit the internet after Mike Brown’s death: Gage’s “I Am Mike Brown”.

Gary Suarez
Shellac – “Gary”

WHAT SONG FROM 2014 DO YOU NEVER WANT TO HEAR AGAIN? EVER.

Another Cultural Landslide
Too many.

Too, too many.

Rachel Bailey
I just could not be less interested in anything Ariana Grande is doing, and her yell-singing on “Problem” is probably the nadir of whatever weak-ass regard I’ve been able to muster for her in order to stay hip to what my girlfriends are talking about.

Jody Beth
It’s a toss-up. Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake’s “Love Never Felt So Good” is a Frankenstein’s monster of a last-ditch cash-in, featuring an alleged child molester and a guy who angered an anti-rape organization (the controversy was over Timberlake calling his single “Take Back the Night”). “Love Never Felt So Good” is not a bad song, but in this post-hologram era of Jackson’s career, everyone involved seems despicable and queasy-making.

But there’s also the Ebola-themed 30th anniversary re-recording of Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, and I haven’t even heard the new version as of this writing, but The Guardian is on point about the original’s tone-deaf lyrics: it does snow in Africa, there’s a large Christian population that very likely does know what religious holiday it is, and “Africa” is not a monolithic Other that developed-world Daddy Warbuckses need to sprinkle charity on blithely like sea salt on a truffle fry. So I’m not optimistic that Chris Martin and Ellie Goulding have anything to add about contagious diseases that would make the 2014 update salvageable.

H. Drew Blackburn
“All About That Bass” by ????

“Blank Space” by Taylor Swi…zzzz

“This Is How We Roll” by Florida Georgia Line.

I’d rather have a 9/11 truther explain how it was an inside job to me for four hours than listen to these songs all the way through one more time.

Dan Bogosian
“What Are You Waiting For” by Nickelback. I have listened to it at least 10 times for that CoS review and once when it came out. Jimmy Buffett meets EDM by a cock rock band. Please, never again, please.

Chris Bosman
All about that bass about that bass no tr-[throws self into that black hole from Interstellar]

I don’t actually know if there’s a black hole in the movie Interstellar, but I’m assuming.

Philip Cosores
Future Islands – “Seasons”

Jerard Fagerberg
Meghan Trainor – “All About That Bass”. This jam can go straight to bed, no dinner.

Sasha Geffen
Sam Smith – “Stay with Me”

Robert Ham
Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

Nicki Minaj

Henry Hauser
Hozier – Take Me to Church

Brian Josephs
Taylor Swift – Welcome to New York

Kim Kelly
Taylor Swift — “Welcome to New York”

Daniel Kohn
“Come with Me Now” by KONGOS

K.C. Libman
Jason Derulo, “Trumpets”. I hadn’t heard this song until my girlfriend showed it to me 10 minutes ago, and it quickly replaced “Club Going Up on a Tuesday” because muhfucka made a Coldplay reference in a radio single. Catch. Fire. B.

Colin McLaughlin
“Fancy”. I don’t like people treating rap like a joke, and she does.

Kevin McMahon
Pharrell Williams – “Happy”

Paula Mejia
“Fancy”

Mischa Pearlman
So many.

Alyssa Pereira
“All About That Bass”

Whitney Phaneuf
“Shake It Off”

Lior Phillips

Alejandra Ramirez
Meghan Trainor – “All About That Bass”

Michael Roffman
“Fancy” or “Take Me to Church” — either/or.

Hilary Saunders
Meghan Trainor – “All About That Bass”

Bass

bass

bass

bass

Laura Studarus
“All About That Bass”. I actually managed to avoid hearing it until recently. Traffic. Me in the back seat screaming something about humanity. The driver laughing maniacally. It was a bad scene.

Gary Suarez
Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass

David Turner
“Rude”

BIGGEST BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST OR BAND OF 2014?

Another Cultural Landslide
Run the Jewels. So what if RTJ#2 is a second album? They proved it’s possible to give away your music & still bust down the walls. And their listeners loved them for it. It’s all about putting the music & the listener First.

Killer Mike

Jody Beth
Not an artist, but an ideology: Beyoncé’s FEMINIST message as presented at the VMAs was a huge breakthrough for bringing third-wave feminism into the pop music status quo, even (especially?) packaged as towering iconography behind the beautiful queen of the mainstream. In a fiercely apolitical musical climate, people notice any stance that’s not bet-hedging and mushmouthed. Cynics have called the move superficial, but a lot of those cynics are well-educated, media-literate culture vultures who already have a solid grounding in feminist theory. This isn’t who Bey was addressing. She was reaching out to the little girls, the ones who will Google the term on their Samsung Galaxy phones and encounter a lot of anger, ugliness, hate, support, triumph, and hope. And maybe those girls will ask themselves whether other pop artists, including boy ones, are feminists. What will happen when the stars have to be accountable to the kids?

H. Drew Blackburn
Young Thug. Makonnen. Future Islands.

ILoveMakonnen

Dan Bogosian
The Hotelier. They sort of appeared on my radar in December 2013 when Max Bemis of Say Anything tweeted about them (and there was that weird image of them all hanging out in front of Max’s Ferrari … it’s a good life sometimes, I guess), but the album came out in 2014, and they seem to have established themselves as players out of nowhere.

Chris Bosman
I mean it’s gotta be Thugger, right?

Philip Cosores
Ariana Grande probably.

Jerard Fagerberg
Sam Smith

Sasha Geffen
FKA twigs

Robert Ham
Arca

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Future Islands. They had been grinding for years … glad to see them break out.

Henry Hauser
The Districts

Brian Josephs
FKA twigs

Kim Kelly
Sturgill Simpson

first aid kit - stay gold Daniel Kohn
First Aid Kit

K.C. Libman
Perfume Genius. From the record to his stage presence, Mike Hadreas has all the aplomb of a legend. Honest, incredible writing at work here.

Colin McLaughlin
War on Drugs. Funny thing is they basically have been making the same album for years, but this one took off. Still … much deserved and their live act finally caught up with their studio game.

Kevin McMahon
Arca or FKA Twigs

Paula Mejia
Future Islands

Alyssa Pereira
Iggy, if you can even call her a breakout. People have their opinions about her, but even hating is press. Whether she’s polarizing, different, revolutionary, or worthless for hip-hop, it doesn’t even matter because everyone knows who she is.

Whitney Phaneuf
YG

Made-in-America-2014-Saturday-37

Lior Phillips
FKA Twigs
Sylvan Esso

Alejandra Ramirez
FKA Twigs

Michael Roffman
The Districts. Have you seen them live yet?

Hilary Saunders
Really happy that Field Report got a lot of love this year. Kudos to Chris Porterfield for his honest portrayal of alcoholism on Marigolden and his willingness to talk about it openly (with me and others).

Laura Studarus
Yumi Zouma. Not bad, going from releasing your debut EP on a niche electro-pop label to touring with Lorde in about seven months. (Runner up goes to Woman’s Hour, who are now opening for Lykke Li.)

Gary Suarez
Arca

WHAT NEW ARTIST WILL BE HUGE IN 2015?

Another Cultural Landslide
Define “huge.”

If “huge” is defined by money, market manipulation will make that decision.

Rachel Bailey
Natalie Prass. She’s already well on her way with a very good, self-titled album on Matthew E. White’s Spacebomb Records.

Jody Beth
Someone from the Disney Channel stable. Young children and tweens are where the money is (or where their parents’ money is).

H. Drew Blackburn
Benjamin Booker

Benjamin Booker

Dan Bogosian
PILE. GO LISTEN TO PILE. PILE IS LIFE.

