the meteoric rise of 2014 in music finally found itself grounded in november, although this past month wasn’t without its share of fantastic efforts and very promising news. as usual, we’ll tackle the album format first and then proceed from there.
november 4th: les sins – michael
november 11th: bedhead – 1992-1998
november 18th: tv on the radio – seeds
chaz bundick checked his toro y moi moniker at the door to explore dance music in earnest on his first full-length as les sins, although the album proves that the best aspects of his new persona might as well be folded into toro y moi while the unflattering parts are left to rot. numero group’s comprehensive reissue of the entire bedhead back catalogue was the focus of a rather large article here on dimestore saints, and for good reason; the remastered albums are crisp and provide an informative history of one of the more influential indie rock bands of the 1990s, while the fourth disc of b-sides, singles, and covers fills in the gaps of bedhead’s career arch.
two indie heavyweights released anticipated new albums on the same day, though neither tv on the radio nor ariel pink delivered particularly monumental efforts. pink’s press cycle was augmented by a handful of strange and off-putting comments made about other musicians, ostensibly to give mark kozolek a run for his money, but tv on the radio added another solid record to their collection, their first since the death of bassist gerard smith in 2011. november quietly closed out with the full-length debut from wealthy relative, a largely self-produced effort yielding abstract collages of art rap, and the nocturnal debut ep from mannequins on 7th street.
a few new standalone tracks snuck in here and there, too. the 1975 kicked off the month with “medicine,” their contribution to zane lowe’s recreation of the drive soundtrack, while the neighbourhood ex-pat bryan sammis closed it out with “now you know,” his latest offering as olivver. in between were strong debut efforts from newcomers like ellenberg and alma elste, along with a triumphant return for keep shelly in athens, whose new song “fractals” will hopefully set the stage for a very productive and rewarding 2015. one of the month’s most impressive offerings came from made in heights, who let go of their indelible downtempo “panther” as the release date of their upcoming album draws near.
november also proved to be the perfect time for many artists to announce their 2015 intentions. bay area heavy-hitters two gallants unveiled their new album we are undone by sharing its title track, while father john misty took to the late-night circuit to announce his sophomore effort, i love you, honeybear. jose gonzalez also has a new album in the works, his first in eight years, and arcade fire’s will butler is poised to release his first solo effort in february. james blake continues to tease the prospect of his follow-up to 2013’s overgrown; he’s prepping the release of “200 press” next month and has hinted that his new record is nearly done, with contributions from kanye west and justin vernon seeming very possible. but out of all of the announcements this month, frank ocean arguably accomplished the most by doing the least. he still hasn’t offered up a title or release date to his highly-anticipated new album, but he did release a snippet of a new song called “memrise,” and the internet swooned. a cryptic tumblr rollout campaign may be inevitable, but ocean nevertheless has the pop world on the edge of its collective seat.
barring any monumental, unannounced releases, this will be the final installment of our “month in review” segment for 2014. december will be dedicated to various year-end best-of articles; expect those to start running around the middle of the month. thank you to all who have stopped by to read this recurring segment as it’s developed over the past year. we’ll see you again at the end of january.