TVW’S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2014 (5-1)

I’d like to thank everyone who has in some way supported The Vinyl Warhol in 2014. This blog has already exceeded all of my expectations, an I can only hope it continues to do so. I look forward to bringing you even more great material in 2015. Enjoy.

TVW’S TOP ALBUMS OF 2014 (10-6)

Rich-Gang-Tha-Tour-Part-15. Rich Gang – Rich Gang: Tha Tour Pt. 1

Although technically a mixtape, I have to give the number five spot to Rich Gang – specifically Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. In 2014, Young Thug dropped hip hop on its head by disregarding technical flow and coherent lyrics, and instead opting for spastic ramblings and energetic barks. When paired with the melodic slurs of Rich Homie Quan, this ATL powerhouse duo brings some of the wildest bangers of the year.

Favorite Tracks:

“Flava,” “Tell Em (Lies),” “Imma Ride,” “Keep It Goin”

4. Caribou – Our LoveCaribou_Our_Love

Dan Snaith is atop a new breed or singer-songwriter where an artist creates deeply personal electronic music.On Our Love, he produces the most beautiful love songs 2014. Every synth note oozes emotion, and each song is a sonic journey narrated by Snaith. “Can’t Do Without You,” a song that repeats the same line for almost four minutes, reads like the greatest love story ever told.

Favorite Tracks:

“Can’t Do Without You,” “Silver,” “Julia Brightly,” “Mars”

casket3. The Casket Girls – True Love Kills the Fairytale

This Summer, I was honored to intern at Noisy Ghost PR, promotion company for Savannah-based record label, Graveface Records. My introduction to Graveface, which would lead to my internship, was The Casket Girls. True Love Kills the Fairytale is 10 songs of bleak synth-pop gold. Every melody sung by sisters Phaedra and Elsa Greene is an earworm that infects the listener’s brain. Ryan Graveface (Black Moth Super Rainbow) blackens the sisters sweet voices with thick, eerie instrumentals. The result is an acid-soaked nightmare.

Favorite Tracks:

“Same Side,” “Chemical Dizzy,” “Ashes to Embers,” “Secular Love”

2. St. Vincent – St. Vincent St_Vincent_artwork

I had St. Vincent fever all year. At one point I dyed my hair the same grey that she’s been sporting in 2014. What so enthralled me into the world of Annie Clark was the eccentric sounds created on her fifth record. On “Huey Newton,” she is a merciless tyrant setting forests ablaze with her heavy guitar rifts. The next song “Digital Witness,” is bouncy and sarcastic, both in its instrumental and lyrics. On St. Vincent, Clark creates her own alien world for each song containing a different sonic atmosphere. Each world contains its own beauty and showcases Clark as the supreme leader.

Favorite Tracks:

“Huey Newton,” “Digital Witness,” “I Prefer Your Love,” “Bring Me Your Loves”

rtj21. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2

In 2014, Killer Mike and El-P did not just create the most hard-hitting, brutal hip hop album in recent memory; they built an album that mirrors this year’s societal turmoil brought on by the killings of seemingly innocent human beings by the police meant to protect them. I’m not going to say RTJ2 perfectly soundtracks the race issues of the past 12 months, because many of its lyrics do glorify violence that is not accurately representative of the culture I’m speaking about. What I am claiming is that the passion in this album, and the message behind a chunk of its lyrics evokes similar emotions to how I felt watching buildings burn in Ferguson the night of the  officer’s acquittal. I urge you to watch the speech Killer Mike delivered that night. In it he beautifully articulates, “Riots are only the language of the unheard.” This album is a riot. Listen up.

Favorite Tracks:

“Jeopardy,” “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry,” “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck),” “All My Life,” “Early”

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Bring Me Your Loves: St. Vincent @ The Beacham

St. Vincent is the musical moniker of art rock singer and guitar chemist, Annie Clark. On Clark’s latest self-titled album, released earlier this year, she inflated her persona from a incredibly talented pop artist to a grey-haired queen, seated atop her bizarre theatrical rock throne, not unlike the one on her latest album cover. Naturally, this god-like transformation garnered comparison to David Bowie’s 70’s space alien character, Ziggy Stardust. Yesterday, I got the chance to see Clark perform live, and with big theatrical rock shoes to fill, she had much to prove. Enjoy.

stvincent2

If Ziggy Stardust was an alien space explorer from mars, than St. Vincent is his new-age robot counterpart. During the songs “Huey Newton,” “Bring Me Your Loves,” and “Birth in Reverse,” Clark glitched around the stage with her rhythm guitarist in perfect unison. Marching about, shifting their bodies, and joining heads, the two mirrored each other’s motions like robots from Chuck E Cheese. Even on her own, Clark rarely broke character while performing. She continued to tick her body parts in quick, precise jolts, all the while, holding the same stoic facial expression.

Entertainment is in Clark’s programming, and with tracks spanning her four solo albums, last night’s set did just that. Her guitar virtuoso shined through on every song, but absolutely stunned me with the psych-funk solo during “Prince Johnny” and the fuzz assaults on “Cheerleader” and “Huey Newton.” Vocally, the night goes to the heavenly sacrilegious “I Prefer Your Love.” The lyrics of Clark preferring her mother’s admiration to Christ created a beautifully touching atmosphere. But for Clark, this was just written in her circuits.

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Bluesman Jack White has contested that each live show should feel unrehearsed and unique; you should never tell the same joke twice, because the audience will feel the authenticity. St. Vincent obviously doesn’t follow this line of thinking. Everything felt rehearsed and choreographed. Her chats with the audience were few in numbers and brief, but felt like monologues in a play. Some may say this takes away from Clark’s performance, but I think it added an artistic beauty to the evening. Upon returning to the stage for a solo performance of “Strange Mercy,” she stood atop an elevated platform, with one spotlight refracting off her guitar. It was the show’s most intimate moment and felt like a Shakespearean actor performing the death monologue from Hamlet.

If you missed the show, you can listen to the entire setlist bellow:

4/4/14 Bag of Tracks: St. Vincent, Jack White, Liars

Something, something, something, intro. Enjoy.

St. Vincent – “Digital Witness”

This song has invaded my life. It captured me, and gave Stockholm syndrome bad.  From the distorted horns, to the infectious vocal melodies, St. Vincent’s latest single from her recent self-titled album is, without a doubt, my favorite song I’ve heard this year. I realize I was late to the party, but boy am I glad to be here. The video is a beautiful piece of artwork, full of color with St. Vincent as a modern day Venus. You need to hear this song. It will change you.

Jack White – “High Ball Stepper”

Among everyone’s idiotic April Fool’s Day shenanigans, myself included, there was one piece of news that was no joke. Jack White announced his new album Lazaretto, and teased us with this fuzzy instrumental track. “High Ball Stepper” is a piercing wave of guitar gold, that only allows you to breath during intermissions of reversed piano. Jack sounds hungry here. For now, I can only hope that the rest of Lazaretto will be this aggressive. I personally didn’t love Blunderbuss, it had a handful of good tracks, but it was too bogged down with slow country tunes to really grab me. Lazaretto’s first official single will be recorded, pressed, and released on Record Stored Day, and the album in it’s entirety will be out sometime in June.

Liars – “Mess on a Mission”

“Mess on a Mission” is the first single from Liars’ seventh studio album, Mess. Prior to Mess, I had never heard Liars, but their dance-punk sound with singer Angus Andrew’s whinny vocals create caught me in an evil trance. It’s dark. It’s fun. It’s catchy. It’s different. I’ve given the whole album a few listens, and the somber melodies paired with these punchy beats create for something unique and memorable.