It’s been a huge year of change in 2014 for me. nah, REALLY!! I started a new job after being made redundant from my last role and within a few weeks bought a house with my girlfriend and to top it off I got a cat! Real responsibilities, which have actually led to me growing up a tad. Not too much mind you!
So here’s a load of stuff that really floated my boat in 2014 (along with a let down) and we’re not talking about the England World Cup effort as that goes without saying.
Top Ten House Tracks
Karen Harding – Say Something
A track sung by an X-Factor finalist on Disclosure’s record label. Not the most obvious of bed fellows, but this is by far my favourite track of the year.
Tito Wun – The Way You Do It (Doc Daneeka Mix)
One of those you’ve Shazamed after about 16bars and a track that’s all about the fun, disco vibes.
Franky Rizardo – I Got Feeling
Franky dropped this killer EP on OFF Recordings this year and every tune was serious, with this being my pick and the one I’ve played the most this year.
Chasing Kurt – From The Inside
What a stunning tune this is. Such a great vocal and a corking remix package with Copyright being my pick of the bunch.
Seinabo Sey – Pistols At Dawn (KDA Mix)
Quirky vocal and quirky remix production to match by KDA, who I didn’t know much about and subsequently found he’s part of the Rinse FM crew.
Ten Walls – Walking With Elephants
If we’re being honest, it’s pretty much the same as the previous 2 Ten Walls tracks to this but this one just went stellar and even hit the national chart WITHOUT having a cruddy vocal stuck over the top.
Ferreck Dawn & Redondo – Love Too Deep
Huge leanings to the old skool garage sound, even down to the R&B vocals, but this track got it done on the floor and was another tune that found its way in to the charts.
Rosie Lowe – Water Come Down (Joe Goddard Mix)
I think it’s fair to say that everything Joe Goddard works on is something special. He never seems to be the type of person who just bangs out identikit productions and you won’t find much else out there like this.
Kiwi – The Mara (Duke Dumont Mix)
This tune really does sound like a classic Claude Von Stroke track, but sonce when has that EVER been an issue?
As I Am – Saving Grace
Got this early on in the year and it just kept picking up plays everywhere, so much so it’s ended up being signed to Defected.
Best DJ Gig
I’ve got to opt for something totally new that I was part of this year. The Lunch Rave. When I first heard about it, I thought it’d either be the craziest or best idea I’ve heard this year and it ended up being the latter. Loads of City professionals letting their hair down in their lunch hour (or two or three) to credible house music and live musicians. And the venue was top secret until the day too, adding an extra dimension to the fun.
Defected At Booom Ibiza had to be the one for me. Jesse Rose and Oliver $ playing low slung groovy House all the way. And the best thing about going to a Defected party in Ibiza is the lack of wally Huarache ravers who’ve been in to house music since they bought Pure Deep House last year.
Best House Album
Tensnake – Glow
This album would be in for the running for best overall album too, it’s really that good. If you’ve not bought it yet, sort it out and get it. You really will not regret it.
Tourist & Years & Years – Illuminate (MJ Cole Mix)
A track that has come out towards the end of the year, but sometimes you just hear a track and it hits you in such a way. This is one of those. It’s pretty much your classic MJ Cole production but that style with the elements from the original track, which is a serious tune in its own right, and I’m in aural heaven.
Top Ten Non-House Tracks
Tourist – I Can’t Keep Up
As soon as I heard this and realised the EP was on Disclosure’s Method record label, I tried to get on the blag as I play football with the label manager. One of those tracks I had to have immediately, it was that good!
Lovebirds – Holdin On (808ies mix)
You’d normally think a track out on Defected would be in the House Top Ten but this track was a straight up slice of 80s Boogie.
SIA – Chandelier (Basecamp Mix)
SIA has been around for such a long time and I guess she’s now got to the point that she deserves with her unique voice and song writing talent. This Basecamp Mix turns this one right on its head.
Years and Years – Desire
Perfect slice of dance pop. As you can tell from this year in view that I kinda love Years & Years!
Munk – Southern Moon (HNNY Mix)
Another one that by remix artist, should perhaps be in the House section but this remix is definitely far too quirky to be considered a straight up houser and it’s all the better for it.
Chvrches – Gun (Illstrtd Mix)
Absolutely impossible to try and find if someone told you verbally who this was by. I’ll save you the effort of it all by giving you a free download from Illstrtd.
Tove Lo – Habits (Hippie Sabotage Mix)
One of those ridiculously hooky tracks you see on an advert and it becomes an earworm till you bother to go find out what it’s called
Odesza featuring Zyra – Say My Name (Hermitude Mix)
I’m a sucker for Hermitude’s quirky remixes. This one drops steel drums and comes with a saccharine sweet vocal that does a lot for me.
High Contrast & Clare Maguire – Who’s Loving You?
