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Best Of 2014 - 2015 Eric

ARTIST: Best Of 2014
YEAR: 2015


2014 was a remarkable year for this writer. 12 months packed with great change, peppered with peaks and valleys holding some disappointment, much elation and happiness as well as the unknown. With the exception of one or two reviews I had to put writing aside but I always knew I would return as the year's tail-end proved. I did buy a fair amount of new music, maybe 1 or 2 CD's a month most of which I've rounded up below. It's good to be back and looking forward to what 2015 brings and beyond.

Elbow - The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
The only concert I saw this year was Elbow at the legendary First Avenue club in Minneapolis and I was not disappointed. Guy Garvey's love of all things Genesis and Peter Gabriel came shining through both live and on this disc. A brilliant lyricist, his words are both poetic, touching on the everyday and often times haunting while backed by a band that really seemed to enjoy playing together. A magnificent release.

St. Vincent - St. Vincent
She's the current darling of art rock and shockingly this smart and creative record made the charts. St Vincent and the incredible return of Kate Bush give some hope for intelligent female artists in an increasingly shallow and annoying Taylor Swift/Katy Perry music world. More please.

Midge Ure - Fragile
It's incredible to think the Ultravox main man actually wondered if the world needed another Midge Ure solo album. Thank god he didn't listen to his inner voice! 'Fragile' is a gorgeous record and very much in sound to his former band, but more progressive with a tinge of melancholy.

The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream
80s Paul Simon and Jackson Browne, CSN, even Bob Dylan and Springsteen inform the sound on this Philadelphia band's third CD. 'Lost in the Dream' is steeped in nostalgia but still feels modern and contemporary.

Eno/ Hyde- Someday World / High Life
I'm cheating a bit here. Brian Eno and former Underworld main man Karl Hyde collaborated on two excellent albums released just months apart. The first 'Someday World' echoes Eno's early solo works while 'High Life' is more experimental and both bookend perfectly.

Tim Bowness - Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
Bowness of course was the voice of No-Man and foil to prog God Steve Wilson. This is one of the most original and accessible art rock albums in recent memory and a future classic.

Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots
One of the most charming pop records I've heard in the last few years. Albarn of course was the front man for my favourite Britpop band Blur and here he captures some of that sound with 21st century English melancholy and art pop.

Bryan Ferry - Avonmore
Ferry's music has been so sporadic in recent years but this one is a winner and his best work since 1982's 'Avalon', returning to the slick sophisticated pop that made him famous.

Syd Arthur - Sound Mirror
Is Syd Arthur the future of progressive rock? Maybe and if it's going to sound as good as 'Sound Mirror' then count me in.

Pink Floyd- The Endless River
Thanks to some very harsh reviews, my expectations of 'The Endless River' were not very high. Boy was I wrong. This is a beautiful and fitting tribute to Richard Wright pulling sounds from the 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' all the way to 'The Division Bell'.

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#1 | Nick C on January 24 2015 23:18:52
Tim Bownes...ah - such a good album, nice to see it here.
#2 | englandashes on January 25 2015 00:56:23
Yep, The War On The Drugs is a very good album, in fact I was only aware of this when it appeared as the best album in Mojo magazine, i didn't buy the mag, just helped browsing during my lunch hour. Again, enjoyed the Syd Arthur album, even though its a Van Halen album in terms of length, i don't want 70 minute albums, but 45 mins should be the norm. Good reminder to play the Tim Bowness album, enjoyed his part in the Nick Magness album, ok with Elbow, maybe i might try to get rid of my view, fed up with the BBC using Elbow for incidental music at every opportunity, so please Eric, let me know where i should start with Elbow because i do feel i am missing out here.
#3 | Explorer on January 25 2015 13:01:56
The Tim Bowness is good, but prefer his work in No-Man (Schoolyard Ghosts is excellent).Elbow are a band that I have one CD of (The Seldom Seen kid) which was pretty good so further investigation is required on them, and the St Vincent is actually on order as I type, after a recommendation from a work colleague.
#4 | Eric on January 25 2015 14:50:51
Chris, as Malcolm mentioned 'The Seldom Seen Kid' is the place to start along with 'Build a Rocket Boys' and their latest above. They have been used in commercials here in the States too which is annoying. I was so impressed with Garvey. He's the most unassuming frontman I've ever seen. Highly entertaining, did an impression of Jim Kerr of Simple Minds which drew big laughs, it was just a great show. At times he sounded so much like Peter Gabriel I almost expected him to come out with the flower head! They should be more popular here in the States but maybe its a good thing they are not. Very British and I hope they stay that way.
#5 | Nick C on January 25 2015 17:15:23
re Tim Bowness - I agree I prefer his No-man stuff but his couple of solos I really rate. No-Man were my introduction to P. Tree, Samuel Smiles, After the Stranger (now there's an obscure one) and all the other off shoots that Tim Bowness is involved with especially his collaborations with the mighty Peter Chilvers, most of his stuff floats my boat but I just enjoy listening to his voice. If you get into No-man you're doomed to be collecting these little offshoots they are all involved in haha! But I am slightly bias to No-Man over everything I think just because it was 'the start' for me - Loveblows and Loveries - A Confession is one of my fave albums ever....but so much of the No-Man stuff is fantastic, criminally overlooked band to an extent and unfortunately somewhat overshadowed by P. Tree.
#6 | Eric on January 25 2015 18:33:45
Agree. I'll probably review No-Man's 'Returning Jesus' in the not too distant future. We should get to a Porcupine Tree review or two as well.
#7 | Explorer on January 25 2015 19:49:50
Steven Wilson is a true Icon in the Prog world, Voyage 34, In Absentia and Deadwing are essential listening and his solo work is wonderful too, and live he is bloody awesome.
#8 | englandashes on January 25 2015 21:26:34
Ok, thank you Eric and Malcolm, ordered a cheap copy of Elbow, the seldom kid one, even though probably against my better judgement, but hell, looking forward to be proved wrong.
#9 | Eric on January 27 2015 04:28:32
Chris, would never steer you wrong. It's a good disc. Let us know what you think.
#10 | englandashes on January 27 2015 17:37:37
No worries, Eric, actually i am looking forward to it, i will let u know, many thanks
#11 | swazi on January 27 2015 21:57:59
Hmmm ..., I have the Syd Arthur CD, which I haven't listened to yet, but otherwise I don't know any of these releases. I seem to be missing something .... Sad
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