Since 2002, I have obsessively tracked and categorized the music. It started as a way to share the songs and artists I discovered while working at a college radio station. I would rip audio files, make quarterly Windows Media playlists and burn CD’s for friends. When I transferred over to iTunes, I began to make meticulous quarterly and year-end mixes. In 2012, I moved over to Spotify and starting doing monthly “Mixtapes” and year end countdowns.
These are not necessarily the best or most popular or commercially successful songs. They certainly anything we play on 93.7 KLBJ. These are the songs, that when I go back and listen to them, transport me to another time. They are the songs that have left a lasting impact. They are my memories, emotions and stories from the past year.
Music is the soundtrack to our lives and this is where my movie started.
40) TV on the Radio – Test Pilot
The group released their first album since 2011’s mediocre Nine Types of Light. Seeds second single is a good Will Do-ish ballad called Test Pilot.
39) Abram Shook – Crush
When he’s not touring with other acts, Austin’s Abram Shook is cranking out great songs like this (via @sideonetrackone).
38) Little Dragon – Klapp Klapp
I’ve been a fan of Little Dragon since seeing them open for TV on the Radio in 2008. Their first song on my countdown features a music video that tells one piece of story which we will continue later.
37) Damon Albarn – The Selfish Giant
Albarn is perhaps know best for his work with Blur, as the Gorillaz or if you’re into Chinese cinema; composing the score for Monkey Bee: A Journey to the West.
36) Phantogram – Fall in Love
If you attended a music festival or tuned into college radio this year, chances are you stumbled upon Phantogram. Fall in Love was probably the most popular of several great songs that ruled their 2013-14 explosion.
35) Spoon – Inside Out
I realized that Spoon is not for everyone after forcing several friends to follow me around during SXSW some time back. Their latest album and performances will hopefully change some of those minds. CONFORM!
34) Warpaint – Biggy
The Los Angeles group’s self titled album launched them into a new state of sound and notoriety. My only regret is not seeing them during one of their visits to Austin. Set back and relax while this trippy tune makes you feel all fuzzy on the inside.
33) Banks – Brain
I listened to this song pretty heavily around August (when I went to the beach and ate a decent chunk of mushrooms). Banks’ lyrics, voice and beats don’t let you get off the hook. She want’s you to feel every emotion with every note and relive whatever it was that went through her skull while penning the lyrics.
32) Tycho – Awake
This is one of those ‘headphones’ songs. Put them on, turn it up and stare out the window for a few minutes. Pay no attention to the neighbors, they already think you’re weird.
31) Grimes – Go (feat. Blood Diamonds)
I haven’t decided if this wobbly sounding single from Canadian weirdo (that’s a compliment) Grimes is a guilty pleasure or just a great song. I was pleased to discover the tune made several year-end lists and that the music video itself is pretty kick-ass. I heard it while in Vegas and it just seems to fit in with everything that was happening at that time.
TOP ALBUMS OF 2014
So many great artists, so many good songs and so many damn solid albums. When listing however, there can only be one (well, five). These are five records I was able to put on and listen to again and again, start to finish. I
5) Luck – Tom Vek
Honestly do not know much about Vek other than I liked several songs on Luck. I guess that’s all that matters, right?
4) Goddess – Banks
I’m surprised this album did not make any of the year-end lists I enjoy reading. Do yourself a favor and take the time to listen to while doing house work or relaxing. I promise you will come back for more.
3) St. Vincent
The rocker has definitely been influenced by her time with David Byrne. This is evident throughout her live performances and the songs on this album. This was bound to be my favorite until I listened to these other two.
2) Singles – Future Islands
Spotify classifies this as my most listened to album of the year (and that’s not even counting with my record player). Had it not been for another great release I got hip to later in the year, this would easily have been number one. I was such a fan that I even bought two copies so I could give one to comedian Natasha Leggero. It didn’t go so well.
1) Sylvan Esso
By far the most solid piece of work I played era upon in 2014. I thoroughly enjoyed their debut record from start to finish and back again.