Entries tagged with: The War on Drugs
Grunge-folk singer Torres wrapped up a short tour with Strand of Oaks earlier this month that hit NYC on 12/4 at Bowery Ballroom. Anyone catch that? That's a picture of her and Strand of Oaks hanging out the NYC show, above. Her next NYC show is a free one, happening January 30 at Brooklyn Night Bazaar with Mainland and Ancient Ocean (aka John Bohannon, who's in Torres' live band). That's her only announced date at the moment.
She also posted a list of her favorite albums of 2014, which (like Strand of Oaks' list) includes her friend/collaborator Sharon Van Etten. (While we're talking about collaborators, both Sharon Van Etten and Strand of Oaks also happen to be J Mascis collaborators.)
Find out who else made her list, and watch a video of Torres & SVE's 2014 single "New Skin," below...
Montreal duo The Muscadettes are currently holed up working on their debut album but while we wait for news on that, they've offered up holiday treat in the form of new song, "Christmas Kitty." With a twangy, B-52's lead, its a bouncy little stocking stuffer that makes its premiere in this post. You can stream it below.
The Muscadettes, who were last in NYC for CMJ, have also been making a list and checking it twice, in this case their Top 10 LPs of 2014 which they've shared with us as well. You can check that out below too.
First tracks, then honorable mentions, and now Pitchfork has put out their Top 50 Albums of 2014. There's nothing entirely out of left field, but there's definitely some surprises here. Taylor Swift, whose album was not reviewed at all (I guess it was a pretty obscure one), comes in at #31 with her album, 1989. Sun Kil Moon, which was the only 2014 album in their Top 10 Albums of the Decade So Far this past August (and seemed like a sure bet for #1) dropped down to #7 and was beaten out by his enemies The War on Drugs. TWOD actually came in at #3 themselves, and the two ahead of them are two you may not have seen coming.
We already knew that Pallbearer, the only Best New Music metal album of 2014, was an honorable mention, which unsurprisingly left zero metal albums on this list. No other BNM album got snubbed (save for a Hyperdub compilation and the Beyonce album, but that was probably because it was technically a 2013 release), and there's not really any glaring omissions in terms of what Pitchfork appeared to champion this year.
See the list for yourself below...
intro by Andrew Sacher
There were a lot of great labels in 2014, but one label I think had an exceptionally good year is Tiny Engines. Between the second Beach Slang EP of the year, the Places to Hide EP, Cayetana's debut album, the latest EP from Frontier(s) (ex-Elliott, Mouthpiece), Somos' debut album, The Hotelier's breakthrough album and still others, TE was one of the most consistently great homes for indie rock, punk and emo in 2014. (If you haven't heard any of those releases, strongly recommended!)
Now that the year's coming to a close, Tiny Engines co-founders Will Miller and Chuck Daley (who also both run Beartrap PR) told us about their favorite albums of the year, as did TE bands Cayetana, Runaway Brother (debut LP and BV-presented NYC show coming in 2015), and Matt from Frontier(s)/Mouthpiece.
Find out who made their lists (and read the entertaining intro Chuck wrote for his) below...
Pitchfork have begun rolling out their year-end coverage, and today they posted their Top 100 Tracks of 2014. Like every year, it's a very diverse list, with songs from Taylor Swift, The New Pornographers, iLoveMakonnen, Protomartyr, Cloud Nothings, Rae Sreummurd, Makthaverskan, Ty Segall, Parquet Courts, Azealia Banks, White Lung, Perfect Pussy, Dej Loaf, Migos, Alvvays, Against Me!, Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande, Bobby Shmurda, Charli XCX, Grouper, Beyonce, Perfume Genius, Shamir, Michael Jackson, Tinashe and more. And their #1 seems to be the most ubiquitous #1 of 2014.
Check out the full list below...
PC Music's Hannah Diamond
Gorilla vs Bear posted their lists of their favorite albums (35) and songs (100) of 2014. Though the albums list does have some of the stuff you always see (like The War On Drugs), it's mostly got a lot of unique choices like Recycle Culture, Korallreven, Yumi Zouma, Beverly, Panda Bear's EP and more, and the #1 is pretty unique too. FKA twigs doesn't crack the albums list but she's on the tracks list twice, along with tracks by Tinashe, iLoveMakonnen, Jessica Pratt, Grouper, a Recyle Culture remix of Taylor Swift, and plenty of PC Music representation.
