Friday, December 19, 2014

STN Top 50 Albums Of 2014: 25-21

25 R.Seiliog - In Hz
Repetition in the music and he's never gonna lose it, as someone once said about something else. Robin Edwards' take on kosmiche is built on loops, micro and otherwise, building cyclical rhythms and pulses around which densely circulate eddying synth drones, found sounds, minimalism constructions and surges, which somehow emerge out the other end as in some sort of spaced-out hock to both 303-heavy acid house and psychedelic “happenings”. In Hz is as dense a work as you'll find this year, the layers not so much peeling back as submerging and seeing which set of electronic effects and rhythmic notions emerge this time.
[iTunes] [Amazon]

24 Gruff Rhys - American Interior
The concept – John Evans, Patagonian Welsh, all that – carried along the tale and made a fine book and documentary, but as a standalone work the album dips into something he and the Super Furrys made their own, taking FM and soft rock tropes and turning them inside out, littering the remnants with prog-pop, motorik and the general sense of something really not being right here. Exploring relations with the modern world from a supposed outsider's perspective, the nature of failure and the hopes of travel and mythology there's some typically broad themes hidden behind a deadpan veneer, and as ever some neatly odd melodies.
[iTunes] [Amazon] [Spotify]

23 Post War Glamour Girls - Pink Fur
There's been quite a bit of small-g gothic around this year, rarely better exemplified by the murder ballads and danger under cover of darkness art-rock creeping of Leeds' PWGG. James Smith makes quite the wild-eyed moral arbiter, his baritone preaching looming over music that lurches around slithering guitars, rattling bass and aggressive shifting between moods that in emotiveness states don't ever seem to let up, occasionally theatrical and idiosyncratic, getting deliberately lost in the haze or hammering against the walls of the place you least want to be at that moment. We're all going to hell, essentially, and these are the vulgar boatmen.
[iTunes] [Bandcamp] [Spotify]

22 Mowbird - Islander
Rough and ready Nuggets-influenced garage rock is ten a penny these days but only really seems to grab the wider attention when coming out of America. Mowbird, from Wrexham, might therefore be stuffed. That's no excuse not to get taken in by a short (25 minutes), sharp set of stabs of distorted post-slacker rock that gets from A to B with economy, vigour and with off-kilter melodies that still make absolute sense. If it sounds like it might fall apart at any time, that's part of the appeal, riding along on its own crest of a wave with no thought to cool quotients, just the excitement of scrappy guitar pop.
[iTunes] [Bandcamp] [Spotify]

21 Liars - MESS
So, where are they heading this time? Having switched from apocalyptic garage rock to skeletal electronica last time out, this time the sequencers are worked to the limit and the layers underneath filled out greater. There's callbacks to the rhythmic attack of Drum's Not Dead or Sisterworld's flick-knife menace, this time by way of Cabaret Voltaire-style distorted DIY synths, all juddering keys and rhythms that seem to be built on Slinkys. It is, of course, heavily dystopian, Angus Andrew in fine brimstone preacher form and occasionally lapsing into robotic dance-punk as played on overheated Korgs. Liars don't have a comfort zone, and that's a very good thing.
[iTunes] [Amazon] [Spotify]

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