"The canonical literature does not offer a settled, coherent account of reality; rather it provides the materials for ongoing disputatious interpretation." - Walter Brueggemann

Friday, December 12, 2014

The 80 Best Songs of 2014


Most of this list has been designed for flow rather than literally, "This song is better than this one, which is better than this one," and so on. That would be quite a task. You may see a song or two on my top 100 songs of 2010-2014 list behind a song that isn't. It's probably for flow purposes, or, let's face it, because my affection for certain songs fluctuates.

For the record, I am aware that Lewis' L'Amour album was recorded in the 80s. I'm not including it in the best albums lists for that reason. But since I would have been unable to include any of the songs from the album in a "Best Songs of 1983" list because it wasn't formally released until decades later, I am including 2 of his songs in this list because, my God, they're amazing!

Listen to the playlist on Spotify, here.

80. Karen O: "The Moon Song"

79. Thee Oh Sees: "Savage Victory"

78. Yuck: "Southern Skies"

77. Cloud Nothings: "I'm Not Part of Me"

76. Total Control: "Liberal Party"

75. Ought: "Peasant Heart"

74. Swans: "Screen Shot"

73. The Knife: "Pass This On (Shaken Up Version)"

72. James Blake: "200 Press"

71. Ricky Eat Acid: "I Can Hear the Heart Breaking as One"

70. Real Lies: "North Circular"

69. Bombay Bicycle Club: "Home By Now"

68. Damien Jurado: "Magic Number"

67. Sun Kil Moon: "Carissa"

66. Mr Twin Sister: "Blush"

65. Todd Terje: "Swing Star part 1"

64. Zhu: "Paradise Awaits"

63. Perfume Genius: "Grid"

62. Mac Demarco: "Chamber of Reflection"

61. Real Estate: "Primitive"

60. Tobias Jesso Jr.: "True Love"

59. The Decemberists: "Make You Better"

58. Julia Holter: "Don't Make Me Over"

57. Jessica Pratt: "Back, Baby"

56. J Mascis: "Me Again"

55. Sharon Van Etten: "Tarifa"

54. Blood Orange: "It's All Over My Face & Tower of Meaning"

53. Museum of Love: "Down South"

52. Wild Beasts: "Sweet Spot"

51. Deerhoof: "Paradise Girls"

50. Parquet Courts: "Black and White"

49. Spoon: "Do You"

48. Future Islands: "Spirit"

47. Coldplay: "Midnight"

46. Lana Del Rey: "Shades of Cool"

45. Caribou: "Back Home"

44. Quirke: "Break a Mirrored Leg"

43. Arca: "Now You Know"

42. Clark: "Winter Linn"

41. Future Islands: "Fall from Grace"

40. Movement: "5:57"

39. Hospitality: "Last Words"

38. Petite Noir: "Chess"

37. Todd Terje: "Johnny and Mary (feat. Bryan Ferry)"

36. Mas Ysa: "Shame"

35. Com Truise: "Subsonic"

34. Zhu: "Cocaine Model"

33. Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks: "Little Fang"

32. Parkay Quarts: "Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth"

31. Richard Dawson: "Judas Iscariot"

30. iceage: "Plowing into the Field of Love"

29. The Antlers: "Intruders"

28. Real Estate: "Talking Backwards"

27. Hospitality: "Sunship"

26. Foxygen: "Coulda Been My Love"

25. Lewis: "Things Just Happen That Way"

24. Lone: "Begin to Begin"

23. Darkside: "What They Say"

22. Caribou: "Can't Do Without You"

21. Perfume Genius: "Queen"

20. Hundred Waters: "Xtalk"

19. LCD Soundsystem: "You Can't Hide / Shame On You (Live at Madison Square Garden)"

18. Ariel Pink: "Black Ballerina"

17. Ariel Pink: "Picture Me Gone"

16. The War on Drugs: "Under the Pressure"

15. Eagulls: "Nerve Endings"

14. Swans: "Oxygen"

13. Blood Orange: "Uncle ACE (Kindness Remix feat. Robert Owens)"

12. Tobias Jesso, Jr.: "Hollywood"

11. Lewis: "Like to See You Again"

10. Timber Timbre: "Hot Dreams"
















9. The War on Drugs: "Burning"
















8. Baths: "Ocean Death"
















7. iceage: "Forever"
















