This post is fairly under the wire, but I'm gonna get it in anyway. It wasn't a very busy year for content at Circle of Fits, in fact this is only my 20th and final post of the year. Must be the binge watching binges or the new vinyl addiction that kept me away from the posts....anyhow here are a few of my picks for the Best-Ofs and Biggest Disappointments of 2014.
Best Albums of 2014
I should use the word "Favorite" or the phrase "Listened to More Than Once" but Best-Of will do for now.
1) Manipulator-Ty Segall: Look out Mr. White, this is your new Jack of all Trades. At 27 he puts out an average of 3 albums a year as singer, guitarist and drummer in several psych/garage/fuzzed out/space folk projects. This year, manipulator had something for everyone of his fans. A highly listenable, and slightly refined version of the bullet points of his talents.
2) Lazaretto-Jack White- Not as much oomph as we wanted, but still the best and biggest Rock Star we have these days. I just wish his pretty vinyl wasn't so expensive.
3) Once More 'Round the Sun- Mastodon- The riffolympics continue for these" metalled" athletes from the ATL. Not as singable as The Hunter, but crushingly as beautiful.
4) Midnight Sun- The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger- A highly underrated pop/psyche rock outing from Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. I wonder if Sean is ever going to not be compared(in an unfair negative way) to Pops because this fine tuned cornucopia of beautiful pop soundscapes certainly holds its own.
5) Morning Phase-Beck- I could not escape comparing this to my fav Sea Change(as did many other lazy writers) and ended up not caring as much.There's just not enough heartbreak(damn you, happily married family man Beck!) But it will be number One on my second chance records of next year.
6) Bad Self Portraits-Lake Street Dive- I hopped on the bandwagon for this one and the ride has been as pleasant as one of a dog's with an open window. This Boston bred Indie soul/jazz band has one of the best singers I've heard in years with the stunning Rachael Price. And they dress really well.
7) Royal Blood- Self Titled- Merely a rhythm section but one that leaves you wondering how a clean cut duo can crack open the fucking sky with no pulled punches and sonic bomp like that.
8) The Beast of Left and Right- Lazer/Wulf- I luv this twisted wreck without a crash experimental metal trio. The only thing they are experimenting on in their audiences, who lay wet and dazzled by their dark array of metal math spit out like binary on fire.
9) The Voyager-Jenny Lewis- Maybe its the slight ginger with a guitar fetish I possess, or maybe it's just because she writes great songs (with or without the help of Ryan Adams), I don't miss Rilo Kiley at all.
10) Stay Gold-First Aid Kit- Sisterhood from Sweden. Very clean and enjoyable indie folk with a lilt to it.
Biggest Disappointments of 2014
1) Green Day gets the RRHOF nod and Richie Blackmore has not gone all Blackmore's ninja Knight and put a flaming arrow in between Billy Joe's hot topic inspired eyeliner.
2) Billy Corgan- The most thin skinned self absorbed blowhard that the 90s has ever produced. This cranky cretin actually thought Tommy Lee was a good drummer and wrestling was legit while slagging hard working vets like the Jam and Foos. He cannot just shut up and play his guitar.
3) Bob Lefsetz- Bob, I used to love your letter but not all musicians want to be big bloated rich superstars, not all musicians want to embrace streaming or social media, not all people care about ski trips, Apple and Pop stars.
4) Thom Yorke- another year, another collection of glitch blip and beep with half howled unintelligible laptopped lyrics over them. Here and gone like the last one. Hacking soundtracks. More ZZZZ from the 10101010.
5) The embracement of Fatassery- Is this bootylicious part two, Iggy, Nikki, JLo, Beyounce and Ms. Trainor? You have the cache to have on call trainers, video editors and PR people to keep your butttastic statements on the positive side..most people who struggle with their weight don't necessarily want to be proud of it, no matter how you spin it.
6) Sting- because Sting is a disappointment every year.
7) Mark Lanegan's latest album - Mark, your current live band was the best youve ever had...where were they when you recorded this album? A whole album's worth of a drum app was too much of too little for me.
8) Taylor Swift was on the cover of Time magazine, Taylor Swift was everywhere. Are her talents that massive? Or is her team made up of very powerful 19-25 year old PR people. Are the journalists all tweens? Who the fuck over the age of 21 care about Taylor Swift? What percentage of the REAL GENERAL TASTE CONSCIOUS PUBLIC give a flying fuck about this girl? Once again, Taylor Swift was on the cover of Time Magazine.
9) Brody Dalle- I love her, but let's stop calling her a punk icon at this point. Her latest album was VERY experimental and nobody had the balls to say it. Mostly sung in a washed out hush of a voice wayyyy out of her comfort zone, the songs(most of em) fell short of anything everybody knows that shes capable of..
10) The "Serial" Podcast hype....I mean at this point it's comical. Hey lookey here!!! I guess the world REALLLY dicovered podcasts this year...AHEM..theyve been around since about 2003-4, shit I even had one! 9 years ago!!! But really now, the crime was boring, the characters were boring, the ending was apparently boring, and if it hadn't been produced by Ira Glass nobody would have cared. This is hipsters getting a clean hush voiced radio version of what Nancy Grace and a plethora of true crime trash TV shows have been doing for years....
11) This years Season of Louie- excuse me, I wonder if you could help me find my laughs anywhere? Lots of serious contemplative stuff like the "fat girl dating" and the extremely boring Non English speaking Non girlfriend. Yay, she did a duet on the violin with my daughter? Yay I saved Ellen Berstyn in an elevator twice!!! Thank goodness for Pamela Adlon salvaging the game in the final inning.
12) Prince's afro or Prince's bad mustache? I can't decide.
13) Hozier = Magic= Goyte. If you don't know what this means youre doing great.
14) Boyhood. The kid didn't take one acting lesson and he had 12 years to do it.
15) Jimmy Page- Refused a booking on Howard Stern (who's interviews with top tier rockers are mostly great, very few dick jokes or pleading for threesome stories). Phoned in a highly hyped Bio which turned out to be a Picture Book...haven't we seen all the pics of Jimmy/Zep that we need/want to see at this point? And reportedly HAND STAMPED those books at signing events for the fans who waited in line after paying 70 bucks retail for the fucking thing. The remastered remastered remasters with the NEVER BEFORE HEARD unfinished demos was a bit of a cash grab too.
16) Robert Plant- Just say you can't hit the notes anymore and people will stop asking.
17) Imagine No Imagine Dragons.
18) Neil Young- Ditches Pegi for crazy, goes coocoo for Pono and writes a book about all the fucking cars he loves. Neil, the cars and trains were the parts of Waging Heavy Peace that made it a huge bore fest....
AND BY THE WAY ALL ROCKERS ABOUT TO WRITE A BIO...Please call Keith. Ask for pointers.
19) Ryan Adams and his perfectly messed up hair. We know you have a stylist.
20) Slipknot- rethink the masks. It ruined the already pathetic Kiss and that's what we're hoping for.
21) Wayne Coyne- Running neck and neck with Billy Corgan in the Douchbag of the decade race...stay tuned to see who wins.
22) David Gilmour- Just couldn't leave the island he owns long enough to put fucking lyrics on the "NEW PINK FLOYD ALBUM". Now playing in dentist office lobbies everywhere.
23) Morrissey- Shut up, eat a fucking sandwich or get laid you cocky twat. You're running out of places to play and columns to fill.
24) Goodbye Jack, Joe, Ian, Bobby, Johnny, Tommy and.....Malcolm. We hardly knew ya.