Diandra’s 2014 in Music

Okay, so I heard at least a fourth of these songs in 2015 when I was researching music links for this piece. But I would have heard them in 2014 if I had the time!

I’ll start with Cold Specks, a “doom soul” act that features the haunting voice of Al Spx. Check out the spooky video for Absisto [Soundcloud]:

She has also covered Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ We No Who U R  [Soundcloud] on the side single Bodies at Bay but I want to share two other songs from Neuroplasticity [Amazon][Itunes]: A Broken Memory (live performance on Youtube, song starts at :51) and Exit Plan (feat. Michael Gira) [YouTube].

Continuing on with something still atmospheric but lighter and French, here’s Coralie Clément (now independent from half-brother Benjamin Biolay’s production) with De Paris a St Petersbourg [YouTube] from La Belle Affaire [Itunes][Amazon]. You might want to try her folksy guitar cover of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence [YouTube].

For retro R&B, here’s Nick Waterhouse with It No.3 [YouTube]. His album Holly is decent listening [YouTube][Amazon].

Eventually I fell victim to “the song from the Metal Gear Solid V trailer,” Mike Oldfield’s Nuclear [YouTube], from Man on the Rocks [Amazon]. When my brother plays it in the car, I am compelled to lip-sync, complete with dramatic arm movements.

Sleater-Kinney’s Surface Envy (Soundcloud) is alright with its nifty riff, and it has me looking forward to the release of No Cities to Love, their first new album in a decade [Postscript: The new album’s…ok.]. Gritty rock band Band of Skulls had many good tracks on Himalayan [Amazon][Itunes], including Hoochie Coochie [NSFW MV][audio-only YouTube], Toreador [YouTube],  and I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead & One Dying [YouTube].

Another guitar group from the UK, the duo Blood Red Shoes, went hard on An Animal (MV, Soundcloud) on their self-titled new release [MySpace][Amazon][Itunes]. Meanwhile, in Brazil, Fumaça Preta traveled the horror rock path, throwing in punk and funk with some fuzz. I enjoyed the propulsive yet accessible Amor Tece Dor [YouTube] on their self-titled album [Amazon][Itunes], and the jamming from Tire Sua Máscara [YouTube] through Perdidos [YouTube].

Michel Gondry shot a clever video for Metronomy’s Love Letters:

Yet don’t miss Edouard Salier’s sci-fi video for the group’s I am Aquarius.

In KPop~

2NE1 returned strong with  Come Back Home [MV] but ran into trouble when producer Teddy Park was careless with an offensive sample in CL’s solo MTBD. I liked the spirit of Crush [MV] but the Official Video is blah compared to their other productions. While I rarely use the term, I couldn’t help but think trashy guilty pleasure whenever I played Dirty Vibe [YouTube][Soundcloud], Skrillex’s collaboration with notorious cultural appropriators Diplo, G-Dragon, and CL (why that “jheri curl” line?).

Something that genuinely moved me was the video for Lee Michelle’s Without You [MV], which is carried by Lee’s strong voice even though the song itself is simple.

The rest of the year, my K-pop tastes favored the playful After School offshoot Orange Caramel.  Catallena is an addictive disco-pop number that specifically attributes their inspiration to Jutti Meri Jandiye by Radhika Chopra [DJ Punjab], which I could only find on a CD called The Great Big Punjabi Wedding [Itunes]. While the video is one of my favorites of the year for its eye-popping mermaid sushi concept (deemed “too disrespectful of human life” to air by KBS) , I also liked looking up the different live performances, partly for their food-themed costumes (macarons! Fast food!)- and mostly because they seem to have so much fun performing, like in this dance practice video.

My Copycat [MV] was just as fun with its “Where’s Waldo” theme, and the song yielded yet another cute dance practice video.

Diandra Rodriguez

Proudly Latinasian NorCal American.

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