Chris Bosman
I MEAN IT’S GOTTA BE THUGGER, RIGHT?!?!

Philip Cosores
Tobias Jesso Jr.

Jerard Fagerberg
Lizzo seems to be on a collision course with the stars, which is something I’m just fine with.

Sasha Geffen
Girlpool hopefully

Robert Ham
Lord Dying

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Yvette

speedyortizepcvr900 2014 Aux.Out. Writers Poll (aka Philzz Jop 2)Henry Hauser
Speedy Ortiz

Brian Josephs
Whatever band Erykah Badu tries to rally together.

Kim Kelly
Dorthia Cottrell

Daniel Kohn
Gabriel Garzón-Montano

K.C. Libman
Really, really hoping that we hear a ton from Wolf Alice or Reignwolf. Wolves. Wolf music. Wolfpack.

Colin McLaughlin
Raury. If you don’t see legions pumping their fist for him after listening to “Indigo Child”, I’m not sure I trust your prediction abilities. Never discount the ability to write a big chorus.

Kevin McMahon
Arca + Mr. Twin Sister

Alyssa Pereira
Raury, FKA Twigs

Whitney Phaneuf
Hoping Sky Ferreira will be a massive pop star.

43-Sky-Ferreira

Lior Phillips
FKA twigs

Alejandra Ramirez
Mick Jenkins; everyone needs to listen to his mixtape The Waters now.

Michael Roffman
I’m just hoping everyone finally listens to Kanye.

Hilary Saunders
I hope that The Lowest Pair becomes the next big thing in folk/Americana. The double-banjo-threat duo’s sophomore album, The Sacred Heart Sessions, comes out in February.

Laura Studarus
MØ. She’s released a fantastic debut album, knocked it out of the park live around the world, and done the obligatory featurings with Elliphant and Iggy Azalea. She’s gonna be just fine in 2015.

Gary Suarez
Some jerk(s)

WHAT BAND SHOULD REUNITE IN 2015?

Another Cultural Landslide
None. Living in the past is boring.

(An exception will be made for the Blue Aeroplanes, however.)

Jody Beth
Whoever’s doing their “final tour” this year. It’d be hilarious. Also, someone needs to smack Axl Rose with whatever dead fish is the stinkiest and most bottom-feeding until he reunites enough of the original Guns lineup to do an Eternal Sunshine on the memory that DJ Ashba ever existed.

H. Drew Blackburn
LCD Soundsystem. If you want to never trust me, ask me what I would be willing to do in order to make this happen.

Dan Bogosian
Thursday.

I would add other bands, but they’re the only one I really think still has a ton of creative juices in them. Go listen to any of Geoff’s new bands, and listen to any of their appearances on the Going Off Track Podcast. They all seem to be up for it conceptually. They should reunite in 2015.

In 2016, Fugazi should reunite. In 2015, Thursday.

Chris Bosman
NONE. OF. THEM.

Philip Cosores
Pavement. Yeah, again.

Jerard Fagerberg
I thought Cannibal Ox was back together two years ago? Can we get that on track again?

Sasha Geffen
None, no more bands

Robert Ham
True Love Always

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Fiery Furnaces

Henry Hauser
The Kinks

Brian Josephs
A Tribe Called Quest

Kim Kelly
The Outlaws

Oasis_whats-the-story-morning-gloryDaniel Kohn
Oasis!

Sarah Kurchak
Age of Electric. A tiny part of my world still revolves around this questionable hair metal-cum-alternative-cum-post alternative(?) Canadian band from the ’90s.

Nathan Mattise
It’s not a traditional reunion because this act never broke up: Wes Miles and Rostam Batmanglij did a one-off LP under the name Discovery about 7-8 years ago. Although it didn’t gain a cult following like its Postal Service predecessor, the duo’s ideas were ahead of the curve for where music’s synth and electronic leanings were headed, and it’s a rare bit of early aughts music that still sounds current. Even if they won’t do another release, they should play a few live shows together.

Colin McLaughlin
R.E.M. But they should only come back for an IRS-years-only tour.

Kevin McMahon
Death Grips

Paula Mejia
HOLE

Mischa Pearlman
Well, I’m very excited that The Movielife just got back together, so I’m going to say them.

Whitney Phaneuf
NO MORE REUNIONS

Talking Heads, but it’ll never happen.

Alejandra Ramirez
Darkside; their run was too short-lived.

Darkside

Michael Roffman
God, what’s left… How about Talking Heads?

Hilary Saunders
Sleater-Kinney

OH WAIT!

Laura Studarus
Cocteau Twins. Or ABBA. Actually, let’s make it a Cocteau Twins/ABBA supergroup.

Gary Suarez
Husker Du

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLE/REVIEW/STORY/WHATEVER THIS YEAR (WRITTEN BY SOMEONE ELSE)?

Another Cultural Landslide
Does Steve Albini’s keynote count?

If so, that.

If not, Marc Masters’ piece in The Wire about Wolf Eyes.

Rachel Bailey
Okay, well this was from the very tail end of 2013, but Benjamin Pearson did a piece for Tiny Mix Tapes about last year being the year of being offended that I thought was just great and have thought about and re-read more than once.

Jody Beth
Owen Pallett’s “Teenage Dream” roadmap for Slate or Simon Price on Chrissie Hynde at The Quietus.

Owen-Pallett-by-Cosores-1

Dan Bogosian
Everything Zach Lipez does is comedy gold. Phil’s live review of JC + The Voidz for the OC Register is the best mixed review writing out there. Lindsay Zoladz’ final Pitchfork column was touching. Dan Weiss’ column for Radio.com on one-hit wonder songs was pretty quirky, funny, and ultimately a great learning experience through a different angle.

Jenn Pelly’s Pitchfork review of the Sleater-Kinney box set literally made me cry. I memorized the final sentence as if it were a song lyric. I also showed her how in love with this review I am when I saw her at a bar, and I believe she thinks I’m insane. But, in my sanity’s favor, she wrote something beautiful and powerful.

Chris Bosman
idk probably something by Craig Jenkins. Can I just link a google search for Craig Jenkins? I’m just gonna link a google search for Craig Jenkins.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#sourceid=chrome-psyapi2&ie=UTF-8&q=craig%20jenkins

Philip Cosores
Jayson Greene on Perfume Genius is the one that always sticks out, so I’ll go with that. (I’m assuming I can’t count things I edited, because Dan Bogosian’s Aux.Out. piece made me cry multiple times, so there is that.)

Jerard Fagerberg
Anything Sasha Geffen wrote in 2014 was the best. You know she’s a national treasure, right? Other than that, my man Perry Eaton wrote this excellent missive on Woodstock ’99 that resonated with me.

Lykke-Li-1-2

Sasha Geffen
I loved Jayson Greene’s profile of Perfume Genius.

Robert Ham
Gene Rains: Exotica’s Forgotten Genius by Lenny Kaye

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
John Fahey essay in the Pitchfork Review.

Henry Hauser
The American Band Championship Belt by Steven Hyden

Brian Josephs
Ta-Nehisi Coates – “The Case for Repartitions”

Kim Kelly
“WHAT DO HARDCORE, FERGUSON, AND THE “ANGRY BLACK WOMAN” TROPE ALL HAVE IN COMMON?” by Kayla Phillips

Daniel Kohn
I love reading all good works from my wonderful colleagues.

Sarah Kurchak
D-Sisive’s OVO Fest Tweets.

I wish his vision for Drake’s hometown party was real.

