Guest Best Of: Starring Tracy Wilson (Positive No)

It's time for another year to come to an end, and y'all know what that means...Best Of lists! In honor of the wrapping up of 2014, I'm collecting lists from friends for another year, and mine will be coming in the kinda sorta near future. In the meantime, check out what some pretty awesome folks had to say about some of the pretty awesome records that came out over the past 365 days.

Tracy Wilson is a true music person. Not only does she love music (and have the vinyl collection to prove it), but she also makes it (currently, Tracy struts her stuff in killer Richmond band Positive No) and helps bands get it out there (through her Little Black Cloud label). She's also great to have as part of your rock & roll trivia team, and I speak from experience. In short, she's pretty rad. Read on to see what from 2014 really made the lovely Miss Wilson's day, and why, and be sure you check out her varied musical ventures. 

"I have roughly listened to at least 55,000 full length releases during my lifetime. This means I have listened between 5 to 15 albums a day (in one format or another) and have done so for easily the past 30 years. That being said, it takes a lot for a new record to grab hold of me. Most of the time I play something once and it doesn’t get played again. I think of it a bit like speed dating. There are a lot of records out there and if one doesn’t grab me on some level, I move on.

Like a true addict looking for a high that meets the greatness of that first perfect high from those first records I fell in love with, I keep searching, listening, and hoping for the best. I do this daily.

Now you know a little more behind the stranger about to offer up a top five 2014 list."

* Protomartyr Under The Color of Official Right (Hardly Art) - Pure black magic. They are four men playing the same old instruments and notes as everyone else but somehow they made the PERFECT RECORD. It swaggers like Bukowski if he didn’t dwell on women. It bites like a good whiskey that finishes smoothly. It is Detroit at its most beautiful; honest and real. The vocals suggest just enough melody to give us non perfect singers the hope that we too might front a band successfully. If this record was a meal, it would leave you licking the plate in an effort to gather up every ounce of its greatness. RIYL: Hold Steady, The Fall, Gang of Four, Tyvek, Wire, and great American poets.

* The Gotobeds Poor People Are Revolting (12XU) - I dare you to find a record of 2014 that starts out with a stronger A side. I don’t know how a record can sound like a pillow fight with bags of bricks but this one does. It is swift, energetic, weighty, and wild eyed Pop with adult themes. RIYL: see Protomartyr and add in a dash of Pavement, middle period Dischord, Futureheads (guitar bits) and early Stranglers.

* The Soundcarriers - Entropicalia (Ghost Box) - There is no getting around that the death of Trish Keenan from Broadcast left a giant hole in my heart. There will never be another spellbinding songwriter and performer like her but I admittedly continue to seek out artists who act like a bandaid to that loss. The Soundcarriers are dreamy, exotic, mysterious, and doused in 60s psychedelia. Entropicalia’s multilayered gift includes baroque choral Pop, south of the equator rhythms, and sexiness from start to finish. This is the ultimate fuzzy technicolor kaleidoscope for your ears. RIYL: Broadcast, Thievery Corp, Exotica, tropic adventures, High Llamas and late ‘60s soundtracks from movies that feature ascots and mini skirts.

* Austerity Program Beyond Calculation (Controlled Burn) - Some bands are pure business. Some don’t even need song titles to be burdened with words. Instead they are mathematically precise. They redefine heavy. They are Albini’s hammer, Swans’ apocalypse, and like Helmet before them, they remind us that short hair guys can pummel the shit out of you too. RIYL: Vintage AM REP records, Hydra Head Records family tree, Chicago in the ‘90s, and think live drummers were so last year.

* Bry Webb Free Will (idée fixe records) - I want to thank this Canadian, velvet throated lead vocalist of Constantines. It takes incredible skill to express tender vulnerability yet never burdon the listener with too much nakedness. If my ears had their way, they would invite him into my head and ask him to stay for good. There is genuine solace to be found in his hushed words and melodies. RIYL: Bill Callahan, Eric Bachmann, Mark Kozelek , a working class Nick Drake, and Constantines.

And to finish out the rest of my favorites of 2014 in a less wordy fashion:

* The Cold Beat Over Me (Crime on the Moon)

* Wreck & Reference Want (The Flenser)

* Woods of Desolation As The Stars (Northern Silence)

* Indian From All Purity (Relapse)

* Treehouse Interzone (Vacant Valley)

* Lorelle Meets the Obsolete Chambers (Captcha Records)

* Coffinworm IV.I.VIII (Profound Lore)

* Scott Walker + Sunn O))) Soused (4AD)

* Forever Pavot Rhapsode (Born Bad Records)

* Andy Stott Faith In Strangers (Modern Love/Revolver)

* Thou Heathen (Gilead Media)

[posted 1.17.15]


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