A D&B vocal track of the highest order. Everything about this tune is epic!
SBTRKT featuring Sampha – Temporary View
As much as I didn’t fall in love with SBTRKTs second album as much as I did the first, I still love the dream team pairing with Sampha and this was a standout track off the album for me.
Best Non-House Album
Sohn – Tremors
I’m basing this on the fact that it’s my most played album this year and the fact it’s such a solid album in my opinion. To top that off I saw Sohn perform live at Field Day earlier this year and it added another layer to it for me. Atmospheric and quite brooding in places, it’s actually a perfect album to listen to on a commute in to LDN on the regs.
Duke Dumont – Blasé Boys Tapes Volume One
I even remember where I was when I first heard this mixtape. I also recall RVP scoring that crazy diving header in the World Cup whilst it was on. I also recall trying to Shazam most of it and getting denied at every turn. The only down side is that DD hasn’t followed it up….yet.
No we’re talking about Kim Kardashian or Nicki Minaj, although both have formidable Booties!! Nope we’re talking about when two become one (no, not the Spice Girls banger) and this clever splicing of two tracks by Timanti, using one of my fav songs of ALL time Wookie ‘Battle’ and Jaymo & Andy George’s ‘Remember’. Unfortunately it’s now been taken down from Timanti’s soundcloud, so find it if you can.
Best Twitter Follow
Not going for any amusing accounts this year. I’m opting for @SneakerDealsGB this year as they have saved me plenty of spondoolicks and round up all the best sneaker sale items all in one twitter account. If you’re other half tells you to stop buying kicks, don’t follow this account. You’ve been warned!
Biggest Musical Disappointment
Clean Bandit – New Eyes
I saw these guys live last year and they had one of the biggest tracks of the year with ‘Rather Be’ so it was with genuine disappointment when I gave their debut album the once over. It’s all over the shop and there are songs that just grate on me so much. It didn’t do too well with sales either and needed another collab with Jess Glynne and a ‘deluxe edition’ to try and pull things back.
It has to be Taylor Swift. There I’ve got it out in the open. Don’t try and style it out and pretend you didn’t think ‘Shake It Off’ was a banger! Plus her rap verse in that is still better than the whole of Vanilla Ice’s rap career.
As I alluded to in my intro, it’s been a big year for me. Buying a house is a big deal, but realising you can actually grow a beard properly is pretty much a big deal too. My writing has come on leaps and bounds this year too and the article I done on depression was a very proud moment getting that out there, after Mixmag has told me that it was too dark a subject, which ultimately drove me on to definitely get it published. I do think my proudest moment was winning the Boiler Room x Nike 5-a-side tournament with St Leonards FC (a side that plays out of 1948/NikeLab in Shoreditch). I’ve played in loads of finals over the years but rarely have I been a winner. To edge it 5-4 in the final against a strong Rinse FM side, being watched by Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, is something that made an aging goalie very very chuffed.
I’ve been to some great and varied concerts this year. Delilah at the Union Chapel was mesmerising and I loved the intimacy of the venue. On the flip side Ed Sheeran at the O2 was a masterclass in owning a huge crowd with no band, and sparse production. Just a man, a guitar and a loop pedal. But the best gig I attended in 2014 has to be Allen Stone. He’s not on many peoples radar but trust me if you saw him live he would be. We were all, and I mean every single punter, was doing the electric slide for the WHOLE song at Allen’s command at one time. We were just putty in his hands. A great and charismatic musician who had the crowd, and especially me, mesmerised.
As moving and as powerful as 12 Years A Slave was, I think I’ve got to go with Wolf Of Wall Street as my fav film this year. Overly long, but it does fly by with audacious story after audacious story, whilst you ponder ‘Did they really do that?’
Best YouTube Clip
Normally I’d opt for something daft involving animals being funny or dummies hurting themselves, but my fav YouTube clip of the year is the trailer for the Star Wars film. I have the faith/force, it will be good. At least there won’t be any Jar Jar Binks!
Whilst the Huarache went to a whole different level of saturation this year and strangely it doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. However in my opinion 2014 was the year of the Adidas Flux. Admittedly I feel that Adidas are going the way of Nike and flogging the shoe way too hard. That being said it’s had many dope colourways and versions this year, including the DIY options via Mi Adidas and it’s app, mean you could have a pair looking like pretty much whatever you like.
Tips For The Future
As far as DJs go, I think Cristoph is going to pick up on a brilliant 2014 and take it up another notch. He’s been around a while, is grounded and has found a sound that really works and he’s able to be prolific with that style.
As for an actual artist (as opposed to a DJ/Producer) I think Years & Years are going to have a fantastic 2015 and beyond. Not only do they have the amazing track they’ve done with Tourist but they’ve had a slew of awesome tracks already like ‘Take Shelter’ and ‘Real’. Futuristic pop perfection IMO.