Back at it, mang. Feed The Dog in the place to be, returning from the dead, bringing that good good on what really went down in 2014. Like we always do at this time. That time being mid-January, a good month after most music publications have wrapped up their seven-part best-of series spanning the year’s buzziest and blandest albums, songs, videos, covers, and of course, “beefs”. But Feed The Dog ain’t no music publication, damnit! Feed The Dog is a person masquerading as a blogger masquerading as a music publication. Feed The Dog is a pretend media magazine preserving my yearly musical opinions to prevent them from fading into forgotten obscurity in the foggy marsh I call my pot-addled mind. Feed The Dog is a perpetually unfulfilled New Years’ resolution. It is, at its core, an experiment in meaningless and essential waste of time.
But despite what have every appearance of a half-assed, poorly-thrown-together afterthought, these lists represent a great deal of time and energy on my part. Every year, I start trying to narrow down these lists a month earlier (this year, it was October), knowing full well the preposterous scope of my annual undertaking. And sometime in December, when I start panicking and realize there won’t be enough time to finish before the end of the year, I start getting questions from the friends I’m blowing off in order to sit in front of my computer for hours and listen to every song on every album that I might possibly have enjoyed. They will ask, What the fuck are you doing? And usually, What’s taking so long?
And typically, I don’t really respond, because there isn’t a great answer. The truth is that my own personal version of OCD is some kind of obsession with completeness. I get bothered when a plate of food is left unfinished. I can’t order dinner unless I’ve read every single line of the menu and have complete confidence I’ve identified the perfect choice. I can’t buy something unless I’ve checked prices on every single website. Similarly, I cannot tell anyone, not even myself, what my favorite albums of the year were until I have a reasonable level of confidence that I have listened to and considered every possible contender.
Part of why I get so obsessive about this aspect of the list-making is that every year, no matter how hard I try, I miss stuff. Even a borderline psychopathic audiophile like myself can’t possibly listen to and absorb every song and album that is released in a year. So this time, in addition to announcing my favorite songs and albums of the year, I’m including this special feature on my biggest misses of 2013. The records and songs listed below represent every 2013 release I listened to this year and thought, this is DEFINITELY going on my best of 2014 li– oh wait… goddamnit. A Spotify playlist can be found here.
Thanks for reading! My Best of 2014 lists will be posted early next week.
Courtney Barnett – The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas
What it is: Incredible debut from an Australian singer-songwriter with a penchant for the mundane and a charming wit and stage presence that typically leads to my best friend and girlfriend arguing over who gets to marry her when the show is over.
My excuse for missing it: This was released in October of 2013 and it didn’t cross my radar until December, when I was already in full panic mode over my year-end lists. I don’t think I even gave it a cursory listen then. I might have even thrown it directly into my 2014 playlist for when the year-end lists were all done and moved on. Of course as soon as I started listening to that playlist when my lists were done, I fell in love with this album.
Highlights: History Eraser, Avent Gardener, Lance Jr.
Where it probably would have been ranked: #15-#25
The Underachievers: Indigoism
What it is: Debut mixtape from Brooklyn psychedelic hip hop duo who spit like maniacs about getting lit and “third eye shit”.
My excuse for missing it: One of the last steps of my OCD completist strategy for these year-end lists is to go through a bunch of critic lists to check for releases I’m missing because I haven’t even heard of them. Someone (maybe Stereogum?) put Indigoism in a Best Mixtapes of The Year feature, and a Flatbush Zombies comparison was enough for me to check them out. Unfortunately, at this stage of my process, I was so ready to be finished with my list that a 17-track tape of dense rap over similar (albeit awesome) beats, all songs I had never heard, just didn’t really hit me the first time through.
Highlights: Play Your Part, Gold Soul Theory, T.A.D.E.D., Herb Shuttles
Where it probably would have been ranked: #15-#25
Lindsay Lowend – Wind Fish EP
What it is: Some kind of frenetic hipster trap music unlike anything you’ve ever heard, unless you’ve ever heard a Nintendo 64 have sex with a drum machine.
My excuse for missing it: Dude is just pretty indie. His ridiculous, ruthless banger “GT40” was included on the terrific All Trap Music Vol 2, released at the end of 2013, and I didn’t end up hearing it until 2014. As soon as I heard the first time, my jaw hit the floor.
Highlights: GT40, Wind Fish
Where it probably would have been ranked: #20-#30, but “GT40” would have been in the Top 10 for Songs.
Jessy Lanza – Pull My Hair Back
What it is: Trappy, minimalist R&B record from one of Hyperdub’s only pop artists.
My excuse for missing it: This was another one I discovered off of someone else’s year-end list. I’m pretty sure I saw it on a Buzzfeed article called something like, “Here Are All The Reasons R&B Artists Won 2013”. The album has a really low-key, spaced-out vibe to it, and just took a while to grow on me. First listen didn’t convince me enough to include it on the list. Then sometime in February of 2014, I started listening to third track “Kathy Lee” on repeat for about five months straight. One day, I will write a movie where the protagonist’s dream girl is some quirky indie hottie named Kathy Lee, and this song will play over a montage of her whipping her hair around, dancing, and doing bad ass shit around the city.
Highlights: Kathy Lee, Pull My Hair Back, 5785021
Where it probably would have been ranked: #20-#30, but “Kathy Lee” would have been in the Top 20 for Songs
Songs after the jump… Continue reading