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The Best Albums of 2014 – First Batch (31-21)

If there’s a staple to what Everything Ecstatic has done over the years, it’s undoubtedly the Best of the Year Albums List (since 2006!). For the last two years, it’s evolved into a daily featured album for 3 weeks, with the “Best of The Rest” post kicking it off. So here we are, with numbers 31 thru 21.

There are albums that didn’t make it on the final chopping block and there are hundreds of other ones that never even made the initial long list. But I can assure you, these are the 31 best records that marked the year in music across all genres. It’s scientifically proven (sorta.) There’ll be a spotify playlist of each album below the entry and after this post, all posts will focus squarely on ONE album per day until we arrive at the #1 Album of 2014.

Follow @EcstaticBlog on Twitter  and like the Facebook page as well for updates on when each new album is announced. Enough babble here’s the list:

31. Beck – Morning Phase

Man…Beck? Still got it. Morning Phase seemingly picks up where Sea Change left off. In fact, Beck himself calls it “a companion piece of sorts.” I turned to this record and it’s guitar-driven ballads and melancholy on slow moving afternoons.

30. Bear In Heaven – Time Is Over One Day Old

Bear in Heaven is a prolific rock band from Brooklyn that infuses tribal drums and electronics into their sound. This is their 4th LP and it’s the kind of album that wins you over twice. It finishes as strongly as it comes in and there’s more than a handful of memorable tracks on this one. Everything comes together on tracks like “Demon” and “If I Were To Lie”, led by singer Jon Philpot’s wonderful voice.

29. Souls Of Mischief – There Is Only Now

Oakland represent! 20 years after the release of the iconic 93 ’til Infinity, the East Bay kings of hip-hop put out their 6th studio album. There Is Only Now succeeds largely on the effort of producer Adrian Younge, who is flat out one of the best producers in the game. Part of me just wants to talk about how much I love Younge’s instrumentals of this record…Seriously, dude is like J-Dilla good and drops classic soul samples throughout. But A-Plus, Tajai, Opio and Phesto step to the mic with conscious rhymes, tackling relevant themes like police brutality and the justice system with multiple appearances from Busta Rhymes and Snoop Dogg. This is a money hip-hop release and on the real, def bump the deluxe version of the record with 2nd disc of instrumentals (linked below.)

28. Allah-Las – Worship The Sun

Continue reading The Best Albums of 2014 – First Batch (31-21)

The Top 10 Music Videos of 2014 – Pt 1

You are now in tune to Everything Ecstatic’s annual “Best of The Year” project. The 8th year highlighting albums of the year and this is the inaugural EE Best Music Videos of the Year list. These videos are a combination of artistic production, artists that hit, engagement and cool concepts. Breaking this up into two editions and this post begins the countdown starting at number 10 through number 6. Enjoy!

10. King Tuff – “Black Moon Spell” 

The black and white component here really reminded me of one of my favorite videos from 2012, Cloud Nothings’ “Fall In,” with the Busby Berkeley theme. The “Black Moon Spell” vid sees Tuff spinning around on a Marshall stack, with the wind blowing his long hair behind his cap. The spinning motion seemingly moves with the epic guitar riff that plays throughout the song. It’s like a scene out of a fucked up road side biker bar. Love it:

9. FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks”

Everything about FKA Twigs is visually stunning. The “Two Weeks” vid feels like that old Michael Jackson video for “Remember The Time” with Magic Johnson, Eddie Murphy and Iman. It’s the kind of extravagance that we’ve come to expect from Twigs as she’s dressed like an Egyptian queen with dancers flanking her from all sides. The beautiful irony here, is that she herself was a prominent video girl before her solo stardom.

8. Sinkane – “How We Be”

A video about dance, in all it’s many global forms. Hip-hop, krump, African, pop-lock, break and ballet with Sinkane’s Ahmed Gallab, looking cool as fuck walkin’ through different parts of NYC. It’s a dope anthology of dance, much like Sinkane’s new record, Mean Love is an anthology of his many global musical influences.

7. Vic Mensa – “Down On My Luck”

Ok…let’s get one thing out there: I fucking LOVE Vic Mensa. Dude is part of the bright future of hip-hop and he works his ass off. He’s tireless, straight up…All day, all night, he’s working on his music. Now “Down On My Luck” is a bit of a depart from Vic’s usual style. It’s a club banger and that’s new ground for him, but the video is solid gold. It reminds me of Kylie Minogue’s classic “Come Into My World” video directed by Michel Gondry, where Kylie goes around town 4 times over and the video just builds visually and conceptually, much like Vic re-creates his potentially disastrous night on the town over and over until it comes out roses. It’s an incredibly clever video and shouts to Vic for experimenting with new styles and creative shit.

6. Ibeyi – “River”

I stumbled onto these French/Cuban twins randomly on a late night and I’ve been enamored ever since. They sing beautifully in their unique tribal style, taking turns holding their breath under water as they harmonize in and out of the track. The detail of the air bubbles when one of them is submerged and then quickly rises above water to sing the verse is mesmerizing. As far as debut singles and videos go, this one is as good as any and no surprise, they’re signed to XL Recordings, who’ve been masters of artistically marketing their artists with a perfect balance of releases.

Check in later this week for the Top 5!