TOP ALBUMS of 2014: Sims’ Picks

I can’t even try to rank these albums, so in no particular order are ten albums that ruled in 2014. I also threw some EPs in that deserve some attention. I tried to snag as much as I could off Soundcloud so you can check it out. Enjoy.

RunTheJewelsRTJ2

 Run the Jewels – “Run the Jewels 2″

My god, this album just rules from start to finish and never lets up. This follow-up to last year’s highly acclaimed album is an absolute masterpiece.

BROODS-Evergreen-2014

Broods – “Evergreen”

This electronic pop duo from Auckland, New Zealand shares production with critically acclaimed Kiwi, Lorde, and some of the textures in this down-tempo, thought-provoking, and…well, brooding….pop are similar. What differentiates Broods from their more well-known mate is that they bring some more energy and diversity to many of the tracks on “Evergreen”.

TWDY

This Will Destroy You – “Another Language”

The post-rock group’s first new album in three years is their most dynamic yet, and marks somewhat of departure from their trademark slow, clean, melodic crescendos. The song composition on “Another Language” is much different from earlier work in that it’s fuller and more lush in the textures and guitar effects. Still expect to hear their reserved, dreamy finesse, rather than unhinged bangers. RIYL: Explosions in the Sky

OceanDist

Ocean Districts – “Expeditions”

Another post-rock band because you can never have too much non-vocal articulation of postmodern theoretical approaches to rock and roll, amirite? This album would get my pick for their raging track, “Endurance”, alone, but the rest of the album has a great flow and pretty interesting guitar work that sometimes takes a post-hardcore, proggy path. RIYL: Pelican, Caspian, Coheed & Cambria.

baptistsbloodmines

Baptists – “Bloodmines”

This absolutely crushing follow-up to last year’s “Bushcraft” (which I regret not listening to sooner) is one blistering torrent of hate after another. Trigger Warning: you will probably hammer punch everything in striking distance when you listen to this album.

Of-Sinking-Ships-The-Amatharine-Sea_535_535_c1

…Of Sinking Ships – “The Amarinthine Sea”

This post-rock group (god, aren’t you sick of me yet?) from North Carolina crafts dreamy, progged-out, meandering odysseys apparently themed around seafaring and shipwrecks. It’s very imaginative, yet chill enough to avoid being self-indulgent.

Death-From-Above-1979-The-Physical-World

Death From Above 1979 – “The Physical World”

In 2004, when a friend of mine turned me on to “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine”, it dramatically redefined my taste in music. Prior to that album, I hadn’t been a fan of stripped-down music that much, instead opting for the almost over-the-top fullness of the likes of Coheed and Cambria and The Mars Volta at the time (still love both so hard). But DFA’s duo of drums and bass/synth managed to leave no empty space in their thundering, dance-your-ass-off art-punk. Anyway, fast-forward a decade and this band continues to define my taste in music. Don’t be surprised that it’s not a radical departure from “You’re a Woman…”; “The Physical World” is certainly something new and different but has all the trimmings of DFA that you’ve loved for years. Update: remember when I wrote about how this white whale has evaded me for ages? Well, I rolled deep down to Nashville and they rocked our faces off with one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Vindication never sounded so sweet.

odesza

Odesza – “In Return”

This electronic duo from Seattle grabbed my ear about a year ago with their ridiculously catchy EP, “My Friends Never Die”, and I’ve been stoked on their new full-length album since they announced it several months ago. “In Return” definitely delivers on the anticipation; there’s an impressive and dynamic range of mature, refined electro-lounge and dub-ish club jams. This is a solid all-around album that I can’t stop listening to. If you like electronic music at all, do yourself a favor and scoop this up.

yautja

Yautja – “Songs of Descent”

Pronounced “eee-WATT-yah”, named for a supernatural being of Native American folklore that the monster in the “Predator” movies is based on, this album out of Nashville needs to be in regular rotation for your collection of heavy music. It’s difficult to talk about music without comparing it to other known points of of reference. I’m not saying they’re another Mastodon or Baroness, but there are certain elements on this album that are similar to what really drew me to love early Mastodon and Baroness – crashing syncopated drums, thundering bass lines, and proggy downtuned guitars belting out thick riffs. Oh and don’t forget the gravelly screaming. That’s what I look for in metal, at least.

omg

Old Man Gloom – “The Ape of God” (I and II)

These tricksters were fairly secretive about any album details prior to the release of, not just one, but TWO albums – both named “The Ape of God”. Some folks have called OMG a super group, although the members hate that term since it diminishes the work of OMG by propping it up on the laurels of the associated projects (Converge, Doomriders, Cave-In, Isis, Mammifer). I’ve been rocking Old Man Gloom since I was a pissed-off teenager in rural North Carolina. While much of my own attitude and geographical affiliation has changed, it’s still super awesome to see one of my long-time favorites rocking as hard as they ever have and handily defining the state of heavy music. Grab these important albums. Now.


 

Notable EPs

Cult Leader – “Nothing For Us Here”

Great Floods – “Failures” (RIP)

Karass – “Order of Operations”

The Pass (duh, like all of them. they were super busy in 2014)

Anwar Sadat – “Disobedience”

Bonobo – “Flashlight”

Permanent link to this article: http://backseatsandbar.com/2015/01/12/top-albums-of-2014-sims-picks/

Whistle Peak Soundtracks Kentucky Derby Museum Exhibit

horseplayThere’s no arguing that Whistle Peak is one of Louisville’s most accomplished, and most underrated bands. Back in April, Whistle Peak added something unique to their stable, as band members David Boston and Billy Petot crafted eight instrumental tracks to soundtrack the “Horse Play” exhibit at the Kentucky Derby Museum. This exhibit runs through December 31, 2014, so if you haven’t been yet, it’s a great chance for adults and kids alike to have fun celebrating one of Kentucky’s proud traditions: 140 years of the Kentucky Derby. I’ve been listening to this at work, and I’ve been amazed by how easily these tracks transport my imagination to scenes from horse races.