K.C. Libman
Rob Harvilla, “Eric Church Marks His Territory”

Colin McLaughlin
Can’t think of a favorite. Really like what Judnick Mayard, Sasha Geffen, and Chris Ott are doing.

Kevin McMahon
Matt Melis’ piece for FACES: Tom Petty.

Tom-Petty-and-the-Heartbreakers-15

Paula Mejia
Lindsay Zoladz’s “Pretty When You Cry” essay for Pitchfork.

Mischa Pearlman
I thought this Gaslight Anthem piece was really good.

Alyssa Pereira
Claire Lobenfeld’s extremely personal essay on her own body politics and the music of Lil Kim was an incredible read.

Whitney Phaneuf
So brilliant: “Miss American Dream: How Britney Spears Went to Vegas and Became a Feminist Role Model. No, Really.” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

Alejandra Ramirez
“Run the Jewels: How 2014’s Brashest Rap Duo Came Back from Oblivion” by Christopher R. Weingarten

El-P

 

Michael Roffman
Frank Rich’s interview with Chris Rock for Vulture. You won’t find a better interview from 2014.

Hilary Saunders
Man, every piece of social commentary that Cord Jefferson writes has hit me right in the feels lately. Here’s a recent essay, “On Kindness”.

Laura Studarus
I find myself in awe of pretty much everything Matt Fink (Under the Radar) and Jillian Mapes (Flavorpill) write.

Gary Suarez
Zachary Lipez reviews Kix’s Rock Your Face Off for The Talkhouse

David Turner
This is the best written thing from this year, lol at any other opinions.

WHAT WAS THE BEST LIVE BAND/PERFORMANCE YOU SAW IN 2014?

Another Cultural Landslide
Sadly, none. The problem with being stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Jody Beth
Steve Reich’s “Four Organs” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, with Reich, Philip Glass, Nico Muhly, Timo Andres, and percussionist David Cossin. The audience was engaged, enthusiastic, and respectful, and their positive energy shone on the musicians as the group nervously counted out increasingly long phrases (Muhly’s counting was particularly entertaining; he would toss his hair like a metalhead at the start of each new bar). With the entirety of the room on the same page and the air so charged, it was the strongest case I’ve heard in years for the merits of the live music experience.

H. Drew Blackburn
Benjamin Booker, Courtney Barnett, Angel Olson, Future Islands, Blue, The Misfit, Charli XCX, Arctic Monkeys.

Life-Is-Beautiful-3-57

Dan Bogosian
The Blood Brothers at Warsaw in Brooklyn. It was probably the best show I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if that band will ever write music again; half of me hopes they do, and half hopes they don’t. I’ll always have that show at Warsaw.

Chris Bosman
I didn’t see any concerts this year because I’m a dad now.

Philip Cosores
Miley

Jerard Fagerberg
The Pizza Underground was pretty fantastic. I went to that show with a 101-degree fever, and it charmed me right back to health. Maybe not the best, but certainly the most enjoyable.

Sasha Geffen
Priests, saw them twice in vastly different contexts, and they were great both times.

Robert Ham
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Twin Limb / Dream Eye Color Wheel / Twenty First Century Fox at Poorcastle in Louisville, Kentucky.

Henry Hauser
The War on Drugs – The Independent, San Francisco

Brian Josephs
OutKast

Life-Is-Beautiful-2-126

Kim Kelly
The Ulfsmessa collaborative black metal set at Iceland’s Eistnaflug Festival 2014.

Daniel Kohn
Seeing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Honda Center. Not so much for the performance – it was great – but being able to cover the show and bring my mom was pretty great.

Sarah Kurchak
Judas Priest at Casino Rama. Yes, it gave me neck pain. And no, it was anything but groundbreaking. But it was such a spirit-replenishing hour and a half amongst fellow-minded metal dorks – both on and off stage – who continue to defend the faith. Plus, they played “Jawbreaker”. I squealed. The two guys in Rush t-shirts behind me laughed at me. I have no regrets.

K.C. Libman
Ryan Adams and Jenny Lewis. Holy. Fucking. Shit. Two-and-a-half-hour set? Every night? HOW ARE YOU HUMAN, DRA.

Nathan Mattise
Arcade Fire’s homage to New Orleans at Jazz Fest 2014 was remarkable — a band living up to its increasingly growing reputation while maintaining genuine emotion and connections with its surroundings.

However, Alec Ounsworth’s intimate solo tour spanning his Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah discography was unforgettable for anyone moved by the band’s self-titled debut. It was an unfiltered look at how those songs are tremendously put together and need no additional bells and whistles; they merely stand the test of time on melody and lyric alone. Ounsworth did the entire thing to get back in touch with his reasons for writing in the first place, and that bit of rekindling certainly spilled into the newest CYHSY LP from 2014.

Arcade-Fire-Unicorns-Dan-Deacon-Cosores-1-2

Colin McLaughlin
Tears for Fears at Project Pabst.

Kevin McMahon
James Blake at Bonnaroo or DJ Shadow/Cut Chemist at H.O.B. Chicago

Paula Mejia
The Jesus and Mary Chain performing “Psychocandy” in its entirety. I mean, yeah. Then, Coachwhips’ week-long stint at SXSW. I think I went to all of those and loved every second of it.

Mischa Pearlman
So many great bands. letlive., I Am The Avalanche, PUP, the whole of Riot Fest. I think I’ve probably seen more great gigs this year than ever before.

Alyssa Pereira
Oh boy. I’ve seen so, so many amazing acts this year. The ones that really stand out for me this year though are the really strong performances I saw out of women in pop. Jessie J, Beyonce, MØ, and Banks, to name just a handful, have all had incredible years. I don’t remember a time before this year (for me at least) where there was this much strength in that particular area of music.

Whitney Phaneuf
Kraftwerk or Willie Nelson.

Alejandra Ramirez
Foxygen at Red 7; some dive bar in Austin with a few hundred sweaty dudes and irreverent ’60s fuzz to go around. Or Fleetwood Mac at Toyota Center; a long dream fulfilled.

Michael Roffman
Coming down off E during Darkside’s closing set at Lollapalooza was something else. The Strokes in Las Vegas for my 30th birthday was pretty emotional, too. Same with The Replacements in St. Paul. Blargh. Too many to name.

Hilary Saunders
I traveled halfway across the country to see The Replacements’ headlining hometown reunion show at Midway Stadium in St. Paul, MN. Ain’t no shame.

Laura Studarus
Phoenix. They were the closer for Poland’s Open’er Festival — the third festival I had done in a row. My expectations were low since I hadn’t really dug their set at Coachella. But they knocked it out of the park. Add to that a crowd that was FREAKING OUT (the country is a secondary market so big bands don’t come through often) and the fact they let the photographers stay in the pit during the entire show. By the end, I was dancing like a possessed, jet-lagged fangirl.

Phoenix-1

Gary Suarez
Kevin Gates at Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PUBLICATION THAT YOU’VE NEVER WORKED FOR?

Another Cultural Landslide
The Magazine. #rip (closing after the next two issues)

Rachel Bailey
Wondering Sound. What a shame about their recent cutbacks.

Made-in-America-2014-Sunday-2

Jody Beth
Jacobin. I especially like Gavin Mueller’s piece on CVS Bangers.

H. Drew Blackburn
Texas Monthly.

Dan Bogosian
The Pitchfork Review. Love me, Jessica Hopper. Love me!

Chris Bosman
Any publication I haven’t worked for is probably trash.

Jerard Fagerberg
The Fader

Sasha Geffen
Rookie

Robert Ham
The Wire

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Pitchfork Review.

