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The Top 25 Songs of 2014


It’s no secret that I’m an albums guy. One look at my extensive year-end “Top Albums” list, and it’s clear that I’m a purist at heart, almost always listening to an album from start to finish. However, there is the rare occasion where I’ll queue up a specific song to fit the mood or raise my spirits. The list below contains 25 of those songs that I found myself searching out (why 25? Because I couldn’t cut it down to 20). You will not find many songs from albums on my “Top Albums” list simply because if it’s a great album, I’m probably not going to skip tracks. Instead, you will mostly hear songs that were stand-outs on albums that didn’t quite make the grade. If you are expecting a list that is of the same caliber as my “Top Albums” run-down, you are about to be greatly disappointed. But if you’re up for checking out some of those songs that got multiple replays on my iPod in 2014, the following list should provide you with an entertaining mix.

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The Top 40 Albums of 2014 (40-21)


For me, this list is the most important thing I write all year. While I enjoy all the various writing avenues I take, the “Top Albums” list is really the end-all-be-all. I’m not blind to the list of other music websites, and as I peruse them, I always find myself scoffing or shaking my head in frustration. Sometimes it’s because of the thinly veiled politics behind picks; other times it’s the unwarranted hype given to an artist who still needs time to grow. I like to believe that I’m so outside the industry and that I can give you a list that is based solely on my passion for music that lurks outside the mainstream. Once again, I’ve compiled a list of some incredible albums that hail from a wide range of genres. Give the first 20 a read through and a listen, and I’m sure you’ll find something that strayed beyond your listening peripheral in 2014.

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BDWPS Podcast: Episode 30

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In this episode we listen to new tracks from Ex Hex, Death From Above 1979, Willie Nelson, Goat, Shellac, and Jennifer Castle. I also discuss the new HBO series “Sonic Highways,” the documentary “Beware of Mr. Baker,” and take a look back at Bob Dylan’s legendary road trip in 1964. You can listen to the episode HERE or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search: BDWPS).


Ex Hex “Don’t Wanna Lose”
Death From Above 1979 “Right On, Frankenstein”
Willie Nelson “The Wall”
Goat “Hide From the Sun”
Jennifer Castle “Sailing Away”
Shellac “The People’s Microphone”
Fela Kuti & Ginger Baker “Let’s Start”
Bob Dylan “Chimes of Freedom”

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Top 100 Albums of 2000 (60-41)

60.  Blonde Redhead – Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons

I was consulting with Pthestudp about what albums should be on this list.  One of the albums he suggested was this particular one by Blonde Redhead.  I rejected this immediately, as I did not have the fondest memories of their 199 album, Fake Can Be Just As Good. But MOCDL really caught me by surprise.  Arty, yet melodic and rocking, reminds me of Wire.  And another band that has two of the opposite sex taking turns on the mike, Sonic Youth.  And Deerhoof, another arty band with an Asian female spitting out crazy vocal stylings.  I have listened to this over and over again since Pthestudp recommended it to me and it has not gotten old at all. – Songssuck

59.  Quasimoto – The Unseen

I recently found myself at O’Hare airport in Chicago with four hours to waste (long story).  I found a comfy seat at the end of a huge room, set the IPod to The Unseen and prepared to watch people get their tickets. Needless to say that hour flew by.  I checked out this album after discovering Madlib via Madvillainy. Sometimes I am puzzled/frustrated by an album/artists lack of popularity.  But I can see why this one didn’t connect with the masses: Quasimoto raps in a little robot boy’s falsetto about getting high, listening to records and loving jazz music.  Not exactly mainstream rap material here: there is no doubt that 50 Cent is stronger, has more tattoos, takes his shirt off more frequently and has been shot more times than Madlib.  – Pthestudp

58.  Necrophagist – Onset of Putrefaction

Muhammed Suicmez and a drum programmer make technically riffed death metal for classical music lovers.  – Ho Chi Unser Jr.

