Matt Nerney Poop 2014



It was a year of continuous change, but also of hopeful permanence. We started the year in a small rental in Reading, Vermont and ended it in our rambling new home in Grafton, New Hampshire. In between, moving and madness. At journey’s end, we found the home of our dreams, a historic colonial, with barns, land, and forest. We’ve just ordered our seeds and are planning the vegetable garden. The cycle of life continues. Of course, one needs a soundtrack for all this change, and 2014 certainly provided it.

Tops of the Pops


Buy The New Pornographers Brill Bruisers New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
1. The New Pornographers > > Brill Bruisers : At first, this album sounded a little too lush, a little too New Wave. But as I listened to it more and more, the sound seemed to warm and gel, and I came to love it. Everything here works symbiotically, and Dan Behar’s songs really shine on this album. Of course, A.C. Newman’s songs are impeccable, and Neko Case sparkles to illuminate the bright neon brilliance of Brill Bruisers.



Buy St. Vincent St. Vincent New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
2. St. Vincent > > St. Vincent : An artist who I’ve been aware of for years, but never found the time to investigate. Well, it was hard to ignore Annie Clark this year and rightfully so. St. Vincent is a revelation. While she’s obviously got the skills, it appears her time with David Byrne has really paid off also, as Digital Witness is absolutely brilliant.



Buy Spoon They Want My Soul New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
3. Spoon > > They Want My Soul : What to say? Another Spoon album, another masterpiece? Yup. They Want My Soul is another minor progression, with a few new tricks sparingly revealed. The biggest pay-off, though, comes from the biggest risk, as Inside Out is unlike any other Spoon song yet, but definitely among the best.



Buy Beck Morning Phase New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
4. Beck > > Morning Phase : Mellow gold, I say. I love the folky, melancholy Beck. As noted in the press, a companion piece to Sea Change, and a worthy one, at that. Expansive and transformative, while humble at the same time. Neat trick.



Buy Gravenhurst Offerings New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
5. Gravenhurst > > Offerings – Lost Songs : Sadly, a final offering from Gravenhurst, as Nick Talbot (who was Gravenhurst) passed on this year, far too young. Collected for the ten year re-issue of his first album for Warp, Offerings – Lost Songs is just that, unreleased tracks and demos that had been buried in Talbot’s archives. Of a piece with all of Talbot’s work, these songs are haunting, spare, and stay with you for a long time.



Buy Damon Albarn Everyday Robots New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
6. Damon Albarn > > Everyday Robots : Albarn’s take on the modern world, with its concrete, motorways, and wires. It’s a bit of a downer, but beautiful and almost meditative in the hands and heart of the former Blur and Gorillaz front man.



Buy Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes on Vinyl New or Used via Amazon    Buy Vinyl LP New or Used via Amazon           Download via BitTorrent [?]
7. Thom Yorke > > Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes : A minor masterpiece. My favorite of his solo work. Still minimalist and modernist, but warmer somehow than his other solo material. I am a little cheeved that this is download and vinyl only, I just don’t get it.



Buy The Twilight Sad Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
8. the Twilight Sad > > Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave : I always look forward to hearing new material from the Twilight Sad. While I’m still partial to their debut Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, this is almost as good. Brooding, bristling, and with that thick brogue still center stage, this album draws you in and transports you to that grim, windswept cityscape that I imagine Glasgow to be.



Buy Daniel Lanois Flesh and Machine New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
9. Daniel Lanois > > Flesh and Machine : I love albums that tell a story or narrative, and Daniel Lanois is able to do that without words. Flesh and Machine is his story of sound.



Buy Bing & Ruth Tomorrow Was the Golden Age New or Used via Amazon    Buy New or Used via Amazon           Rent via iTunes [?]
10. Bing & Ruth > > Tomorrow Was the Golden Age : Majestic, meditative minimalism. Like the sound of a thousand monks chanting, or a million cicadas humming. If you like the early work of Brian Eno or Gavin Bryars, you’ll probably like this.


11. Grouper > > Ruins : Found sounds, piano, and a shadow of a voice. Sad and beautiful.

12. Joan Shelley > > Electric Ursa : There’s a line from one of these songs, “It’s a small town, it doesn’t ask for much”, that truly speaks of this album. Small, humble & restrained, it gives back much more than it asks for, which is true of all great art, I believe.

13. Bonnie “Prince” Billy > > Singer’s Grave/A Sea of Tongues : I fell out with the Bonnie Prince for awhile, but we’ve found our way back to each other again. I’m glad of it, because he brings truth and wisdom to the world, and we always need more of that.

14. Robert Plant > > lullaby and … the Ceaseless Roar : While this is not as warm and enveloping as his American albums, it still satisfies. There are many highs, a few lows, but I keep finding myself drawn back to lullaby … and I like that this old timer is still taking some risks. There are some other oldies that could (and should) follow his lead.

15. The Flaming Lips
> > 7 Skies H3 : Electric Wurms > > Music, Die Schwer Zu Twerk : While Wayne and the Lips have taken many strange turns in their long journey, the recent tryst with Miley Cyrus must certainly be amongst the strangest. Regardless, these two offerings are classic Flaming Lips … weird, wondrous, and wild. Unpredictable as ever, the condensed 24 hour song 7 Skies H3 and the aka Electric Wurms keep the faithful tuned in and able to overlook Wayne’s mid-life crisis.


Other Notable News

Richard Thompson > > Acoustic Classics : as advertised.
Brian Eno & Karl Hyde > > High Life Someday World : weird, 80’s inspired afro-pop.
Ricky Eat Acid > > Three Love Songs : found sound ambience with some baffled beats.
Reigning Sound > > Shattered : more 60’s inspired garage pop.
Vashti Bunyan > > Heartleap : if you know her, you love her.
Chuck Prophet > > Night Surfer : good old American rock ‘n’ roll.
School of Language > > Old Fears : old fears, same as the new. New sounds, same as the old.
James Yorkston > > the Cellardyke Recording & Wassailing Society : quirky Scottish folk.
Camper van Beethoven > > El Camino Real : keep on keeping on.
the Coral > > the Curse of Love : always under the radar.
Pink Floyd > > the Endless River : yeah, I like Pink Floyd.
Stardeath & the White Dwarf > > Wastoid : Wayne’s cousin? You’d never know.
the Black Keys > > Turn Blue : black and blue. Where have I heard this before?
Thompson > > Family : not bad, just hoping for a whole lot more.
Anders Parker > > There’s a Bluebird in My Heart : always nice to hear a friend.

R.I.P.

Nick Talbot (aka Gravenhurst), Jack Bruce, U. Srinivas, Pete Seeger, Horace Silver,
Phil Everly, Jean Redpath, Joe Cocker, Charlie Haden, Johnny Winter


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