Bad Sounds has been quiet as of late, but we’re still listening to music, although it might not be such a focus on music from 2014. Here are the three editors list of good (and bad) for the year.
I hardly sought out new music this year. Truth be told, I was more into cheese-making and Napa wine varietals then the latest stoner-doom outfit. I must be getting old, but it seems like so is everyone else. From the little I did pay attention, not much seemed to be happening. 2014 felt like one perpetual hibernation mode. Anyway, for what it’s worth, here`s my memorable 2014 musical moments/discoveries:
1. Songs: Ohia – Journey On: Collected Singles
2. Otto Totland – Pino
3. Julia Holter – Loud City Song
4. Black Milk – various albums
5. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream
6. Grouper – Ruins
7. Susanne Sundfør, Live @ St. Edmund’s Church Oslo
8. The Apricot, Live @ Oslo Psych Fest
9. Beglomeg, Live @ Oslo Psych Fest
10. Mogwai, Live @ Amos`s Charlotte NC USA
FIVE SHOWS THE BITTER MAN SAW IN 2014
1. SLOWDIVE at Øya Festival.
Both a mixture of nostalgia and proof that sometimes reunions ARE a great idea, Slowdive delivered in spades! The sound was crystal clear, the band on top form, the crowd reverent and the atmosphere electric. I almost wept, something I would never normally admit to.
2. SILVER APPLES at Revolver.
Simeon returned, and actually played better than the first time. The mood was perfect, the crowd were happy, he was happy. Everything just fell into place.
3. MULATU ASTATKE at Gion Hotel in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.
Having damn near worshipped the smiling bastard for years now, this was the third time seeing him but first time at his spiritual home. We were a healthy crowd of 11 people (insert sarcasm) who sat sipping fernet branca when the legend himself came out and shimmer his diamonds on all. Blissful night seeing such a maestro at such an intimate venue.
4. NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL at Øya Festival.
Worse sound than that of a newborn baby being slowly minced in a concrete mixer with 29 persian cats being barbequed beside and a hundred crows having their feet trimmed by edward sissorhands.
5. MAYHEM at Øya Festival.
Almost as bad as most of Hank Von Helvetes post-Turbonegro follies, but done with the conviction of a cockring and absolutely zero passion, anger, desire, authority or presence. A pathetic display by lethargic lizards slithering around on past glories. And a soundman who deserves to have been a stage prop, impaled on a spike instead of twisting nobs.
Another year, another load of crap (that we didn’t review) and some solid releases (that we also didn’t review. I didn’t think there were that many good records out this year, but when I started to really think about it, I was clearly mistaken. I just didn’t listen to a lot of the much talked about records, mainly due to jadedly avoiding most of them on purpose (I work for Bad Sounds after all). Too busy wasting my time on Netflix or sleeping and what not. Witnessed some great shows this year though; some that I had to go out of town for as well.
Best shows of the year (in no particular order):
Audacity – Blitz
They were supposed to play Europe several times but as they said when I met them “we were young and stupid” so they didn’t go. This year they finally came and played a Svart Samtid gig at Blitz and blew the house down.
Rakta – Maksitaksi
A very cool Femme Brutal show with these awesome ladies from Brazil.
The Ex Festival – Paradiso Amsterdam, Netherlands
The lineup was so ridiculous I had to fly down for it. So worth it.
(The Ex, Thurston Moore, Fendika (Ethiopia), Han Bennink & Peter Brötzmann, Chocolat Billy, and Trash Kit)
Noxagt – Blitz
Destroyed the little hearing I have left. Thanks. Seriously. Thanks.
No Balls – Last Train
With Noxagt as the backing band. Nuff said.
Damien Jurado – John Dee
Fantastic intense and packed solo set by a great songwriter.
Jeffrey Lewis – Revolver
Reading/singing songs while holding up a giant hand drawn book of amazing drawings. A set filled with funny, clever and thought provoking lyrics. Even had a tear in my eye…not bad for someone old, cold and dead inside.
Spray Paint – Varholmsgatan 7 Gothenburg. Sweden
Angular, cold, no-wave punk rock from Austin Texas. One of the best evenings of the year with a cool and varied lineup.
The Thing – Blå
A powerful demonstration why The Thing are Norways premiere jazz/noise band.
Best records (in no particular order)
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days (Captured Tracks US)
Druggy pop melodies of solid quality from Canaidiania.
Straight Arrows – Rising (Agitated Records UK)
Great garage pop stomper from Australia. Toured Europe….missed Oslo of course.
Total Control – Typical System (IRON LUNG Records US)
Second full length from these Australian giants.
Pierre & Bastien – Pierre & Bastien (POUeT! Schallplatten FR)
Simple, straight ahead killer punk rock from France.
Darto – Hex – 12” EP (Mother Image records US)
4 song EP from this druggy noise rock band from Seattle WA
Cheveu – Bum (Born Bad Records FR)
One of the best live acts around. Why this band hasn’t broken through in English speaking countries/scenes is beyond me. Fantastic electro punk/garage from Paris.
SVIN – Svin (Ponyrec. DK)
I’m a sucker for these Danish jazz/noiserockers.
Intelligence – Boredom And Terror / Let’s Toil (In The Red Recordings US)
Lars Finberg’s masterpiece from 2004 reissued on vinyl.
“This is lo-fi post punk electro garage-core that is equal parts Devo, The Fall and something althogether it’s own” – In The Red
Best Norwegian releases (in no particular order)
Haraball – Half Tux (Fysisk Format)
Sophomore release from these dudes. Anti-sophomore slump.
Freddy The Dyke – Freddy The Dyke (Skussmaal)
Killer noise punk from Stavanger
Noxagt – Brutage (Drid Machine Records)
Back with their first full length in some years. They do not disappoint.
This one is a “grower”.
Moon Relay – Moon Relay (Fysisk Format)
Norway’s best art-rock band? Ok, lets call them that.
Bishop Nehru & MF Doom – NehruvianDOOM
Anything MF Doom touches generally turns to gold colored metal. Could do with some more Doom verses on here though but Bishop Nehru does a decent job. Not bad for an 18 year old kid…
The list here is too long. No need for all that negativity during the holidays.
You know who you are: stop making music.
This years most unnecessary release:
Morrissey curates The Ramones
I love the Ramones and I don’t mind Morrissey but what’s the point?
We will be back with more fun and/or complaining in 2015.