PLAYLISTS ET CETERA: #017: Best Songs of February 2014

PLAYLISTS ET CETERA

This week on PLAYLISTS ET CETERA, we check out the best songs of February 2014.

WHY?

This past month may have been one of the best months for music we’ve seen in some time. Perhaps not wanting to get lost in the doldrums of December and January, February laid out album after album of great material. Even so, it was kind of hard not to get overwhelmed by some of the more acclaimed works of St Vincent (her self-titled record), Sun Kil Moon (Benji), Schoolboy Q (Oxymoron), Angel Olsen (Burn Your Fire For No Witness), Beck (Morning Phase), and Wild Beasts (Present Tense). For that reason, I’ve compiled the following list as much for you as for me.

This list, ostensibly of the best songs of this past month, is long. Usually when I make these lists, they cap out around 17-18 songs. This month’s is nearly 30, and that’s 1) using only one song per artist/band, and 2) after cutting some of the lesser releases. So here’s your homework: check out this list, and let us know what you think. These are the best songs of February 2014.

marissa nadler

THE PLAYLIST

“Turd” – Krill
If personification is the act of giving human qualities to inanimate objects, what do you call giving a human the qualities of poop? I’ll call it “turdification”. This will be the best turdification song of the year, mark my words.

“Telepathy” – †††
Chino Moreno (Deftones), Shaun Lopez (Far), and Chuck Doom (a funny name) made spooky, dark electronic pop. This is a surprisingly good record, considering these guys could have coasted on their credibility.

“Shame” – Mas Ysa
That guy that toured with Deerhunter that no one knew about turned out to be pretty good. His EP is solid, and “Shame” might be one of the best tracks on it.

“Ordinary Fools” – The Chain Gang of 1974
Pay no mind to the unwieldy band name. Look me in the eye and tell me this song isn’t catchy. That’s okay, I’ll give you time to set up your webcam.

“Out of the Black (feat. Robyn)” – Neneh Cherry
Q: Are you having as much fun as Robyn and Neneh Cherry are on this song? A: Probably not.

“Man of the Year” – Schoolboy Q
This is the only hip-hop track on this list. Sorry about that. Schoolboy Q’s major-label debut is just as good as anything he’s written though.

“Stupid in the Dark” – Xiu Xiu
Here’s one of the songs from Xiu Xiu’s most recent record that isn’t about black dicks or pig slaughter. It helps that it’s pretty darn catchy too.

“Pure Gold in the 70’s” – Doug Keith
A slow burn, but stay tuned for the guitar solo. Your hair will catch on fire.

“Mesmerise” – Temples
Noel Gallagher loves this band, and he hates everything. Except for Noel Gallagher.

“Digital Witness” – St. Vincent
It looks like there was some funk leftover from the Love This Giant recording sessions — it found its way onto St. Vincent’s self-titled record. It’s a great song, but boy, it makes me hanker for another one of those David Byrne / St. Vincent collaborations.

“Carry Me” – Bombay Bicycle Club
Our Laura Midgley called this music “eastern-tinged indie pop and Ibiza dance”. I’ll go with that, because I have no idea what else I’d call this combination.

“Ejecta” – Death Vessel
This is a man singing. Yes. You can look up pictures if you want. Guy’s got a beautiful voice, put to stellar effect here.

“Sun” – Lost in the Trees
I picked a song at random to represent Lost in the Trees’ newest record. I knew it wouldn’t matter which song I chose — all of them are good.

“Ben’s My Friend” – Sun Kil Moon
I generally try to live my life as a robot, denying all emotions and feelings. But I can’t listen to Sun Kil Moon’s Benji without feeling… well… everything. “Ben’s My Friend” may be the only song to ever name-drop Panera Bread, too.

“Dead City Emily” – Marissa Nadler
July was an unassuming record, and one that got better with repeated listens. Check out this song and don’t let this album slip under your radar!

“Porcelain” – Snowbird
Beautiful compositions abound on Snowbird’s debut, Moon. I’m almost afraid to listen to it while I go jogging, afraid that I’ll break or crack this music.

“Morning” – Beck
Yep, those are some of the same chords used in Sea Change‘s “Golden Age”. Beck, you tease, you.

“Cruel City” – Augustines
I wouldn’t know what Augustines are singing in the chorus if it wasn’t for this song title. The band is very helpful in that way.

“Forgiven/Forgotten” – Angel Olsen
Is it just me, or does this song kind of sound like a tune from the 1940s, run through a distorted amplifier?

“American Horror” – Speedy Ortiz
Only a few releases in, I think I’ve made the decision that I’m going to love everything Speedy Ortiz releases. This tiny EP (4 tracks long), is stellar. More people should be talking about it. I’m talking about it. You talk about it. Seriously. I’m going to wait here until you start talking about it.

“Ex Teenager” – Disco Doom
This band has close ties to Built to Spill, but I didn’t have to tell you that, did I? This band has nothing to do with disco or doom metal. Hold on, I just got a great idea for a solo project.

“Mission Creep” – Cheatahs
Thought m b v was pretentious? Think shoegaze music is self-absorbed and self-important? Try out Cheatahs.

“Same Side” – The Casket Girls
Not nearly as morbid as their name suggests. No, this song is pretty bright and sunny.

“Wanderlust” – Wild Beasts
All of these instruments are plugged into a wall, right? I can’t tell anymore. This band’s music functions as a big collage of sound that runs together. You would have figured some Norwegian metal band would have laid claim to the name “Wild Beasts” by now.

“Fall in Love” – Phantogram
As Ryan Rogers put it, this group takes Portishead’s formula and avoids screwing it up. I can’t believe it took until 2014 for someone to do that.

“Holding on for Life” – Broken Bells
Every Danger Mouse record has one really good song on it. Here it is!

“Waves” – Blondfire
Why isn’t this song dominating Top 40 radio?

“Colony Glen” – Gardens & Villa
I was quite disappointed to discover this song does not have an accompanying 8-bit music video. Someone get a Kickstarter going.

“With Me” – Cashmere Cat
First time hearing this song? Here’s your initial thought at the 0:15 second mark: “well… that’s not where I thought that was going.”

What songs did I miss? What songs deserve to be on this playlist? What songs shouldn’t be on this playlist in the first place? Want to tell me how I screwed this one up? Have a suggestion for a playlist theme? Sound off on Facebook, Twitter, or the comments below!

There is one comment

  1. Larry Mayer

    I agree that last month saw the release of an unusually large number of fine albums and believe that you’ve done a good job highlighting the best. One possible omission, Hurray For The Riff Raff’s “The Body Electric “. it’s from their new album “Small Town Heroes” which I think was released in February (I’m not sure ).

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