Ambient/fucked up guitar/white noise
Fennesz is one my all-time favorite “weird” composers. People always talk about how textured Fennesz's music is, and they're right (“like gauze becoming gossamer”). Big fan of the liberal use of white noise, and I find myself simultaneously distressed and comforted by his music. It's a very ethereal feeling (maybe primordial? eternal??). Very impressive for a guy and a guitar, I must say.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, Pinata
It's about damn time Freddie Gibbs got the love he deserves. He's got one of the best flows in the game, but after a number of 20+ track mixtapes, his somewhat uninspired rhymes start to wear you down. Bumped him a decent amount in high school but stopped paying attention to his doings until he popped back up with Piñata. Gibbs at his best. Harold's is probs my fav track if only because it's largely about eating food (last I checked, Tom is also a big fan of this song and of food).
Flying Lotus is a chill guy with lots of interesting feelings about death and creativity. You're Dead! is another great album by America's post-digital golden age beatsmith boy.
Ambient/repetition/reality breaking apart
There's a lot of think pieces out there about Ruins and Grouper in general. Dreamlike, floating melodies. Wintery but also not really. Hauntingly spacious, maybe. Hell, I don't know, I'm not a music writer. Beautiful good shit, though (“there's nothing left to hold to”).
Always been a pretty big fan of iceage but never would've guessed they'd have it in them to make an album that sounded so radically different than their last two efforts yet also hella realized. Taking a turn toward the postier half of post-punk. Never thought I'd Elias Ronnenfelt's voice so much.
ilovemakonnen, ilovemakonnen EP / ilovemakonnen, Drink More Water 4
I would argue that French Montana is semi-covertly making a grab at rap illuminati status, collaborating with rap royalty and dating celebrity royalty. But if French Montana is the court fool eying the king's throne, then ilovemakonnen is the sad clown who everyone shits on, whose performance art is dismissed as “emo bullshit”, without real artistic merit. But fuck the haters, ilovemakonnen is crying all the way to the bank, snagging Drake's attention and sounding like nobody else in the rap game today. Honesty and originality can bring you far. Also he has the best hair.
When it comes down to it, I think the human voice will always be the mostbeautiful sound anyone can make. Not just the things it can do, but the things it can sound like with the wonders of technology and technique. A Turn of Breath has been described as “Beach Boys vocal-only tracks put through an electrical storm”, which seems very apt and I agree wholeheartedly.
Punk/emo/my life OST
Let's be honest, this is the only album I really listened to this year. In copious amounts. Like, legit listened to this album in full well over forty or fifty times. There is not a single flawed song in the tracklist, all cut deep and hit me comparatively harder than Cymbals Eat Guitar's new shit. “End of the Summer” was a verbatim encapsulation of everyone's end of the summer. If I could only pick one best album of 2014, this would win unopposed.
Everything by PC Music and Manicure Records
Fucked up pop/post-capitalism/earworms
PC Music and Manicure Records are the essence of all I want from music on the internet. Vaporwave has more or less died and now PC Music has taken up the reins of the post-capitalist sound. Warped pop reflected in a funhouse mirror, maybe. I'm addicted. I can't tell if their energydrink is real or not but I want it.
Kool AD, WORD OK / Kool & Kass, Coke Boys 5
RAP RAP RAP/swag/the future
RAP RAP RAP/swag/the future