released in February 2014 via Republic Records
With out any regrets I can say that New York trip-hop duo Phantogram takes the crown for making my number one album of 2014. Voices was one of the earliest releases of the year, so I was worried that it might drift slowly down the list. Not a chance in slightest. Especially after seeing them live at a huge festival, and then up close and personal at a venue in my own town.
Took this photo-set over the summer at The Beachem in Orlando, FL
All the emotion and intensity, that so far only seemed possible through the outstanding production Phantogram is known for, is raised tenfold when in a live setting. They are one of those bands that most likely would not be happy unless your glass ceiling of exceptions were shattered. So in a dazzle of synchronized lights, and a mess of metaphorical glass, my perception of how genuine a band that I had adored for years could truly be was obliterated. Phantogram have grown so much internally, and externally, in the past couple years that it was nice to have that sort of reassurance.
Voices itself is quite an accomplishment for Sarah and Josh. 40 minutes of non-stop indie inspired electro beats that can fluctuate anywhere between a downtempo ballad, to a high energy synth shoegaze experience. I wish that half of the album was not recycled from an EP they released last year, but beggars can’t be choosers. So even if I still love their 2010 debut more I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I did not recognize 2014 as Phantogram’s most successful year to date. I’m more than happy to see that they have been getting the recognition that they have always deserved. With so much support and expectation it’s hard to explain how excited I am for what’s coming next.
Farewell 2014, and hello to all the marvelous opportunities that 2015 will bring to all the talented artists in this world!
Howling At The Moon
Black Out Days
Fall In Love
The Day You Died
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Phantogram
released in June 2014 via Wolf Tone (UK)/Harvest Records (US)
It’s quite surreal how damn crisp Glass Animals can make rich layers of worldly instruments sound. Even spine-tingling at times, as the diverse and powerful percussion hijacks your skeletal frame and forces rhythmical movement. I found it quite easy to give into the primordial spirit of things and indulge in the finer offerings of this British quartet. Gooey will win you over instantly with its rich and sweet textures that melt upon arrival to your cranium. Satisfying to quite a few of the senses and truly remarkable, it is beyond me how this song did not become a huge hit in the United States.
It’s hard to believe in a post Alt-J world that Glass Animals can not find a nice comfy audience. These guys are dripping in too much sincere talent and musical merit for us to turn the other check. I personally have found ZABA to make more sense and be more cohesive than any Alt-J record I’ve ever listen to. Maybe that’s just me, but I would really like to see the people who went bonkers for other the British oddities take a chance on these guys. They more than deserve the exposure and praise for such a smashing debut.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/glassanimals
Spotify: Glass Animals
released in August 2014 via Young Turks
Nothing in the world could have prepared me for the intensity this album evoked from within. The magic of LP1 creeps over you slowly as it strangles your senses one by one. FKA twigs will envelop you in this living breathing monster she has created in a fashion similar to Dr. Frakenstien, grafting together various alternative genres that suit the situation. Like a surgeon makes exceptionally precise cuts and intelligent decisions with her tools, so does FKA twigs with all the artistic choices she exercises.
Enticing, exciting, and addicting… LP1 can be quite dangerous to fool around with if one does not prepare themselves properly. Try to remember these simple facts and stay calm:
1. This album is “for real”.
2. FKA twigs is of the human species and not some sort of ultra powerful angelic being.
3. Space-time is indeed still in tact and all this genre bending has not broken the universe.
4. FKA twigs is still criminally underrated, but you can help to change that!
I guarantee 2015 is going to be chalk full of FKA twigs wannabees just trying to channel even sliver of the enriching sound she has birthed. Without any acknowledgment to their true influence, there will also be a grand shift in style by artists of all walks of life. A dissemination, if you will, of freedom to tear down boundaries in music that have no obligation of being there.
So for the massive creative bombshell that is coming our way…
I’m truly thankful to FKA twigs.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fkatwigs
Spotify: FKA twigs
New York based Phantogram have a new treat for us called Don't Move
Ok, so if there ever was a band who’s music could pull me out of a damper it would have to be Phantogram. Wonderful indie trip-hop that just breaks down musical barriers and penetrates into your psyche. Phantogram is responsible for last year’s absolutely amazing album Eye Lid Movies, which holds a special place in my heart as a personal favorite. So of course Phantogram releasing a new EP title Nightlife is going to pull me out of hiding. Well Nightlife isn’t quite out until November 1st, but the band recently put the whole EP up for stream on their Facebook Page to hold everyone over. The first single to come off the new EP is the dance inducing track you should be listening to above, Don’t Move. Phantogram’s choice for a new single gives a great overall feel for what to expect from the 6 new tracks on Nightlife. If the band releases an EP with 6 pretty much flawless tracks I can’t wait for their 2012 album prospects.