posted by: Greg Chow
Saw a lot of music this year. While it was a less exciting year, personally, than 2013, I saw a lot more music than ever before. Here are some thoughts on the music I saw and heard in 2014.
Best Live Shows
Once again, the six-piece, four-guitar attack of Diarrhea Planet makes the list, and could’ve made it on the list twice, as their show at Music Hall of Williamsburg in February was arguably a better show than the San Francisco show. It’s really a coin flip, but I definitely had more fun at the SF show. At least, it’s the only show I attended this year out of about 50 shows that I vigorously jumped and pumped my fist in the air. If you’re letting the band’s name get in the way of liking them, you’re missing out. Whether or not you like the records, the live show is not to be missed.
2) Neutral Milk Hotel @ Brooklyn Academy of Music, January 23 and 24
Sort of a sentimental favorite, but still a fantastic show. And it really became evident over two shows that drummer Jeremy Barnes is the sneaky MVP of the full band version of NMH. They’re embarking on their last tour “for the foreseeable future” in 2015, so if you haven’t seen them yet, this is your last chance for a while. Go do it.
I mean, it’s fucking GWAR. Just a ridiculous spectacle of rock and roll, latex/rubber costumes, meaty riffs, and (hopefully) fake bodily fluids shot into the crowd.
Another sentimental favorite, as this is a band I never thought I’d get to see. I’d heard the record A New Hope around 2006, and checked in periodically to see if they were ever touring on the East Coast, but they mostly seemed inactive. Then six weeks after moving to SF, I checked their website, and to my surprise/delight, the SF based band were playing a show two days later. Just great 90s-inspired shoegaze pop, and if I didn’t like them already, their spot-on cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Rhinoceros” sealed the deal.
5) Veruca Salt @ The Independent, June 26/ Music Hall of Williamsburg July 15
Another year of reunion shows, including a great Soundgarden show at Irving Plaza playing Superunknown, but the best show was probably Veruca Salt, who I saw twice this summer. All the hatchets seem to be buried and there’s nothing but love now between Louise Post and Nina Gordon, and slew of fans who never saw them in the 90s got to check them out this year. Pretty great shows.
More 90s rock! Weezer’s new record, which they played front to back at this tiny club show, is their best in a long time. But the highlight might’ve been the 9-song opening acoustic set, where the band played some old hits and b-sides.
1) “(I’ve Got A) Soft Reputation” by Unlikely Friends
Featuring D. Crane from BOAT and Charles Bert from Math & Physics Club, this is just a great rock/pop song that pretty much hits the sweet spot of everything I like about music. Great hook, rousing chorus, strong vocals, less than 3 minutes.
2) “Go Away” by Weezer
Probably the best song on probably their best record since the Green Album, it features dueling vocals between Rivers Cuomo and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino.
3) “Owl Talons Clenching My Heart” by PAWS
The last band I saw in New York, and the first band I saw in San Francisco. 90’s tinged rock and roll from another great Scottish band.
4) “Keep It Healthy” by Warpaint
There’s something really cool about four ladies from sunny LA writing a really ominous, sinister sounding rock song.
5) “No Matter What You’re Told” by Broken Bells
The best song on an OK record. James Mercer can still write a great hook.
6) “Hot and Cold” by Ex Hex
Great to see Helium/ Wild Flag singer/guitarist Mary Timony really embracing a rock-n-roll fun side, and this is just a straight up party rock record.