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Albums of the Year 2014

After the usual careful deliberation, here are our Albums of the Year.

Top 50 Albums Top 50 Reissues Top 50 Bestsellers 'Near Misses'

Reissue of the Year 2014

Can - 'Tago Mago'

Can - 'Tago Mago'

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2.

Zed (aka Bernard Szajner)
Visions Of Dune

Another rare synth classic for you all lovingly reissued by very careful people. This time its from a concept album based around Frank Herbert's 'Duner' by French electronic pioneer Bernard Szajner. The key words are sci-fi drones and otherworldly melodies drifting about creating an immersive listen. Rashad Becker remastered it in B...view item »
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3.

Ruth White
7 Trumps From the Tarot Cards and Pinions

Back in June 2013 I ended my review for Ruth White’s ‘Flowers of Evil’ reissue LP with this sentence “If her 'Seven Trumps From The Tarot Cards' LP also got a reissue I would die a happy man.” Well prayers have been answered as here we have a necessary, first ever vinyl reissue of ...view item »
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4.

Robert Turman
Way Down

After glancing over the press release for this record I spotted a sentence in there from Elvis Von Doom “Robert Turman is one of the most underrated figures to come out of industrial music’s earliest days.” I could not agree...view item »
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5.

Max Richter
Retrospective

Max Richter is a fucking legend. It’s probably not the most appropriate of places to be all sweary and that but I feel strongly about him being a massive legend ‘n all.  This super sexy box features  4 classic Max albums, namely: ‘The Blue Notebooks’’, ‘Songs from Before’, ‘24 Postcards I...view item »
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6.

Severed Heads
Dead Eyes Opened

As I said last week with the SM Corps 12", somebody out there is preparing the re-release of some cult obscurity or super-rare lost classic every day. Considering how old this tune is it still completely tears your face off in absolutely every way. Essentially an absolutely gorgeous and euphoric Balearic electro/...view item »
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7.

WOO
Into The Heart Of Love

Woo make some of the most delightful sounds known to man. The press release describes this as their masterpiece, if so it must be on a plane higher than any music previously made by human as their previous re-issues (and the collection of out-takes 'When the Past Arrives') are some of my favourite recordings on earth. Starting in the late 70's t...view item »
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8.

The Clean
Anthology

Anthology serves as a celebration of The Clean, a band whose influence extends so far beyond their New Zealand home that even if you have never heard of The Clean before, you have surely heard of some of the bands (Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and Superchunk, to name a few) who have been influenced by their unique blend of homemade garage rock, hook-f...view item »
9.

Maston
Opal Collection

Opal Collection is the new vinyl LP from Maston. Continuing the current dream-psyche-indie-rock vibes, Opal Collection is akin to the likes of Real Estate and Mac DeMarco. Think guitars drenched in reverb and lyrics brimming with nostalgia, OC will whisk you away to the west coast in the summer time. O...view item »
10.

Slint
Spiderland (Remastered)

2014 remaster of Slint's beautiful second and final album. It comes with various outtakes and demos, as well as Breadcrumb Trail, the documentary about the album’s creation directed by Lance Bangs. The band's use of dynamics gave them an uncanny ability to bottle emotions; the words "he de...view item »
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11.

The Heads
Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere (Remaster)

The 2nd album in The Head’s impressive canon, was originally released on Sweet Nothing Records (SNLP007/CD) in July 2000; now, 14 years later “Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere” has been repackaged with a full compliment of bonus material from that period (7” tracks, B- sides, Mans Ruin 10” / CD tra...view item »
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12.

Death and Vanilla
Vampyr

A prime slice of hauntology to get your teeth into here. Originally released on cassette last Halloween, this double LP features a live recording of Death And Vanilla’s soundtrack to Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1932 classic ,Vampyr. For the performance, the psychedelic dream pop duo expanded their line up, incorporating an...view item »
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13.

Akira Ifukube
Godzilla - The Japanese Original 60th Anniversary edition

Death Waltz continue to find soundtracks worthy of reissue in their rampage through the horror vaults, and this one here has to be among their most iconic yet. 'Godzilla' has spawned countless sequels, reboots, imitations and even an American animated series for children, but here we go right back to the radioactive source in '50s Japan....view item »
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14.