Check out his full lists below...
The FADER always has some year-end coverage, but for the past 15 years they didn't publish a ranked year-end list. This year however, they ranked their 116 favorite songs of 2014 (find out why) and it's a diverse list that manages to sing the praises of iLoveMakonnen, Tinashe, Alex G, Florida Georgia Line, Enrique Iglesias, Bleachers, Ricky Eat Acid, YG, Toni Braxton & Babyface, Nothing, Grimes, Parquet Courts, Run the Jewels and Grouper all in the same damn list.
Read more about each choice here and check out the full list below...
Sleaford Mods at their US debut (more by PSquared)
The Guardian has been sloooowwwlllyyyy revealing their Top 40 Albums of 2014, having rolled out the top 10 one by one over the past 10 days. If you've been following along, you probably already guessed their #1 by now, but if not you can browse their full list of 40 below. It's got a lot of this year's list regulars, and like many of the British publications have, it gives some major love to Sleaford Mods (maybe you caught their US debut in NYC?). Also The War On Drugs shuts out Sun Kil Moon once again (they're not #1 but close). Sorry Koz.
Check out the full list below...
NYC goth duo Tempers previously released a few promising singles on Pendu Sound, and they recently teamed up with photographer Bela Borsodi to make an appropriately dark video for one of those songs, "Hell Hotline." Check out the video below, and if you haven't gotten it already, you can download the track for free below too.
Tempers have also given us a list of their top ten albums of 2014, which you can also check out below...
UK music site Drowned in Sound is kinda the British equivalent of Pitchfork, albeit with a very strong community aspect to it. They just published their 50 Favourite Albums of 2014 list and while it contains many of the LPs we've been seeing on a lot of these lists, it's a distinctly not-American point of view. Well, at least their #1. Check out the whole list below...
Kevin Morby put out his second solo album, Still Life, this year which is another fine showcase for his songwriting talent and his appealingly weathered voice. It's maybe a little closer in vibe with what he did in The Babies than his excellent, mellow solo debut. You can stream it via Spotify below. Though he lives in Los Angeles these days, Kevin makes it back to NYC fairly often, and has played here a few times this year, most recently during CMJ. You can catch him again when he opens for Amen Dunes at Bowery Ballroom on January 22. Tickets are still available. Before that, Kevin will open for Strand of Oaks in Chicago on January 17. Those are his only listed dates at the moment.
Amen Dunes' new album, Love, makes Kevin's Top 10 LPs of 2014 which we've got in this post. He's also got his old bandmates Woods, Frankie Cosmos, and more. You can check that out, including Kevin's commentary and a choice lyrical quote from each, below.
SPIN returned with their Top Albums of 2014 list today. It's got a lot of the indie albums that usually show up on these lists (Caribou, Future Islands, FKA twigs, Parquet Courts, Cloud Nothings, How to Dress Well, Swans, St. Vincent, Real Estate, etc), a handful of rap albums (YG, Young Thug, Shabazz Palaces, Run the Jewels, Schoolboy Q, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, etc), metal (Pallbearer), punk (Against Me!, Joyce Manor), mainstream pop (Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert), and a couple headscratchers (Betty Who at #11?). You-know-who scores the #1 slot once again here. Check it out for yourself below.
Best of Lists Season continues, here with AV Club's favorite records of 2014. As it's a cumulative list with ballots from the site's music writers (most of whom are in their 30s), you get a pretty typical list but we'll leave the suspense of whether The War on Drugs, Sharon Van Etten or St. Vincent landed at #1 for you to check out below.
NPR have posted their Top 50 Albums of 2014, and like it usually is, it's one of the more diverse year-end lists we've seen so far. There's a lot of the indie that shows up on many of these lists (The War On Drugs, St. Vincent, Spoon, Perfume Genius, Angel Olsen, etc), the hip hop (Run the Jewels, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, YG, Isaiah Rashad, etc), the big-name pop (Taylor Swift, Mary J. Blige, Miranda Lambert), the metal (Pallbearer) and plenty of others, as well as classical, jazz, world music, a Latin funk band with an album's worth of Black Sabbath covers, and still more.
