We make concerts. In order to put on all the events and parties that we do, and make sure that we are moving the culture FORWARD and presenting the best in music to you every time out the gate, we do a lot of listening. It’s probably the most fun part of job. We get to listen to a LOT of music. This year was no different, and here are a list of some of Move Forward Music’s favorite albums of 2014:
10. GoldLink – ‘The God Complex’
This one was on the bubble with YG’s My Crazy Life, which was a masterful recreation of the West Coast classic rap sonic bed and the perfect incarnation of DJ Mustard, the year’s hottest producer.
But ultimately GoldLink‘s The God Complex won out with us personally due to its ability to lean on boom bap production styles while bringing in elements of house and edm, and GoldLink’s honest subject matter, and effortless flows riding along top this unique soundscape like a caddy on the highway.
9. Parquet Courts – ‘Sunbathing Animal’
Parquet Courts made an awesome, quirky album this year which saw serious driving guitar riffs meet tongue-and-cheek lyrics that kept us nodding and laughing all Summer. Parquet Courts play a sold out show at Webster Hall tomorrow night, and you can listen to the album HERE.
8. Caribou – ‘Your Love Will Set You Free’
I was a late-comer to this album but Caribou produced one of the most creative and sonically pleasing records of the year with Your Love Will Set You Free.
We saw the intense 4-on-the-floor dance craze in pop music begin to subside this year and a more subtle, some might say sensitive, approach to electronic music begin to emerge. Ballads returned to the forefront of pop music in hits by Sam Smith, Disclosure and Calvin Harris.
Caribou took this trend, tweaked it, and executed it to perfection with fuzzed out vocals and impeccable production that’s hard to box into any one genre.
7. SBTRKT – ‘Wonder Where We Land’
Employing vocal features from a cast as varied as A$AP Ferg to Jessie Ware to Sampha to Warpaint, SBTRKT offered us a dark, moody project that seemed designed more to make us think than to make us dance.
6. Tinashe – ‘Aquarius’
Tinashe broke onto the scene this year with the radio-ready “2 On”, which ruled in the clubs for the better part of the Summer. It featured popular rapper Schoolboy Q, Drake eventually remixed it; Tinashe seemed poised to be mentioned in the same breathe as Keri Hilson or to take a more contemporary example Sevyn Streeter.
That was before she blew everyone’s minds with the “oozy” Aquarius, one of the best R&B projects from a new artist in recent years, that received glowing praise from pop icon Lena Dunham, and high brow press like the NY Times.
5. Cormega – ‘Mega Philosophy’
Cormega returned from a long hiatus with a perfect time capsule of the late 90’s underground in album form. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but with Large Professor handling all the production, pairing what may be hip-hop’s most slept on lyricist with its most under-appreciated producer, this is a 90’s hip-hop album that’s better than a lot of records that actually came out in the 90’s. It’s a tour de force of pure nostalgia.
Listen / Time Travel Here
4. Ty Segall – ‘Manipulator’
Every time Ty Segall drops an album, its an all out bruising force of face-melting guitars, hard drums and dark, wailing vocals.
Manipulator may be his “biggest” sounding record to date, and it soars to the top of our favorites in 2014.
3. Isaiah Rashad – ‘Cilvia Demo’
As soon as the newest member of TDE, Isaiah Rashad was introduced last year with the haunting “Shot You Down”, we immediately became huge fans.
He followed with Cilvia Demo in January and it was an emotional, incredibly mature debut project, with expertly crafted hip-hop beats that sound like they were made in a New York basement studio, married with Isaiah’s southern twang, while he spins what seems like his whole his life story in 10 tracks. Never had we felt more in touch with a rapper after just listening to one project and stellar guest appearances by TDE family members, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and SZA are overshadowed by Rashad’s own excellence.
2. St. Vincent – ‘St. Vincent’
St. Vincent brought her powerful vocals, unique aesthetic, and elements from almost every genre together to result in what may be the most challenging and ambitious albums in this Top Ten, but undoubtedly one of the best. St. Vincent defies classification. There’s not much I can say about it except that is awesome, it dominated my speakers for the better part of the Spring, and you should listen to it HERE.
1. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!
When Flying Lotus teamed up with Kendrick Lamar for “Never Catch Me”, it was a collaboration that felt long overdue, and it met everyone’s expectations, and then crushed them. It was that good.
Still never did we imagine what would follow would be the sonic masterpiece that is You’re Dead!. I would call it the most impactful popular jazz album in years, 19 tracks of complex, textured works layered around what might be one of the best rap singles of the year, with Kendrick.
Drop what you are doing, and listen HERE.
HONORABLE MENTION GOES TO THE FOLLOWING EPs:
Kaytranada – KAYTRA TODO
Childish Gambino – Kauai
OG Maco – OG MACO EP
Stay tuned for next week’s “2014 Beats on Fleek – The best 100 Songs on Spotify”.