Donato Dozzy & Nuel
The Aquaplano Sessions

As much as I love the music that’s emanated from Detroit, Chicago, New York, Belgium and so on over the years Italian techno has always been a passion of mine since the early days of Leo Anibaldi and Lory D but I feel it never really gets the credit it deserves in the same way...view item »
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15.

Craig Leon
Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1: Nommos / Visiting

RIYL: Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Cluster, 4th World Music, Extraterrestrial Musicology. The first - and only - Craig Leon-approved reissue of his two solo albums Nommos and Visiting.  Craig Leon’s seminal synthesizer albums Nommos and Visiting are finally re-editioned in definitive form as the Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Mus...view item »
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16.

Can
Future days

Damo Suzuki's last album with Can is a definite highpoint from the band's incredible ouvre. All the elements that make the band so timelss and radical sounding even now are here in abundance: experimentation with all manner of electronic and organic sound textures and atmospherics pinned down by Jaki Liebezeit's jawdropping rhythms and augmented...view item »
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17.

The Clientele
Suburban Light

Merge reissue The Clientele’s debut LP on 180g LP complete with a bonus discs worth of covers, b-sides and demos. I’m new to the album but it’s a Clinton favourite and on first spin I really enjoyed it. Sits somewhere between The Velvet Underground stuck in ‘Candy Says’...view item »
18.

White Noise
An Electric Storm

1969 was a year which saw the world of popular music blossom. Of all the albums released that year by Island, “An Electric Storm”, by White Noise was by far the most experimental and ground breaking. The album was equally surprising for the fact that two of the three members of White Noise were not long haired rock musicians, but wer...view item »
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19.

SWANS
Filth

This is the first official reissue for Swans' aptly-titled 1983 debut album in nearly 25 years, featuring a foetal incarnation of their brutal no-wave violence in seasick waves of clattering, clanking noise rock and viscerally howled chants. 'Filth' is the blueprint for many years of harsh, damaged intensity that followed and remains a powerfull...view item »
20.

Francis Bebey
Psychedelic Sanza 1982-1984

Crate diggers and rare musical magpies Born Bad give us another reason to love them with Francis Bebey's 'Psychedelic Stanza', a biographical compilation that combs through the best work of Cameroonian polymath Francis Bebey, who created a sound that could be groovy and raw at the same time, as finely textured as it was utterly sparse. This...view item »
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21.

Cleaners From Venus
Vol. 3

Ok, loads of Cleaners From Venus stuff in this week. We won’t have time to write about all of it save to say, the band are rather like Guided By Voices in that once you pop, you can’t stop. No album is particularly better than the other. you kind of need all of it. You can either buy t...view item »
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22.

Surgeon
Fixed Action Pattern

This is the first record for Token by the techno artist and DJ known as Surgeon (and known in the flesh-realm as Anthony Child). The 'Fixed Action Pattern' 12" features a straight-up slice of industrial-orientated techno and broken beat, with a flip side that reverse engineers the track to sound all dub....view item »
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23.

Sun Ra
Marshall Allen Presents Sun Ra And His Arkestra: In Orbit Of Ra

Saturn's best jazz musician and Earth's smartest out-of-space citizen, Sun Ra released an endless slew of records with his various Arkestra incarnations, changing the face of his genre over and over by going down experimental and cosmic avenues and using maddening concepts. 'In The Orbit Of Ra' is a birthday gift to the musician who would h...view item »
24.

Fennesz
Fennesz: Venice (10th Anniversary Edition)

Fennesz continued his glitch 'n' fuzz operations on 'Venice', zapping listeners with more white noise and temperamental synth melody. The record was made out in the waterlogged city itself, and while it dabbles in some of the same pop disciplines as its predecessor, 'Endless Summer', it feels more like an experimental soundscape, the soundtrack ...view item »
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25.
26.

American Football
American Football (debut)

American Football made indie rock and emo one in the same. The Kinsella bros switched from their hxc pranks as Cap'n Jazz into a band of open-book feelings, delicately drifting guitars and quietly fanfaring horns. Their debut LP is an absolute darling of its genre, beloved by many for whining out in the ope...view item »
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27.

