This may be the time of year for diets, but there’s no need to starve your hunger for music. Here’s some of 2014’s most indulgent musical treats you may have overlooked at the buffet, still 100% guilt-free.
Timber Timbre’s Hot Dreams
Hot Dreams is an album full of dark, Hollywood cowboy ditties (“Bring Me Simple Men”), and grim dirges building to psychedelic electric crescendos (“Beat the Drum Slowly”). There are homages to pulp noir film (“Curtains!?”), 1950s rock and roll (“The Low Commotion”), and strange sound experiments culminating in sublime western strum and drang (“Grand Canyon”). The lyrics haunt just as much as singer Taylor Kirk’s voice does, which is a ghost that will not quit me – nor do I want it to.
Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble
Read the title. Yes, read it again. Indeed, in this album Primus does exactly what you expect them to, which is produce their own quirky, bass-slapping version of the soundtrack to 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. It’s trippy, it’s funky, and it goes down sweet as candy. All the darkness of Dahl is reanimated in new ways; “Golden Ticket”’s brisk tune reflects the brusque nature of the self-entitled, and “Pure Imagination” evokes all the echoing paranoia of a trip gone bad. Good thing the best kind of chocolate is dark.
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Ty Segall’s Manipulator
Manipulator is a delightful fusion of 70s pop, punk, garage rock, and the laconic long vowels of the 90s. It’s peppy, but far from preppy. Although the songs feel like they may have come from another era, the vigor in them comes from Ty Segall’s obvious passion for the genres he emulates. Some stand-outs on the album are the title song (a psychedelic song with all the lovely logic of a dream poem), “It’s Over” (an ambiguous but emphatic friendship-ending anthem), and “The Singer” (a slow-building rock gem that just begs for audience participation with every line).
Paul McCartney’s RAM
2014 heralded the re-release of Paul McCartney’s masterpiece, RAM. I don’t care which Beatle you liked best, this album is solid. Give it (and peace) a chance with the track “Too Many People”, and watch as the whole “The cake is a lie”/Portal meme takes on a deeper and more poignant dimension. Or appreciate the song on its own merit – there’s plenty more where that came from.