A year of unexpected albums from artists assumed retired, farewell albums from others, and slimmer pickings for new artists: that’s DJ SCSI’s 2014. In a year which found your correspondent DJ coming and going from every continent, quite often the best place to be was a couch at home, headphones optional.
Classical album of the year – Become Ocean – John Luther Adams
Comeback of the year – Havens Dumb – Augie March
This year, no classical on the podcast as the year’s finest was a 43 minute piece that I couldn’t chop up for the podcast. So you’ll just have to check out Become Ocean all on your own. Hundred Waters kick proceedings off for real, an ethereal glistening beast. Actress next, with a track from what is supposedly his final album. We’ll see. Onwards to Flying Lotus and an album which was all over the shop with fewer standout tracks than previous efforts, but after Lone it leads into Thom Yorke whose second solo album had more to say about distribution than musically, but managed a couple of decent tunes including Guess Again! Influences from all those that precede clearly worn on a sleeve (Actress, FlyLo etc) yet still clearly Thom. When’s that new Radiohead album coming, then?
tUnE-yArDs’ singalong qualities made for regular listening in the latter part of the year. Don’t we all feel like Mr Tembo sometimes? “It’s where he is now but it wasn’t what he planned”. It’s about an elephant. Genius. The War on Drugs bring us the kind of indie that’s been missing for a long while. Caribou, so hard to choose from a standout album, when Silver comes soaring in at 3:27 it’s magic. Constant repeat. True too for Jungle: falsettos and soul, what’s not to like? St Vincent kept me good company in Jakarta with Rattlesnake. TV on the Radio burst through with a fantastic new album in November, and Beck recovered from back injury with his best in some time.
Angie March haven’t made easy listening with Definitive History – a clear swipe at the Abbott government and its impact: “strangers welcome, just not here”. A truly unexpected return from a band that had all but disappeared. Streaming’s probably the best way to hear Havens Dumb outside of Australia, no local Europe release as yet, but it’s worth seeking out. We stay in the region for Neil Finn, In My Blood has only the lightest touches of Dave Fridmann’s production, just right.
To wrap up the year, and to bring up the tempo, we go latin! Sebastian Tellier got carried away with a concept album that had something to do with Brazil (World Cup was good timing?) and Romeo Santos tore up the charts with Odio despite Drake phoning it in: “he speaking Spanish, I get it translated” huh. This year I got hooked on listening to Super Estrella (Spanish language station out of California – be glad I haven’t included this year’s biggest hit, Bailando), and from there to close out 2014 something truly huge, catchy and tragic, Decidiste Dejarme (You Decided to Leave Me). And with that, I leave you, until next year!
And to the tunes:
Out Alee – Hundred Waters
Gaze – Actress
Obligatory Cadence – Flying Lotus
Meeker Warmer Energy – Lone
Guess Again! – Thom Yorke
Hey Life – tUnE-yArDs
Mr Tembo – Damon Albarn
Disappearing – The War on Drugs
Silver – Caribou
Time – Jungle
Rattlesnake – St Vincent
Careful You – TV on the Radio
Say Goodbye – Beck
Definitive History – Augie March
In My Blood – Neil Finn
Ricky L’Adolescent – Sebastian Tellier
Odio – Romeo Santos featuring Drake
Decidiste Dejarme – Camila