A lot changed for me in 2014 in the way I find new music. I gave up my radio show on BCB in the spring. For 10 years doing that radio programme meant a lot of music landed on my doorstep, literally. Since the spring I’ve heard nowhere near as new music as I used to. Seeing end of year lists, such as Sarah Lay’s favourite 100 albums of 2014, and Bleep’s top 100 tracks, made me realise just how much I didn’t hear in 2014.
Having said that, BCB invited me back for a one off show over Christmas, and I used that to air some of the tunes that did impress me during 2014. You can hear 17 of my favourites from 2014 now via Mixcloud:
I feel sure I’ve probably not yet heard some of my favourite albums of 2014. So, although I have done the obligatory top 10, I’ve only included 9, leaving space for that amazing LP I haven’t yet heard.
Favourite LPs of 2014 (alphabetical order)
A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Atomos
Aphex Twin – Syro
Goat – Commune
Grouper – Ruins
Mogwai – Rave Tapes
Sun Kil Moon – Benji
The Twilight Sad – Everybody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave
Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
Wildbirds & Peacedrums – Rhythm
? – ?
Favourite gig of 2014
Without doubt, the best gig I went to in 2014 was David Thomas Broughton & Juice Ensemble at the Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds. I knew none of the songs, but the performance was captivating. David’s idiosyncratic style, coupled with Juice’s imaginative use of their vocal cords and stage props had me captivated from start to finish. They have done an album together too.
My most played artists
Sally bought me a book about Scott Walker for Christmas in 2013. This led me to investigate his back catalogue in 2014. I hadn’t realised quite how extraordinarily good his music is. I listened to him a lot in 2014, from his dramatic early work to his traumatic latter productions. So I wasn’t at all surprised to see Scott Walker top of my list of artists on last.fm for 2014.
The rest of the list doesn’t really tell the full story however. I listened to a further 300 artists outside that top 20. It is actually quite rare for me to listen to something more than a handful of times. And the list only includes music I listened to on my computer, phone or iPad. No vinyl or CD plays counted towards the last.fm statistics.
Saddest loss of 2014
Stephen Samuel Gordon, better known as The Spaceape, died in 2014 aged just 44. With Kode9, he released one of my favourite albums this century, Memories of the Furture. His final release, also with Kode9, was the Killing Season EP, which featured stark and moving lyrics about Stephen’s battle with cancer.
As 2015 starts to shower us with more new music, I have two main sources I use to seek out new tunes: the artists and labels I’m following on SoundCloud, and Phil Cope’s radio show on BCB. I will continue to buy the things I most like the sound of from Jumbo Records in Leeds.