Cameron's Top 5 Releases of 2014
Ariel Pink has always been on the strange side and it’s no doubt that his music is a clear reflection of that. His newest release Pom Pom is a delirious pop head-trip. Pink showcases his ability to make witty pop songs. The synths Pink uses are reminiscent of 80’s that sound like it could be a soundtrack to an Atari game. Others sound like they could be on a late night infomercial and some are just flat-out wacky. Pink has a great ear for how pop songs are arranged and an even greater sense of style in his music. He shows that he is very good at making quirky and extremely catchy pop music.
4. Hell Can Wait – Vince Staples
Vince Staples lyrically expresses dark, cynical and vivid stories of life on the street. He does all of this without making his raps cheery and without glamorizing the life of living in the ghetto. On “Screen Door” Staples raps the very detailed and personal story of the police coming into his home and searching for drugs when he was a kid. The following track “Hands Up” is about the brutality of the LAPD and the aggressive form of how they arrest its citizens. “They expect respect and non-violence/ well I refuse the right to be silent”; a bar from “Hands Up” is felt by many of those who are frustrated with the injustices done by police officers. The super heavy bass and buzzing synth and Staples’ effortless flow of “Blue Suede” is probably one of the best hip-hop songs that was made this year. As soon as the base drops you can't help but to nod your head to it. The album comes to a somewhat cheery end with “Feelin’ The Love”. Even if you’re not a hip-hop aficionado, you can’t deny the skill of Staples’ ability to rap and give his audience a vivid image. Hell Can Wait is not only Staples’ best work, but is also his stepping stool to asserting his dominance in the rap game.
3. Atlas – Real Estate
Atlas, the third release by Jersey boys, Real Estate is charmingly excellent. Over the course of two albums, they have polished up their dreamy sound and have made a great record. The single “Talking Backwards” was released before Atlas came out, and it was a hint that Real Estate was coming up with a great album. Martin Courtney frustratingly sings about not being able to talk well to a girl, over a lovely reverbed chord progression. On “Past Lives” Courtney recalls visiting his old home and not being able to connect to it as he once did. Courtney’s melancholic lyrics, smooth chord progressions and Matt Mondanile’s crystal clear guitar riffs make a soothing easy-going sound.
2. DSU – Alex G
Recording under Alex G, Philly kid and singer and songwriter, Alex Giannascoli newest album DSU, is an impressive DIY styled bedroom-pop album, featuring melodic electric guitars, shuffling acoustic guitars, and fragile and sometimes pitch-altered vocals.While Giannascoli’s lyrics are often cryptic, at the same time they still tell a story that when accompanied by the sometimes-gloomy arrangement of the instruments that give the album a somber yet warm feeling. On the cold acoustic riff of “Sorry”, Giannascoli sings, “Pariah kid, lost in a game/ Can you forgive me for that pain?” the lyrics evokes a feeling of melancholy and uneasiness that bears down on its listeners. The head-splitting feedback on “Axesteel”, piano centered tune, “Boy”, the cold lyrics and the piercing distorted melodic guitars of “Serpant is Lord”, and the ballad of wanting success of “Harvey” are all great songs on the album. Giannascoli has certainly struck gold on making this album every song on it is rich in emotion and is beautifully crafted to damn-near perfection.
1. Plowing Into the Field of Love – Iceage
Of all the albums that have been released this year, Plowing Into the Field of Love takes the cake as the best album of the year. Iceage’s third album sounds like a drunken night that entails the rollercoaster of emotions of such a drunken escapade. Vocalist Elias Bender Rønnenfelt croons, moans, and growls over the collection of somber and violent punk jams. Spewing angry lyrics like “I don’t care who’s house is on fire/As long as I can warm myself at the blaze” on the opening track “On My Fingers” shows Rønnenfelt’s shocking rage. The defeated tone of Rønnenfelt, droning horns, and revolving piano on “Against the Moon” leaves its listeners with the most somber feeling they’ll feel while listening to this album. But beyond the loose, shaky punk jams and furious lyrics there is beauty to found in the songs on this album. Plowing Into the Field of Love is a beautiful drunken album that should be remembered forever.