Best Music of 2014 Staff Picks – Randall Vasquez

Name: Randall Vasquez

City: Barrie, ON

Title: Director of Photography /Photographer

How long have you been with Live in Limbo?

Five years (wow)

Three favourite albums of 2014 (best to worst):

1. Animism, Tanya Tagaq.  I picked this album as my fave from this year’s Polaris short list. Still love the album. The opening track a cover of the pixies “Caribou” takes hold of you and leads you on to an epic journey. Truly refreshing. 

2. Royal Blood, Royal Blood.  I heard the first single from this album before I was fully using any streaming service(I know, I know get with the times. Actually I did pretty early and my trials expired).  It also seemed to take a few weeks before everyone started playing it so I can remember hearing it and wanting more. Good Loud fun.

3. V2.0, GoGo Penguin. Sometimes you don’t need words. This electronic & piano based jazz trio put forth an exciting sleeper hit. 

Three favourite songs of 2014:

1. Red Eyes, The War On Drugs. Just brilliant.

2. Seasons (Waiting On You), Future Islands. Probably the song I played loudest in my car. And who doesn’t love that Letterman video?

3. Run, Hozier. Can this guy do any wrong? It’s been a great year for Hozier. I picked this track up as part of the Black Friday RSD release.  It’s also available on the deluxe CD. The vocal is just haunting.

Which artist or band won 2014?

Whether you like her music or not the undisputed champion of the year is Taylor Swift. Selling over a million copies in a week has got to mean she is doing something right.  Arctic Monkeys also had a great year. Alvvays also had a good year even making it to Rolling Stone top 50 albums of the year.

Your favourite new/breakout artist of the year:

Knox Hamilton. Loved their single ‘Work It Out’. 

Too many to choose from Tove Lo, Sylvan Esso.

How many shows did you go to this year? 

Somewhere around 40.

Three best concerts of 2014:

1. Various, Riot Fest, Downsview Park,

2. Linkin Park, ACC

3. Vance Joy, Phoenix

Favourite festival of 2014:

RiotFest. Although still not boasting huge headliners close to Lollapalooza or Osheaga this festival is getting more diverse and better each year.

Favourite venue this year:

Danforth Music Hall. They have been hosting great shows in Toronto and its decline towards the stage makes for good views for everyone. I haven’t been to Adelaide Hall yet but it looks like fun.

What was the biggest music news story you remember from 2014? Two big stories this year. That I can remember anyway and they both have to do with the cost of music and how we consume it.  First U2 and iTunes give away an album for free. A bigger deal was made about it appearing on people’s iphones than the actual songs. Some questioned if this devalued music. Personally I don’t think so. I’m sure U2 was paid handsomely.  Second Taylor Swift pulls catalog from Spotify. 

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

Overall lit was a good year. I hope the Polaris list is stronger next year. I’m also interested to see where it all plays out as far as consumption goes.  Will PONO flop? Will Beats take over? Will the vinyl community continue to grow? Will more artists pull out of the streaming services? 

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

Modest Mouse. Though not a new band they’ll be releasing their first album in way too long early next year. Silversun Pickups should also have a release soon lets hope they return to form.

About author

Director of Photography at Live in Limbo. Randall has been at LiL since 2009. He is a software tech wizard by day and concert photographer by night.