6. Lantlôs: "Melting Sun Vi: Golden Mind"
















5. Grouper: "Clearing"
















4. Angel Olsen: "White Fire"













3. Movement: "Like Lust"













2. Baths: "Disorderly"













1. Foxygen: "Cosmic Vibrations"




The 25 Best Albums of 2014



25. Lantlôs: Melting Sun
















24. Tara Jane O'Neil: Where Shine New Lights
















23. Angel Olsen: Burn Your Fire for No Witness
















22. Quirke: Acid Beth
















21. Wild Beasts: Pretense Tense
















20. The Antlers: Familiars
















19. Dirty Beaches: Stateless
















18. Todd Terje: It's Album Time
















17. Spoon: They Want My Soul
















16. Future Islands: Singles
















15. Arca: Xen
















14. Parquet Courts: Sunbathing Animal
















13. Hospitality: Trouble
















12. Lone: Reality Testing
















11. Swans: To Be Kind
















10. Hundred Waters: The Moon Rang Like a Bell
















9. Clark: Clark
















8. Real Estate: Atlas
















7. Movement: Movement
















6. Grouper: Ruins
















5. Perfume Genius: Too Bright
















4. Ariel Pink: pom pom
















3. Caribou: Our Love
















2. iceage: Plowing into the Field of Love
















1. The War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream



Honorable Mention:
Sharon Van Etten: Are We There
Marissa Nadler: July
Ricky Eat Acid: Three Love Songs
Total Control: Typical System
Frankie Cosmos: Zentropy

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The 100 Best Songs of 2010-2014


These 100 songs represent the best music of this half of the decade (IMHO, of course). It is in alphabetical order. To avoid overuse of a single album, I am excluding some songs which probably deserve to be on this list but aren't because I included too many other songs from the same album. My rule was no more than 2 songs from 1 album. Listen to the playlist on Spotify, here.

"Acrobat" by Angel Olsen

"All I Want" by LCD Soundsystem

"All Your Gold" by Bat for Lashes

"Bataille" by The Men

"Bathroom Laughter" by Pissed Jeans

"Believer" by John Maus

"Bennington" by John Maus

"Best Night" by The War on Drugs

"Black Ballerina" by Ariel Pink

"Blessa" by Toro Y Moi

"Burning" by The War on Drugs

"Calgary" by Bon Iver

"Can't Do Without You" by Caribou

"Carolina" by Girls

"Chess" by Petite Noir

"Childhood's End" by Majigcal Cloudz

"Clearing" by Grouper

"Cosmic Vibrations" by Foxygen

"County Line" by Cass McCombs

"David De La Hoz" by The Chariot

"Disorderly" by Baths

"Does Not Suffice" by Joanna Newsom

"Dream House" by Deafheaven

"Elli" by Dirty Beaches

"Empty Room" by Arcade Fire

"England" by The National

"Excuses" by The Morning Benders

"Fall Back" by Factory Floor

"Fall Creek Boys Choir" by James Blake & Bon Iver

"Feel My Pain" by Kurt Vile

"Forever" by iceage

"Fright Night (Nevermore)" by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

"Godless Brother in Love" by Iron & Wine

"Goldtone" by Kurt Vile

"Green Aisles" by Real Estate

"He Would Have Laughed" by Deerhunter

"Helicopter" by Deerhunter

"Help Me Lose My Mind" by Disclosure, feat. London Grammar

"Helplessness Blues" by Fleet Foxes

"Hidee Ho" by Tapes 'n Tapes

"Hollywood" by Tobias Jesso Jr.

