2014 in retrospect: music (part 2 of 4)


Just because it’s not new to you, doesn’t mean it’s not new to me! Here are those things (artists, genres, etc.) that I hadn’t given much thought to before. Yes, I’m behind the curve. Get used to it, it’s a part of me.

It was a long time coming, yeah. Given the type of music I usually gravitate towards, I don’t know why it took me so many years to finally sit down and listen through the Pixies’ three big albums, but here we are in 2014 and, as usual, I’m years (in this case, decades) behind the curve. Oh well, better late than never, right?

At the Drive-In
Oh man, if I had discovered these guys in high school…who knows how much angstier I would have been. But really, this is just good stuff; I don’t have much more to say besides what has already been said about them throughout the Internet, other than Relationship of Command has the potential to be a life-changing album if you listen to it at the right time in your life. Like, say, high school.

Not so much a discovery as a re-discovery, as I’ve known about and liked these guys since high school. But I never gave them much thought past merely liking Beneath Medicine Tree and thinking that “Love Is A Fast Song” is one of the best quiet-to-loud-and-back-again songs I’ve ever heard. Turns out, these guys have an incredibly solid discography. This is “pretty” music if ever I’ve heard it; shimmering, floaty, airy summer music that’s essentially the sonic equivalent of a warm breeze on a clear evening at sunset. They make tragedy sound beautiful and everything good sound even better. And then, they go and release Ixora this year…haven’t listened to it yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

The Goo Goo Dolls’ back catalog
goo goo dolls
Really, just Hold Me Up, but re-listening to Superstar Car Wash for the first time in years was a pleasant experience. Reminds me that there’s a good reason the Dolls were my favorite band throughout much of high school, and that listening back through their older stuff is a good reason not to forget about them. It’s just always nice when you meet an old friend, and you realize they’re not the person you thought they were, but in a good way.

Why why WHY didn’t I ever listen to techno before? I have excuses but none of them are very good; ultimately, I blame trance for hoarding my attention like the beautiful but embarrassingly shallow siren she is. Really, techno is where it’s at. I’ve barely scratched the surface, but there’s so much to explore and everything I’ve heard so far just consistently blows my mind in ways that trance never could. My love affair with trance has ended, but my lasting relationship with techno has only just begun.

Destroyer’s Kaputt is one of my top five favorite albums of all time. I could wax eloquent about this album for paragraphs but I’ll refrain and boil it down to this: No album I’ve ever heard since I first heard Kaputt years ago transports me to a different time and place quite like it does. If you know anything about my music tastes I’m sure you’ve heard at least once from me how much I admire the ’80s music scene, at least from a musical perspective. The ’80s get ripped apart so often and even though there’s been a resurgence over the last decade of ’80s-inspired electronic music, to admit you like pop music from the ’80s is still something you only whisper in the dark, to yourself, so that no one can hear you and even you can pretend like it never happened.

Screw that.

Sophisti-pop might be some of the quote-unquote cheesiest music to come out of the last 30 years, but to me it’s phenomenally atmospheric and beautiful when done right, despite what anyone else says. And even though I’ve had Kaputt and have enjoyed it for at least a couple years now, I never actually bothered to check out other sophisti-pop artists until this year. One of my absolute favorite musical memories from 2014 was listening to The Blue Nile’s seminal album Hats on the way home from work one summer evening. The light was fading, my windows were down, the air was warm and the mood was tangible. Sometimes, the stars just align.

Bomb The Music Industry!
If ever I make a list that rates bands based on the strength of their respective discographies, Bomb The Music Industry! will be somewhere near the top. In addition to the not-so-minor fact that all their albums were released for free on the band’s website, and the fact that they consistently played all-ages shows so that all their fans could attend no matter how old they were, and that Jeff Rosenstock seems like the kind of guy I could really enjoy drinking a couple beers with, I just flat-out love everything they’ve ever put out. Discovering this band this year was one of the most continually rewarding musical adventures of 2014, and while it’s a shame that they disbanded years ago, they left behind a trail of Grade-A albums and EPs, with which it has been almost impossible for me to find fault.

Taylor Swift is as good as all the people who love Taylor Swift say she is.
Come at me, bro


About crakthesky

Early 30s and vocal about my subculture.
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2 Responses to 2014 in retrospect: music (part 2 of 4)

  1. Seasons says:

    Do you like Talk Talk? I think they’re “Sophisti-pop,” maybe. I also legitimately love this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX-Ru1XkNZc


    • crakthesky says:

      I haven’t gotten to Talk Talk yet but I’m sure I’d like them. They’re on my never-ending list of artists to check out. Also, that Double song was pretty good. I’ll have to give it a few more listens to let it grow on me some more. Thanks for sharing!


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