Although Blailist was relatively quiet this past year, I did find some groovy new music in 2014. Here is a playlist that includes the highlights for me. Included (as usual) are old favorites ROBYN HITCHCOCK, NEIL FINN and LUCINDA WILLIAMS who had a wonderful double album. Some great new discoveries were KATE TEMPEST, ALVVAYS and KHUN NARIN’s ELECTRIC PHIN BAND. But my favorite for the year bookends this playlist. KAMI THOMPSON and JAMES WALBOURNE had quite a year with their album as the THE RAILS and their contribution to the THOMPSON FAMILY album. Let’s have a listen, shall we?
1. THOMPSON “Careful” (from Thompson 2014)
This is one of KAMI‘s contributions to her brother TEDDY THOMPSON’s pet project of getting the band (or family) back together. For those who don’t know the story, TEDDY and KAMI were just children when British folk legends RICHARD AND LINDA THOMPSON split in the 80s. The kid’s successful careers have further enhanced the reputation of their parents and have helped firmly establish the THOMPSON FAMILY as Britain’s first family of folk. This is a very cool album featuring all things THOMPSON: LINDA’s classic voice, RICHARD, grandson guitar hero ZAC HOBBS, son (from second marriage) JACK THOMPSON’s snazzy bass playing, husband and wife KAMI and JAMES, sister MUNA, and other assorted THOMPSON relatives and contributions. Aside from great playing and singing, you get the sense of the competitiveness between the family members when it comes to songwriting. It’s great they got together but I hope they are all still talking…
2. LUCINDA WILLIAMS “Protection” (from Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone 2014).
Fantastic double album from LUCINDA. All her best rolled into one.
3. WAR ON DRUGS “Lost In The Dream” (from Lost In The Dream 2014).
Picked as best album of year on many lists, deservedly so. I, too, have jumped on the wagon.
4. BRYAN FERRY “Loop Di Li” (from Avonmore 2014).
BF is a revered old favorite, and this sounds like could have been on Boys and Girls.
5. ELBOW “New York Morning” (from The Takeoff And Landing Of Everything 2014).
6. NEIL FINN “Dizzy Heights” (from Dizzy Heights 2014).
Another family affair. This album was made basically by NEIL, wife SHARON, and sons LIAM and ELROY. I had the pleasure of seeing them in Boston in April. No LIAM but ELROY was there. NEIL had an absolutely fantastic band with lush harmonies and arrangements up and down those FINN and CROWDED HOUSE songs. It was one of the most inspiring shows I have ever seen.
7. NINA PERSSON “Catch Me Crying” (from Animal Heart 2014).
The ex-CARDIGANS singer made an excellent solo album this year.
8. JESSIE WARE “Say You Love Me” (from Tough Love 2014).
Britain continues to find soulful singers that keep DUSTY and DIONNE fresh in our memories. I dig ballads too so I have no problem with any of this.
9. ROBYN HITCHCOCK “The Ghost Of You” (from The Man Upstairs 2014).
ROBYN HITCHCOCK has recently come back into focus for me. Years ago, he was a college favorite of mine, he has apparently continued to put out great stuff all these years that I am now just discovering. I like covers but I am usually wary of covers albums that show up late in a career (ROD STEWART) – it sometimes seems desperate. RH has the superpowers to pull it off. Who can imagine anything but the PSYCHEDELIC FURS‘ version? Yet, somehow, this seems like the original. That’s pretty cool.
10. KATE TEMPEST “The Beigeness” (from Everybody Down 2014).
I discovered her because she was nominated for Mercury Prize this year.
11. THE BAD PLUS “Gold Prisms Incorporated” (from Inevitable Western 2014).
We are short on jazz this year but this makes up for it. No Jazz flute either, sorry.
12. BEN WATT “Golden Ratio” (from Hendra 2014).
One of the rare Blailist entires this year covered this album, his first solo in something like 25 years. Very chill.
13. TEMPLES “Shelter Song” (from Sun Structures 2014).
Very Very Groovy. This makes me wanna grow weird plants in my yard.
14. REAL ESTATE “The Bend” (from Atlas 2014).
More great things from Ridgewood NJ!
15. BEN HOWARD “End Of The Affair” (from I Forget Where We Were 2014).
This performance sold me on listening to his second album. What a great song.
16. ALVVAYS “Archie Marry Me” (from Alvvays 2014).
I consulted with the experts here and this could be classified as “dream pop”, sort of.
17. NICK MULVEY “Fever To The Form” (from First Mind 2014).
This song needed to be included for the year.
18. ROSEANNE CASH “The Sunken Lands” (from The River And The Thread 2014).
Great songwriter and great song from an album full of them and some fancy guitar by hubby JOHN LEVENTHAL.
19. STURGILL SIMPSON “Life Of Sin” (from Metamodern Sounds In Country Music 2014).
If “Metamodern” means great tone and sounding like Waylon, then we could all stand to be a bit more metamodern.
20. ROBERT ELLIS “Good Intentions” (from The Lights From The Chemical Plant 2014).
Creepy Country music. Kind of reminds me of JIMMIE DALE GILMOUR. Skip ahead 40 seconds to miss the product promotion for the pre-amp, unless you are in the market for one, then hear the guy out and maybe you have found the pre-amp you are looking for.
21. ENO + HYDE “Daddy’s Car” (from Someday World 2014).
BRIAN ENO and KARL HYDE (of UNDERWORLD) made two albums this year! This is from the first one, which is a bit more oriented towards the ENO-BYRNE stuff of years ago that many of us can’t get enough of. The album features WILL CHAMPION of COLDPLAY and ENO‘s old pal from ROXY MUSIC, ANDY MACKAY.
22. WARPAINT “Love Is To Die” (from Warpaint 2014).
I like this version. I think I have those same drums in my garage.
23. KHUN NARIN ELECTRIC PHIN BAND “Sut Saanan #2” (from Khun Narin Electric Phin Band 2014).
I can’t remember how I stumbled across this but the story goes someone found a You Tube video titled “Mind blowing psychedelia from Thailand” and then a LA record producer went to meet them in their remote village, and now I have their first album. There is still amazing things to discover out there. Check out their other videos playing on plastic chairs in rural Thailand with a homemade generator for power.
24. DAVID KILGOUR AND THE HEAVY EIGHTS “Christopher Columbus” (from End Times Undone 2014).
New Zealand rocker who has been around for a long time, I discovered him a few years ago and am now a big fan.
25. THE RAILS “William Taylor” (from Fair Warning 2014).
And we wrap it up how we started. Unlike when I blogged about them here earlier this year, THE RAILS can now be purchased and listened to in the US! I can now push my British folk obsession on everyone I know.
Go to Spotify to listen to this public playlist: Blailist Favorites 2014