Best Music of 2014 Staff Picks – Leon Weinstein

Name: Leon Weinstein

City: Toronto

Title: Reviewer

How long have you been with Live in Limbo?: Since March 2014

Three favourite albums of 2014 (best to worst):

1. Spoon – They Want My Soul

The album exudes relentless swagger from start to end. The albums that engage me most tend to affect in me a certain mood. Can one listen to this album without strutting? Would you want to?

2. Sun Kil Moon – Benji

Whatever you think of Kozelek himself, the music here is raw and beautiful. The language seems touched with the innocence of a child’s eyes, tempered by the perspective of seeing life come and go. The result is stunning and emotionally stirring. If any album here is gonna age effortlessly, it’s this one.

3. Caribou – Our Love

This album’s like being temporarily possessed. It starts in benign fashion, your head starts nodding, then shoulders join in the fun. Soon enough you find your whole body moving as if being gripped by an ephemeral force.

Three favourite songs of 2014:

1. St Vincent – Birth in Reverse

If cassingles were still a thing, I would’ve burned copy one out and have moved on to a second. As soon as this track dropped, there was no doubt Annie Clark’s self titled album would kick down some doors in 2014.

2. Sylvan Esso – Hey Mami

A fantastic gem of a track. Shifting and growing, adding layers as it progresses, it’s a fun little nugget that’s got a lot more going on than it first seems. 

3. Too Many Cooks Theme

This may sound like a joke. It’s not. This track transcends its applications and becomes exceptional. How many can honestly say they escaped the video without having the song stuck in their head for the next week? Each new stylistic evolution is entirely apt and its gradual degradation is impeccable. This was a perfect thing. Know it. Love it.

Which artist or band won 2014?

Did anyone expect Run The Jewels 2? Because it kind of ripped a hole in everything. Undeniably engrossing, the album on everyone’s lips come December.

Your favourite new/breakout artist of the year:

As far as breakouts go, having Todd Terje’s full length album It’s Album Time move its way through hushed whispers into many a lounge was a highlight for sure.

How many shows did you go to this year?

30 or so.

Three best concerts of 2014:

1. Neutral Milk Hotel – Kool Haus

Unexpected, but a dream come true. The crowd’s enthusiasm was wild and untamed. The band reciprocated. Magical stuff, really.

2. J.E. Sunde – Drake Hotel

A modern day troubadour opening for Phox. For some reason I was arrested entirely by his performance. Poetic, yet lyrically dense like a young John Darnielle. I expect big things from this guy. 

3. This Will Destroy You – Lee’s Palace

I’d heard these guys a couple of years back and immediately signed up for the gig. At one point I was almost shifted to cover Hozier, but luckily they found someone else to take it. These guys were unbelievable. Post rock has a transformational and transportational manner and I found myself pulled along with each track, as if following an ever evolving narrative. Powerful stuff.

Favourite festival of 2014:

Field Trip – Fort York Garrison

The Arts and Crafts crew cultivated a great crop of performers for two packed days. The weather might’ve tried to put a damper on things, but its efforts were in vain. Great performances backed by a friendly atmosphere and lively spirits all around.

Favourite venue this year:

Definitely not my favourite venue, but I feel like “props” need to be given to the sound and lighting techs at The Hoxton. Tightly programmed and on the mark every time. Everything I saw there transcended its surroundings due to the actions of this crew.

What was the biggest music news story you remember from 2014?

Ghomeshi. Was it ever gonna be anything else? 

Is there anything else you want to say about music this year?

If DJ Earworm’s annual mash-up has anything to say on the matter, things in the pop world looked up from last year.

What artist should/will we all be paying attention to for 2015?

It seems D’Angelo’s Black Messiah may have found just the right time to arrive. Slipping in outside most Best Of lists, coming from out of left field, it seems the album nobody predicted may have landed the footprint that’ll dominate next year. Keep watch.

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