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Discussion: The Year In Music (So Far), 2014

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Discussion: The Year In Music (So Far), 2014

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Discussion: The Year In Music (So Far), 2014

Discussion: The Year In Music (So Far), 2014

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Top row: Nothing; Middle row, left to right: St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Sturgill Simpson; Bottom: Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

On this week's show, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson to recount their favorite music from the first six months of 2014. They spin the ferocious punk energy of Perfect Pussy, the magnetic vocals of Broken Twin, absurdly catchy electro-pop from Sylvan Esso and much more.

Bob opens the show with a cut from his favorite new band of 2014, the San Francisco-based seven-piece group known as The Family Crest. The band makes music on an epic scale, with stunning vocals and a multitude of instruments. Stephen then beats Robin to the punch to claim Perfect Pussy as his favorite new band of the year, with the song "Driver," two minutes of howling vocals and surging guitars from the Syracuse band's debut album Say Yes to Love.

Later in the show Robin returns the favor by snagging Sturgill Simpson as his biggest surprise of the year. "Turtles All the Way Down" finds the country singer examining cosmic questions with his heart-wrenching voice and classic country arrangements. Also on the show: A fuzzy rock number from the often-hushed singer Angel Olsen; The German band The Notwist has Stephen's favorite song of the year in "Kong;" The band Nothing rumbles and shakes with glorious noise-rock; Damien Jurado's flamingo-tinged "Silver Timothy" explodes into a synth-fueled jam and much, much more.

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Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for Beneath The Brine

01Beneath the Brine

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    Song
    Beneath the Brine
    Album
    Beneath The Brine
    Artist
    The Family Crest
    Label
    Tender Loving
    Released
    2014

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The Family Crest

  • Song: Beneath the Brine
  • from Beneath The Brine

Favorite New Artist: "I'm so thrilled about this band. ... Liam McCormick is opera-trained, and many of the musicians are classically trained. There's some jazz musicians as well ... really quite a force." --Bob Boilen

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Song
Beneath The Brine
Album
Beneath The Brine
Artist
The Family Crest
Label
Tender Loving
Released
2014

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Cover for Say Yes To Love

01Driver

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    Song
    Driver
    Album
    Say Yes To Love
    Artist
    Perfect Pussy
    Label
    Captured Tracks
    Released
    2014

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Perfect Pussy

  • Song: Driver
  • from Say Yes To Love

Favorite New Artist: "I was amazed at how much [this record] had grown on me. There's this incredible ferocity but there's also layers, textures and surprises that roll in throughout the record." --Stephen Thompson

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Song
Say Yes To Love
Album
Say Yes To Love
Artist
Perfect Pussy
Label
Captured Tracks
Released
2014

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Cover for May

09If Pilots Go To Heaven

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    Song
    If Pilots Go To Heaven
    Album
    May
    Artist
    Broken Twin
    Label
    Anti
    Released
    1969

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Broken Twin

  • Song: If Pilots Go To Heaven
  • from May

Favorite New Artist: "Her voice just sends me. It's very vulnerable but very powerful at the same time." --Robin Hilton

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Song
May
Album
May
Artist
Broken Twin
Label
Anti

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Cover for Make My Head Sing...

05Do I Have the Time

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    Song
    Do I Have the Time
    Album
    Make My Head Sing...
    Artist
    Jessica Lea Mayfield
    Label
    ATO
    Released
    2014

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Jessica Lea Mayfield

  • Song: Do I Have the Time
  • from Make My Head Sing...

Biggest Surprise: "Both this album and song I've listened to more than any other record all year so far." --Bob Boilen

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Song
Make My Head Sing...
Album
Make My Head Sing...
Artist
Jessica Lea Mayfield
Label
ATO
Released
2014

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Cover for Eons

05Bloodlines

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    Song
    Bloodlines
    Album
    Eons
    Artist
    Mimicking Birds
    Label
    Glacial Pace
    Released
    1969

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Mimicking Birds

  • Song: Bloodlines
  • from Eons

Biggest Surprise: "[This] song is constantly in motion. It's constantly taking you through the course of it. I find I always move when I listen to it; even though it's a very mellow song it always keeps me in motion." --Stephen Thompson