K. Leimer
A Period of Review (1975-1983)

This is totally excellent. It spoke to me last night when I popped into work to pick up some other records, whispering at me from across the vast lonely space of the office. I tentatively borrowed it to listen to then realised I would just have to say some kind words after it effortlessly lulled me into a sweet slumber. This compilation is sourc...view item »
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28.

Bedhead
1992-1998

For the slowcore completists among you, the Numero Group have compiled every dejected Bedhead mumble and guitar gesture into one CD boxset, under the not-so-inventive but apt title '1992-1998'. This is essential for fans of minimal, understated indie rock with guitars that swim in the mud the way Unwound and Slint did....view item »
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29.

Pye Corner Audio
Black Mill Tapes Volumes 3+4

Our Head Technician as he’s known completes his ‘Black Mill Tapes’ series with the premiere of Volume 4. Volume 3 has previously been available digitally but never appeared on vinyl until now. Both are collected by Type on double wax and also a 3CD set which also includes the first and second volumes ...view item »
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30.

Monoton
Monotonprodukt 02

The Vienna-based Monoton were one of the most influential minimal electronic acts of their time, making clinical and abstract sounds that tried to capture the most important moments in repetition. Formed by Konrad Becker, the project revolved around his own technical innovations; on 'Monotonprodukt 02', the use of drum machines, electr...view item »
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31.

Laraaji
Celestial Music 1978 - 2011

Now that they've exhausted the Arthur Russell back catalogue by re-issuing, re-packaging til there's no more life left in it you may want to switch your attention to this guy. Discovered back in the '70's by Brian Eno, Laraaji was playing autoharp on the streets of New York...view item »
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32.

The Verlaines
Juvenilia

Right then. If Captured Tracks isn’t already one of my favourite labels with a slew of re-issues from bands I either used to worship or have since come to worship they now cement their reputation by turning their attention to one of the best New Zealand based Flying Nun groups of the mid 80’s,  The odd, arch and classically-infl...view item »
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33.

Hailu Mergia & The Walias
Tche Belew

This long-lost LP of cross-cultural soul-funk-infused Ethio-jazz instrumentals from 1977 is considered one of the most important recordings of the aftermath of the 1974 revolution. The Walias were formed in the early '70s in Addis Ababa by keyboardist and arranger Hailu Mergia, cutting a series of 45s with various singers as well as this entirel...view item »
34.

Transllusion
The Opening Of The Cerebral Gate

It's fucking hard to categorize Drexciya (& their many fantastic offshoots)! I say bloody just as well cos as a guy that has to do reviews every week, i'm bloody sick of trying! The finest tunes have their own agenda, away from idiots with little boxes. Ok, if I were to put them in a box it'd be a big thick waterproof laminated one with a thriv...view item »
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35.

Lewis
L'Amour

“In 1983 a mystery man rolled onto the LA scene” says the press release. “And he looked exactly like David Van Day from Dollar” they might want to add. The story behind this record is quite remarkable in that said mystery man then disappeared leaving a trail of bounced cheques and has never been seen since. The mu...view item »
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36.

Bruno Nicolai
All The Colors Of The Dark (Tutti i colori del buio) OST

Freshly re-issues with brand new artwork, Finders Keepers are pleased to unveil a new pressing of this classic soundtrack now with previously unreleased tracks.These hard-hitting left-field psychedelic pop themes are regarded by many  Euro horror video collectors as some of the best of the well mined genre. Nicolai balances psychotic f...view item »
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37.

Christina Carter
Masque Femine

Vocal artist Christina Carter released the elusive 'Masque Femine' back in 2008, unleashing a stunning work of sparse and honest songs that bled together in her almost ambient approach to a capella. The record can be seen as one of her attempts to deconstruct what it is for a piece of music to be considered "a song", and it can now be heard on v...view item »
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38.

Various
Happy Machine: Standard Music Library 1970-2010

Soundtrack fiends and library music aficionados, gather round! Here's a totally excellent compilation from Public Information, a sort of unofficial sequel to their Parry Music Library anthology from a couple of years back, but this time they venture to Standard Music Library in London. This library has had some extraordinary talent on its books ...view item »
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39.

