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2014 – Little Monster

July 1st, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music · No Comments · Music

Another year where I enjoyed the new music. Admitttedly most of the new music I was listening to and enjoying was from artists that had been going for quite a while, or even a long while.

We had what were probably the last studio albums from Pink Floyd and Yes, although you never know with them. Pink Floyd’s album was The Endless River, based on old bits and pieces of recordings from the Division Bell sessions. Very atmospheric and ambient but ultimately forgettable. The Yes album was Heaven & Earth, the last album they recorded before Chris Squire died. Like a lot of their recent albums (although ‘recent’ really means after 90125 in 1983!) it is pleasant enough, technically good, but not very memorable – there is a reason why at least 90% of their setlists are still from the 70’s albums. This album features the second Jon Anderson impersonator on lead vocals. He does a good impersonation, but he is not Jon.

It was a busy year for Yes. They also released the live album Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome, which features the same band lineup playing the whole of Going For The One and The Yes Album. There was also a belated CD release of the Songs From Tsongas concert, which had been released on DVD in 2005 and therefore had the classic line-up.

Status Quo released an acoustic album, of all things. It was OK, but not what you want from the Quo really. Wilko Johnson celebrated not dying after all by recording an album with Roger Daltrey, which was both worthy and enjoyable. For me, the best of the oldies in 2014 was Neil Diamond with his album Melody Road – possibly the best album he has made.

Les Claypool also had a busy year, with albums by both Primus and Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang. The Primus album was their version of the entire 1971 Willy Wonka soundtrack, and the Duo de Twang was an infectious collection of songs from one of Les’s many side projects, including a version of Staying Alive.

Other old-but-newer-than-Yes-or-Pink Floyd, artists releasing new albums were Erasure (Like Yes  or Pet Shop Boys albums, their recent stuff is not bad but not as memorable as their first few albums, but its good to see them still going) , Sinead O’ Connor (well worth a listen) and Foo Fighters. The Foo Fighters album, Sonic Highways, was really the first album of their that I engaged with. It was recorded in different cities and was accompanied by an 8-part TV documentary series. Each part featured the recording of one song and featured the history of the music scene in that city and the studio as well as how the song was sritten and recorded. Fascinating stuff.

Apart from all that, I enjoyed the Baxter Dury album It’s A Pleasure, Fat Freddy’s Drop’s live album and the Angelique Kidjo album EVE.

As far as really new music was concerned, there were two very different things that I really enjoyed in 2014: Meghan Trainor’s debut single, All About That Bass and Royal Blood’s debut album. Both catchy in their own ways. It was really quite tempting to put Meghan onto my playlist to represent 2014, but I went for Royal Blood instead and their debut single Little Monster, which also featured on their self-titled album. Like the Strypes, Royal Blood gave me reassurance that today’s youngsters are more than capable of knocking out decent rock. With only a drum kit, a bass guitar, and an array of effects pedals they make a glorious racket that sounds like a lot more than two people. There were large parts of the year where I was quite obsessed with this album.

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