Henry Hauser
Grantland

Brian Josephs
Pitchfork

Kim Kelly
The New York Times

Daniel Kohn
None, I love all outlets equally.

09-Tears-for-Fears

Sarah Kurchak
Wondering Sound.

sigh.

K.C. Libman
Better Homes & Gardens

Nathan Mattise
Overall, I still admire Grantland’s mix of daily voice-driven writing and long-form, more adventure features more than any other culture outlet (even if music takes a backseat to nearly every other form of entertainment). But music-wise, it’d be great to contribute to the increasingly great stuff coming from Wondering Sound (though its recent cutbacks are another cause for alarm from music writers).

Colin McLaughlin
New York Times Magazine

Paula Mejia
The Quietus

Jack-White-1

Mischa Pearlman
I guess Rolling Stone, but in the old days.

Alyssa Pereira
Wondering Sound. I love their format, and I admire the type of work they’re publishing.

Whitney Phaneuf
The Talkhouse

Alejandra Ramirez
Fader

Michael Roffman
Playboy (print); Grantland (online)

Hilary Saunders
The Atlantic, Grantland, The New York Times, NPR

Laura Studarus
Last year I said Line of Best Fit … and then actually started contributing from time to time. Now I really want to write for Teen Vogue and Rookie. Teenagers are awesome. (And way smarter than I was at that age.)

Gary Suarez
GQ

David Turner
New York Magazine

WHAT WAS THE WORST CONCERT YOU SAW IN 2014?

Another Cultural Landslide
Again, none. Possibly an advantage to being stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Rachel Bailey
Just the other night, I went to see a local EDM DJ do a set with a guy playing live drums. The dude’s mixes sounded like a bad rendition of Girl Talk, and the drummer couldn’t get in the pocket to save his life. It was a real contender.

Jody Beth
Jon Hassell and his passel of musicians staring into laptops at Los Globos in Los Angeles, flanked by a lineup of contemporary electronic artists who had no stylistic common ground with the ambient trumpeter’s sonic wheelhouse (for this set, he was not playing his famed instrument). Hassell sounded fine, but the night felt off, mainly because the talkative crowd didn’t seem to know or care who he was, although the 25-or-so people who did were huddled around the stage, fighting off the noise from the bar at the back of the small dance club. Whoever invited him to play deserves credit for having taste and vision but blame for not knowing what to do with him.

H. Drew Blackburn
Sky Ferreira is so terrible that she transcends bad, and it’s actually kind of great to watch in the same way we sometimes like to see people get hit in the crotch.

Chris Bosman
I DIDN’T SEE ANY CONCERTS THIS YEAR BECAUSE I’M A DAD NOW.

Philip Cosores
KROQ Weenie Roast

Jerard Fagerberg
I saw this whack-as-shit prep school-esque emo band called Western Education at the Boston Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble. They were a pile of shit. It was like Panic at the Disco got their exclamation point back and lost all sense of nuance.

Sasha Geffen
Liturgy’s festival set at Pygmalion

Robert Ham
Def Leppard at the Sleep Country Amphitheater

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Zach Hart spoken word west coast summer tour.

Henry Hauser
Hurray for the Riff Raff – HSBG, San Francisco

Brian Josephs
Lil Kim at The Source 360

Kim Kelly
Babymetal at Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC

Daniel Kohn
Kings of Leon at The Forum, what happened guys?

Sarah Kurchak
I briefly watched an ironic Doors tribute band play at the side of the road when I ran the Las Vegas Rock’n’Roll half marathon this year. The singer was wearing a terrible and not even remotely Morrison-esque wig and an entirely unearned self-satisfied smirk. I picked up my pace to get away from them.

K.C. Libman
Maybe when NEEDTOBREATHE had teepees onstage and some white families broke out in tongues in the crowd? Cultural misappropriation and religious overtones all at once?

Colin McLaughlin
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz. Man, that guy doesn’t even try to earn your concert dollars.

Kevin McMahon
Frank Ocean at Bonnaroo, came out without a full band and was completely drowned out by the Super Jam.

Paula Mejia
I can’t think of any, which is probably a good problem to have?

Mischa Pearlman
I’m sure there was one, but I can’t quite picture it right now. I’ll tell you that my worst experience with a band was Eagulls, though. Those guys are a bunch of chumps and clowns.

Alyssa Pereira
Protomartyr in a tiny room in San Francisco. It was such a letdown for me. Their opener, though, Synthetic ID, was fantastic.

Whitney Phaneuf
I love The Knife, but the conceptual concert thing didn’t work for me.

Alejandra Ramirez
Disclosure; Granted, I was really cold and sick, so that probably contributed to it. Their debut, Settle, was immaculate in my eyes, but I guess I was just bummed that they packed it with a bunch of polo-donned frat sardines. I probably can’t complain, and it was bound to happen.

Michael Roffman
Mac Demarco at Hideout Fest. What a shitshow.

Laura Studarus
Mac Demarco at FYF. It was like watching the human equivalent of sand slipping through an hour glass.

Gary Suarez
Perfect Pussy at Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn, NY

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AS OF RIGHT NOW?

Another Cultural Landslide
It’s still stuck in the past.

The saddest thing: most musicians insist on being stuck there with it.

Rachel Bailey
Money. Right? Isn’t it always money, now?

Jody Beth
The lack of development for new artists. Newcomers have a viral hit on YouTube that’s self-released or otherwise produced with minimal financial backing, and the industry either gets greedy with regard to wanting to rush them into the limelight, or decides that they’re too weird or awkward, and not media-trained enough, and leaves them hanging. Also it seems that now more than ever, there’s a divide between the mainstream stars and the indie stars — where Nirvana had no trouble crossing over in 1991, it strikes me as unlikely that Arcade Fire, probably the biggest indie-rock act we have, will have a legitimate chart hit in the United States. We have talent with mainstream appeal, but no one’s investing in it in the long term.

H. Drew Blackburn
We have to find out how to make Spotify and Google Music and other streaming services work for musicians. It’s really great for the fans. Also, very interesting how it’s always the people who are uber rich who HATE IT.

Dan Bogosian
Over-saturation. It’s not that the music’s worse (though it might be); it’s not that the money is unfair (though it is). The problem is that everyone and their mom can record a hunk of crap and try to make it, so everyone does, so there’s a million spam peoples from a thousand crappy publicists to every writer, and a lot of people hide from new music rather than explore it.

Over-saturation, man. What a bummer.

Chris Bosman
Hoo boy, that’s a complicated question.

Jerard Fagerberg
I’m particularly concerned with the death of the alt weekly. I’m lucky enough to byline in (what I consider) one of the best alties left, but the fact that The Boston Phoenix collapsed in 2013 and its successor is haplessly flailing and that City Paper is now owned by a daily scares me. To me, alt weeklies are the best avenue for getting music coverage from people who really care about the music they’re covering. They’re also usually a launchpad for musicians to go from local to national.

Sasha Geffen
capitalism

Chance-the-Rapper-1

Robert Ham
The average listener isn’t buying music anymore, and the artists who don’t have huge major label marketing departments bolstering up their bottom line and can’t do huge major market tours are suffering as a result.

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
The majority of people aren’t active in discovering new music … they want their tastes confirmed by publications rather than trying to learn/find/love new music they might not know.

Henry Hauser
Complacency re: archaic distribution models

Brian Josephs
Not enough star power and major label milking what little star power there is into something tepid.

Kim Kelly
Bigotry and bad taste.

