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BEST OF 2014

THE MUSIC THAT MADE THE YEAR

LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
21st December 2014
Music has the power to move us, empower us, motivate us. Sometimes we take for granted the power that a song can have, particularly with the commercialisation of the industry. Yet there is a kind of music which embeds itself in our lives, and becomes part of who we are and how we remember the past. We take a look back at the sounds that provided the soundtrack for 2014.

James CercheDaniel
5. ‘BUILT ON GLASS’ - CHET FAKER
Favourite of the Triple J and Faster Louder faithful, Chet Faker finally blew up in earnest this year with the release of his debut LP, after flirting with dominance in 2012 with the stunning EP ‘Thinking In Textures’. Faker trades in superbly accessable and soulful electronica. Suited as much for the bedroom as it is for the dance floor, Faker brought the goods with this long player. Boasting a slew of great singles and some digressive jams, he takes his time and manages to please everyone. An unescapable release that will likely feature strongly on the festival circuit over the next twelve months.
4. ‘TO BE KIND’ - SWANS
Ageing New York experimental noise makers, Swans have released a very different record to Faker. Clocking in at just over two hours, ‘To Be Kind’ is gargantuan statement but still some of the most accessible music in their extensive catalogue. This is heavy, groove-laden and primal music that is more felt than heard. Swans are never known for being in rush to get anywhere, but boy do they manage to take you places if you have the nerve to immerse yourself in this beast of a record.
3. ‘CLIENT LIAISON [EP]’ - CLIENT LIAISON
2014 has been a big year for these guys, the local duo travelling from strength to strength with every release and live outing. By investing 110% in themselves, Client Liaison have created an authentic 80s/early 90s pop-tronica experience complete with hair, costume changes and company cards. It would be appear gimmicky if the music wasn’t so damn good and the moves weren’t so damn smooth. An infinitely enjoyable six track experience that will have you more than ready for a full length.
2. ‘TYRANNY’ - JULIAN CASABLANCAS + THE VOIDZ
Introducing the world to his new group with an 11 minute lead single titled ‘Human Sadness’ might sound like a hell of a thing to do, but sometime Stroke Julian Casablancas seems to know exactly he’s doing, even when the rest of us haven’t quite caught up. The Voidz have emerged as a highly experimental approach to conventional rock music. Fusing genre upon genre, often within the same song, Casablacas and co. take anyone who will listen on a wild ride through the possible future of pop music. Hard-edged, groovy, symphonic and triumphant, ‘Tyranny’ is an album that is taking victory laps before the race is even over. Love it or hate it, it’s worth spending an hour with to see what’s possible when one of the coolest men in music gets bored of being in The Strokes.
1. ‘PLAYMATES’ - JACK LADDER & THE DREAMLANDERS
Jack and his band (Kirin J. Callinan, Donny Benet & Laurence Pike) have come out with an album that is smooth, sonorous and overflowing with stunning lyricism. Ladder’s deep baritone is perfectly supported by the crack team of Sydney’s finest musical minds, moving from the more sombre tones of 2011's key effort ‘Hurtsville’ to the lush synthesisers of early 90s Depeche Mode. ‘Playmates’ works with finely blended palette of styles that never comes across as a simple aping exercise. Each member of the group brings along their own identity to create a colourful whole that continues to yield moments of beauty with each spin. A listening experience capable of mending and breaking hearts within the space of 40 minutes.
Charlie David PageDaniel
5. ‘WHAT'S LIFE WITHOUT LOSERS’ - MIKHAEL PASKALEV
There's a fantastically raw feel to this album, an unbridled freedom that makes you feel like you're in the room while it's being recorded - and this helps Paskalev put on a pretty impressive live show too. There's plenty of enjoyment to be had from this offering, but it's hard to go past the exhilaration of 'Jive Babe', building towards the chaotic yet lively cacophony that is the song's finale.
4. ‘AUGUSTINES’ - AUGUSTINES
For a debut album, this one was surprisingly impressive. It's radiant, exuberant and an absolute joy to listen to. From the opening track to the very last note, simply bask in the album's layers and textures, from the vigorous and lively drums of 'Cruel City' to the rambunctious 'Nothing To Lose But Your Head'. There's so much going on throughout this album, it's impossible not to feel an affinity with the music.
3. ‘CARRY ON THE GRUDGE’ - JAMIE T
This guy takes his time between albums, but boy, is it worth the wait. This is a very considered offering, moving forward his sound from 2009's 'Kings & Queens', and yet still with the same essence. There's some really poignant tracks like top and tail 'Limits Lie' and 'They Told Me It Rained', but there's also plenty of fun to be had with tunes like 'Zombie' and 'Trouble'. It's a cruisy album, with plenty of songs you'll find yourself humming long after listening.
2. ‘PHOX’ - PHOX
This album thoroughly surprised me, and reminded me the power indie folk music can have. It swells with emotion, floating between sombre sounds and life-affirming joy. I still cannot go past the power of the song '1936'; the simplicity and stunning vocals knock me over every time.
1. ‘LISTEN’ - THE KOOKS
For me, nothing comes close to this year's offering from The Kooks. It's unlike any other sound around at the moment, both classically cool and yet contemporary. It's an epic achievement sonically, merging hip hop with Motown in an unforgettable way. Our first taste was the slick 'Down', defined entirely by Luke Pritchard's smooth vocals. Yet the highlight has to be 'Forgive & Forget', delivering a dash of wild, unbridled fun mixed with a sexy bass line. It's big, it's but best of all, it's like nothing else right now.

What do you think of our list? Is there something we've forgotten? Leave a comment and let us know.

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