2014 In Review - Five Favorites from Nick Brunner Nick Brunner Tuesday, December 23, 2014 Narrowing down just a few pieces is never the easist decision. Luckily, we'll have three hours on Dcember 27 to revisit a stellar year in pop. As a teaser: Here are five artists whose work this year stuck with me. G.Green – Area Codes – Mt. St. Mtn. The Sacramento rock quartet put out its most polished work to date. The current lineup is it’s most stable since Andrew “Diamond” Henderson started using the name G.Green in 2010. Area Codes was recorded by Chris Woodhouse and found a distributor in Mt. St. Mtn. records. The band debuted a few of the tracks for Area Codes on Seattle's public radio powerhouse KEXP earlier in the year. S – Cool Choices – Hardly Art In an ocean of break-up albums, Jenn Ghetto's (a.k.a S) most recent on label Hardly Art made me sit up and take notice. Subdued and brutally honest, each track on Cool Choices stands out. S made an appearance at CapRadio earlier this year to talk about the record and perform tracks in our studio. Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Singer’s Grave A Sea of Tongues – Drag City I haven’t heard singer/guitarist Will Oldham sound this vibrant (on a solo record) for several albums. Singer’s Grave A Sea of Tongues features alternate takes of five tracks originally released on Oldham’s 2011 record Wolfroy Goes To Town. The songs aren’t tacked-on demos either; these are fully fleshed out tracks that stand out on their own. It’s like Oldham pulled them from an alternate timeline and he brought them to us with very little fanfare. The record is lighter in tone than the original versions (something we’ve seen him do before) and we’re still treated to his signature sad troubadour sound. CONTENT ADVISORY - There a a few instances of Strong Language in the song. Homeboy Sandman – Hallways – Stone’s Throw Records While rap duo Run The Jewels rightfully earned the spotlight this fall, I couldn't (and didn't want) to shake off the latest by Homeboy Sandman (aka Angel Del Villar II). The record opens by sampling composer Philip Glass, setting the tone for the next 40 minutes. From the sober-eyed anthem “America the Beautiful” which both criticizes and celebrates the U.S. in equal measure to the introspective "Problems" and undeniable beat of “Refugee,” I'll be revisiting Hallways well into the new year. Mac Demarco – Salad Days - Captured Tracks This is a charming lo-fi gem. DeMarco’s stoney guitar sends out hook after hook perfect for lazy afternoons and solemn contemplation alike. The standout tracks for me on this record are "Blue Boy," "Treat Her Better," "Passing Out Pieces," and "Jonny's Odyssey."