Thursday, January 1, 2015

SPAZ's CHOICE PICKS for 2014!

Happy 2015!

I’ve never been one to make a ‘Best Of…’ list for any given year because I never have enough $$ to buy everything I want to hear.  While some labels kindly provide copies of titles to me (and thanks to you fine folks that do), there is still so much out there that I’ve missed, forgotten or don’t know about yet. For example, if I were to look back in 2013, my list today would be very different than my list would have been a year ago because I’ve finally been able to hear some great stuff that I missed. It gets frustrating for me, so I stopped drawing up a list decades ago.

But this year, I thought I’d give it a go again.  Not because I want people to see what I have loved in 2014 but to make people aware of some great music they may have missed over the last 12 months. Instead of ranking them, I’ve decided to list them alphabetically for easy perusal. There are titles here that really stand out for me, but my reason for making this list is to bring stuff to your attention.  I only hope that you discover something new by going through this list and then doing a YouTube or Spotify search so you can hear it yourselves.  However, I highly recommend that you purchase these titles instead of adding them to a long list of titles you’ll be streaming.  I know that this is 2015, but every one of these artists (and the great labels that release them) need your support.  Without them, our lives would be less magical.

The titles in RED are my absolute favorite of the year, but I love and adore everything else listed.


SPAZ’s CHOICE PICKS 2014: 
NEW RELEASES
Everybody knows that the S/T album by THE LEGAL MATTERS is my #1 pick of the year, but did you know that was followed closely by STATUS QUO, THE RUBINOOS, THE ORCHIDS and others? There are albums by industry veterans and new bands alike.  I’d say it was a stellar year for new music! (NOTE: There is a live release here, which may surprise my friends who know that I generally don’t care for live albums!)

ASIA/Gravitas
THE BOYS/Punk Rock Menopause
PAUL CARRACK/Rain Or Shine
JOE KING CARRASCO Y EL MOLINO/Rucca
THE CHERRY BLUESTORMS/Bad Penny Opera
CO-PILGRIM/Plumes
PAUL COLLINS/Feel The Noise
AJ CROCE/Twelve Tales
THE CRY/Dangerous Game
STEPHEN CUMMINGS/Nothing To Be Frightened Of
CHRIS DE BURGH/The Hands Of Man
FAUNA FLORA/Fauna Flora
THE FEELING/Boy Cried Wolf
LANNIE FLOWERS/Live In NYC
JEREMY GLUCK & ROBERT COYNE/Memory Deluxe: I Knew Buffalo Bill 2
THE GROWLERS/Chinese Fountain
THE HANGABOUTS/Illustrated Bird
ROBYN HITCHCOCK/The Man Upstairs
INSPIRAL CARPETS/Inspiral Carpets
JACK ADAPTOR/J’accuse!
PHIL JUDD/Play It Strange
KITES WITH LIGHTS/On The Edges
LATIN QUARTER/Tilt
THE LEGAL MATTERS/The Legal Matters
JOHNNY MARR/Playland
LOS PACAMINOS/A Fistful Of Statins
LOS STRAITJACKETS & DEKE DICKERSON/Sings The Great Instrumental Hits
LOVERBOY/Unfinished Business
MAMAS GUN/Cheap Hotel
NAZARETH/Rock ‘n’ Roll Telephone
SINEAD O’CONNOR/I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss
THE ORCHIDS/Beatitude #9
PREFAB SPROUT/Crimson Red
HENRY PRIESTMAN/The Last Mad Surge Of Youth
DUNCAN REID & THE BIG HEADS/The Difficult Second Album
THE RUBINOOS/45
SLOAN/Commonwealth
SPACE/Attack Of The Mutant Soft Kebab
STATUS QUO/Aquostic
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS/No Going Back
SWAMP DOGG/The White Man Made Me Do It
ALEXIS TAYLOR/Await Barbarians
TELEMAN/Breakfast
TIERRA BLANCA/Restless Heart
MIDGE URE/Fragile



SPAZ’s CHOICE PICKS 2014: REISSUES/ARCHIVE

Most of these releases are expanded editions of some of my favorite albums while there are a handful of ‘archive’ releases that contain previously unissued recordings.  In both cases, these found their way to my playlist more than many of the other great reissues of the year. So many to choose from… and there is a ‘tie’ for #1 favorite – everything else is a tie for the second spot on my list!