Check out their full list in alphabetical order below...
by Bill Pearis
Hookworms' MB @ BV CMJ 2013 (more by Chris La Putt)
Hookworms just released their terrific new album The Hum which further's the band's motorik psych, taking last year's adrenalized "Radio Tokyo" single (which they re-recorded for this LP) and further stepping on the gas. It is, as they say, a blast. While the band are signed to Domino's Weird World label, they do almost everything in-house. Frontman MJ produces the records in his Suburban Home studios (he produces lots of other UK bands too, like Joanna Gruesome and Eagulls), and the sleeves are all designed by guitarist JW. Hookworms' members, who stick to initials, all have day jobs and have no plans of giving them up for rock n' roll stardom.
That said, they'll be taking leaves of absence when they tour North America this Spring, including two NYC shows in April. Tickets to Palisades on 4/18 are already on sale, and tickets for their Rough Trade show on 4/17 go on sale today (12/5) at noon. Hookworms' shows are loud and intense and not to be missed.
The band's bassist, MB, talked with BV about The Hum, balancing their DIY spirit with growing acclaim, in-jokes, recollections of playing Death by Audio, his Top 10 albums of 2014, and more:
The Hum is a more upbeat record than Pearl Mystic. Was that intentional?
100%. We realised after we'd finished the last record that a lot of it was very slow numbers. We only ever played Away/Towards, Form & Function and Preservation live from that album, which is only a third of the record. We wanted the new album to be more representative of our live show, so we started writing some faster songs that would work well in the set. Radio Tokyo was actually written before Pearl Mystic was even released, and that became the starting point for the album; we enjoyed how people reacted to that song live. Our band definitely has a funny thing where when we're playing, you look up and see a crowd of people stood perfectly still with their arms crossed, then the second the set finishes they all rush up to tell you how amazing it was. I'm not saying we want people fighting and head-walking while we play, but we realised that was perhaps our fault for not being particularly upbeat.
Topshelf Records has had a pretty great year, putting out records by several rising young bands across various rock subgenres (not just emo!), as well as long-awaited returns from veteran bands. Some of those artists, like You Blew It!, are already ending up on 2014 year-end lists, and we asked a few bands on the label to tell us their favorite albums of the year. Below, you'll find year-end lists from You Blew It!, The Jazz June, Cut Teeth, Nai Harvest, and label co-founder Kevin Duquette.
You Blew It! recently announced an upcoming EP on Jade Tree and a tour with Rozwell Kid (who are on their list), Tiny Moving Parts (who are an honorable mention) and Sorority Noise. As discussed, that tour hits NYC on 2/20 at The Studio at Webster Hall. Tickets for that show go on sale at 10 AM on Friday (12/5).
The Jazz June are going on a tour with labelmates Field Mouse (who are on their list) soon, which hits NYC on 12/27 at Saint Vitus (tickets). They put out their first album since 2002 this year, and also headlined the BV CMJ showcase which also featured Beach Slang, who are on their list.
In other Topshelf news, they've got a Caravels / Octaves split, a new Suis La Lune album, and new music from Kind of Like Spitting on the way. And as discussed, Bob Nanna is releasing the first City On Film album since 2005 on the label this month. He already released the first Braid album since 1998 on the label earlier in the year.
Browse the Topshelf lists below...
by Andrew Sacher
The Best Albums of 2014 lists keep coming, and now Rolling Stone's is out. It's hard to imagine anyone else picking the #1 and #2 they did, but that's Rolling Stone for you. It's also hard to imagine a list placing the new albums from Weezer and the Foo Fighters so high, but smacking buzz band Ought right in between them. And it seems random that YOB comes in at #50 when no other metal album makes the list, not even the critically acclaimed one by Pallbearer or any of the hugely acclaimed returns from veteran bands like At the Gates, Godflesh and Electric Wizard. Also, don't tell Jack White how much higher The Black Keys placed than him.
