Sia Furler. A breakout year in 2014.
As we reach the end of another year, it is around that time that every music lover gets ready to publish their end of year favourite tunes that saw them through the year.
It has been a solid year for music. While pop artists still seemingly dominate the charts and on commercial radio, it is refreshing that new artists with a different take are having success and I will highlight some of them in my top 10 list. It was also great to see the resurgence of deep house music this year, which was a real throwback to the mid to late 90s. In a period where electronic music divides opinion, it was nice to have a face from the past back to prominence. I also discovered a love of stripped back electronica, but more on that later.
I can’t say there has been one standout track like other years, but just a lot of solid tunes that cover a few music genres a eclectic mix you could say.
Luckily I kept a monthly playlist on my iPod of all the tunes that I liked which made this process easier than in the past.
Enough of the lead-in here is my top 10 tracks of the year in no particular order.
Hard not to sing along to this great tune from the Adelaide born publicity shy songstress Sia Furler. A slow burner of a track it hits it’s peak once the chorus arrives. It is hard to believe she has been on the scene for well over a decade, but commercial success in her home country has been far from prolific for someone of her undoubted talent. The film-clip adds another bit of class to the song.
A dance tune that wouldn’t look out of place in the early 90s in the clubs of Berlin or Detroit, the dirty dark vibe of Faded had everyone talking as it came like a bolt from the blue. The question has to be asked who exactly was this mystery producer? It was later discovered his name was Steven Zhu. He still has no plans to go public giving two radio interviews to Triple J. It was a token of thanks for his Australian fans as the song was first to break in little old Australia a rare thing indeed. His EP the Nightday displays the skill that he possesses. A unique but intriging artist and definitely one to watch in the future.
The Magician (featuring Years and Years)– Sunlight
Another dance tune that has hallmarks from another era, once I heard this tune I knew it would be one of my favourites for 2014. Although it has summer vibes dripping all over it, it is a tune that puts a smile on your face as it has a happy cheerful tone and it isn’t destroyed by big electronic beats either, Minimalistic you could say.
The Magician (Stephan Fasano) who used to be one half of Belgian electronic act Aeroplane gets great help on the track from Uk electronic trio Years and Years whose own track Desire is another tune to keep an eye on in the near future.
Alt J-Every other Freckle
It could have been any number of tracks from the four piece from Leeds’ second album This is all Yours, but this one is my personal favourite. It is quirky but that is what sells it as a great song. Just like Alex Turner with the Arctic Monkeys, Alt J frontman Joe Newman uses some unorthodox lyrics but it works. In this day and age where there is not a lot to tell a number of songs apart, it is great to see some acts trying something a little different.
Milky Chance- Stolen Dance
This tune belongs the same category,a little different a little funky, and yet a chilled out, stripped back piece of music. The German folk rock duo have achieved global success with the track. Dare I say just like the Alt J tune, it wont be everyone’s cup of tea,( some would be waiting for the killer beat to drop), but this tune isn’t about all that . Just a good old folky tune.
Banks- Beggin For Thread.
This is R and B at its very best. Dark, edgy,deep and brilliant. Jillian Banks has been on the bubble for a year least with some of her tracks slowly drip-feeding out, but it was when she released her album Goddess in September, that the music world could really see her talent. Hailed by those in the know as the second coming of Aaliyah and Lauryn Hill, she puts a great deal of thought and passion into each one of her vocals.
Foo Fighters- I am a River
I stated in the first blog how much I loved this tune From the Foos new album Sonic Highways. It definitely has earned a place on this list.
I Got U- Duke Dumont feat Jax Jones
I have been a fan of all of Adam Dyment’s releases to date, and this one is a personal favourite. A Beautiful Calypso vibe is prevalent throughout the song and it is a tune that you can’t help but move your feet to and like a couple of other songs on the list a tune that puts a smile on your face.
There was never any doubt that this local artist wouldnt be on the list. Chet’s album Built on Glass was my favourite local album for 2014, and along with Flume is undoubtedly my Aussie act of the moment. While Talk is Cheap is the bookie’s favourite to top the Hottest 100 poll, this tune was the personal highlight of his album. I have a real thing for stripped back electronica at the moment, and to have this Aussie bring it to life is a great thing. It was also fantastic to see his album chart in the Billboard 200 chart and in the UK as well. Long may he represent us on the global music scene.
Caribou- Can’t Do Without You
Canadian Dan Snaith has gone through a few monikers in his musical life but Caribou is seemingly the one that resonates most. To be honest I had not taken much note of his career beforehand, but as soon as I heard this track I instantly became a fan. Continuing my love for old style electronica, Snaith’s music reminds me a little of LCD Soundsystem. Dance is such a great musical genre, there is room for the commercial style that seems to be the punter’s choice at the moment, also your more striped back casual style like this. Each to their own.
So there it is. A personal choice, but there are quite a few tunes that were unlucky to miss out. As for albums my top two are pretty easy to select with Foo Fighters just edging out Alt J by a very small margin.
For album number 3 It was a very close call. Chet Faker’s album was superb but I wanted to pay tribute to a greatly underrated album by an artist called Sohn(real name Christopher Taylor).
In April this year he released an album that was one of the most captivating I had ever heard. The ambient sounds rang true throughout the 40 minutes of music. I wouldn’t have given this style of music a look at 1 year ago let alone 5 years, but I am so glad I did. I think over time everyone’s taste in music matures to a certain degree and personally its a great thing as you explore a whole new range of artists you would have ignored in the past.
Hope you have a very musical Christmas and New Year.