[sic] Magazine

2014: The Half-Term Report

Well, that came around quick. With June almost done it is once again time for the now annual half-term report. How’s the year shaping up? Quite nicely as it turns out even if there’s no runaway leader at this point. You’ll no doubt have your favourites. Mine are linked below.

Perennial [sic] chart toppers 4AD are once again well represented with two releases in this top 10, so too the fine Jagjaguwar stable. A number of former favourites are back with a bang too. Garage-psyche’s elder statesmen Black Lips offer a very steady hand for their Underneath The Rainbow while Future Islands have front-loaded their latest with pure New Wave killers. Angel Olsen may have gone pop recently but she blends it superbly with timeless songcraft on her Burn Your Fire For No Witness.

Another singer-songwriter bringing the goods is Sharon Van Etten. She never disappoints and her stately 2014 collection is again rich in imagery and memorable takeaways. Then you have the ever-bonkers tUnE-yArDs, who wouldn’t know sub-par if it … I dunno … were a tangible concept I could somehow shoehorn into this write-up or something. She’s got another great LP under her belt in any case.

Going for broke on their mighty third LP, Mexican psyche duo Lorelle Meets The Obsolete have also tabled a bit of a belter, The Cult Of Dom Keller too proving they still know which way is up with their new platter of superlative kraut-psyche frenzy. Not to be outdone in the noise stakes, boy-done-good Cloud Nothings may have dialled down the fury a little but his acerbic angst still smarts on Here And Nowhere Else. Keeping the newbie end up, Morgan Delt’s self-titled psychedelic dreamland is one to really savour too and, at the other end of the scale, The Big Ups’ brand of intelligent thrash manages to sink its melodic barbs in dangerously deep.

While an absolute stinker is yet to cross my path this year the less said about that tired Skaters LP the better. And, in this camp, there was slight disappointment too in Cheatahs’ much-touted shoegazer, as well as with Slothrust’s neo-grunge and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s fey pop outings. Nevertheless, and with a teetering stack yet to appraise including colossal releases from Ben Frost and Swans, 2014 would seem to be shaping up like every year on record – one of definite note (puns intended, obviously).

That list in full (no particular order):

The Big Ups – Eighteen Hours Of Static

Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Black Lips – Underneath The Rainbow

tUnE-yArDs – nikki nack

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – Chambers

Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere Else

Morgan Delt – Morgan Delt

Future Islands – Singles

Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

The Cult Of Dom Keller – The Second Bardo

What’s been floating your boat? Be free to comment below.