Check out their top 50 picks for yourself, below...
intro by Andrew Sacher
Restorations (photo by Mitchell Wojcik)
Philly rockers Restorations put out LP3 earlier this year on SideOneDummy. It's an excellent record; one you'll probably see on a handful of year-end lists this year thanks to its superior take on heartland/blue collar rock that rivals a lot of the stuff it was likely influenced by (Lucero, The Hold Steady, Hot Water Music, etc). The band's singer Jon Loudon was also nice enough to give us his own 2014 year-end list, which includes 10 pretty diverse picks.
Check it out for yourself, with commentary on each one from Jon and honorable mentions, below...
It's the last week of November and we've hit Best-of List Season. Especially in the UK where we've already seen album lists from Rough Trade, MOJO, Q, and Uncut. Now here's long-running UK weekly NME with their LPs and tracks of the year. Topping the lists are St. Vincent's self-titled album, and Future Islands' omnipresent "Seasons." (Sorry, The War on Drugs, you're slightly lower on the list here.) And just to remind you they are British music magazine, Kasabian figure into both lists. Check out NME's full Top 50 LPs/Tracks of 2014 lists below...
We're just over a month away from 2015 and those UK year-end lists keep pouring in. Now British music mag Uncut has posted their 75 Best Albums of 2014. Looks like their winner is becoming a popular choice for #1, and the rest of their top 10 is split between real-deal veterans (Leonard Cohen [falling just a tad from his 2012 #1 spot], Robert Plant) and rising newcomers (FKA twigs). Elsewhere the list has a lot of the indie-related albums that keep popping up, a good deal of folk/country, more veteran appearances, and a certain opinionated UK duo who have appeared on every UK list we've seen so far and make their US debut this week.
Check out the full list below...
We just posted Q Magazine's Best of 2014 albums list and now here's the same from sister publication MOJO. Not only do they share a publisher, but also more than half of same albums appear on both lists. The War on Drugs was #2 here, making war for Beck's Morning Phase in the top spot. Check out the whole list below.
While MOJO is seen as a safe haven for "heritage" acts, there are some records in their Top 10 that don't prominently feature acoustic guitars: coming in at #3 is Sleaford Mods' Divide and Exit. You can catch the Mods' North American live debut this Saturday (11/29) at The Wick with The Gotobeds, The Rogers Sisters and "very special guests" who will be announced closer to the show. Tickets are still available.
MOJO's full Top 50 LPs of 2014 list below...
Rough Trade were the first out of the gate with year-end lists but now long-running UK monthly music mag Q has just published their end-of-the-year issue (with cover star Ed Sheeran) which includes their Top 50 LPs of 2014. The War on Drugs' Lost in the Dream comes in at #1. Have you made your list yet? Check out the rest of Q's favorite albums of 2014 below...
Rough Trade NYC on Record Store Day 2014 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
As they usually are, Rough Trade Shops are one of the first this year to post their favorite albums of 2014 list. It's 100 albums long and mostly filled with the bigger indie and indie-related releases of the year, but there's a few surprises in there too. Mark Kozelek will not be happy to see that The War On Drugs placed #2, 8 higher than the Sun Kil Moon record. Mark should be proud that he made the list not once, but TWICE though. His Christmas album landed at #84. Run the Jewels, who are not on it all, have started a "Suck My Dick Rough Trade" chant. Check out their full list below and see more on each album here.
by Johnny Zachman
Pitchfork Paris began yesterday (10/30) in the Grande Halle de la Villette, a slaughterhouse-turned-cultural center in the city's 19th arrondissement. The festival featured two stages at opposite ends of the venue, with acts performing in immediate succession on alternate sides of the room.
Montreal's four-piece art-punk band Ought kicked off the night, injecting the already sizable crowd with good energy off the bat. Lead singer Tim Beeler channeled David Byrne, David Bowie, and most especially Jonathan Richman in his performance - which was spoken almost as often as it was sung - and the band's combination of keyboardist Matt May on Nord Electro 3 and the rhythm section's tight, dynamic and often repetitive grooves made for a refreshing take on punk.
