Negative Qualities (2014)
The punk rock answer to the latte drinking, Black Keys listening, Murakami reading hipster: a smart and intense half hour of unrelenting rage. The unscrupulous lyriscism full of world and self loathing being their strong suit. Once you can hear through the noise of scouring guitars and drums you’ll discover the qualities of this nearly flawless record.
The Person & The People
What A Drag (2014)
In the 90s, everyone made What A Drag. You couldn't spit in Seattle without hitting this record. 20 years on, the sound is a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere populated with sonic effects and guitar filters. Good, honest Alternative Rock and Roll, with genuine lyrics and an inward gazing eye that actually delivers the odd kernel of knowledge.
Best song:Don't Fear The Richard
Primus & The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble (2014)
Ultimately, this could be viewed as a really long joke, but Primus pull off a very enthralling envision of Willy Wonka's world. Putting the mega-creeps on, Primus jaunt through all of these as if Mr. Krinkle is Willy Wonka, pushing kids into the river of chocolate. You're getting a bunch of reworks, yeah, but you're getting a new flavor of each.
Best song:Pure Imagination
Walking on a Flashlight Beam (2014)
The urgency housed within Duda's creative mind is constantly simmering, boiling over on occasion with a darkness that truly does breed fear. The album's centrepiece, Pygmalion's Ladder, is an expression of the ingenuity that lurks beneath the surface. It furtively pokes its head out, through a distorted riff or a whispered vocal. It's intoxicating.
Best song:Pygmalion's Ladder
After The Flowers EP (2014)
L'Orange's stream-of-consciousness epitaph to his 2014 album, The Orchid Days, is a conceptual caveat of wonders. Reinforcing the most inventive hip hop album of this year, After The Flowers continues the brilliance of L'Orange's intelligent mind, and his features echo his fingerprint on the music. This free EP is more stunning than most.
Best song:Broken Clocks
Rise of the Empress (2014)
From the beginning, this album slays. The title track opens with the most ominous noises laid to wax in 2014, before a huge expanse of power chords and orchestral singing assaults your ears. I liken it to riding on a motorcycle at speed with no helmet. It's an all out experience, with your other 4 senses consumed by what your ears are experiencing.
Best song:Darkness Encroaching
Adam Bainbridge and his musical guests craft a delicate mix of early 90s soul (complete with sax) and contemporary R&B. Don't confuse kindness with weakness; this guy knows how to slap a bass or lay down a nice beat when necessary. Most of his second effort, though, is very kind indeed. A pleasant companion to lazy days, at times dangerously close to muzak.
Best song:Why Don't You Love Me (feat. Devonté Hynes)
Gamble has some interesting ideas on Koch, yet too often they get lost in empty space. It takes the industrial, hard edged electronic route, yet doesn't really back it up with any substance. This isn't a record you can get lost in, or that could soundtrack any particular moments in your life. It feels hollow, as if it were half complete.
Best song:Motor System
He may be the most annoying and frankly criminal person Beardfood has reviewed, but this man has a gift for melody that is unmatched in R&B right now. X is everything a top shelf record should be. Brown fits the futuristic production like a glove, his soulful and intimate voice making any depraved phrase sound sultry smooth. Shoot me, I love it.
Best song:Autumn Leaves
Scott Walker & Sunn O)))
It's these types of collaborations that absolutely terrify some people aurally. Metamorphosing into a creature of gargantuan drone and whatever you desire to label Scott Walker's mutterings, Soused is the underground's very own Lou Reed & Metallica's Lulu, a nearly unlistenable album that should gain its own cult status moments after its release.
Simian Mobile Disco
Whorl is an odd beast. It never pretends to be a punch-the-sky electronic explosion, yet it pokes its head out of the murk long enough to bask in some reflected rays. Nice ideas never go unexplored; each riff ridden till death. It's Sunday afternoon dance meets hip German 3am club. Not quite a floor filler, but it fills the empty space.
Best song:Sun Dogs
...And Star Power (2014)
It's no huge surprise the free spirits of Foxygen return with an all-over-the-place 24-track double album. This crazy beast of a record smashes together all imaginable sounds from the 70s. Through all the appropriations, it's hard to recognize the Foxygen signature. Way too long and diverse to digest at once, it's an impressive effort that doesn't touch you.
Best song:Cosmic Vibrations