BIG COUNTRY/Steeltown (2CD)
THE BLOW MONKEYS/She Was Only The Grocer’s Daughter (2CD)
THE BLUEBELLS/Exile On Twee Street
BLUE RONDO A LA TURK/ Chewing The Fat (2CD)
THE BONGOS/Drums Along The Hudson
BELINDA CARLISLE/Belinda (CD + DVD)
CAST/All Change (2CD + DVD)
ECHOBELLY/On (2CD)
DONNIE & JOE EMERSON: Still Dreamin’ Wild: The Lost Recordings 1979-81
GAP BAND/Gap Band IV
GENE/Olympian (2CD)
NEIL INNES/Recollections: Le Duck’s Box Set (3CD + DVD)
NEIL INNES & FATSO/Farewell Posterity Tour (2CD)
IT BITES/Whole New World: The Virgin Albums 1986-1991 (4CD)
THE JAM/Setting Sons (2CD)
JESUS JONES/Doubt (2CD + DVD)
THE KANE GANG/The Bad & Lowdown World Of… (3CD)
LEWIS/L’Amour
MADNESS/One Step Beyond: 35th Anniversary (2CD + DVD)
McCARTHY/Complete Albums, Singles  & BBC Sessions (4CD)
PAUL McCARTNEY & WINGS/Venus & Mars (2CD + DVD)
THE MOODY BLUES/Magnificent Moodies (2CD)
THE NITS/Nits? (3CD + DVD)
ELVIS PRESLEY/That’s The Way It Is: Legacy Edition (2CD)
QUANTUM JUMP/Quantum Jump (Expanded)
SUZI QUATRO/The Girl From Detroit City (4CD)
SECRET AFFAIR/Est. 1979: 35th Anniversary (4CD)
SIMPLY RED/Home (3CD + DVD)
JIMMY SOMERVILLE & BRONSKI BEAT & THE COMMUNARDS/Dance & Desire (2CD)
SPANDAU BALLET/The Story: The Very Best Of
THE SPORTS/Don’t Throw Stones (2CD)
THOMPSON TWINS/Remixes & Rarities (2CD)



SPAZ’s CHOICE PICKS 2014:
V/A COMPILATIONS/TRIBUTES


I’m not a big fan of ‘various artist’ compilations unless they are very special indeed.  And these four really stood out for me. In terms of favorites, the 4CD Mod comp is the ‘compilation’ winner while Here Comes The Reign Again is the ONLY tribute album from 2014 that you need to own! There were a lot of other comps I heard, but these are the ones that received numerous spins from me.

VARIOUS/Here Comes The Reign Again: The Second British Invasion (2CD)
VARIOUS/International Pop Overthrow Vol. 17 (3CD)
VARIOUS/Millions Like Us: The Story Of The Mod Revival (4CD)
VARIOUS/Pop Power From The Garage: Australian Power Pop 74-86



SPAZ’s CHOICE PICKS 2014:
DIGITAL/VINYL RELEASES

I don’t prefer digital-only or vinyl-only releases, but if that is the only way for me to get that music, then I’ll take it! Well, apart from the vinyl-only bit since I don’t have a turntable… so it better come with a digital download or I’m not going to be able to listen!

AGONY AUNTS/Emissary Of Cloves
PETER COYLE FRACTAL/”Step Out” (song)
MARINE LIFE/Fool Of A Kind EP
LIA PAMINA/How Come I EP

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