57.  Watain – Rabid’s Death Curse

Watain is a black metal band from Sweden.  Underground and cult as fuck, but undeniably skilled.  This is their debut and is indicative of the greatness to come.  Not quite as accomplished as their next two albums.  Start there and then move backwards if you want more.  – Kid Kilowatt

56.  Neko Case & Her Boyfriends – Furnace Room Lullaby

If you told me Neko was an angel, I wouldn’t think twice before believing you.  Her voice does not originate on this earth, that I can tell you for certain.  I cannot for the life of me figure out why Ms. Case is not a big deal on the country scene.  I have already seethed (on BDWPS) about how it is mandatory for a woman to have supermodel looks to be a country star, but Neko has that going for her as well!  WTF???  Oh, I get it, you have to be beautiful AND write shitty songs (Taylor Swift.  Okay okay, that will be the last time I write shit on Taylor, I just still cannot believe when I talk shit people say, “but she writes her own songs!”  For the last time, WHO CARES when they are fucken horrible!?). Whereas Ms. Case only has one of those going for her.  Life isn’t fair.  But I guess we’ll see 20 years from now what female country artists’ albums the world is still listening to from 2000.  – Pthestudp

55.  Amon Tobin – Supermodified

Critics often invent new subgenres.  Well, here’s a new one: lounge dance music.  That is what this album is: drum ‘n’ bass, hip-hop, jazz, jungle, ambient, techno all mixed together.  It is music you dance to while loafing on the couch.  Or music you dance to underwater.  Or music the army dances to while in battle.  – Ho Chi Unser Jr.

54. Melt Banana – “Teeny Shiny”

When me and my boy Mondo Topless went to see Melt Banana play, there was this mustachioed, sweaty, fat dude (Pthestudp in 15 years?) who decided to take his shirt off and dance like a crazy motherfucker. The music sounds nothing like that.  – Songssuck

53.  Ice Cube – War & Peace Vol. 2 (the Peace Disc)

It sounds lame, but Ice Cube was once a mother fucken badass.  I had forgotten that until I revisited this album.  “I started this gangsta shit, and THIS is the motha fucken thanks I get?”  I hadn’t expected this joint to have aged well (and let’s be honest, it got horrible reviews from almost everyone “making niggas clear the room like a dike flee a dick”), but fuck if I still don’t disagree with almost everyone.  Filler?  Of course.  A couple of horrible songs?  Check.  But if you say you don’t like the rest, yer just lying ta kick it.  So I leave you with one last word of wisdom from Cube: “nowadays crazy assed bitches want their bills paid, but can’t even make a good thing of Kool-Aid.”   OH YAH!  — Dr. Anonymous

52.  Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R

A bass begins to rumble.  Six seconds later the drums kick in.  Eleven seconds in Josh Homme begins to chant: “nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol.  CCCCocaine.  CCCCocaine.”  This should give you an idea of what this album is like. But on the second song, “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret,” Josh Homme sings: “whatever you dooooooooooo, don’t tell anyone.”  Which is it Josh?  Should I do drugs and sing about them?  Or not tell anyone shit?  Fuck, now I don’t know how to explain this album.  QOTSA’s best album, in my humble yet accurate opinion.  – Willie Rambo Strider

51.  Lambchop – Nixon

I didn’t get into Lambchop until 2008’s OH (Ohio). To their credit, after hearing that one a few times, it didn’t take me long to seek out their back catalog.  Nixon finds them adding even more soul and R&B to their twang and folk.  Which really should be a disaster, but I love it.  So unique and weird.  Beware: some reviews I just read consider it to be too smooth, including Pitchfork, which calls it, “a record for grandmothers and hipsters… [and] yuppies.”  Normally this would piss me off, but I can see their point (and you probably could play this at a wine sipping party or something).  See which side you stand on before you buy.  – Suzy Creamcheese

50.  New Pornographers – Mass Romantic

The year 2000 doesn’t seem that long ago, but it feels like The New Pornographers have been with us for much longer than 10 years. Their sound is timeless. The fact that Mass Romantic is their first album is even more surprising, with it possibly being their best album to date.  The sound hasn’t changed much over 10 years, but why mess with something that sounded as perfect as it did on Mass Romantic?  — Android 50

