2014 has a lot in common with Humpty Dumpty: they both had a great Fall. Half of the albums on my list of favourite records of the year were released after Labour Day; two came out in the dog-days of summer; and three had their official releases before the spring thaw. While there’s a wealth of decent-to-really good records that came to market in 2014, these 10 stood the test of front-to-back, repeated listens.
As is Quick Before It Melts’ year-end tradition, these records are not ranked or graded, but presented in alphabetical order as 10 albums on the roster of Team Quick Before It Melts for 2014.
The full list, as well as embedded Bandcamp players (where available), follows below. Next week’s posts will be the last ones until January. Each day from Monday, December 15 to Friday, December 19, I will post a downloadable collection of 15 of my favourite Canadian songs of the year (a total of 75 songs over five volumes), you be sure to come back each day and collect whole set.
ABSOLUTELY FREE Absolutely Free.
“Like Boston tour guides who tell you that stop signs in that city are just suggestions, Absolutely Free use classic pop tropes as reference points rather than as rules that need abiding to get their songs from points A to B. The eight songs of Absolutely Free. make for an impressive listening experience. Sonic elements splatter and spray themselves across the band’s musical canvas with audacity, running and bleeding into each other, obscuring any clear delineation of beginnings, middles and ends.”
Quick Before It Melts, October 14, 2014
SPENCER BURTON Don’t Let The World See Your Love
“He’s a complex, sometimes confounding character, Spencer Burton. Don’t Let The World See Your Love heeds its titular warning, guarding away some of Burton’s secrets behind metaphor and allegory. It is an absorbing, atmospheric album of country and folk made by a man whose rebel spirit and rock past continues to inform his songwriting. It’s also one of the most beautiful sounding records I’ve heard all year.”
Quick Before It Melts, September 8, 2014
CARIBOU Our Love
“[Caribou, aka Dan] Snaith’s gone on record as saying the album is “mind-numbingly simple” but for me, that’s too basic a statement to encompass all that Our Love has to offer listeners. It is a nuanced and multi-faceted record that defies any attempt at distilling it into its most elementary form. It recognizes that pleasure is often accompanied by pain; that love, lust, longing, and loss are all petals on the same daisy.”
Quick Before It Melts, October 6, 2014
JENNIFER CASTLE Pink City
“…The overall effect of Pink City is transfixing… Pink City beckons listeners to join Jennifer Castle on a barefooted journey through subdivisions of the sublime, decomposing districts, and cross bridges over chaotic chasms. The landmarks are familiar, but through the lens of Castle’s music, you’ll see this city n a whole new light.”
September 29, 2104
DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 The Physical World
“…If your critique is that dance-punk is past its prime in 2014, that’s hardly the fault of the duo who made it so exciting and euphoric in 2004. That there’s been an obnoxious number of pale imitators since You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine mind-fucked the world doesn’t mean that the default response to its predecessor should be “Meh,”. The Physical World doesn’t veer far from signature Death From Above 1979, but 10 years later, Grainger and Keeler bring their accumulated life and musical experiences with them to the table/studio, and the resulting record is, dare I say more fun, and more compelling for it.”
Quick Before It Melts, September 9, 2014
“…I had played a few times as background sound before committing to a proper sit-down get-to-know-you listening session in as intimate a setting as possible: me, Doomsquad, some high-end phones, and a dark room at night. The experience is like a stay in a sensory deprivation tank. The boundaries of your body and mind melt into that of the music of Kalaboogie‘s opening third (“When the Dead Become Infants”, “Head Spirit (for our Mechanical Time)”, and “Disremember/Dismemberment”) before the thundering bass assault of “Waka Waka” wallops you to the ground and runs off with a mouthful of your bloody ear.”
Quick Before It Melts, February 24, 2014
KALLE MATTSON Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold
“…for all the obvious pain of remembering, there’s a redemptive spirit on Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold. It’s an intangible quality that speaks to Kalle Mattson’s maturation, spiritually and artistically. For the first time, he takes centre stage not as a front man but as a solo artist, and proves that he’s more than up for the job. The influence of his heroes are still felt, as on the Springsteen-esque anthem “An American Dream”, but Someday, the Moon Will Be Gold showcases an emerging voice in the Canadian music scene who is developing into a singular talent right before our eyes.”
Quick Before It Melts, February 10, 2014
PS I LOVE YOU For Those Who Stay
“Disc three from PS I Love You is a bold step forward that doesn’t reinvent their signature sound so much as refine it. It is the ideal blend of pop and pathos, pitched perfectly between self-pity and giddy bliss… Album opener “In My Mind At Least” [is]… one of 2014’s best guitar anthems.”
Quick Before It Melts, July 21, 2014
SILKKEN LAUMANN Not Forever Enough
“The disintegration of relationships and partnerships that fuelled the birth of Silkken Laumann has not been for naught… as Not Forever Enough establishes Silkken Laumann as a full-time going concern, and far from the side project some initially tried to classify it as. Dropping at dusk on New Year’s Day 2014 after a release party a day earlier, Not Forever Enough is the first great album of 2014, for me, for Klausener, and for Canada.”
Quick Before It Melts, January 7, 2014
TANYA TAGAQ Animism
“…you don’t write and record a song as visceral and physical as [Tanya Tagaq‘s] “Fracking” without meaning to make a statement about it. Still, I never once feel like I’m being preached to; instead I imagine that I’m on a guided tour–sometimes of memories, sometimes of the physical world, sometimes of dreams–by someone who knows and cares about where every footfall will land. It is an emotional education that music rarely provides.”
Quick Before It Melts, June 2, 2104
Tags: Absolutely Free, Caribou, Death From Above 1979, Doomsquad, Jennifer Castle, Kalle Mattson, PS I Love You, SILKKEN LAUMANN, Spencer Burton, Tanya Tagaq