April’s Picks: The Best of 2014

april picksWho is that lovely music fan in the jaunty beret? Why, it’s April, and she’s back with her top picks from 2014.

I don’t want to influence your opinion with my favorite from this list (cough cough Sharon Jones cough cough), so I’ll just hush up and let April do the typing.

Turtles All The Way Down,” Sturgill Simpson (Metamodern). “I’ll come to your party if it goes until 4 question marks at least. 3 or less and it’s not worth my time at all. On nights like those my absence trumps my company.” This is classic 1970s-era country music with a touch of psychedelia. A little weird, yet comforting. Which is exactly how life can be.

“Move With the Season,” Temples (Sun Structures). “Lend your young ears to the sound of day.” An eerie, plodding cut with a distinct Beatles influence. Make no mistake, Temples are no watered down Beatles.  This is seasoned psychedelia, so heavy on feedback you can practically smell the patchouli.

“Blue Sunshine,” US Royalty (Blue Sunshine). “Fought down by my own affections. Is there nowhere safe I can hide?” A track that retains its ruggedness yet tempers that sinewy rock sound with a nuanced string interlude. One can hear echos of INXS, The Cure, and Fleetwood Mac.

“Stranger to my Happiness,” Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (Give the People What They Want). “Now if you think that it’s a thing that only evil man can bring, well let me skin this cat another way.” Sharon Jones and her band are the real deal. This track kicks off with the driving, authoritative baritone sax that anchors the groove. And what a fiery groove it is.  Ms. Jones and her back up singers take no prisoners.  If this song doesn’t get your foot tapping, you may need to check your pulse.

New Dorp, New York,” SBTRKT feat. Ezra Koenig(Wonder Where We Land). “I got a baseball bat, never hit home-runs.” A sonic feast, this track features a thick, incessant bass line. (According to Wikipedia, New Dorp is Anglicization of Nieuw Dorp, which is Dutch for ‘New Village’, which is a neighborhood in Staten Island).

Another,” Greylag (Greylag). “Lay it on of me I want to forget about the angry words.”  A melding of acoustic and electric sounds this contemplative cut stands and delivers.

“World Domination”, Free Fall (Power & Volume). “I want world domination!!” Crunchy loud guitars: check. Lots ‘o feedback: check. Heavy handed drummer: check. Lead singer with scream range: check. Go Swedes, go!

Busy Earnin’,” Jungle (Jungle). “You can’t get enough.” This genre busting track is a stone cold groove brimming with conviction. If just listening to the song doesn’t make you want to move, check out the video. I’m dancing in my mind as I write.

Stolen Dance,” Milky Chance (Stolen Dance EP). “I want you. We can bring it to the floor.” An entrancing guitar riff over a simple click track grabs you attention immediately. The melodic, yet raspy voice of lead singer, Clemens Rehbein, grounds this send up to broken relationships.

What’s Your Secret,” Syd Arthur (Sound Mirror). “I don’t want to remember how it felt last night.” Liam Magill gently leads you into this track with his delicate falsetto. Then he and his bandmates take your hand through this complex song that features strings and time changes. This is a heady concoction that goes down smooth.

Left Hand Free,” alt-J (This Is All Yours). “Pick a battle eenie meenie miney moe – hey flower you’re the chosen one.” Raw and sexy, Joe Newman and the boys nail this cowbell centric good time groove.

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