Best of 2014, Part DEUX

Here’s the first part of the list

I’m sure you have all been driven crazy in anticipation for the second part?!

Without further ado, let us continue with the most important list you’ll see during this ten minute span:

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5.  GAZELLE TWINUNFLESH

UNFLESH is the sonic equivalent of a violent assault; a soundscape dominated by electronic buzzing and industrial beats, but there’s something more…troubling…lying just underneath the surface.

The majority of this album follows a similar path of tracks engulfed with menacing beats and cryptic lyrical poetry.
Elizabeth Bernholz (AKA, Gazelle Twin) is a British musician who wins the award for artist that scares me just a wee little bit.

HIGHLIGHTS: Belly Of The Beast   Anti-Body    Exorcise

 

 

 

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4.  THE TWILIGHT SADNobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave

Post rock droning and delay effects riddle this release and are aptly coupled with very dreary overtones, making this a perfectly suitable ‘winter’ album. This is a downer of a listen (in a great way), even those happier sounding tracks are dragged through the mud with well put together, yet dreary, lyrics

While you may not be inclined to put this album on at any old time, it may have the lasting power to be an annual favorite for when the days get shorter and those cold breezes start to pick up.
HIGHLIGHTS: Last January   Drown So I Can Watch  Sometimes I Wished I Could Fall Asleep

 

 

 

 

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3.  TOO MANY ZOOZ- F NOTE/FANIMALS

Having released three E.P.’s over the course of 2014 (the third being released a few weeks ago, and not a part of this review), NYC buskers TOO MANY ZOOZ has made quite the impact in this household, with their instantly infectious jams.

“To The Top” off of F Note is one of those songs that has my boss over @tonightatdawn moving and shaking her groove thang as soon as the percussion hits the speakers.

As good as the musicianship is on their first release, the arrangements on Fanimals sound more complex and mature. This time around, the band explored different genres and broadened their sound to include Latin (“Mouse Trap”), Mambo,  House (“Turtledactyl”), Dance and Middle Eastern (“Wet”) influences.

HIGHLIGHTS: The Whole First E.P.       The Whole Second E.P.  (They’re both short, get over it)

th-3 2.  COLD SPECKS-Neuroplasticity

DOOM SOUL; who would have thought a genre dubbed doom soul would ever exist, or be the least bit enjoyable.  It sounds like something Darth Vader unwinds to after torturing a village of Ewoks.

Cold Specks vocalist Al Spx is a 20-something who takes her musical cues from deep south Gospel (with a dash of Goth) and cites her musical influences as ranging from James Carr to Tom Waits.  In fact, the band’s second album reflects everything from Neo soul to modern jazz, R&B, and, hell, even indie rock.

HIGHLIGHTS: A Broken Memory   Absisto   Bodies At Bay 

 

 

 

 

th-41.  ProtomartyrUnder Color Of Official Right

Joe Casey’s ability to go from singing to forcefully barking out his words takes the tracks to another level.  These distinct low vocals contribute to his bandmates’ gritty sound. Although a little more polished than its predecessor, No Passion, All Technique, Under Color of Official Right is still far from the average pop punk record.

Musically, the band is all hit, no miss. It may not sound like the most challenging music possible, yet it is extremely well-played and perfectly fits the lyrics’ tone. There’s plenty of fuzz engulfing these garage rock songs. At 35 minutes, there’s no meandering to be found on any of these songs, which plays to the band’s strengths. Each track hits me hard and fast, and leave me with something to think about. Closing track ” I’ll take that applause” couldn’t be a more fitting end statement. As Casey boasts “And I’ll take that applause, cause I deserve it”, who could really argue with him?

HIGHLIGHTS: Maidenhead    Scum, Rise!   Bad Advice    I’ll Take That Applause

***BONUS TIME***

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR:

GONZO-FOXY SHAZAM

What the shit happened to these guys??  The eccentricity and theatricality of everything that came before was muted (more like suffocated) and transformed into this slow moving, boring, mis tempo, 80’s synth-filled atrocity.  At first I wondered why they were releasing their new album for free on bandcamp, and soon after hearing it, I understood perfectly.  And even though I have grown to appreciate some of these tracks as being decent, what a bummer it was hearing this for the first time. Its a pity that they recently announced their hiatus, but it may actually be for the better that they take some time and regroup.

BEST LIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

QUEEN- LIVE AT THE RAINBOW

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As shitty as that Foxy Shazam record was, QUEEN’s long-awaited vault release is that amazing.  Made up of tracks from their first three albums, there are no blockbuster hits to be found on these two shows, which suits me just fine.  What you get is a band introducing themselves to the world.

The audio sounds fantastic, the accompanying DVD looks amazing for being 40 years old, and everything here is played to near perfection (especially the first live set, which is absolutely killer).  With this, the mighty QUEEN earns the KralTunes award for best live release for 2014  (Freddie Mercury can eternally rest easy now).

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