AARON THEDFORD – American Werewolf Academy
This year I listened to a lot of new and old music by: Kevin Drumm, Rene Hell/Jeff Witscher, Shifted, The Rolling Stones, Knifestorm, The Velvet Underground, Vertonen, Rhys Chatham, Shellac, Noisem, Rivulets, Letha Rodman Melchior, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Les Rallizes Denudes, Fennesz, Grunt, Peter Kolovos, Iancu Dumitrescu, Tom Verlaine, Maurizio Bianchi, Matthew Mullane, Kiss, Mark McGuire, Wold, EyeHateGod, Corrections House, John Olson/Spykes, Nate Young/Regression, and anything on the Tuff Scout label. Several of these artists (Kevin Drumm, Jeff Witscher and Rivulets, in particular) released what I consider some of their best work to date in 2014, and are especially recommended.
I had the opportunity to play a lot of live shows, collaborating with a ton of great musicians in some terrific venues/environments. These were some of my favorite gigs from 2014:
—Duo with Insect Factory, at Death by Audio, Brooklyn NY
—playing guitar with Wrekmeister Harmonies, at the Bohemian National Cemetery, Chicago IL
—playing drums with The Martha’s Vineyard Ferries at The Plough and Stars, Cambridge MA
—duo with Geoff Farina, house concert in Seattle WA
—duo with Alexander Hacke at Cairo, Seattle WA
—playing drums with The New Year at the Masonic Temple, San Francisco, CA
—solo house concert in Charlottesville, VA
—‘Chris Brokaw Band’ with Carrie Neumayer and Kevin Coultas at Dreamland, Louisville KY
—‘Chris Brokaw Band’ with Doug McCombs and Tony Lazarra at The Burlington, Chicago IL
—playing guitar with The Lemonheads at Whitespace, Manila, Philippines.
Huge thanks go out to all who played, all who booked, and all who came out to the shows. Mega thanks to the great labels who released and supported my musics. And huge thanks to the great artists who released such exciting and inspiring stuff this year…your work enriches my life more than you can imagine.
Shonen Knife went to India for the first time!
GEORGE – Former Utopia/Damnably
Shellac – Dude Incredible (We first listened to this with Joel RL Phelps, Robert Mercer and Bill herzog in our Kitchen. They were also doing Canadian tuxedo jokes that day)
kahoots – Take To The Fields (complex, dark and funny distortosurfypop)
Flaum Adger – Flaum Adger (from 2013 but slow on uptake perfect solo’s and clinically precise songwriting)
Ex Hex – Rips (Mary’s songs were the best in Wild Flag so it was good to see her produce an album as good as her solo output)
The Gotobeds – The Poor and Revolting (bursting with ideas)
Amanda X – Amensia (natural sonic world of their own making)
Lucinda Williams – Where the spirit meets the bone (She sounds an awful lot like toothless drunk mumble-rocker Mark E Smith in parts)
Burn Permits – Ochs (Tall Chris of Policeteeth is living the Chicago dream many of us aspire to)
Monster Island – The House Of Lancaster (magpie like ability to cherry pick from the newspeak)
Damnably released 4 records I loved this year and it was wonderful to see them get more appreciation in the US/UK/Europe than any of our releases had before.
Heard the 2015 released Zebra Hunt & Dick Diver that are super and I imagine Mitski, Negative Scanner & The Beverleys will do well next year too.
Joel RL Phelps & The Downer Trio @ Sebright & Windmill (We’d all been longing to see them for years and both gigs were quite extraordinary maybe #2 in best gigs EVER)
Shonen Knife @ Dingwalls show of the tour w/ Atsuko drumming ‘I am a cat’ (I love Dingwalls, there is always a huge roar from the crowd, great sound, good sight lines & cool staff)
smallgang Glasgow CCA (w/ their biggest fan Ally Gourly in the audience)
speedy Ortiz (four finger guitar magic)
Guardians of the Galaxy
Journey To The West
(new version of Monkey backstory directed by Steven Chow)
The Lego Movie
Personal-Lee Childs whose addictive books are also devoured by Haruki Murakami (he likes that they are all the same).This one was based in Romford/London.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage – Haruki Murakami
Work Done For Hire – Joe Haldeman
1. Sun Kil Moon – Benji
3. Cate le Bon – Mug Museum
1. Prince – Electric Ballroom (queuing on the off chance on a cold January evening, waiting 3 hours, the friendliest queue I’ve ever been in, £10 on the door, losing it during the megamix set)
2. Meta Meta – cafe Oto (just great playing)
3. St Vincent – Roundhouse (pretty much all of it except for some of the chatty crowd)
4. Sun Kil Moon – St Johns in the Fields ( the most awkward ‘seat off’ ever between two well spoken ladies behind us before the set, Kozelek puts down the guitar and starts crooning, the ‘perils from the sea’ songs, finally playing full band sets in the uk after the last 4 odd years of solo shows)a
5.Shonen Knife – Brighton May 16th (my birthday)
6. Shonen Knife – Dingwalls May 18th (Heatwave and Ramen Rock)
2. True Detective (after the hype subsided, still pretty good).
3. The Fall series 1 and 2 (latecomer)
4. The Act of Killing (bluray extras actually worth watching for once)
5. Mad Men series 7 part 1 (will be sad to see that world go in the new year)
6. The Raid 2 (mind boggling action).
7. Game of Thrones series 1-4 (watching it all in the space of two weeks possibly not healthy).
8. Remember Me (late comer but great homegrown horror)
9. Black Mirror Christmas Special (another latecomer but great combo of cast, writing and future shocking)
10. The Double (Richard ayaoade comes of age)
Lots of good music released this year and lots of cool musical adventures embarked upon. It was great to see Damnably release Smallgang’s second LP and really exciting to have played on both Splintered Man and Russell and the Wolf Choirs new records. The tour with our good friends Shonen Knife was also a blast, as were Festival Number 6 and the Isle of Wight festival (with Slowgun). Unforgettable suff. Looking forward to more in 2015
My favourite albums of 2014, in no particular order…….
Aphex Twin – ‘Syro’
Scott Walker & Sunn 0))) – ‘Soused’
Swans – ‘To Be Kind’
Sleaford Mods – ‘Divide and Exit’
Earth – ‘Primitive and Deadly’
Frank Bretschneider & Steve Roden – ‘Suite Nuit’
Hatcham Social – ‘Cutting Up the Present Lwaks Out the Future’
Sun Kil Moon – ‘Benji’
Full of Hell – ‘Full of Hell and Merzbow’
Ariel Pink – ‘Pom Pom’
Vladislav Delay – ‘Visa’
Goat – ‘Commune’
Old Man Gloom – ‘The Ape of God (1 &2)’
Fransisco Lopez – ‘Presque Tout (Quiet Pieces: 1993-2013)’
Yob – ‘Clearing the Path to Ascend’
benji – sun kil moon
david bazan and the passenger quartet – vol 1
exit verse – s/t
songs:ohia – didn’t it rain [reissue]
Favorite shows seen this year
joel rl phelps and the downer trio
Courtney barnett; joanna gruesome
Naoko’s Best in 2014
delicious Indian dishes
It was the 1st time for me to go to Goa, India!!
It was like a paradise on earth!!