Besides singing in the amazing Oxbow, Eugene Robinson is also a great writer (you should look for his books, by the way). So I asked him to tell me his top 10 favorite records of 2014.
He not only did that, but wrote a small little crazy great review about each one of them (thanks for that, Eugene!). Just so you know, the list includes two records that weren’t released yet: Oxbow’s new one, The Thin Black Duke, and the new album from Harley Flanagan (Cro Mags) that will be released through Southern Lord.
Here it is – and yes, this is the order he sent me, I didn’t move a thing. I also used the title suggested by Eugene for the article.
(Photo: Craig Murray)
10] Harley Flanagan’s Newest on Southern Lord: Yeah, I know you haven’t heard it/stolen it, but I have. It’s one thing to hear music written and played by those with a nostalgic fixation on what hardcore had been, and those who created the situation that gave birth to the nostalgic fixation. Flanagan’s songs are hard, angry AND evolved. The record is out in 2015, but from what I’ve heard of it? Monster.
8] Magnetic Morning: First heard of them through my known associate Jack Rabid’s The Big Takeover, and like them quite a bit. Because I like misery distillate.
4] Art Department: “Without You” is the song of theirs that pulled me. And kept me in.
3] Xiu Xiu: Angel Guts: Red Classroom. Friends of mine. So what/fuck you.
9] FKA Twigs: Not that I need to explain these choices, but I want to and so I will: you do understand that with an inner life that is a hurricane storm warning 25 hours day, 8 days a week, that a quiet face must be maintained if you’re planning on spending any time anywhere outside of a mental institution. Which is to say: I need the calm like a forest fire needs rain. So thank me now. Music hath power to sooth the savage beast. Indeed. Plus she was pretty good live in that whole “doing more with less” way.
2] ZU + Eugene S. Robinson: The Left Hand Path: some film company had approached ZU about doing music for their horror movie. But there was a catch, and that’s that the music was too horror-filled. The film company was gracious, gave ZU the music that they had paid for and said “do what thou wilt with this.” Which resulted in ZU sitting on it until they had the idea: “hey…maybe Eugene might like this.” I got the music during several dark nights of my goddamned artistic soul and recorded it during the same. Some people claim sound tracks, but this is a real one and I sang it as such. Full on film on a nervous breakdown in the face of life lived in the sun of the god of hate.
5] Morrissey: World Peace is None of Your Business….or whatever the hell it’s called. I feel it safe to say that with a career that sees him canceling at least 18 tours, he hates playing live and trying to make him do so is a perverse and ritual humiliation, but listening to this record was a true delight. Even in the face of the business agita that followed the canceled tour and various acts of dickage. Mordant and wonderful, and always nice to hear music made by someone who absolutely no longer gives a fuck.
7] The Melvins: any and all of their 10,000 records released this year. It took me two decades to admit it, but these guys are great, and even if I hate the ham-handed comedy of every single one taschen
of their press photos, I HAVE to give it up for la musica. But I asked Scott Kelly once, “What’s the deal with the press photos? Is it just them or bad management advice or what’s the deal with the compulsive comedy?” and Scott said “It’s Buzz’s thing,” which all of a sudden made it alright in my mind. Like “he does not give a fuck if it amuses YOU, it amuses HIM.” Okey dokey, smokey. He’s not in business for my approval and cool that he is not.
1] Oxbow: the Thin Black Duke: you have not heard it. But I’m sitting right now in the studio and we’re mixing it. We still have no label home for it because it’s required levels of attention, love and detail more than every single one of our other records combined, but this record is it. Or to quote Aaron Turner when he heard The Narcotic Story for the first time: “Not at all what I expected, but everything I hoped for.”