Daniel Kohn
Releasing diverse music tastes outside of pop on a larger scale. Patience too, musicians shouldn’t be dropped after one record, what happened to the long game and having a vision?

K.C. Libman
Record sales.

Colin McLaughlin
Society devaluing music to a point where it’s background filler or a thing to take an Instagram in front of.

Drake-Lil-Wayne-85

Kevin McMahon
Figuring out how to monetize it without commercializing it. So many creative people are stuck pandering to advertisers because the trend is that everyone expects to get art for free. It’s a hard cookie to crack because so much of what makes stuff go viral and causes artists to blow up is sooo random.

Paula Mejia
The model of current streaming services, which are doing artists a huge disservice at the cost of a better “user experience.”

Mischa Pearlman
Still too reliant on trends and TV shows.

Alyssa Pereira
Copyrighting! The law is so behind on figuring out a way to appease both sides of the copyright infringement argument, particularly as it relates to sampling.

Whitney Phaneuf
Mainstream radio

Alejandra Ramirez
Forever will and always will be illegally downloading. Some of the most deserving artists can get really screwed over.

Michael Roffman
Everyone looking for problems.

Hilary Saunders
Festivals are becoming bigger, more expensive (and therefore homogeneous in audience demographics), and more detrimental to the environment. Shout-out to Pickathon for being plastic-free since 2009!

NIN-Soundgarden-Cold-Cave-70

Laura Studarus
The constant need for content. Artists want their music heard. Who can blame them? But the only way to do that is feed the news cycle. So now we don’t just get an album announcement. We get a teaser, a first single, a tracklist, a trailer, album art, a music video, a remix, a second single and THEN (when we’ve all lost interested) an album. Sure, it can be fun — I love an artsy video or a genius remix. But by the time the live album, demos, and remix EP comes around, who really cares anymore?! Less is more. Cheers to Radiohead for only coming out of their hole when they have something worth saying.

Gary Suarez
How much time do you have?

David Turner
That people cannot make a reasonable living.

THE WORST MUSIC TREND OF 2014?

Another Cultural Landslide
Anything that has the word “core” attached to it.

Rachel Bailey
Talking about Ariel Pink being a misogynist.

Jody Beth
Record Store Day, as before. It backs up the vinyl pressing plants so struggling artists are hindered from getting their albums manufactured, all in service of the grifters who buy up all the stock for the sole purpose of selling it at a profit on eBay. Usually, true fans strike out as well, having to settle for studio leftovers and fussily packaged reissues rather than new, quality material. The concept of Record Store Day sounds benign enough, but it puts a temporary Band-Aid on a permanently hemorrhaging industry at the expense of musicians, label heads, and store owners whose lives depend on a steady stream of album sales.

H. Drew Blackburn
Irony. Yung Lean. Encouraging Jaden and Willow Smith to pontificate non-fucking-sense. Please make it stop. Eat a cheeseburger.

Chris Bosman
People bitching about trends on Twitter.

Jerard Fagerberg
Anything and everything that’s happened on Vine.

Sasha Geffen
two white dudes from brooklondon making neo-soul or w/e

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
It will always be people talking during concerts. Same as every year.

Henry Hauser
Heavy, repetitive, escalating, incessant bass

Made-in-America-2014-Sunday-114

Brian Josephs
White appropriation. The fear of it to be specific.

Kim Kelly
Rap-country.

Daniel Kohn
Taylor Swift

K.C. Libman
Record sales.

Colin McLaughlin
Gossip / low IQ baiting stories taking over music news feeds. Just because someone will click something doesn’t mean that sites should be taking that route. It’s the same reasoning that reality TV show producers use: “But people are watching!” Who gives a shit?! It makes people stupider, lowers the discourse, and takes away from what really matters: the music. We are better than this.

Kevin McMahon
Polarization continuing to take place between the electronic and rock communities (Think Arcade Fire vs. Deadmau5). Music is about being eclectic and creating new sounds, not vilifying the way people go about doing that.

Paula Mejia
Only listening to singles instead of full albums.

Mischa Pearlman
Can I say the continuing dominance of One Direction and “bands” of that ilk?

Alyssa Pereira
This isn’t specific to 2014, but that awful fake electronic trumpet sound in pop songs is the worst, and I hate it.

Whitney Phaneuf
Dare I say, white appropriation of hip-hop…

Macklemore-and-Ryan-Lewis-3

Alejandra Ramirez
When literally every good and interesting artist – FKA twigs, Sampha, Kwabs, Tinashe How to Dress Well – that came out was immediately labeled as alternative R&B.

Michael Roffman
Being offended over everything.

Hilary Saunders
Artists (although specifically a few famous rappers) throwing out songs about Ferguson and then refusing to talk about them with people or the press. #rejection #notbitter

Laura Studarus
Okay, so maybe I’m reacting to Grimes scrapping her album, but it still needs to be said. Artists, for the love of Frankie Sharp, PLEASE STOP CROWD-SOURCING YOURSELVES INTO MEDIOCRITY.

Look, I get it. You’re in an awkward place where you’re meant to be making a product and art, all in one go. But at the end of the day, if you’re not actually putting your heart into it, you’re going to fail miserably. Or become Fun. (Honestly, I can’t tell the difference some days.) If you’re worried that you might bow to public opinion, here’s an easy fix — don’t tell anyone what you’re working on. On behalf of the journalist population, I promise we won’t bug your studio or hack the demos on your iPhone to find out.

Gary Suarez
Letting musicians write thinkpieces.

WHAT GAVE YOU HOPE IN MUSIC IN 2014?

Another Cultural Landslide
The reaction we received to our article: discovering that people still cared about music as something other than a commodity to be consumed.

Rachel Bailey
My roommate and I host bands a lot, when they’re passing through town on tour. Last year, we hosted these guys called Lord Fascinator. Their music isn’t what I usually go for, but their commitment to it was really awesome. We dressed up and danced onstage with them at a small show they played for Slingshot Festival in Athens, Ga., and we helped them film a music video. And just being a part of something that these guys seemed genuinely to be doing for the pleasure of being creative was a real treat.

I know way too many musicians who feel entitled to audience’s ears and dollars and attention, and I’ve watched a lot of musician friends let that sense of entitlement, gone unrealized, sour their outlook and creative processes and relationships to listeners and their community. It was fun and refreshing to spend a few days just making things with some musicians who were content to do it for themselves without a lot of expectations, but still hold themselves to a standard and are thoughtful and intentional about what they were making.

Jody Beth
The Frozen soundtrack — not the music itself, which is terrible, but the fact that aside from One Direction and Ariana Grande, it’s the only thing keeping little kids interested in music right now. (Katy Perry, too, but she’s already past her peak.) I do freelance work for a company that helps make speech recognition software smarter, and without divulging too many inside secrets, I’ll just say that the experience has been extremely instructive about what piques the interests of today’s elementary school children. Frozen, a movie released in November 2013, is as popular as ever, thanks in large part to the runaway success of “Let It Go”. And if kids are interested in music, maybe their parents will demand arts education in the public school system. And maybe those musically literate kids will end up going to Juilliard and becoming the next Nico Muhly. We all win.

H. Drew Blackburn
Atlanta, Georgia, and Annie Clark.

Dan Bogosian
Hearing Deafheaven’s “From the Kettle onto the Coil” live and knowing they’ll make another full-length. The fact that they have found success makes me believe that people can still be creative and succeed.

Chris Bosman
Perfume Genius & the Hotelier & Rich Gang & Migos & Run the Jewels & Against Me! &…

Against Me

Philip Cosores
That the question about hope is the most popular question on Philzz Jop.