The Kentucky Derby Museum is releasing this soundtrack on CD and digital formats, and you can stream it below. For instrumentals that are somewhat secondary to the visual component of the art exhibit, these tracks really capture the spirit and the environment of the Kentucky Derby and add so much more to “Horse Play”.

I asked Billy Petot of Whistle Peak a few questions about the Horse Play soundtrack, so you can read his own thoughts on it.

What was it like for Whistle Peak to soundtrack this exhibit? What was the creative process?

Well, we mostly just went into it thinking we wanted the songs to represent different periods of time yet still work together well, to be playful and nostalgic.  The original idea was that there would be a song for each station in the exhibit, representing different time periods.  And we wanted the songs to be able to play together in some combination because each song would be playing at the same time and depending on where you were standing in the exhibit you would be listening to some particular combination, blah, blah, it didn’t work.  so due to size and space constraints, the soundtrack ended up taking on a more playlist construction.  

As far as actually creating it, David Boston and I worked a bit more on our own than we have in the past.  We each wrote and recorded a couple songs on our own and then did a couple together.  The most fun was recording the Tetris-like version of My Old Kentucky Home.  We hadn’t really planned to do it but David had an atari sounding beat he’d been working on and I had just learned the song on guitar that morning, so we just laid it down in an hour or so.  It was a lot of fun.    

 

Has Whistle Peak ever done anything like this, combining or collaborating with other artistic media?

For a few of our live shows, we had Ryan Daly project video, which wasn’t just random images.  He actually made all of those trippy music videos.  And until you’d asked that question I’d forgotten about them.  But other than working with him and performing with other musicians, no we have never done something like this, where we are approached with a concept and asked to bring it to fruition.  

 

(this might be a dumb question, but I think it’s neat that kids got to enjoy this) The Horse Play exhibit is specifically designed to include children, which isn’t the typical audience many Louisville artists play for. What are your thoughts on including children, inviting them to participate in being viewers or audience members?

We thought that was neat as well.  I have a stepdaughter in elementary school, so I really wanted her school to take a trip there, but I don’t think that is happening.  It is neat to know that kids are listening though.  our songs have always included children in a way.  Often when writing lyrics we approach from a children’s perspective with imaginary animal and stuff like that.  A lot of our songs have toy instruments and noise makers that belong to my kids or something David picked up at a flea market or something. Friends with children always say how much their kids love our music, which I find flattering.  If your music makes a kid dance, I think you are tapping into something that we all naturally desire to hear and feel.   

 

Any other things you’d like to add about this album?

I was a bit surprised with how it turned out.  I like listening to it. It was nice to think less about creating for the band, our yourself, and instead to try and bring someone else’s vision to life while still holding on to whatever it is that is Whistle Peak.  I think we accomplished that goal and I hope it leads to similar projects in the future. Another thing I wanted to add is that the exhibit was curated and dreamt up by Dominic Guarneschelli who works for the museum.  A neat thing about working with the museum was that we had access to any archival footage of any Derby race we wanted.  So we were able to sample sounds from those videos, the sound of horses or trainers bragging on their horses, or just the crowd.  Also, KET gave us permission to sample audio from their documentary on the Barney Bright clock, which was really cool as well.

Permanent link to this article: http://backseatsandbar.com/2014/10/28/whistle-peak-soundtracks-kentucky-derby-museum-exhibit/

TENNIS w/ Pure Bathing Culture @ Headliners — Sep 19

Tennis is Denver-based husband-and-wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, who will visit Louisville to perform at Headliners on September 19 in support of the September release of their newest full-length album, Ritual in Repeat.

Ever since releasing their debut LP Cape Dory and follow-up album Young & Old, Tennis has emboldened the leisurely surf-pop of their early days with more introspective themes of a band (and a couple) that seems to grow more confident, yet also more uncertain, about their future.  But they still inject levity into their sound, so come ready to dance.

 

 

I’m particularly looking forward to hearing Tennis play their newest album Ritual in Repeat because they enlisted several well-known producers to work with them, including Patrick Carney of The Black Keys (who produced Young & Old), Jim Eno (Spoon), and Richard Swift (The Shins).  All of those guys are great in the studio when it comes to pulling out just the right tones to keep the song’s strongest elements in the foreground while subtly working in each supporting layer in a way that balances the final mix nicely.

 

 

Tennis played Zanzabar in November, and received well-deserved acclaim for playing a great set.  Now they’re ready to return to Louisville and beyond, carrying on the momentum of their recent sold-out tour in support of HAIM.

Not to mention, Tennis themselves will be supported by Pure Bathing Culture, who are Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman of Vetiver.  If you enjoy dream-pop, take a listen to “Pendulum” the first single released off PBC’s debut album Moon Tides:

 

 

Anyone lucky enough to score a ticket to this show will have a unique opportunity to enjoy a talented band on the leading edge of indie rock, at an intimate Louisville venue.  And on a Friday night for $10, that’s a no-brainer.

More Details:

Holy Carp Productions presents Tennis, with Pure Bathing Culture

Headliners Music Hall

September 19, 2014

$10 Adv / $12 DOS

Ages 18+

Tickets (or purchase at Headliners box office)

 

Permanent link to this article: http://backseatsandbar.com/2014/08/08/tennis-w-pure-bathing-culture-headliners-sep-19/

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