Ben Walton's Top Albums of 2014
10) Grant Nicholas - Yorktown Heights
Feeder's Grant Nicholas went down the familiar lead-singer-does-a-solo-album route this year, and the results weren't too bad in the end. Yorktown Heights is a more sombre and acoustic take on the recognisable sounds of his regular band but there is still plenty of bite and energy on tracks like 'Joan of Arc' and 'Time Stood Still'. On Yorktown Heights, Nicholas proved he could pen a tune with more emotional depth than anything about a CD player player player player player.
9) CJ Wildheart - Mable
Not exactly a surprise that a member of The Wildhearts did a solo album this year, but CJs first solo work in seven years is an absolute mother of a sonic gut punch. The power pop blitzkrieg comes thick and fast with songs like 'Better Late Than Never', 'Devil' and the album highlight 'Vitriol'. CJ took the opportunity of his second solo outing to prove that The Wildhearts was never a one man show.
8) Beck - Morning Phase
2014 saw the welcome return of the musical equivalent of Willy Wonka, Beck. Morning Phase revisited the acoustic sounds of his seminal 2003 album Sea Change, with an added dash of optimism. The four years Beck took out between this and his last studio album obviously did him some good as Morning Phase features some of his best songs, such as 'Blue Moon', 'Waking Light' and the gorgeous 'Heart Is A Drum'.
Continue reading: Ben Walton's Top Albums of 2014
Out Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky, the album from which White Knuckles is taken, was released in February this year to a generally positive reception. It was subsequently re-released in April (After the band split from EMI/Capitol) and is shortly to be reissued again as an 'Extra Nice Edition'. The video to accompany this single release was put on-line a week earlier than the single itself on September 20th. It was also premiered on the Ellen Degeneres Show as well as a performance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, so chances are you've either heard it or seen it. In just 1 week 3.5Million viewers have seen the 'Dog-A-Mid' choreographed routine on You Tube alone. The 12 dogs and 4 band members, plus upside down bins, tables and chairs only required a 124 takes to get the final shot right!
Ok Go are as infamous for their videos as for their music, if anything slightly more so. Their treadmill routine is still going strong with more than 50Million hits in the bag. Does that translate in anyway into musical credibility or even sales? They may be one of the most watched bands in the world but so far that has not meant they have become one of the most listened to bands in the world.
Continue reading: Ok Go, White Knuckles Single Review
OK Go have made quite a name for themselves on the internet, not only for their musical abilities but for their extremely imaginative videos. This is mainly down to two videos for 'Here It Goes Again' and 'A Million Ways' from their last album 'Oh No'. The simplicity but excellently executed style was the key to their success.
Continue: Ok Go - This Too Shall Pass
Ok Go are one of those bands whose rock comes so perfectly formed, so perfectly packaged and so perfectly infectious that you wonder why other bands don't just give up. With a tight hard rock feel, like say Weezer, but combined with a British wit and sense of humour, as well as some nice spikiness, this is the Arctic Monkeys turned up to 10 and in full command of their songwriting and playing. Oh No is the band's second, after a good level of success with their self-titled debut (and a hit single in Get Over It), and it mixes up the styles a little, with Prince-style R&B mingling with catchy power pop, and a Kendal Mint Cake level of energy throughout. The band clearly needed no gestation period - coming out of the stalls this polished takes some doing. That the sheer quality of the music on display in no way distracts from just how 'cool' this band sounds suggests they're also in charge of their sound.
Continue reading: Ok Go, Oh No, Capitol Records, Album Review