CMJ was fun. But I'm tired of writing about good upcoming shows. It's overload, yo. Magnets, yo. So this week I thought it would be digitally delightful to instead write about good new songs. For fun. To keep things spicy around here. C'mon. Let's mix it up a bit. Oh My Rockness: changing the dynamic content game since 2004.
The following are my picks for the best songs of the year. Now, I know what you're thinking, "But Whoa My Blobness it's only late October! Can a year-end list even be done right now? Wouldn't that go against all the tried and true laws of the World Wide Intrasphere?" Sure, there are a couple more months left of 2014. But I’m fairly confident I’m not going to hear anything good from now until New Year’s. Every song from here on out won't be good. Atta boy. That's the spirit. As an added bonus, nobody else is doing year-end lists right now and that means this music blob is #alt.
My favorite songs of the year are listed in no particular order. If you forget everything else I tell you this week, please remember that. All of these songs are equally good. Just like you and me and our neighbors and strangers are all equally good.
The 14 Best Songs of 2014
Please note you can click on any of the band names at any time during this dynamic content to read more of my words about the band/artist in question. I wrote profiles for each of them... all by myself... NBD.
Definitely one of my favorite songs this year. Definitely one of my favorite new bands. This song is off Gates’ euphoric (!) new album “Bloom and Breathe.” Definitely one of my favorite albums this year (you should get it - and I should mind my own business). As per this song, specifically - please wait for the 4:55 mark. All secrets to life, death, love, and longing will be revealed at the 4:55 mark. Bet.
As far as pure fuzzy guitar catchiness, it’s going to be tough to beat this one. Good thing this isn’t a competition The participants don’t even know they’re playing (until I tag the shit out of them on Twitter). Clocking in at just a tick under 2:00, “Quitting” leaves you wanting more - and oftentimes that’s better than leaving you wanting less. I hope you remember that, man. I feel like this song was written just for me. In particular, the line, “And you take yourself so serious!” It's true. I do. I just can’t help it. There’s nothing funny about being a blob in the Music Industry. (Those whoa-oh-ohs!, tho.)
This song gets all the coolness points. Please wait for the "Bam. Buh-Buh-Buh-Bam. Buh-Boom-Bams." The cool goes off the charts during that part. If I can feel cooler just listening to this song as I type this dynamic digital copy, imagine what it can do for you. Bam. Buh-Buh-Buh-Bam. Buh-Boom-Bam
I’ve only played this one approximately 172 times (give or take a couple dozen - I crunched the plausible numbers super quickly in my head). You know what this song by Boston's Aviator is about, big guy? It’s about growing up, girl. I blast this one for motivation. It pumps me up. You will conquer that mountain. You will learn to let go. You will change those channels on that couch with authority. (2:11 mark, tho)
That opening riff, tho. This goes 8-bit-ish but also comes with beats that go BIG TIME. I don’t understand how this dude does it. My Nintendo never sounded like this. (P.S. Fuck you, Power Glove. You never worked liked the commercial said you would - you owe 11-year-old me $450 dollars - adjusted for inflation.) Please note. This song also features a pleasant performance by Amy Millan of Stars. Again. That opening riff, tho.
You may remember I recently said that Aviator’s “Pipe Dreams” really pumps me up. When I have to put that song down for a minute or two because I’m too pooped to pump anymore, I reach for Iron Chic’s “Wolf Dix Rd” for a second wind. This song pumps me up to get pumped up. It’s like the song behind the song BEHIND the song. How great do these crunchy guitars sound? Tip: REALLY great. I’m not the type of guy to throw his fist in the air for anything but I do so when blasting this. I’m doing it right now, actually. It just took an extra 30 seconds to type this sentence because I can't use the correct home row keys on my state-of-the-art Compru-Pad using only one hand. Oh well. Totally worth it. My arm is getting tired.
When she’s not leading Swearin’ (a good goddamn band), Allison Crutchfield makes some of the most sublime bedroom pop you’ll hear this year. “You” is off her excellent 7-song album “Lean In To It" and it's both warm and melancholy. It’s all about that contrast, man. Can’t have those pretty sunsets without those clouds, tho.
Ooh. Tough to pick just one song from Somos’ “Temple of Plenty” album. If I was doing an album of the year list, that one would definitely be at or near the top. But we’re not doing that. Songs, man. It’s always been about the songs (or “cuts” in Music Industry Insider speak). All 9 songs on this record are great. Seriously. But if I had to pick one, I guess I’ll go with “Strangest Example” because THAT BRIDGE, THO (more bridges in songs please, thx, best, patrick). If this band isn’t huge in 2015 the game is fucking rigged.
The first time I heard this song I thought the melody sounded similar to this song. Did I nail that sound comparison? I nailed it right? I may not have great long hair but I do have a really great ear for comparing current songs to old musicals. Those vocals, tho.
Listen to this one real quick. It's cool. I'll wait.
Welcome back! Now tell me, does this song make you happy or does it make you sad? If you answered, "Both. I don't know. Maybe. Neither. Yes. No. I'm just a little mixed up emotionally right now" you are CORRECT! This one works best if you blast it while blissed out - whatever blissed out means to you. RIYL: pretty
Instrumental math-rock. You may remember it. You may have loved it. You may have lost touch with it. Well, brother, it’s high time you reintroduced yourself to it now. Because Vasudeva will snap your math-rock loving soul back to attention. This song is off the band’s debut full-length “Life in Cycles” and I love it almost as much as I love that whole album. This one builds, so don't bail out before the construction is complete. What's left standing is something to behold.
This song is so good Alex G sometimes bills himself as “Sandy Alex G.” When a guy names himself after one of his songs it's gotta be good! This lo-fi wunderkind is going to be very (relatively) popular someday soon. You can bet on that or my name isn’t Whoa My Blobness. I want to meet this fictional 14-year-old Sandy and tell him everything is going to be OK. He may think Satan is his master but he's really not. When Sandy grows up he'll realize that guy's a dick.
(please note: this song was originally released 3 years ago - but did you hear it? - nope - didn't think so - me neither.)
This song is an easy breezy perfect pop HIT and I bet you’ve never even heard it before. That’s a damn shame. But I’m delighted to inform you that this can be rectified quickly if a music blob knows how to harness the hidden powers of streaming technology. Thankfully for you this blob does. Blast this and sail away and set adrift on memory bliss.
Philadelphia’s Dark Blue are a chilly, laid-back popster rockster punkster band that features once, former and perhaps even future members (you never know) of Ceremony, Paint in Black, Purling Hiss and Clockcleaner TO NAME BUT A FEW. If you like easy-going croons over mostly lonely sounding tunes, you have very specific musical tastes and this could be your new favorite band.
The band is led by singer/shredder John Sharkey III. His smooth baritone recalls something between The National dude and the Merchandise dude and the other dudes in the world with baritone voices. There’s probably only a few more out there. Andrew Mackie Nelson and Mike Sneeringer triangulate out this trio. They play... wait for it... bass guitar and drums.
If you missed the first two 7”s Dark Blue put out, hey, don’t beat yourself up about it too much. These things happen. You snoozed. You lost. Thankfully, there is still time to make it right. The band JUST released “Pure Reality” - their debut full-length for the forever respectable Jade Tree. So it’s not too late to someday brag to your future friends that you totally got the Dark Blue debut when it first came out. Or, I guess you could just lie. But who would lie about something like that? What kind of monster are you? How do you expect to ever get friends if they can’t trust you?
If it will make everybody feel better I can post the full album stream of “Pure Reality” if you want. Just email me and let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in. In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and post it anyway. Have fun listening. You might wanna grab a sweater. And some friends.