The Best Music of 2014 (Amazon Edition)

jessie ware best albums songs 2014

READ IT ON AMAZON

It’s a special year-end list that makes room for Jessie Ware (above), Linkin Park, and Eric Church, and I’m happy to say I spilled positive ink on all three for Amazon’s Best of 2014 albums and songs roundup. Also held forth on such tuneful peeps as Sylvan Esso, Sam Smith, Bleachers, Little Dragon, Chromeo, the War on Drugs, Beck, Charli XCX, Alt-J, FKA Twigs, and ScHoolboy Q, to name a few. Visit Amazon to see what you missed, and why you should care.

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The Best of Bonnaroo 2012: D’Angelo, fun., Flying Lotus, Das Racist, St. Vincent, Kurt Vile and more

Babe City, population:1 thrasher. St. Vincent gained another crowd fulla converts over the weekend by crawling on top of her fans for the entire length of the set-closing “Krokodil.” That was just one of the unforgettable moments documented by Team SPIN at Bonnaroo 2012 in Manchester, Tennessee. Best weather of the past three years, and a whole lot of best sets captured visually by Ian Witlen and Matt Ellis, and scribed about by Davids Marchese and Bevan, Luke McCormick, and yours truly. Indexed below for your easy access.

FIRST: 60 amazing photos from the festival!  ///// AND NOW: our coverage. Click on the day itself to read about the artists listed and more.

THURSDAY
1. Yelawolf: the best part came with a dedication to the Beastie Boys…
2. MiM0SA: his heart is in hip-hop: swag rap, bass beats, fx-riddled hyphy…
3. Mariachi El Bronx: horns swell, violin soars, percussion bursts…

FRIDAY
1. St. Vincent: writhing and convulsing like she’d been inhabited by demons…
2. Flying Lotus: each track sped up and spliced with all kinds of weird…
3. Ludacris: he played a steady stream of hits from his 12-year-old catalog…
4. Little Dragon: a dangerously locked-in dance band teetering on the edge…

SATURDAY
1. D’Angelo & Questlove: giving his first U.S. concert in nearly 12 years…
2. Das Racist: Kool thanked “The Gathering of the Juggalos” for having them…
3. Khaira Arby & Her Band:  flurries of notes from dueling guitars…

SUNDAY
1. fun.: the bellowing sing-alongs started with the first song and never let up…
2. Here We Go Magic: a rhythmic latter that leads to weirder heights still…
3. Kurt Vile & the Violators: Lou Reed covering Lou Barlow in a dank cave…

SXSW 2011 Day 3: Odd Future, Das Racist, Pentagram, Little Dragon, Skrillex, more

Little Dragon at SXSW 2011 (Ian Witlen)

Wow. If my love for all things Odd Future didn’t already color me a fanboy, consider the deed done after I saw the impossible happen (read the review below) at their daytime gig at an altogether awesome party thrown by legendary skate mag Thrasher. Readers of this blog will also know I’m a dogged Das Racist apologist, and them dudes kicked things off right by going through a case of PBR while onstage. But that’s not all that happened on Day 3. I ate a pair of strikingly delicious sliders (think Carl’s Jr.’s Bacon Western Cheeseburger done gourmet and petit), Little Dragon made beautiful music (following up a one-two-punch of Gayngs and Black Lips), and Skrillex inspired Austiners to shake a leg.

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Besto 2010: Gorillaz are Spin’s Live Act of the Year (Plus, Damon and Jamie on their Circus)

Damon Albarn FTW. A lifer makes a masterwork.

Had the pleasure of witnessing the Gorillaz circus when it came to town back in October and among what must be close to a thousand concerts witnessed, this one is now permanently lodged in my personal top five. No joke. Damon Albarn has done something magical with music (and a huge effing budget). I had the added pleasure of speaking with him and his Gorillaz cohort Jamie Hewlett for Spin’s year-end cov’g. Here’s an excerpt:

“It’s like a juggernaut once it starts,” says Damon Albarn. The peculiar pop project he and illustrator Jamie Hewlett founded 12 years ago in a shared London flat has grown from a virtual band of comic-book characters to a traveling spectacle of Barnumesque proportions. “There’s no stopping it,” says Albarn. “The magic is in the way it mesmerizes, brings you into its world.

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Review: Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio Goes Pop as Maximum Balloon

TVOTR's Dave Sitek is a Maximum Balloon amongst maximal balloons.

Ha ha ha, clever headline, yes! If only I’d have thought of that when I wrote the review for The A.V. Club. At least 10 commenters could’ve taken me to task for egregious punning on the name of TV on the Radio’s David Andrew Sitek’s new solo project Maximum Balloon (awkward mouthful alert!). Instead they talked about dude’s breath. Sigh. You should read about it anyway though, because I say things like this:

“Sitek’s solo material pushes that familiar TVOTR sound further, but ditches those strange blues almost entirely in favor of shocking pinks — radio-ready pop songs featuring a handful of guest vocalists.”

But the comments are waaaay more interesting. Dig in!

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