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Song
Eons
Album
Eons
Artist
Mimicking Birds
Label
Glacial Pace

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Cover for Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

01Turtles All The Way Down

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    Song
    Turtles All The Way Down
    Album
    Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
    Artist
    Sturgill Simpson
    Label
    High Top Mountain Records
    Released
    2014

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Sturgill Simpson

  • Song: Turtles All The Way Down
  • from Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

Biggest Surprise: "Even people who swear they don't like country music have completely fallen in love with this record. He takes these classic sounds and turns them towards these really weighty, deep, existential themes on the record, and you can hear that best on this song." --Robin Hilton

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Song
Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
Album
Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
Artist
Sturgill Simpson
Label
High Top Mountain Records
Released
2014

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Cover for Burn Your Fire For No Witness

02Forgiven/Forgotten

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    Song
    Forgiven/Forgotten
    Album
    Burn Your Fire For No Witness
    Artist
    Angel Olsen
    Label
    Jagjaguwar
    Released
    2014

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Angel Olsen

  • Song: Forgiven/Forgotten
  • from Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Favorite Album: "So much about what she does speaks to the way Leonard Cohen crafted songs; there's so many layers in the words and the delivery is so often deadpan, and the words just tell everything that you want to know." –Bob Boilen

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Song
Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Album
Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Artist
Angel Olsen
Label
Jagjaguwar
Released
2014

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Cover for Sylvan Esso

07Coffee

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    Song
    Coffee
    Album
    Sylvan Esso
    Artist
    Sylvan Esso
    Label
    Partisan Records
    Released
    2014

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Sylvan Esso

  • Song: Coffee

Favorite Album: "Nick Sanborn creates these electronic beds for Amelia Meath's vocals to lie atop. It's an absolutely intoxicating record." --Stephen Thompson

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Song
Sylvan Esso
Album
Sylvan Esso
Artist
Sylvan Esso
Label
Partisan Records
Released
2014

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Cover for Guilty Of Everything

06Get Well

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    Song
    Get Well
    Album
    Guilty Of Everything
    Artist
    Nothing
    Label
    Relapse
    Released
    2014

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Nothing

  • Song: Get Well
  • from Guilty Of Everything

Favorite Album: "It's got a nice drone to it but it also has brawny guitars." --Robin Hilton

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Song
Guilty Of Everything
Album
Guilty Of Everything
Artist
Nothing
Label
Relapse
Released
2014

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Cover for St. Vincent

02Birth In Reverse

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    Song
    Birth In Reverse
    Album
    St. Vincent
    Artist
    St. Vincent
    Label
    Republic
    Released
    2014

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St. Vincent

  • Song: Birth In Reverse

Favorite Song: "What I love about this record is how she advances the sound of a guitar without it sounding like where guitars often go when they try to be non-guitars: in the land of synthesizers. There's something that goes between the grunge of a guitar and the incredible harmonics that synthesizers are capable of, so it's really rich and different than the normal guitar sound. I love her for that." --Bob Boilen

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Song
St. Vincent
Album
St. Vincent
Artist
St. Vincent
Label
Republic
Released
2014

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Cover for Close To The Glass

03Kong

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    Song
    Kong
    Album
    Close To The Glass
    Artist
    The Notwist
    Label
    Sub Pop
    Released
    2014

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The Notwist

  • Song: Kong
  • from Close To The Glass

Favorite Song: "The song is about this fantasy that the singer Markus Acher had had about a superhero coming in and saving his house from a flood. And if you listen closely you can pick up little hints of that story. The song is just this wonderfully fizzy, catchy, propulsive, beautiful, cool song." --Stephen Thompson

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Song
Close To The Glass
Album
Close To The Glass
Artist
The Notwist
Label
Sub Pop
Released
2014

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Cover for Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

02Silver Timothy

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    Song
    Silver Timothy
    Album
    Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son
    Artist
    Damien Jurado
    Label
    Secretly Canadian
    Released
    2014

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Damien Jurado

  • Song: Silver Timothy
  • from Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

Favorite Song: "Go back and revisit this record if you missed it. It's the best thing he's ever done." --Robin Hilton

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Song
Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son
Album
Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son
Artist
Damien Jurado
Label
Secretly Canadian
Released
2014

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?