20 Jun 2014

The top 10 songs of 2014... so far

You might remember that I opened the blog with a top 10 of this year's albums so far (HERE)... and of course, that means that a list of songs can't be far away... right? Here are the top ten songs of 2014 so far...

10. Pleasant Heart - Ought
The Canadian art-punk's debut album, More Than Any Other Day just about missed the cut on my albums post, but the album's clunky, riff-fuelled opener is more than worthy of a place on this list. Coming in at just under six minutes, the band's Belle and Sebastian-come-Husker Du stylings and a gorgeous false ending make the riotous Pleasant Heart one of the finest album openers of the year.

9. Vad Hande Med Dem? - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
The opening track on BJM's Revelation is part of a stunning opening double header. Along with What You Isn't, this track (the title means Whatever Happened to Them? in Swedish) is entirely sung in Swedish by Joakim Ã…hlund, the lead singer of BJM's tourmates Les Big Byrd. Vad Hande Med Dem? has echoes of a lot of the garage revival at the start of the 2000's, as it's everything you wish the Strokes sounded like. And whilst Revelation is a truly stunning album, the double header opening it all up is something I stunning, which makes way for the rest of a fantastic thirteenth album.

Brian Jonestown Simpson massacre8. What You Isn't - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
The second song from the San Francisco based band's lateststudio album, Revelation, What You Isn't is one of the greater psych songs released over the past 18 months. Following the fast paced opener, What You Isn't's slow, entwining melody slows the dynamic record down to a dreamy walking pace. The lyrics too, "You gotta wake up and be a man, and make a plan" are simplistic, yet have a certain quality to them that gives the album a self-satisfied, uplifting quality to it.

7. Possessed - Eagulls
The most catchy, obvious single from Eagulls' self-titled debut is Possessed. With less feedback than the rest of the album, and a riff that sounds almost MBV-come-Kasabian, and some shouty vocals that everyone has become very akin to hearing on Eagulls' music, Possessed is much more commercial than the sinister Fester-Blister or the seering Nerve Endings, and is the track that probably gets the best reception live, because even after one listen the chorus is easily repeatable, and enjoyably singable.

6. Under the Pressure - The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream received tremendous amounts of praise as an album. But the teetering tottering opener Under the Pressure stretches on for 8 minutes that are the product of a barrage of great influences... not only the obvious Dylan allusions can be made, but Under the Pressure sounds much like WU LYF, or ex-member Kurt Vile. Overall, however, the euphoria of the song, and Granduciel's wonderful Zimmerman tones make the almost motorik Fur Immer-esque album opener one of the best of the year.

5. Every Time the Sun Comes Up - Sharon Van Etten
Jagjaguwar's angelic-voiced Van Etten delivered her fourth studio album this May. Van Etten's voice is obviously the most beautiful thing about this song, but the tired-sounding synthesiser drones and the forlorn harmonies are enough to make Every Time the Sun Comes Up the most beautiful possible ending to Van Etten's self-produced Are We There. 

4. Lazaretto - Jack White
The riffiest song on his sophomore album of the same name, Lazaretto is probably the stand out track amongst a great bunch. White's position as one of the world's greatest guitarists is enforced by both the riff, the solo, and the restart after the false ending in the middle of the song. His vocal too, is more punchier than on Blunderbuss, as White delivers with a scintillating pace. The lyrics are catchy as well (My veins are blue and connected/and every single bone in my brain is electric) sound every bit as great as anything he did with the White Stripes or the Raconteurs.

3. Fuckers - Savages
French-born Jehnny Beth is one of the music scene's finest vocalists. On Savages' latest single, Beth sings with soul unparalleled by any of her contemporaries, making the repeated "don't let the fuckers get you down" sounding  just as intense and hypnotic as it would have had she been reciting a Shakespeare soliloquy. But of course, as anyone who bought last year's Silence Yourself will know that the rest of the band are more than talented. On the sprawling nine minutes of Fuckers, the musicianship somewhat resembles a mistier, darker version of London psychedlic-types, TOY, whilst Fay Milton's drumming parallels only Klaus Dinger's of NEU!

2. Rule Number One - Telegram
As one of London's most promising psych bands, Telegram are yet to not strike gold with their releases. Their third song on show, after last October's Follow and it's b-side, Under the Night TimeRule Number One is a fast paced, ferocious psych-punk song. Although it retains some of the same sort of sound, the nods towards 70's psych and the booming voice of Matt Saunders, Rule Number One features a powerful energy akin to MBV's You Made Me Realise. As well as that, Rule Number One is considerably shorter than the rest of the band's material, making it an explosive set opener, and promising a huge debut album.

1. Nerve Endings - Eagulls
My love and excitement for Leeds' Eagulls is well documented over various blog posts, but with good reason. The energy the five-piece exert is something really quite stunning, and the venom with which they immortalise it to record with is just something else. The first track, Nerve Endings, is the stand out song on their self-titled debut, and just the most perfect album opener to a stunning album. The sinister, claustrophobic feel to the controlled feedback, and the viciously barked vocals set the tone fantastically for the rest of the album, and setting the benchmark too high for their contemporaries. 2014 is Eagulls year...

(written by Calum Cashin)