Tom’s Top 10 of 2014, Pt. 2

It’s a blustery, snowy day here back home in South Dakota. So what better time to bundle up indoors with a cup of tea and finish up my Top 10 Albums of 2014? The first half of my Top 10 was an eclectic mix of classic R&B, power pop, acid folk, singer-songwriter soft rock, and the E Street Band. How then could this second half be any less eclectic? Therefore, without further ado…


In the hands of lesser talents, a commitment to replicating the sound of the late 60s all too often ends up becoming a mere genre exercise, style without substance. Not so with Temples – unlike many of their revivalist contemporaries, this British quartet has the songwriting chops to fuse their influences, from the Who to the Nazz, from T. Rex to Tame Impala, into something vital and contemporary. It may all have been done before; but when you can do it this well, it’s worth doing again. HIGHLIGHTS: “Shelter Song,” “Sun Structures,” “The Golden Throne,” “Mesmerise”

4. JUKEBOX THE GHOST (Jukebox the Ghost)

Try to imagine Ben Folds Five without the snark. Difficult, I know, but such a thought experiment points the way toward Jukebox the Ghost’s witty, melodic, piano-led trio sound. It’s likewise difficult to imagine Mr. Folds writing an unabashedly uplifting pop/rock anthem like “The Great Unknown” – that this song isn’t one of the big hits of 2014 is as great an unknown as any. HIGHLIGHTS: “Sound of a Broken Heart,” “Made for Ending,” “The Great Unknown,” “Hollywood”

3. MIDNIGHT SUN (The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger)

Sean Lennon is never going to escape comparisons to his famous father, but his and longtime partner Charlotte Kemp Muhl’s second effort as GOASTT is as much Pink Floyd as Plastic Ono Band, replete with ornate arrangements, spacy organs, and Gilmourian guitar solos. Even if Sean were a complete unknown, Midnight Sun would still be worth hearing on its own terms as one of best records to emerge from the recent psych revival. HIGHLIGHTS: “Midnight Sun,” “Last Call,” “Great Expectations,” “Moth to a Flame”

2. INTO THE LIME (The New Mendicants)

The questions any power popster has to answer are: 1) How indelible are your melodies? 2) How clever are your lyrics? 3) How effectively can you invoke your venerable forebears without crossing the line into pastiche? The New Mendicants, a power pop supergroup bringing together Joe Pernice (the Pernice Brothers) and Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), answers those questions as follows: 1) Very. 2) Very. 3) Very. HIGHLIGHTS: “Sarasota,” “If You Only Knew Her,” “High on the Skyline,” “Into the Lime”


That Christopher Tin interned with Hans Zimmer and made his name composing for video games (his best-known work, “Baba Yetu,” remains the only piece of video game music to win a Grammy) should come as no surprise. His flair for the dramatic, innate melodic sense, and masterful incorporation of world music styles infuse every minute of The Drop that Contained the Sea, a multilingual song cycle that follows a single water droplet as it moves from mountain spring to rushing river, from ocean wave to windblown snowflake, and back again. This is truly that rarest of musical beasts in this day and age: high-concept art music that’s also accessible, that speaks to the heart as much as to the head, as riveting for the casual listener as for the connoisseur. Emotional, expansive, life-affirming – ladies and gentlemen, this is modern music at its finest. HIGHLIGHTS: “Haktan Gelen Şerbeti (The Drink From God),” “Tsas Narand Uyarna (The Heart Of Snow),” “Waloyo Yamoni (We Overcome The Wind)”

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1 Response to Tom’s Top 10 of 2014, Pt. 2

  1. Pingback: Tom’s Top 10 of 2014, Pt. 1 | Revolutions Per Minute

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