49.  Shellac – 1000 Hurts

Shellac’s best and right up there with Steve Albini’s best with Big Black and Rapeman.  Willfully abrasive, Bob Weston (who is now also in Mission of Burma), and Todd Trainer pound the shit out of their instruments right along with Albini.  What a tight band this is and I cannot really conclude a Shellac review without sharing some of the lyrics, cos as usual Albini is biting and witty.  “To the one true God above/ Here is my prayer… / There are two people here/ And I want you to kill them/ Her, she can go quietly/ By disease or a blow/ To the base of her neck/Him, just fucking kill him/ I don’t care if it hurts/ Yes I do/ I want it to.”  Or: “Hey man/I want to have a fight with you/And regardless of my feelings on the subject/It appears that I am going to.”  — Kid Kilowatt

48.  Gas – Pop

Best ambient album of 2000, if not the decade.  I’ve read somewhere that Pop was inspired by Wolfgang Voigt’s trips to the Black Forest.  I don’t know if that is true, but I believe it.  It sounds exactly like I imagine the Black Forest to feel like, especially if some of the trees there are made of velvet.  I’ve drifted off to it more times than I can count.  – Willie Rambo Strider

47.  High On Fire – The Art of Self Defense

This is probably the only time you will ever hear me say something like this, but I’m almost glad Sleep broke up.  Cos I had two great bands to listen to when they split, the rhythm section forming Om and guitarist Matt Pike fronting HOF (not even counting the Sabians).  HOF speeds things up a bit and adds more aggression to the Sleep formula.  A debut that brings the goods.  – Dr. Anonymous

46. Iran – s/t

Pop songs wrapped in barbed wire and then buried in fuzz and hiss.  I’ve read more than one band interview where they say they are not lo-fi by choice, but by necessity, due to money or time constraints.  That doesn’t really apply to Iran’s self-titled debut; it seems to be a necessity to him to fuck up his songs with walls of noise.  Like some pop star version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or the master tapes of a pop masterpiece somehow caught on fire or some psycho producer added screech to the mix after the artist left the studio.  Whatever happened the results are brilliant; after about the third listen, even the noise parts sound beautiful.  – Songssuck

45.  Life Without Buildings – Any Other City

Unobtrusive post-punk guitars with the most unique voice of the decade rattling out stream of conscious diatribes.  – Kid Kilowatt

44. Fucking Champs – IV

I’ve often been asked how I grow such a badass mustache.  It’s a secret I’m not willing to share with just anyone.  But for a BDWPS reader who wants to know more about the Fucking Champs I’m willing to divulge the secret.  It’s relatively simple: listen to the Fucking Champs, regularly.  I mean, driving a Trans Am, or fucking in an old Ford van help as well, but mainly just the Fucking Champs (albeit if either of the two aforementioned activities are done while listing to the Champs, the growing power raises ten fold).  You see, the Iron Maiden and Ride the Lightning era Metallica riffage along with the King Crimson/Rush/Yes prog wankery fuel the bodies’ natural ability to grow a mustache.  Don’t worry ladies, it also works on females.  – Pthestudp

43. Discordance Axis – The Inalienable Dreamless

If you only have one grindcore album in your collection, make it this one.  – Songssuck

42.  Aimee Mann – Bachelor #2

I understand that it isn’t that cool to listen to Aimee Mann (and she doesn’t help matters, touring with the likes of Marc Cohn).  She is probably the only artist on this list that the Android’s mom loves (I tried to get him to ask her to write this review in fact) and sometimes her lyrics make me wince.  Maybe she is like this generation’s Joni Mitchell, bland & just hip enough that parents and their kids (not together obviously) can get stoned to it. But that isn’t giving her enough credit, she is a bit of a badass.  She even bought the tapes for this album back from Geffen and released it herself.  Oh well, at least I know I will still be able to handle this when I get older. – Kid Kilowatt

41. Songs: Ohia – The Lioness / Ghost Tropic

Like two sides of the same coin these two are.  On Lioness, members of Arab Strap play backup, and on Ghost Tropic, Molina employs members of Lullaby for the Working Class.  Lioness was recorded in Scotland, Ghost Tropic in Nebraska (although much of it sounds like it was recorded in a South American rainforest).  The Lioness is immediately affecting and possibly my favorite Molina album; while Ghost Tropic takes awhile to get your head around, requires patience and is prickly and sparse.  All in all a great year for Jason Molina, one of my favorite songwriters.  – Suzy Creamcheese


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