Much like last year, some of my favorite tracks – “Keep Your Eyes Peeled,” “R U Mine?,” “Hive” and “Guild,” “Cheap Beer,” “WORLDSTAR” – were just parts of my favorite albums. Thanks to the Internet and our Culture of Too Much, however, many other gems reach me ad hoc. Below are said nuggets, a few of which found their way onto this year’s Good Ol’ Tapes.
24. “Soul Food” – Claw Marks (from EP)
Picture an alternate universe, wherein “Give It Away” was written and performed by a bunch of unbathed lunatics who invite themselves over just to destroy your home.
23. “I Will Not Chew (Demo)” – Grind Outs
A lowest-of-the-lo-fi, sloppy blast of fun. True party rock.
22. “Turbo GT” – Sweet Valley (from SV)
Tired of “Harlem Shake” but not ready to quit losing your mind? Nate from Wavves understands your dilemma, and thankfully his brother and he worked overtime to bring a solution to the people. Visualize World Pizza.
21. “Hollywood LA” – Vic Mensa (from INNANETAPE)
The perfect soundtrack to riding aimlessly around the titular city (or Anywheresville, USA) at night, breathing deeply and losing hours to daydreams.
20. “Tiger Tank” – Speedy Ortiz (from Major Arcana)
Such an weirdo minor-chord earworm. The melody and chord progression still go a different direction than I think they will. The dream of the 90s is alive in Speedy.
19. “Slip Away” – Noot d’ Noot (from Horn of Plenty)
Like being in a jacuzzi beneath the stars, y’all. F.I.L.A.
18. “Fantastic Planet” – Little Tybee (from For Distant Viewing)
17. “Sail to the Sun” – Wavves (from Afraid of Heights)
A pitch-perfect pop ditty for the rest of us. Or just for degenerates, maybe.
16. “Retrograde” – James Blake (from Overgrown)
It’s a dream wherein you hear a familiar song being sung a hundred miles in the distance, and as you float toward the sound, layer after layer of memories cascades upon your quiet mind. Haunting and lovely.
15. “Togano” – Diarrhea Planet (from I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams)
Apparently this song’s about a shogun’s forbidden love. Whatever. I’m too busy watchin’ Gary Glitter strut around the Torche party.
14. “You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat” – Death Grips (from Government Plates)
From the Heart of Darkness to your MacBook, it’s a hood-up, mask-on, window-smashin’, molotov-cocktailin’, off-the-rails good time from the Deep Web’s violent visionaries. Vintage Death Grippin’. (P.S. catchy title, bro)
13. “Suit & Tie” – Justin Timberlake ft. Jay Z (from The 20/20 Experience)
Smooth moves out of the Tennessee Kid. I love that in a pop culture landscape infinitesimally fragmented by the ‘net’s many niches, two of the year’s biggest singles seemed to unite casual listeners and hardcore heads of all ages. That’s what makes music better than anything on this planet.
11. “Bo Peep (Do U Right)” – Shlohmo x Jeremih
After the club, it’s the after-party (of two)
10. “King Without a Crown” – Big K.R.I.T. (from King Remembered In Time)
“Forever is a mighty long time / I do this for the South and them folks that held me down.” An exuberant and infectious mission statement from the South’s finest son.
09. “Dregs” – Bass Drum of Death (from Garage Swim)
I wouldn’t be surprised if this has already been lapped up by some teen comedy, soundtracking a slo-mo sequence introducing the “bad girl” – y’know, slamming the door to her T-top, pulling on her leather jacket and lighting a Marlboro Gold. It’s got that “Cherry Pie” appeal.
08. “D.C. Sound Attack” – Clutch (from Earth Rocker)
Twenty years in, our generation’s AC/DC keeps the white-hot blues train a-rollin’ with an infectious head-bobber. This might actually be one of the best Clutch songs ever, as it were.
07. “Stop It” – Juicy J (from Stay Trippy)
The Godfather of the Dirty South could’ve washed up like so many of his counterparts, but he’s outchea having a renaissance. It’s impossible not to lose it when this bassline drops.
06. “R. Cali” – A$AP Rocky (from The Music of Grand Theft Auto V)
We live in a world where rappers are dropping exclusive bangers into video games. VIDEO GAMES. Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
05. “Toast” – Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa (from Live in Concert)
Rap Game Miles Davis and Rap Game Cruella de Vil call on Bobbi Humphrey to lay a silk-smooth foundation for yet another exercise in opulence. High living, indeed.
04. “Fuzz’s Fourth Dream” – Fuzz (from the “This Time I Got a Reason” 7″)
Sabbath does “Green Onions.” Pure strut. Slick your hair and don those Wayfarers, cause this’un’ll make good kids do bad thangs.
02. “I Am An Amateur At Everything” – Whores. (from Clean)
The loudest cats on the block in East Atlanta come through wielding a mace of a riff. I go to their shows primarily to experience this one live. It’s a block-leveler.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t capture these moments as well: experiencing “Black Skinhead” for the first time, Fiend resurrecting “Bumpy’s Lament” for a great night-drive jam, Jody Highroller hitting his stride, the reemergence of Nashvillian treasure Jemina Pearl, Dillinger setting it off at the Golden Gods.
If you’ve made it this far, my gratitude to you. Check out my writeup on 2013 albums if you’re so inclined. Cheers to much, much more magic in 2014!