My Top Tracks of 2014

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Every year a group of friends including myself put together a 12 track compilation of our discoveries from that year. They aren’t necessarily new releases, but are new to us.

Here is my selection for this year.

Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke

I’m a sucker for a cheap album, and I was easily hooked with the Stevie Wonder classic Songs In The Key Of Life for four quid. It’s a wonderful listen which stands the test of time.

Ólöf Arnalds – Patience

I finally got the chance to see one of my favourite Icelandic artists, Ólöf Arnalds performing at the Moseley Folk Festival this year. Unfortunately the sound wasn’t great and I’m going to have to see her performing on her own terms to get the full effect of these superb songs.

Emiliana Torrini – Tookah

Each new Emiliana Torrini album forces me to adjust my brain slightly, but they never fail to work their magic eventually.

Teleman – Steam Girl Song

I got into Teleman after I just missed them playing at the Hare and Hounds. Doh! I suspect their next tour might be to larger venues.

Art Tatum – Tiger Rag

I’m learning Jazz Piano now, and have been working my way through the greats. Art Tatum totally blew me away with his sheer virtuosity. Check out the run at 0:35 in this video. The fingers on his huge hands hardly seem to move, but the piano emits a barrage of notes, while Tatum is totally calm and relaxed.

Aorta – What’s In My Mind’s Eye

My personal Prog Rock discovery of 2014. The album’s got everything you expect from Prog – church organs, guitar freak outs and a fleshy band name.

Sharon Van Etten – Your Love is Killing Me

I listened to this while sitting next to a river on the side of a Norwegian mountain. I’m not sure which was more raw, the landscape or the lyrics.

Vashti Bunyan – Mother

It’s been a long wait – nine years – since the last Vashti Bunyan album. I guess I should be pleased it wasn’t as long as the previous gap – 35 years.

St. Vincent – Birth In Reverse

Annie Clark continues to stay ahead of most other artists in virtuosity, inventiveness and imagination. I’m glad to see her fourth eponymously titled album, has had a lot of recognition in various Best Of 2014 lists.

Scott Walker – Brando

I would be surprised if any of my fellow album of the year compilers have failed to include something from the incredible Scott Walker collaboration with Sun O))). Not an easy album to listen to (none have been since Climate of Hunter, but it’s powerful, potent stuff. Vice give it perhaps the most positive review I’ve ever heard: “The greatest experience of your life.”

Agnes Obel – Riverside

I’m afraid Pallbearer got kicked off this revised second version of my list by the a third Scandinavian artist. I realised I couldn’t bear to leave out at least one song from Philharmonic album. Apologies to those who received the deprecated CD compilation containing the doom epic. I hope you enjoyed it.