Jerard Fagerberg
Run the Jewels outselling most artists by offering their album for free and for sale. Those dudes are onto something.

Sasha Geffen
Orchid Tapes

Robert Ham
Seeing a ton of artists (Nick Cave, Joan Jett, Alice Cooper, Crosby Stills & Nash, Steely Dan, Bob Dylan, Ahmad Jamal, Bryan Ferry, George Strait), all of them 55 years of age or older, give heartfelt, energetic, and mindblowing live performances that made all the younger bands I saw look silly by comparison.

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
The Louisville music scene.

Henry Hauser
Adam Granduciel, Adam Granduciel, & Adam Granduciel

Brian Josephs
What Run the Jewels stands for.

Kim Kelly
Iceland’s black metal scene.

Daniel Kohn
People seem to care about it more than ever, even if the business has suffered.

Sarah Kurchak
Tanya Tagaq and A Tribe Called Red.

K.C. Libman
The possibility of War on Drugs sucking my … you know.

Nathan Mattise
“True Trans Soul Rebel” from Against Me!

Laura Jane Grace’s story could never have enough attention given how little gender dysphoria is discussed at large. But the overwhelming reception for Transgender Dysphoria Blues is evidence yet again that music has the power to be at the front of social progress, and this particular single is the album’s anthemic chorus for that. I only wish the LP came later in the year so more year-end lists would acknowledge how powerful the message and melodies from Against Me! were in 2014.

Colin McLaughlin
Playing Cymbals Eat Guitars’ “Jackson” at really high volumes.

Kevin McMahon
Mr. Twin Sister and Arca. Those two very different branches of music are going to make some pioneering stuff; I really like the directions of those two artists.

Paula Mejia
Wondering Sound. Every brave, sharp piece of writing on that website.

Mischa Pearlman
That there were more great albums released this year than I can remember in a very long time.

Alyssa Pereira
The slow rise of independent ticket distributors over LiveNation.

Whitney Phaneuf
Run the Jewels, just like it did in 2013. DJs no longer playing shitty dubstep.

Run the Jewels

Lior Phillips
Singer-songwriters unzipping their chests and baring their hearts and souls for their fans, even if it meant revealing things they knew weren’t appealing. Mark Kozelek, Sharon van Etten, The War on Drugs, Strand of Oaks, Swans, Owen Palette, etc.

Alejandra Ramirez
D’Angelo releasing his album in light of Ferguson. It was all about the timing.

Michael Roffman
I’ll get back to you on that one.

Hilary Saunders
T-Pain proving everyone wrong about everything.

Laura Studarus
Cascine’s stream of electro-pop. Red Eye Transit’s desire to make epic music videos. Ólafur Arnalds turning down a high-profile soundtrack gig in order to make music with Kiasmos. Charles Bradley still touring in his 60s. St. Vincent turning SNL into a weird performance art project. Le Guess Who? running an incredibly well-curated festival featuring small bands on small stages and crazy collaborations. People everywhere are making decisions based on passion and proving that art and commerce don’t have to be exclusive. What’s not to love?

Gary Suarez
The increased adventurousness and risk-taking of hip-hop artists (rappers/producers).

David Turner
All the Music.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM 2014 (WORK-RELATED)?

Another Cultural Landslide
Music: the fact that last days got posted to FreeMusicArchive all on its lonesome – and in just 7 months accumulated over 8,000 listens & 1,600 downloads with absolutely zero promotion. (That’s tied, however, with one of our songs being used as background music for a video of beet gathering in Belgium – but then _that’s_ tied with the video that used one of our songs as background music for a very yummy flourless chocolate cake recipe, so it’s hard for us to choose.)

Writing: We wrote & it freaked out a bunch of people.

Jody Beth
I submitted and got shortlisted for my first book proposal, on Laura Nyro’s Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, for Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series. It didn’t make the final cut, but I’m quite happy with what I put together: an investigation of the late-‘60s music, art, and pop culture industries of New York City and why Eli, with its Broadway-jazz-troubadour-gospel leanings, highbrow pretensions, and latter-day Tin Pan Alley salesmanship, was wholly a product of its time and place.

H. Drew Blackburn
I wrote a cover story for the Dallas Observer, an alt-weekly in bitch-you-guessed-it, Dallas,Texas.

Dan Bogosian
My first piece for Aux Out, “To Die by Your Side”.

Chris Bosman
My mixtape site: justthetape.com.

Blood-Orange-1

Philip Cosores
Really proud of CoS in general. Feel like we’ve really stepped up this year and that next year will bring us more of the respect from our peers that we deserve.

Jerard Fagerberg
2014 was a very kind year to me professionally. But I’m most proud of a piece I have forthcoming in Wondering Sound. I spent four months working on an extensive profile of Ben Potrykus, a musician who has meant an awful lot to me on a personal level. It was grueling and it still hasn’t published yet, but it’ll be a keystone piece on my resume. The staff over at WS took a big chance on my mostly unproven ass, and they broke their backs whipping the piece into shape. I couldn’t be more proud of how it turned out.

Sasha Geffen
Interviewing Michael Gira and not dying

Robert Ham
I got to interview a good number of my longtime musical idols this year: Bob Mould, Marc Ribot, David Kilgour, John Oswald, Mark Hosler of Negativland, Bryan Ferry, Neneh Cherry, and Bruce Russell and Michael Morley of The Dead C.

Zach Hart (We Listen For You)
Managing two bands that feel like family and both of them having huge years … The Pass (4 7″ records and an EP that is their best work to date) & White Reaper (Signed to Polyvinyl and released an ear-ripping debut EP).

Henry Hauser
Outside Lands coverage.

Brian Josephs
Finally, feeling the progress I’m making as a writer.

Kim Kelly
My first piece for Rolling Stone.

Daniel Kohn
Finding a record store the size of a closet in Hong Kong and telling the shop owner’s saga.

Nathan Mattise
My favorite piece in 2014 was talking to artists about how Apple’s relationship with music has changed since the height of the iPod era.

It’s a microcosm for the problems of the industry as a whole, certainly, but as tech becomes an ever more ingrained part of lifestyle, it’s interesting how its hippest brand once defined itself musically then moved on with age (a sadly familiar tale).

Colin McLaughlin
My Gary Numan pics.

Kevin McMahon
Launch of the philanthropic start-up I co-operate. Check us out at campwearelions.org.

Paula Mejia
Accepting a book deal from Bloomsbury to write a 33 1/3 book, presenting a paper at the EMP Pop Conference, serving on a SXSW panel about new avenues for rock criticism, interviewing Gwen Stefani and Ian MacKaye, and having the opportunity to move into film and TV writing in addition to music journalism.

27-No-Doubt

Mischa Pearlman
I keep banging on about Matthew Ryan, but I really feel like we covered some incredible ground in our interview. Or maybe my interview with Jason from letlive., when he embarrassed me with a barrage of compliments at the end.

Alyssa Pereira
I’m starting to do more photography. It’s tough, and I don’t have the proper lenses for dark concert shooting, but I’m learning a lot. Shooting Outkast, Beck, Haim, Sam Smith, The Black Keys and other big artists was an honor.

Whitney Phaneuf
My Aux.Out. story! (But really, it’s all a blur.)

Alejandra Ramirez
Writing my most personal piece for Aux.Out. on Stevie Nicks.

Michael Roffman
Our new film section.

Laura Studarus
Just being a working writer is still a thrill I haven’t come to terms with. I hope it never gets old.

Gary Suarez
Getting published in outlets my parents have actually heard of.

