Favorite Albums of 2014 (16-20)

Starting today, I'll start listing my 20 favorite albums from 2014, 5 at a time. In all, I bought about 60 albums released this year, and about half that from previous years. My favorites contain one older album, a late 2013 offering, and one released in the UK in 2013, but with a 2014 US release. Here's 16 to 20.

16. Cymbals Age of Fracture - With 'Erosion', the band managed to make one the best 80's song ever made while having 25 years of distance from the decade. The Natural World wasn't far from those lofty heights either.

Essential tracks:

'The Natural World', 'Erosion', 'You Are', 'This City'

17. Eternal Summers The Drop Beneath - The Virginia based 3-piece was firmly in my blindspot until mid-2014, when, of all things, a UK band, PINS, introduced me to the band's dreamy shoegaze sound. After hearing 'Gouge' and 'Window' I fell hard and bought all three of their albums on vinyl, making up for lost time I guess. They had me at shoegaze.

Essential tracks:

'100', 'Gouge', 'Never Enough'

18. Two White Cranes Two White Cranes - This LP reminds me of a favorite aunt or close friend beckoning me to sit nearby so they could whisper the same stories they've told me hundreds of times over, but I'm engrossed because I still love hearing the wonder in their voice.

Essential tracks:

'Walls', 'Everyday', 'Acraman's Road', 'Skeleton'

19. The Debauchees Big Machines and Peculiar Beings - A 2013 release, but I didn't discover the band until their Secret Stages Festival appearance in August. The Louisville trio's sound is unique, and difficult to describe, bits of ska, jazz, punk, and garage rock fleck the sound. Frankly, it's irrelevant, this debut LP deserves a wider audience. The band has been quiet on social media, but I'm hopeful of news of work on new material and live dates.

Essential tracks:

'Whatever Just Go With It', 'Mathematics', 'I've Got Energy', 'Rancid Dancin'

20. Warpaint Warpaint - Whenever I listen to Warpaint, I think I'm listening to sirens from Greek mythology, yet without all of the ruin associated with a siren song. I'm entranced, and powerless to resist their charms. While I didn't enjoy this LP, their 2nd, as much as their 1st, I welcomed the addition of the moody synths. Warpaint is the epitome of California music -- dreamy vibe, gorgeous harmonies, and sun kissed melodies.

Essential tracks:

'Keep it Healthy', 'Love Is to Die', 'Disco//very', 'Biggy'

Fall shows

Did a bit of scouring of many of the local venues and found a few shows I'm planning to attend, and hopefully cover/photograph. By local, I mean nothing in my hometown which seemingly has little live music that I like -- Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Birmingham, and Atlanta. Nashville and Birmingham are somewhat okay for weekday shows, but they are tough on my body, especially when the alarm clock goes off at 5:30 the following morning. However, there are some that I'm considering. Anything farther than those 90 minute to 2 hour drives will have to be a weekend show before I can truly consider it.

So far, for the fall, I've purchased tickets for Drowners and Bully in Atlanta October 18th, and Benjamin Booker in Birmingham October 17th. And in just a few minutes, I'll be picking up tickets to my first country music show in over 20 years, Sturgill Simpson at Workplay Theater in Birmingham November 9th.

Here are a few other shows that are being strongly considered:

Bass Drum of Death Bottletree Cafe in Birmingham September 12th (Friday)

Lydia Loveless The Nick in Birmingham September 18th (Thursday)

Warpaint Atlanta Variety Playhouse October 19th (Sunday)

Interpol Marathon Music works in Nashville November 11th (Tuesday)

Angel Olsen Mercy Lounge in Nashville November 12th (Wednesday)

Potty Mouth Stone Fox in Nashville September 9th (Tuesday)

We Were Promised Jetpacks with Twilight Sad Workplay Theater in Birmingham November 15th (Saturday)

Then, there are a few maybes, mostly because of date/location.

Catfish and the Bottlemen Exit/In in Nashville October 7th (Tuesday)

Sharon Van Etten The Earl in Atlanta October 20th (Monday)

Polica Bottletree Cafe in Birmingham October 7th (Tuesday)

Sturgill Simpson Terminal West in Atlanta October 10th (Friday)

Rick Springfield Iron City in Birmingham September 21st (Sunday)

Better Than Ezra Iron City in Birmingham November 23rd (Sunday)

Benjamin Booker The High Watt in Nashville September 25th (Thursday)

The Dirty Guvnahs Cannery Ballroom in Nashville November 29 Saturday

FKA Twigs Mercy Lounge in Nashville December 1st (Monday)

Chvrches Minglewood Hall in Memphis October 1st (Wednesday)

Interpol Minglewood Hall in Memphis October 9th (Thursday)



Upcoming shows - Bully and Benjamin Booker

It was just over a month ago that I saw Bully open for Benjamin Booker in Memphis at the Hi-Tone Lounge in front of what was about 25 people.  I photographed that night, both acts, and even attempted a review of the show. I went in as a fan of Bully, and came out a new fan of Benjamin Booker.

Anyway, both bands are hitting the road this fall, and I have the chance to see them again.  Today, I bought my tickets to see Benjamin Booker October 17th at the Bottletree in Birmingham, and then Bully October 18th at Masquerade in Atlanta.  If I can swing it, Warpaint on the following night in Atlanta.  Now that would be a nice 3 nights of music.  

I'd love to photograph both bands again, and will work on that as the time draws near.  Even if that doesn't work out, I'll get to see two favorites again, hopefully this time in more favorable conditions, and a larger crowd.