The year in music (so far): hot damn, 2014 is rocking

Several four and five-star releases already, and a boatload of top artists have releases scheduled for later this year – 2014 might wind up as one of the best years for new music in recent memory.

Given how many talented artists there are out there making music, pretty much every year is a good year for new releases. Some years, though, go above and beyond the call of duty.

2014 is shaping up to be one of the great ones. We already have a few seriously fantastic CDs, just three months in. For instance, there’s the new Dum Dum Girls:

And Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings:

And St. Paul & the Broken Bones (sweet Lord a’mighty, this kid can brang it):

Then there’s Phantogram:

And a band called NO that’s sorta like The National meets The Killers. Wait, it’s not sorta like that, it’s exactly like that.

These are all utterly wonderful discs. And the year is just getting started. Here are some things we know are on the way, and each of these artists has been on at least one of my best of reviews in recent years:

Jeffrey Dean Foster’s new record is, best I can tell, mostly ready. I don’t have a drop date for it yet, but I have heard it. In fact, I’ve probably spun it 30 times or more already and if it isn’t better than his last outing, Million Star Hotel, it’s damned close. For the record, MSH is probably one of the ten best albums I have ever heard. If you haven’t heard of Foster yet, don’t feel badly. The music industry is pretty much designed to make sure that stuff this incredible stays obscure.

The Lost Patrol has a new one in the works, as well. If you follow this space you know that Mollie, Stephen and Michael are among my very favorites, and the one track I have heard so far, “I’m 28,” is great, as usual.

The Raveonettes are a band that I have suggested might be the best in the world over the last five years. Their new one is rumored to be a “back to the noise” project, and while I have loved their slightly more polished outings of late, I can’t wait to hear where this is going.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, another of the best bands in the world of late, have a new one dropping on April 22. Add that to the to-do list for that morning.

The last couple Eels offerings have been grungy and rootsy and stylistically not at all like the earlier work. While I respect the hell out of everything E has done, I won’t lie – I haven’t liked this phase as much as the more melodic, intimate work that preceded it. I heard the advance track for the new release today and it sounds like a return to that older, introspective sound is headed our way. Again, can’t freakin’ wait.

Baron Bane is putting the finishing touches on a new disc, according to lead vocalist Ida Long. The last one from our Swedish friends was one of the best of 2011 (and Ida’s 2012 solo disc also made my list).

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake allegedly has a new CD that’s in the process of being mixed, although details are scarce.

The Birthday Massacre has one slated for Q4, as best I can tell.

Who else? Oh, right. Fiction 8 is threatening to finally release its latest, too. I’m jacked to hear this one, and not just because it features a tune called “The Butterfly Machine” that I, you know, co-wrote. (Listen, at least I’m honest about it when I’m pimping, ‘kay?)

Who knows what else 2014 holds? There are always releases from bands I like that I didn’t know were coming and I’m also always discovering new bands, either on my own or as a result of friends forwarding me things.

The upshot is this: we’ve already had more genuinely platinum music so far than you get in the entirety of some years, and if the rest of the year sustains that level of quality 2k14 is going to be one of the best in memory.

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