David Turner
This essay I wrote for The Media.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM 2014 (NON-WORK RELATED)?

Another Cultural Landslide
We survived.

Rachel Bailey
I’m just proud of the person I was this year. I think I took good care of the people I love and tried to be fair and honest and involved in my community and the lives of the people I care about. Plus, my dog seems really happy, so I must be doing some things right.

Jody Beth
The amount of music I’ve listened to, although some of that’s a side effect of “work-related.” I never stop learning about music, drawing connections, and challenging (or confirming) received wisdom, whether or not there’s an eventual byline to be had.

H. Drew Blackburn
Thanks for asking. I think I’m becoming a more impressive cook. Send recipes if you have good ones.

Dan Bogosian
I helped my South African friend Sulene get an artist visa. I did a miniscule amount of work to help her, but I’m so proud of the music she’s making and everything she’s doing in life.

Chris Bosman
Being a dad and husband.

Philip Cosores
Getting sober, quitting smoking, moving to L.A., learning how to be happy.

Jerard Fagerberg
My dog is cute as fuck. His name is Camper, and he poops one-third of his body weight every day.

Sasha Geffen
living and not dying

Robert Ham
Remains to be seen.

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Running a Vinyl Night here in Louisville. Not proud of myself but the people who show up every Monday because they have the passion for physical vinyl records and want to actively discuss music.

Henry Hauser
Publishing my first short story.

Brian Josephs
“Black Messiah” exists.

Kim Kelly
Being hired for my first full-time editorial position.

Jenny-Lewis-8

Daniel Kohn
The birth of my son; nothing else comes close. Proudest moment of my life, nevertheless 2014.

Colin McLaughlin
I don’t know, learning to shut up and listen a bit more.

Kevin McMahon
Musical development, finally beginning to record the songs that I’ve written.

Paula Mejia
Getting to visit friends across the country, the world, and seeing them do what moves them and generally excelling in life.

Mischa Pearlman
Somehow being able to pay my rent. And my girlfriend moving in. And cliff-diving into the ocean from 35 feet in Jamaica.

Alyssa Pereira
I’m trying to teach myself French.

Whitney Phaneuf
My tired/lazy ass saw a ton of shows.

Lior Phillips
People taking online voices, Offline (to the streets) and recognising gender need not solidify/embody or even encage a persona. Finally, gender equality has a loudspeaker, and for some ungodly reason the more scattered our minds are all over multiple social media networks the stronger and louder our opinions have become.

Alejandra Ramirez
Joining City Year.

Michael Roffman
Marriage and having my brother two floors above me. Still no corgi, though.

Laura Studarus
This year I’ve been to Norway, Canada, Poland, Germany, England, Alaska, Iceland, and the Netherlands. Every trip still feels like an amazing adventure. I may be constantly in need of a nap, but I’m rather pleased to discover that my sense of wonder isn’t finite.

Gary Suarez
Safety razor shaving

PREDICT ALBUM OF THE YEAR FOR 2015

Another Cultural Landslide
The one that makes you happiest.

Jody Beth
I’m excited about Faith No More’s comeback album.

H. Drew Blackburn
Kanye. Anybody who answers differently is wrong.

Kanye West

Dan Bogosian
Pile’s new album, with a close second of Deafheaven’s new album. A distant third of a new album by some band I don’t even know exists right now.

Chris Bosman
Kanye.

Philip Cosores
Kanye, Kendrick, and Newsom.

Jerard Fagerberg
Kanye West produces the new Mark Kozelek album. It is released on Pornhub Records, of course.

Sasha Geffen
Grimes

Grimes-1

Robert Ham
The new Kanye West.

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Joanna Newsom. When all is said and done, she will be considered one of the most important musicians of my lifetime.

Henry Hauser
Castle Dwellers – Guns Guns Guns Guns Guns Guns Chick fil A

Brian Josephs
Miguel’s Third Album

Kim Kelly
Misþyrming — Söngvar elds og óreiðu

Michael Madden
Kendrick’s

Kendrick-Lamar-1

Nathan Mattise
2015 may be a repeat of 2012 given Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar are each expected to have new albums. To go off the board, however, Father John Misty’s follow-up to Fear Fun will have a bigger audience, perhaps Twin Shadow and can rediscover the heights of Forget, and Ra Ra Riot can make us all forget Beta Love.

Colin McLaughlin
Kanye. Always Kanye.

Kevin McMahon
James Blake or Frank Ocean

Paula Mejia
Sleater-Kinney — No Cities to Love

Mischa Pearlman
MODEST MOUSE!!!!!!

Whitney Phaneuf
Bjork!!

Lior Phillips
Fleetwood Mac

Alejandra Ramirez
Kanye West, of course.

Michael Roffman
Dan Deacon’s new LP is pretty, pretty … pretty good.

Hilary Saunders
I am super excited for The Lone Bellow’s new record, Then Came the Morning.

Laura Studarus
Whatever Jens Lekman releases. Or Patrick Wolf. Or the Lekman/Wolf supergroup. Wait … was I not supposed to talk about that?

Gary Suarez
Whatever Kanye ends up throwing out there.

Outside-Lands-14-34

SHARE YOUR BEST ARTICLE OF 2014

Another Cultural Landslide
We only wrote one.

You know which one.

The one that crashed your gmail.

Yeah, that one.

Jody Beth
Book Review: “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs” by Greil Marcus for Tiny Mix Tapes

H. Drew Blackburn
“Keep It 100: We Rated Rappers on the Madden Scale” for The Concourse

Dan Bogosian
My first Aux.Out. piece, “To Die by Your Side”.

Chris Bosman
I REFERENCED SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE WRITING ABOUT KYLIE MINOGUE, C’MON.

Philip Cosores
“The Problem with Artist Curated Content”

Jerard Fagerberg
Barring the Potrykus piece in Wondering Sound, this essay on skateboard videos for Aux.Out. was truthfully my best. It was a joy to write, too.

Sasha Geffen
My essay “Radical Strain” for The New Inquiry.

Robert Ham
Three-way tie between my tribute to George Strait, my feature on EMA, and my feature on Bob Mould.

Henry Hauser
The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan 50th ann’y for CoS.

FKA twigsBrian Josephs
My FKA twigs album review for CoS.

Kim Kelly
Saying goodbye to my adopted big brother, Athon.

Daniel Kohn
Sharing two (sorry), I think they’re both pretty great: “The Best Record Collection in Hong Kong” for Aux.Out. and my Julio Bashmore piece for Mixmag.

Sarah Kurchak
My interview with Tanya Tagaq for The Huffington Post.

K.C. Libman
We played it, Pop: “Why My Dad Wants Tim McGraw Played at His Funeral” for LA Weekly.

Michael Madden
My Band of the Year War on Drugs piece for CoS.

Kevin McMahon
The piece I did for FACES: Dave Grohl.

Paula Mejia
“The Good, the Bad and the Undead” for Newsweek.

Mischa Pearlman
I liked this Matthew Ryan one a lot.

Alyssa Pereira
I went to interview Thurston Moore at the SF Public Library (per his request), and we ended up watching this beat poetry legend, Diane di Prima, recite her work. The whole thing was absolutely surreal.

Whitney Phaneuf
“Ai Weiwei’s Songs of Freedom on Alcatraz” for Hyperallergic.

Alejandra Ramirez
“The 24 Karat Influence of Stevie Nicks” for Aux.Out.

Michael Roffman
Filmmaker of the Year: Dan Gilroy. I think 200 people read it.