How To Dress Well performed next, also as a four-piece. "It's nice to be back in the barn" remarked singer and songwriter Tom Krell, before saying hello to his mentor Beck, who was watching the show via live stream. The band performed many of the highlights from this year's excellent album "What Is This Heart?" while a series of muted, abstract visuals were projected behind them. I was impressed by the band's ability to recreate the album's sounds in a live atmosphere. On stage, Krell performed with two microphones - one dry and the other soaked in full reverb - between which he would modulate throughout the show, sometimes mid-phrase. Krell was backed by a drummer and two multi-instrumentalists covering violin, maracas, guitar, vocals and keys. Krell gave props to Ought for their excellent performance and also expressed his excitement to see The War On Drugs later in the night, who are his current favorite band.
The Notwist brought a packed stage including two xylophone players to the party. Compared with other times I had seen the band, I was impressed by how quickly they moved away from their songs and into heavier psychedelic territory, executing multiple movements of noise-based chaos that each felt earned and not excessive. Markus Acher's relaxed voice contrasted nicely with the more dissonant, anticipatory mood of the music, and the festival's extensive lighting rigs played especially well into The Notwist's swirling experimental soundscapes.
The War on Drugs
The War On Drugs performed "Burning," "Eyes To The Wind," "An Ocean In Between The Waves," "Under The Pressure," "In Reverse" and "Red Eyes" to the most palpably energetic crowd of the night. The band was as tight as the last time I saw them (in June at Williamsburg Park), and I was happy to see so many young Frenchmen jumping up and down to Adam Granduciel's guitar solos and singing along to the "Woo!"s from the album. Even within the 45 minute format, the band still took their time with the instrumental sections, extending multiple guitar solos well beyond the album's length, including an exceptional version of "Red Eyes" to end the set.
Mogwai's performance began with remarkable force. The Glasgow natives played to the biggest crowd of the night, sending their dynamic waves of emotional post-rock slamming down on the audience's ears. The band played with excellent restraint: quiet instrumental passages were pursued for minutes at a time; louder peaks were continued well past their originally-perceived climax. I was surprised by how much louder Mogwai's set felt than everyone else's - not in amplitude but in thickness. The band had a confidence in them that flowed into their music, setting a dark, almost terrifying mood within the room.
Jon Hopkins carried the mood from dark to hypnotic, delivering his tastefully emotional electronic compositions along with projections whose concepts included an alternating series of solid colors and the "Collider" music video. Hopkins was very active within his setup - which added to the energy of the performance - and a constant stream of red lights flashed around the room to enhance the ambience. The crowd reacted well to Hopkins' cinematic soundscapes, with relatively subtle shifts in the music drawing various cheers.
James Blake closed the night with performances of "Retrograde," "The Wilhem Scream," "Limit To Your Love," and an arresting show-closing rendition of the entirely loop-based "Measurements." Blake's voice was in stellar form, modulating between multiple octaves and singing over his loops with remarkable ease. I'm always impressed by how much Blake adapts his sets to fit the mood of the room, and last night's late show was rightfully less song-based and more reliant on the ambient, with a healthy dose of songs (including one new one) mixed in.
It was an excellent first day for Pitchfork Paris. The sound was spot-on for all of the artists, and I especially enjoy festivals when only one artist performs at a given time so that there is no sound bleed between stages.
Belle & Sebastian, St. Vincent and more play today's portion of the festival, and we'll be back with coverage of that too. If you're not at the fest, stream it live HERE. Today's stream begins at 1:30 PM EST with Perfect Pussy.
A few more pictures from yesterday below...
Hey, remember when Mark Kozelek was in 'Almost Famous'?
Here's the latest volley in the never-ending feud between Mark Kozelek and The War on Drugs. If you've been following along, you know that TWOD frontman Adam Granduciel (real last name: Granofsky) addressed Kozelek's song "The War on Drugs: Suck My Cock" in a Swedish interview, saying, among other things, "He's such a fucking child. And then the song is just idiotic, he's just a fucking idiot. I don't have time for idiots."
Of course, Kozelek responded. How? By reading the whole interview transcript aloud over light acoustic guitar backing and posting it on his site. Mark can't seem to get through a sentence without cracking up. He calls it "Adam Granofsky Blues." Listen to it here.