ONE. Blake Mills: Heigh Ho. Blake Mills' show at El Rey in September was one of the best I have ever seen, and I don't say that lightly. The instrumentation, the songs, and the talent on display were all top notch.
TWO. Ryan Adams: Ryan Adams. This record was like a ice cold glass of water on a hot day: exactly the right thing at exactly the right time.
THREE. The War On Drugs: Lost In The Dream. This record showcases some amazing tones and great production. I probably listened to it 25 times in a row after the first time I put it on.
FOUR. Beck: Morning Phase. I hadn't listened to Beck too much before this year, and this record as a complete work was really impressive to me.
FIVE. Sturgill Simpson: Metamodern Songs in Country Music. Recording live-to-tape is getting more and more rare, and this team knocked it out of the park with that process. I love how this record sounds.
Here are several other records I really enjoyed this year in no particular order:
Hozier. Hozier. I'll just say this: I am not the only person who has him on a year-end list.
Delta Spirit. Into the Wide. Total rock'n'roll.
Young Oceans. I Must Find You. I needed this record this year. The song "I Must Find You" was really great for re-centering and late nights.
Copeland. Ixora. I love that these guys came back -- but the April Fool's announcement threw me.
Coldplay. Ghost Stories. Continually solid and dominating their niche.
Field Report. Marigolden. Singer-songwriter music that feels really fresh.
First Aid Kit. Stay Gold. Great songs, good melodies, good harmonies. Sounds like Eisley + country, and Lacey and I loved it.
Taylor Swift. 1989. Her marketing people deserve some kind of award as well.
Tycho. Awake. Some of my favorite instrumental music in the last decade. Love it.
Crowder. Neon Steeple. Solid all-around record.
Colony House: When I Was Younger. Proud of these 3 ... they have been hard at work for so long. These are all really solid songs.
SOHN: Tremors. Incredible voice and great programming.
Brooke Fraser: Brutal Romantic. New territory for Brooke, and it's a good direction.
Matthew & the Atlas: Other Rivers. New discovery this year for me. Great for working late at night.
St Lucia: When The Night. These songs get me playing the air drums really hard.
Thanks for reading! I made a Spotify playlist of some of the highlights here.
I want to hear about your favorite records. Tweet them at me here: @p_dodd
September has been an unusually rich month for new music, and here are some highlights for me:
- Blake Mills | Heigh Ho. The live show last Thursday at El Rey was among the best I have ever seen. Unbelievable instrumentation and direct songs. Hoping to get the vinyl soon.
- Ryan Adams | Ryan Adams. After listening the first time through on NPR, I knew this record would be in my top 3 for all of 2014. I only buy vinyls of records I already love, and I bought the vinyl the day it came out.
- Delta Spirit | Into the Wide. I've loved keeping up with these guys since the Noise Ratchet days, but this record shows their maturation in the best way.
- Lecrae | Anomaly. A huge congrats to him on charting #1 on Billboard!
- Alt-J | This Is All Yours. I have only given this a quick listen, but so far I like what I hear.
- The Tree Ring | Ten Rivers. Going to a farewell show for one of your favorite bands is never fun, but The Tree Ring has continued to give their community great songs. (See photo below)
- Robbie Seay | Psalms, Volume 3 - EP. Robbie is an amazing songwriter and so consistent.
Then came some surprises with new singles from Damien Rice and Ben Howard.
And in a historical and controversial move, this other small band made their record available for free.
And with that, I deem this a rich musical month.
For anyone interested, I made a September playlist comprised of some of my favorite songs from all of the aforementioned records on Spotify. Enjoy.
Photo of The Tree Ring from their farewell show by Phillip Harder.
RIP Noise Ratchet, but I love these guys too.
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