Hilary Saunders
Not an article, but I made my liner note-writing debut for Mitchell McCarthy’s From This Point Forward — his first record of original compositions for piano quintet. This album is the answer for anyone wondering how classical music will survive in the 21st century.

Laura Studarus
I started as an intern at Under the Radar in 2009. This year I finally got to write my first cover story. It was a pretty special moment.

Gary Suarez
“The Incredible Shrinking Industrial Man” for Aux.Out.

David Turner
Not an “official” article and I wrote it back in 2013, but by far the piece I’m most happy to have published.

WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT IN MUSIC FOR 2014?

Another Cultural Landslide
The Turtles won their stupid pre-’72 infringement lawsuit against SiriusXM in three states & then promptly sued Pandora.

The industry has started to eat itself alive, way ahead of schedule.

Just watch.

Jody Beth
New York’s in-the-know hip-hop heads of the 1980s flocked to the Roosevelt Hotel Record Convention, where dealers passed down their stacks of library funk and Morricone jams to budding DJs. Worlds were transformed. On a somewhat smaller scale, Amoeba Music Hollywood’s October 2014 acquisition of composer Carl Stone’s immense personal record collection — including many first pressings, import editions, and rare works — caused a sensation in the Los Angeles music community. Much of the American music industry is based in L.A., but this sale has implications beyond the 30-mile zone. The people hearing these LPs, whether they’re pop critics or reissue producers, have enough cumulative pull to influence the landscape: to change what forms of pastiche worm their way into indie-rock trends, or what gets plundered for a retrofuturist R&B track. Stone, now based in Japan as a professor in Chukyo University’s Department of Media Engineering, is a sound artist (sometimes called the “King of Sampling”) and an erstwhile KPFK-FM Music Director, and his tastes are worldly and imbued with limitless curiosity. Rick Frystak, who engineered the Amoeba deal, posts on the music chainlet’s website about the vertiginous array of “Avant Garde, Electronic, Musique Concrete, Experimental, Renaissance, Baroque, Medieval, Classical, New Music, World music, Jazz, No Wave, New Wave, Power Pop, Punk rock, Post-Punk, Industrial, and various ‘roots’ musics” to be found in the amassment. Prepare for the trickle-down, and don’t be terribly surprised if you hear a track from the 1982 Barefield-Holland-Tabbal Transdimensional Space Window album in a Mazda commercial next year.

H. Drew Blackburn
Drake’s loosies.

Dan Bogosian
When Bono got into a bike accident.

No, I have no idea. I just wanted to open by crapping on Bono.

Chris Bosman
Women in music aligning with feminism, both within their music and in their words beyond it. From Nicki Minaj’s “Lookin Ass” to Lorde & Azealia Banks going after Diplo & Eminem on behalf of Taylor Swift & Lana Del Rey (respectively) to the rise of empowered female R&B and rap artists like Tink, Tinashe, FKA twigs, Kelela, Junglepussy, hell we could even mention Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace if we’re going to get into intersectional feminism. Truly it was this movement that’s had the largest impact on culture at large in 2014.

Kelela-1

Philip Cosores
I think the U2 album release was the most important thing that happened, for good and for bad.

Jerard Fagerberg
PornHub starting a record label and signing Coolio. Finishing the work that Brian McKnight started in 2012. Godspeed, Pornhub Records.

Sasha Geffen
statistically it was Taylor Swift’s album release, spiritually maybe the Nirvana celebration

Robert Ham
The return of Aphex Twin

Zach Hart (We Listen for You)
Women giving us folk fans a year never to forget. Albums from Marissa Nadler, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, and others saved what could have been a very bland year of music.

02-Angel-Olsen

Henry Hauser
Ten months without a platinum record

Brian Josephs
Run the Jewels 2 release, where the duo solidified themselves as the rap game’s Robin Hood.

Kim Kelly
Maddie & Tae’s “Girl in a Country Song” flipping the script on bro country.

Daniel Kohn
For better or worse, U2’s mass release of their recent record. It not only pissed off a ton of people but devalued recorded music once and for all. Whether or not this is a one-off event or a sign of things to come remains to be seen, but no one can doubt that it changes the way music is consumed.

U2 Songs of InnocenceSarah Kurchak
Tanya Tagaq’s Polaris Music Prize win was such a huge moment. On a personal note, it was the first time that my pick ever won the damned thing. More importantly, though, it was an incredibly important moment for Canadian music and Canadian life in general. For years, we’ve been watching our steadfastly colonial leadership destroy the land and the people of this country, and no one has stood up to it with the same level of activism and artistry as the indigenous people of Canada. Watching Tagaq, an Inuk woman, step on the Polaris gala stage, throat sing her guts out as the names of 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women scrolled behind her on screen, and then pick up the award and say the words “Fuck PETA,” among others, on stage, felt like a Helms Deep-level victory against everything that is wrong with Canada (she once compared the tar sands to Mordor, so it’s an appropriate analogy).

K.C. Libman
Maddie and Tae’s “Girl in a Country Song” was like a victorious, hot pink bowie knife being placed in the middle of bro country’s back. It’s even more beautiful that two 19-year-old newcomers had both the cojones and the anthem to call for a change and then send that song to Hot Country’s #3 slot. Can’t wait to see what they do next.

Nathan Mattise
“It was really great, even if it was brief, to be back at Spin and to help restore and revive a publication that meant a lot and means a lot to people, and I sincerely hope I helped lay the groundwork for Spin to be good and relevant and meaningful.”

That’s Craig Marks, well known music writer and former EIC of Spin, in September as he stepped down from his position, becoming the magazine’s fourth ex-EIC in just two years.

Obviously, Spin and the decline of music media is not as important as other initiatives like artists fighting for fair wages or music’s role in social change. But for someone in their late 20s who grew up wanting to be a music writer, Spin was the dream location. Its roots are all over the Internet now — the author of that very Poynter post to multiple members of the Grantland team — yet even Spin couldn’t make things work in the modern media landscape, first ditching print before losing its relevance. New outlets aren’t immune (see cuts at Wondering Sound), and this isn’t the first (see AOL’s Spinner shuttering last year) or the last publication to undergo major losses or changes. But Spin represented the industry for a generation, and it’s hard to tell if there will be any standalone industry for the next generation to aspire to at all.

Colin McLaughlin
Let’s be honest. This was a year driven by the trivial. At best, it’s Outkast reuniting, but even that was clouded by Andre 3000 looking like he wanted to find the nearest bridge as soon as possible. I mean, if Sam Herring dancing on Letterman is a touchstone, then we better set our eyes and hopes to 2015 right now.

Kevin McMahon
Beyoncé’s low-key album release. It shows how the times have changed when an artist that big and commercial does something like that.

Or Death Grips breakup.

Whitney Phaneuf
I’m very happy for the Run the Jewels guys. Big F U to the mainstream music industry, plus they’re super talented, nice guys who deserve it.

Alejandra Ramirez
D’Angelo coming back with Black Messiah. It was a long wait, but it was worth it.

Michael Roffman
U2’s album release. The whole process was just so unprecedented.

Hilary Saunders
It’s still a possible career choice (even after only one album hit one million sales in its first week … ahem … thanks, Taylor).

Laura Studarus
Taylor Swift pulling her music from Spotify. As a heavy Spotify user, I have no leg to stand on here, but as someone who believes artists have a right to not only profit but control the way their work is delivered to fans, I respect her decision.

Gary Suarez
The return of Aphex Twin, heralded by ominous giant blimp.

All Photography by Philip Cosores.

 

Leave a comment

Advertisement