Sorry I didn't manage to post a playlist last week; a combination of germs, deadlines and various other professional/seasonal distractions meant that I ran out of time.


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When Thom Yorke sneaked out his new solo album a few months back, I managed to hold out for 66 hours before writing a review of "Tomorrow's Modern Boxes". Since waking up early yesterday morning to a lot of very excited Americans on my Twitter timeline, I've been playing D'Angelo's "Black Messiah" many times: another rich and complex album that seems fundamentally ill-suited to any kind of snap judgment reviewing.


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First off, thanks for all your kind and indulgent comments about my 154 best albums of 2014 blog; I'm genuinely grateful and touched by the feedback.


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Tuesday night, I went to see the War On Drugs guy again. I mention this, in relation to Mark Kozelek and Sun Kil Moon's Hackney show, because Kozelek doesn't stop mentioning it himself for much of the two and a half hour show; a show which, by the by, is one of the very best and certainly most surprising I've ever seen him play.


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Hey, here are my 154 favourite albums of 2014. As usual, I haven't aimed for a fixed number; just listed everything, in a loose order, that I've enjoyed these past 12 months.


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To Cargo, earlier this week, for what I think might have been one of my favourite gigs of the year. I wrote about Xylouris White and their "Goats" album a few weeks ago, but even that excellent record was scant preparation for Jim White and George Xylouris' incandescent live show.


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At some point in October, I started receiving emails from record labels and publicists about their Tips For 2015. A new year loomed, distantly, and with it the annual music business imperative to embrace a tranche of new artists. Around the same time, the 2014 Mercury Prize hoopla culminated with a victory for the Scottish hip hop act, Young Fathers, and their "Dead" album, one of seven debuts in the shortlist of 12.


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Very taken with Africa Express' version of "In C", by Terry Riley, this week. I have a few takes on the piece (50 years old this month, incidentally), the latest being one by Portishead's Adrian Utley from a couple of years back, though I still probably default to what I think is the original recording from '68.


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One bright Sunday morning, MC Taylor is driving through his patch of North Carolina, past New Hope Creek and the Eno River, over the Chatham County Line and the James Taylor Bridge in Chapel Hill, near the Haw River and the valley that he has meditated upon in song these past few years. Through apparently endless forests, Taylor's destination is Saralyn, a kind of hippy settlement just outside of Pittsboro.


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On April 18, 1970, an unusual dispatch from Paul McCartney appeared in the NME. Instead of participating in a normal interview, McCartney had sent the UK media a printed statement, in which he (or, at least, a shadowy enabler at Apple) asked the questions as well as supplying the answers. A delicate situation, he believed, needed to be micromanaged with extreme care.


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Editor's Letter

The 46th (And Last) Playlist Of 2014


Sorry I didn't manage to post a playlist last week; a combination of germs, deadlines and various other professional/seasonal distractions meant that I ran out of time.

Here, though, is our last office list of 2014, with lots of strong new entries. A few highlights...