2014 Top 5 to 1: Elke’s Choice
5. The Kooks – Listen
Everybody remembers Ooh La from The Kook’s debut album Inside In/Inside Out, no?! Well, I do and I truly loved this album and awaited the follow-up eagerly. Sadly, I didn’t really like it. Even worse with The Kook’s third effort. So, when Listen, their fourth studio album came out, I had zero expectations. As a matter of fact, I was ready to hate it but to my own big surprise I was instantly hooked! I tried to explain the reason why in my album review and wished that more people would give this album another chance: It’s a big potpourri of different styles, yet it’s overall upbeat and Luke Pritchard’s voice holds it all together. Ever since it came out it’s been my go-to-album when I was feeling blue…
- Favorite Song: Are We Electric and Sunrise (yet another song with hand clapping which I am pretty fond of these days…)
- Album Review: Listen
4. Black English – El Prado
Austin, Texas in Spring is a special place. It’s the El Dorado for all music fans – musicians and admirers alike. And so I finally found myself there as well, wandering among the famous, the ones still to be discovered and the ones who don’t even want to and don’t want to dare. One afternoon, we just happened to be at the same event as half of the members of Black English, who back then still went by the name of “No”. We had a fun conversation and run into each other a few more time, and most importantly, also luckily at one of their concerts. And that’s how it all came together. Back in New York, super spontaneously, we ventured out to their show… bought their album and I was hooked! In this case, I am really very much looking forward to what the next album will be like. I can’t even begin to imagine…
- Favorite Song: Another Life
- Live Shows: NO aka Black English at Mercury Lounge
3. Nothing More – Nothing More
The very first song of Nothing More that I’ve ever heard was Christ Copyright and I know that I MUST see this band live! Lucky for me, SXSW was just around the corner, and I could see Jonny Hawkins (vocals, aux drums), Daniel Oliver (bass, backup vocals), Mark Vollelunga (guitar, backup vocals) and
Paul OBrien (drums) in action. You might have read it here already before, yet it deserves repeating: Nothing More are a band to be heard and seen live! As if their music isn’t energetic and beautiful enough, their stage performance is pretty unique. And this album just is very, very dear to my heart.
- Favorite Song: I’ll Be OK
- Album Review: Nothing More
- Live Shows: SXSW2014 and The Studio at Webster Hall
2. BANKS – Goddess
The even bigger surprise in my Top 10, at least for me, is this debut album by LA’s BANKS aka Jillian Rose Banks. The first time I heard her perform was in a packed Austin night club during this year’s SXSW and while I was pretty unhappy with the surroundings, I was impressed with what Banks put out there and how she dealt with all the technical difficulties that night. I saw here two more times in New York, and over time, her album grew on me to a point, that I found myself craving for certain songs at times. I like how stripped down the arrangements are, to let Banks’ voice shine and lyrics speak. I might not like her follow-up album but her debut is without a doubt my number two!
Favorite Song: Warm Water
- Live Shows: Irving Plaza, Rough Trade
- Album Review: Goddess
1. Future Islands – Singles
Early this year, Seasons (Waiting On You) was everywhere! Regardless if the song list came from Songza, Spotify or Pandora, after a while, Seasons sneaked in. So it was only a matter of time, until I listened to the whole album and never stopped again. I easily listened to this album twice as much as to any other album here on this list – and I’ve listened to all of them at least two dozen times otherwise they wouldn’t be on this list – it’s about true favorites. This album is energetic enough, for workouts but also equally poetic and beautiful to just let thoughts wander. This year, I had not to think twice which album to put on the number one spot. It was dead simple: Future Islands and Singles is it.
- Favorite Song: Back in the Tall Grass
- 3 Is A Band: Future Island