Jack Ruby
Jack Ruby (Volume 1)

Feeding Tube Records this week drop the first of two LPs chronicling little-known proto-no wave band Jack Ruby, with this platter chronicling the period of 1974-'77 with demo recordings on side A and rehearsal tapes on the flip. What's most notable about this lot is the fact that they sound like an early '80s no wave band and yet pre-date the ...view item »
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40.

Unwound
Rat Conspiracy

Unwound Rat Conspiracy - 2nd in the Numero Group Unwound reissues series - this is a nicely put together box set of the first Sara Lund (the drummer not the Forbrydelsen star) era LPs Fake Train and New Plastic Ideas along with a 3rd record of rarities and previously unreleased material...view item »
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41.

Various
C86

As the world is now full of middle aged men trying to squeeze into ageing, creaking, undersized indie band t-shirts (thanks AJ for that observation), this is the absolute perfect three hour friday evening kick- back for former indie kids now middle managers. The original tape came out with the NME in 1986 and instead of rounding up the best bits...view item »
42.

The Three O'Clock
Aquarius Andromeda

Oh bless its the Three O’ Clock. A wonderfully melodic 60’s-obsessed 80’s Paisley Underground band who seemed at one point to be as near as the 80’s psych-pop scene got to having its very own Monkees. Starting off as a blitzkreig punk pop outfit called Salvation Army (if you find any of their records or the re-iss...view item »
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43.

Various
Music From The Mountain Provinces

In 1988, David Blair Stiffler risked life and limb to document under-recorded cultural groups living lives of extreme isolation in the mountainous Philippine regions of Nueva Ecija, Aurora, and Luzon. These are the fruits of that expedition. In the grand tradition of ethnographic recordings that made up the majority of Folkways' vast and...view item »
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44.

Crime
Murder By Guitar

No good rock 'n' rollers with a punk attitude, Crime were a San Francisco band made famous by their 1976 single, "Hot Wire My Heart". 'Murder By Guitar' is a compilation of the early, snarling singles that caught the attention of San Fran, as well as nine tunes they recorded around the same time. There's a song on here called "Piss On Your ...view item »
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45.

Jacaszek
Treny

The press release hype “one of the most important records of electronic and experimental music recorded in Poland in the last 10 years” is possibly understating it a bit. I’d be tempted to alter it to include the entire world as this is a wonderful work and much deserving of this re-issue. The opening gambut of tracks a...view item »
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46.

Glenn Branca
Lesson No.1

Well this is a welcome development. Superior Viaduct have reissued the 1980 debut solo album by everyone's favourite no-wave curmudgeon Glenn Branca, and as a special bonus they've included a second one-sided 12" of 'Bad Smells', originally commissioned as a dance piece in 1982 and featuring the talents of a certain ...view item »
47.

Scott Walker
Scott 4

From way back in 1969, Scott 4 is a classic of intense and majestic songcraft; the first set of entirely Walker penned songs combining sophisticated, easy-listening pop with lyrical complexity touching on the darkest of subject matter. Seen as a something of a commercial flop at the time of its release compared to his four previous albums, Scott...view item »
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48.

Mogwai
Come On Die Young

This deluxe edition of ‘Come On Die Young’ has been painstakingly put together by the band and label, unearthing more than an hour of bonus material, including: Previously unreleased takes from early Chem19 sessions of ‘Waltz For Aidan’, ‘Christmas Steps’, ‘Rollerball’ and ‘7...view item »
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49.

The Deep Freeze Mice
Best Of 1979-1989

I don't believe I have ever heard this band but recall seeing their name in print once. I had to feed my friend's snake on a number of occasions and it was quite horrifying having to go in the freezer every couple of days to unearth a frozen baby mouse and defrost it only to watch this vicious scaly beast hungrily vacuum it up. Traumatised I am....view item »
50.

Voices From The Lake
Voices from the Lake

One of the most wanted albums in 2012 now finally on vinyl. Pitchfork sayed “It’s a triumph”, Resident Advisor rated the highest review score with 5 out of 5, Little White Earbuds say “one of the albums 2012”, Playground Mag say most magnetic electronic music albums of 2012 and still on Discogs in the list o...view item »
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