"Holocene" by Bon Iver

"Hot Dreams" by Timber Timbre

"Jasmine" by Jai Paul

"Jesus Fever" by Kurt Vile

"Kill for Love" by Chromatics

"Laura" by Bat for Lashes

"Leave House" by Caribou

"Let England Shake" by PJ Harvey

"Life Round Here" by James Blake

"Like Lust" by Movement

"Love is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for the DFA)" by David Bowie

"Manhattan" by Cat Power

"Maxim's I" by Julia Holter

"Melting Sun Vi: Golden Mind" by Lantlôs

"Metatron" by Darkside

"Mother of the World" by Swans

"Myth" by Beach House

"Nerve Endings" by Eagulls

"Never Have I Ever" by Nicolas Jaar, feat. Will Epstein

"No Destruction" by Foxygen

"Nothin But Time" by Cat Power

"Ocean Death" by Baths

"Odessa" by Caribou

"Oblivion" by Grimes

"Only in My Dreams" by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

"Open" by Rhye

"Open Your Heart" by The Men

"Oxygen" by Swans

"Paper Trails" by Darkside

"Queen" by Perfume Genius

"Reflektor" by Arcade Fire

"Retrograde" by James Blake

"Round and Round" by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

"Saint Nothing" by Daniel Rossen

"Say That" by Toro Y Moi

"Smart Flesh" by The Low Anthem

"Sorrow" by The National

"Space Is Only Noise If You Can See" by Nicolas Jaar

"Spare the Dark Streets" by The Music Tapes

"Staircase" by Radiohead

"Still Sound" by Toro Y Moi

"Subway" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

"Talking Backwards" by Real Estate

"The Daily Mail" by Radiohead

"The Owl and the Tanager" by Sufjan Stevens

"The Wilhelm Scream" by James Blake

"This Is a True Heart" by Julia Holter

"Too Many Kids Finding Rain in the Dust" by Nicolas Jaar

"True Blue" by Dirty Beaches

"Uncle ACE (Kindness Remix)" by Blood Orange, feat. Robert Owens

"Under the Pressure" by The War on Drugs

"Video Games" by Lana Del Rey

"Wakin on a Pretty Day" by Kurt Vile

"White Fire" by Angel Olsen

"Yet Again" by Grizzly Bear

"Yonkers" by Tyler, the Creator

"You Can't Hide / Shame on You (Live at Madison Square Garden)" by LCD Soundsystem

"You're Not Good Enough" by Blood Orange

"Zebra" by Beach House

Friday, December 5, 2014

The 30 Best Albums of 2010-2014


Here is my list of the best albums from the first half of this decade. It is in alphabetical order. Also see my 2010-2014 playlist on spotify here.

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs




Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Before Today



Beach House: Teen Dream



Beach House: Bloom



James Blake: James Blake



Bon Iver, Bon Iver



Caribou: Swim



Caribou: Our Love



The Chariot: Long Live



Chromatics: Kill for Love



Darkside: Psychic




Deafheaven: Sunbather



Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest



Dirty Beaches: Drifters / Love is the Devil



Foxygen: We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic




Grimes: Visions



Julia Holter: Loud City Song




iceage: Plowing into the Field of Love




Nicolas Jaar: Space is Only Noise




LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening





John Maus: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves




The National: High Violet




Perfume Genius: Too Bright




Real Estate: Days




Swans: The Seer




Toro Y Moi: Underneath the Pine




Toro Y Moi: Causers of This




Kurt Vile: Wakin on a Pretty Daze




Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring for My Halo



The War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream




Complete list:
Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Before Today
Beach House: Teen Dream
Beach House: Bloom
James Blake: James Blake
Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Caribou: Swim
Caribou: Our Love
The Chariot: Long Live
Chromatics: Kill for Love
Darkside: Psychic
Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest
Dirty Beaches: Drifters / Love is the Devil
Dream House: Sunbather
Foxygen: We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Grimes: Visions
Julia Holter: Loud City Song
iceage: Plowing into the Field of Love
Nicolas Jaar: Space is Only Noise
LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening
John Maus: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
The National: High Violet
Perfume Genius: Too Bright
Real Estate: Days
Swans: The Seer
Toro Y Moi: Underneath the Pine
Toro Y Moi: Causers of This
Kurt Vile: Wakin on a Pretty Daze
Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring for My Halo
The War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream