Sunday, February 23, 2014

Listening Habits 01-02.14

Our first list of favorite albums for 2014 just before the end of February shows that the New Year has had quite a good start with at least four excellent LPs that I’m sure are going to be included in many "Best of the Year" lists 10 months from now.

Warpaint’s self-titled sophomore work was everything we were expecting from this band and more. The four girls took their time in making this album (it’s been more than two years since their debut, "The Fool") and experimented with their sound, writing the songs all together for the first time and letting in new influences.

This new approach has worked wonderfully well and with the help of producers Flood and Nigel Godrich, Warpaint have created an album that takes them to the next level. The impeccable rhythm section provides the grooves that will lure you in their world, the ghostly guitar lines and ethereal vocal melodies will make sure that you’ll never want to leave - a simply enchanting experience from start to finish!

Newcomers Temples, from Kettering, UK, have submerged themselves in '60s psychedelia and with "Sun Structures" have given us a great debut, filled with melodic psych-pop that may not reinvent the genre but offers many memorable songs that will brighten your day. A very promising start, indeed!

Dee Dee Penny, meanwhile, the leader of Dum Dum Girls, has done it again. "Too True", her band’s third record, is another excellent work that brings to the foreground '80s gothic rock and '90s indie pop influences. The roots of the Dum Dum Girls sound remain in '60s and '70s garage and punk, but these new elements along with the hi-fi production values bring out a bigger and brighter sound that testify to Dee Dee’s intention to keep evolving as a songwriter.

Mark Kozelek’s status as a great singer-songwriter is well established through his numerous albums with Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon and his solo work.

His latest release, "Benji", the sixth Sun Kil Moon LP which features contributions by Steve Shelley, Jen Wood, Will Oldham, and Owen Ashworth, is undoubtedly one of the best in his 25 years in the game, a record that captivates with the narrative strength of its confessional stories and the simple yet powerful acoustic arrangements. Even if you’ve never heard any of Kozelek’s previous records, make sure you lend an ear to "Benji" and start by listening either "Ben's My Friend" or "Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes", two of its many highlights.

Top 15 Albums

1.   Warpaint - WARPAINT
2.   Sun Structures - TEMPLES
3.   Too True - DUM DUM GIRLS
4.   Benji - SUN KIL MOON
5.   Wig Out At Jagbags - STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS
6.   Trouble - HOSPITALITY
7.   Cheatahs - CHEATAHS
8.   Cursing The Sea - SEPTEMBER GIRLS
9.   Weird Sister - JOANNA GRUESOME
10. Matangi - M.I.A.
11. Cupid Deluxe - BLOOD ORANGE
12. Real Hair EP - SPEEDY ORTIZ
13. Tally All The Things That You Broke EP - PARQUET COURTS
14. The Remainderer EP - THE FALL
15. Rough Trade Shops Counter Culture 13 - VARIOUS ARTISTS

Top 15 Tracks

1.   Love Is To Die - WARPAINT
2.   Rimbaud Eyes - DUM DUM GIRLS
3.   Birth In Reverse - ST. VINCENT
4.   Ben's My Friend - SUN KIL MOON
5.   I Miss Your Bones - HOSPITALITY
6.   Shelter Song - TEMPLES
7.   Get Tight - CHEATAHS
9.   American Horror - SPEEDY ORTIZ
10. Sugarcrush - JOANNA GRUESOME
11. He’s Seeing Paths - PARQUET COURTS
12. Sexodus ft. The Weeknd - M.I.A.
13. You’re Not Good Enough - BLOOD ORANGE
14. Heartbeats - SEPTEMBER GIRLS
15. Will You Be My Mom? - CHILDBIRTH (mp3 via KEXP blog)

Warpaint - Love is to Die (Yours Truly Session)

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