Greetings, FS faithful. I am here to share with you my favorite songs of this past year should you be curious about what tickles the fancy of a mediocre bass player in a local power pop outfit. For fun, I'm also going to tell you why each song made the list. A list about my list, if you will.
Here's the music: Best of 2014
Here is what comes to mind when I hear each of these worthy tracks:
Strand of Oaks, "Goshen '97" - Apparently this song is about bandleader Timothy Showalter's high school years, where he was "lonely, but having fun." It's inspired me to write "Whitefish Bay '99," where I was "lonely, but also drunk."
Kishi Bashi, The Ballad of Mr. Steak - I work all day, every day in a role that requires me to have a deep understanding of beef preparation and production, so I appreciate this ode to a bachelor named Mr. Steak and his quest to find another cut of meat that likes to "booty-booty shakey-shake."
Cloud Nothings, "I'm Not Part of Me" - Cloud Nothings is what I think of as the ultimate high school band, and what I tell people my high school band was like. In reality, it was more like this.
Temples, "Keep in the Dark" - Apparently this is one of Blake's six-year-old son's favorite bands. Actually it was probably on Beckett's Best of 2013 list, since those pint-sized tastemakers at Playdohfork are usually all over anything British and slightly funky.
Kevin Drew, "First in Line" - Kevin Drew attacked me once outside the womens' bathroom at Schubas. I mean, full on threw me up against the wall and accused me of telling someone I was in Broken Social Scene. Or he really just wanted to be first in line for the womens' bathroom.
Avery Tare's Slasher Flicks, "Little Fang" - Once in a while I like a song with a bassline that sounds like the musical equivalent of one of those Lindor chocolates - when you break its shell, its lusciously smooth center starts to melt. And so will you.
Archie Bronson Outfit, "Two Doves on a Lake" - Is this stoner rock? Also, 5/4 time makes me feel intoxicated.
Andrew Jackson Jihad, "Children of God" - I am pretty sure this song is about zombies. The line "Out the corner of my eye/Coming out from a teeth-filled sky/With eyes as red as a dog's asshole when you see it shitting" is probably the reason I won't burn a CD of this playlist for my dad. Not because of the language, but because he would find that to be an overly pedantic description of the undead.
Amen Dunes, "Lonely Richard" - This is one of those songs that probably sounds great on repeat after you've eaten a pot cookie and gone to bed with your socks on. Might try it and let you know.
Afghan Whigs, "Matamoros" - This was my driving song of the summer and also my nominee for Sex Jam of the Year until I went to the Metro in October and laid eyes on 2014 Greg Dulli. Time has not been good to you, Greg Dulli.
Twin Peaks, "Flavor" - I'm considering buying this album for my dad for Christmas, as he has a tendency to like every other band on a bill (or in the city of Chicago) more than mine.
Haunted Hearts, "Something That Feels Bad is Something That Feels Good" - Apparently this band wasn't popular with music critics despite the presence of at least one Dum Dum Girl. But I love the measured build of the verses into that weird little hopping bass break. I'd like FS to play with this band some day. You guys down?
Parquet Courts, "Instant Disassembly" - These guys are like those assholes in elementary school who could draw a hyper-realist picture of the family dog in art class, get picked first in kickball and recite a perfect multiplication table, all while high on Dimetap and Flamin' Hot Cheetohs. They don't even have to try.
Hamilton Leithauser, "I Don't Need Anyone" - This is the song I would have written to a hundred guys I dated in my 20s, if I was any good at writing songs. Come to think of it, that is most of the Walkmen catalog.
The Orwells, "North Avenue" - We think these guys practice in the space next to us. They once left a note on our door that said "CRAZY HORSE! We love your band." We are not sure who was moonlighting in our room but we have a pretty good idea.
Benjamin Booker, "Violent Shiver" - This dude is straight talented. I am the world's second-biggest Jack White apologizer (after these people) and Ben Booker showed him up at the Chicago Theater earlier this year. Matt saw his set at Schubas a couple of months back and assessed it with a short nod, which is Matt for "Fucking outstanding!!!!"
Peter Matthew Bauer, "Phildelphia Raga" - I once made the mistake of trying to fade into LCD Soundsystem's "Dance Yrslf Clean" right before the big dance break. Don't make that mistake with this gem...just let it build.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow - "Crushin'" - I am not sure I actually like this song since I skip over it every time I put this playlist on shuffle. But I listened to it a lot at work while writing tweets about how to prepare the Perfect Thai Basil Beef Sliders, so interpret that as you will.
Bishop Allen, "Start Again" - I hate when a band that is responsible for one of your all-time favorite house cleaning albums (In BA's case, The Broken String) puts out something new and potentially advanced in some way. Fortunately Bishop Allen understands that I want them to make the same exact record every time, and puts my level of comfort above their own continuing artistic relevance.
J. Mascis, "Every Morning" - Fo Species owes much to Dinosaur Jr. and if J. can make a convincing acoustic record, maybe we can too. Sike!
Perfume Genius, "Queen" - I am less impressed with this guy than are other members of our band, but this song is pretty sweeping for a solo pianist. I would pay good money to see him go head-to-head with Nixon at one of those Dueling Piano bars.
The New Pornographers, "Dancehall Domine" - Jim DeRogatis called this song his second-favorite of 2014, after "All About That Bass." You can take that to the bank, A.C. "Carl" Newman.
The Vaselines, "High Tide Low Tide" - This song is so stinkin' cute in its simplicity and irreverence. Kind of like me.
Circa Waves, "Young Chasers" - This sounds like something I would have listened to during my indie rock heyday, and by "listened to" I mean "Put on my iPod and skipped every time in favor of something more emo."
Alt-J, "Left Hand Free" - This song is about masturbation, right? Ok, good. Alt-J reminds me of the bands that were popular around town when I was coming of age in Milwaukee, if those bands looked cool and popped pills instead of smoking pot.
Nude Beach, "I Can't Keep the Tears From Falling" - I think Nude Beach is the new Spin Doctors, and I'm ok with that. My dad used to play the shit out of Pocket Full of Kryptonite during my formative years and I try to bring that kind of sensible groove to all that I do.
TV on the Radio, "Quartz" - I admit that I've only listened to this song a handful of times, but I didn't want to be left out of the TVOTR wankfest. Wank, wank.