The new Laconic Hegemony “2018, What a year that was” is now out. Laconic hegemony is a small mixtape I put out with my favourite songs of the past year. You can listen to all, some or none of it. It is your choice. All these songs have been songs which have accompanied my over this year and mean something to me in some way, but I am aware they do not currently mean anything to you. Think of it as a c60 (roughly) of goodness to accompany your work rest and play!, If you are so inclined, let me know what you like from the mixtape.
Technically the Laconic Hegmony mixtapes are hosted by mixcloud.com who provide the free widget above, an app for streaming on your smart phone or even using a website, (A website, can you imagine!) The reason I use mixcloud.com is they are free, (which is important), and also they use their advertising income to pay some royalties to the featured artists. I guess it is not a lot of money but I like the idea that the artist will make something from this randomly being played on the internet.
Well in reflecting on 2014, I must consider on the main thing I have chosen to consume over 2014, which has been music. 2014 has had lot of good music (as demonstrated by the long list which I spoke of here The Long List – Best Album of 2014), here I am going to pick the best 10 albums that I heard last year.
10. Sondre Lerche – Please
This album contains much pop goodness from Norwegian Sondre Lerche.
I first heard of Sondre in 2004 and since then he has consistently produced interesting and quality pop music. This is a really good, pop album.
09.Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Only Run
There was a time where the music blogs ruled the hipsters. Brooklyn Vegan, Gorilla vs Bear, and others were the key tastemakers. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were propelled into the hipster radar due to the support of these blogs. The formula of many guitars and a distinctive, (weird nasally), singing voice was pleasing and challenging. They have had a break for a while and after some line up changes this the first album with the slimmed down, synth and drum based version of the band. It took a few listens but I really like the new sound.
07. Ibibio Sound Machine – Ibibio Sound Machine
I hadn’t heart of Ibibio Sound Machine or the album until the beginning of December. The band is seven strong and have created songs with African guitars, crazy good percussion, drums and base from house music, brass rhythms from soul music all topped by songs sung in the Nigerian regional dialect ibibio. With songs based on folk tales spoke in this language. it could all have went a bit M people, instead it is a joyful beautiful noise.
05. Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil – Goliath.
This is the only straight rock record in the top ten and it is a corker. Steve Taylor has always been within christian Music yet able to provoke and question from within. His Squint Entertainment record label managed to get a number one with Sixpence None The Richer’s Kiss Me, and open up a route to bring bands through in a liminal or ambiguous state. Anyway it seemed he had forgotten about rocking out and given himself to his first role which is movie making. but what an album he has made on his return. It is dense, packed, and great music. Lyrically his words are as per his pervious high standards, universally great and the band rocks.
(n.b. I know I haven’t put in it in the top three but I would guess now that in 10 years time this album will be one that stays with me. Its great.)
04. Meaghan Smith – Have A Heart. Meaghan Smith has produced an album of absolute beauty and pop loveliness. with the occasional it sucks to be you thrown in over the years I have enjoyed Canadian pop and this album continues the that pop tradition of delicious lush production and a beautiful voice on top with catch pop hooks all over it, (see Hey Ocean’s album “Is” last year). As shiny straight pop goes this is brilliant.
03 – Fanfarlo – Lets Go Extinct.
It wasn’t easy to get to number three, but Fanfarlo got there just ahead of Meaghan Smith and Steve Taylor. Why? Well,as they describe themselves “The passion, the obsession, the dissolution of intellectual rigour; heart and longing colliding with mind and matter; these are the recurrent themes of Fanfarlo.” And they’re indie pop type music has influences from Belle & Sebastian and Sufjan Stevens would seem to point them into an area I can get musically, and I do. (This is the second time Fanfarlo have ended up on one of my best of lists!) It’s Just beautiful music, with clever, funny and impenetrable lyrics sung by a guy with a slight swedish accent. Its very good stuff.
02 – Beck – Morning Phase.
What can you say about Beck? 6 years since his last record, Beck returns with an album which provides fantastic music, an album of darkness and light. The album is lush, its languid, its immersing. the a musical motif providing a cycle type nature to the songs. It’s a great album that rewards repeated listens.
01. Damien Jurado – Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son The third return trip to the fictional “Maraqopa” for Damien Jurado and producer Richard Swift has produced an album of beauty, variety and story. An album which seems to be religious and dangerous within itself. I haven’t heard to first two albums which are set in this alternative reality but this album stands on its own as a gorgeous set of songs. First of it sound right. The slightly indie singer songwriter production basis for the songs works brilliantly.The songs have a fragility about them which reveals the story they are involved in. The press reviews use words like Baroque, folk and etherial brilliance to describe the album, they are right. Initially I struggled to get it. I thought it was good but nothing special. Where these songs change from good to brilliant is in the bonus tracks. (As a Download I didn’t notice we had changed from the main album to the bonus material!) On the bonus disc, nine songs from the album are stripped down to just a voice and guitar, augmented by a female voice choir who provide all other parts. It turns a great album into a phenomenal album. given the run time of the album is just over the 35 minutes the deluxe edition’s extra songs just elevates the first half, creating a song cycle feel to the work.
well ten songs form the best 10 albums of 2014, (well I mean the 10 albums I like the most in 2014). so we have a mix of pop, rock, some avant grade, some quieter stuff, a bit of dutch miserablism and even some world music from Ibibio Sound Machine. When you put it all together in a 34minute mixtape it all sounds a wee bit like this. (Happy Listenings!)
1.Bad Law by Sondre Lerche.
2.Standing in Line by Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil.
3.Little Moments by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
4.I’m Running (Nya Fehe) by Ibibio Sound Machine.
5.Landlocked by Fanfarlo.
6.Rockin On The Good Side by Jad Fair & Danielson.
7.Detroit by At The Close Of Every Day.
8.Je T’Aime by Meaghan Smith.
9.Blue Moon by Beck.
10.Silver Katherine by Damien Jurado.
A list containing some of the best sounds which have informed my year, namely the long list of the best albums of 2014. As always all musical albums I heard for the first time in 2014 are eligible for consideration and the selection decision is my own.
Decision Timescale :-
Short list issued before christmas.
Winners sometime after christmas and before new year.
The 2014 long list. (artist (inc weblink), title of album)