Thursday, January 1, 2015

On A Jape I'm Returning: Aaron's Favorites, 2014

1. Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, Piñata
Madlib paints with different colors than the rest of the game. He’s sui generis, way off the map. Gibbs, on the other hand, is a supremely gifted classicist. Their pairing shouldn’t work, but together they’ve produced the great lost blaxploitation soundtrack.

2. YG, My Krazy Life
Not the first Compton bildungsroman, but one of the very best. A workmanlike MC, YG fights through every bar--with some big assists from a certain producer friend. Praise Mustard.

3. Damon Albarn, Everyday Robots
Understated and stately, constructed on top of a heap of scrapped-together rhythms, Robots is Albarn’s missive from a monochrome planet. Not so gray, however, that it won’t let a quietly brilliant album slip through.

4. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
The shapeshifter is back, meditating amid soul of such richness and complexity that it should last us another 14 years. If the album title was about him, would you really object?

5. DJ Quik, The Midnight Life
A tour through Quik’s ultra luxe LA rap, with a series of low-key legends riding shotgun. Too funky? Pretty much.

6. Lee Fields & The Expressions, Emma Jean
A soul footnote contends with life, love and mortality, makes case for his own legend.

7. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Wig Out at Jagbags
Crooked melodies, golden jams: Jagbags dishes out a jambalaya of everything the guy’s been cooking. May he never stop.

8. Ex Hex, Rips
Sometimes you just wanna rock the fuck out. Mary Timony feels you: these twelve garage tracks are vicious.

9. ILoveMakonnen, ILoveMakkonen
Makkonen contorts his voice six ways from Tuesday, ends up somewhere between “stream-of-consciousness rapper” and “warbling R&B singer”. He seeks shelter in molly, the club, Brianna, Sarah and watches, doesn’t find it.

10. New Pornographers, Brill Bruisers
Slinging the hulked-out harmonies that hooked you in the first place, cutting them with a few new flourishes.

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