2014 was a very good year if you’re a Baltimore music fan. Here are a few highlights from Baltimore’s year in music.
Future Islands release Singles, play David Letterman, and do a surprise gig at Hampden Fest
One of Baltimore’s hardest working bands got a HUGE break this year with the release of their fantastic album, Singles. It has appeared on numerous year-end lists this month. Earlier in the year, Future Islands played David Letterman and lead singer, Sam Herring brought his emotional theatrics into millions of homes nation-wide. The best part? They’re one of the nation’s biggest up-and-comers and they’re very much a Baltimore band.
Wing Dam release one of the best albums of the year in Shifter Bliss
Shifter Bliss is one of my favorite albums of the year, Baltimore or otherwise. Produced by Mat Leffler-Schulman at Mobtown Studios, the album is filled with hefty, beefy guitar riffs and killer bass lines. Austin Talley and Sarah Autrey can write lyrics, too. Wing Dam have started to pick up some steam over the past few months and will open for Future Islands on a couple of shows in January. Here’s to a great 2015 for these throw-back, fuzzed out indie rockers!
The Crown exists
The Crown has quickly become my favorite Baltimore venue. Why? The sound is great, the bands are diverse and they have taken time to create a pleasant bar atmosphere in addition to the music, which is imperative to its longevity. My favorite show of 2014 at The Crown: The Horse Lords Hidden Cities album release in November.
Dan Deacon tours with Arcade Fire and Flaming Lips and releases an amazing new song and video
I’m sort of a new-comer to Dan Deacon‘s music. When he first burst onto the scene several years ago, I couldn’t really get in to it. That all changed with America. With supporting tours for Arcade Fire and The Flaming Lips, Deacon had a very good 2014. I had the opportunity to see him open for Arcade Fire and was thrilled to see he was successfully able to transfer the all-hands-on-deck, kinetic atmosphere of his live show to the arena. Also, his new single and the subsequent video, “Feel the Lightening” is amazing.
Big Freedia and others bring thousands to Y Not Lot for Open Walls ceremony
In the spring, Station North Arts and Entertainment, Inc brought a killer party to the Ynot Lot on North Ave to celebrate the closing of Open Walls Baltimore 2. For those who don’t know, Open Walls is a mural project in which several street artists world-wide are commissioned to paint, splatter or stencil their work on facades around the district to encourage beauty and progress. Big Freedia, DJ Class, Mike Q and DJAngelBaby brought the house down and mystified thousands of people. (photo courtesy of Station North)
In addition to my selections, I posed the question to several local musicians and music fans to see what they considered to be the best moments in Baltimore music in 2014.
WLOY Loyola Radio and Baltimore’s Got Band’s host, Ian Goldstein re-iterated my sentiment about Future Islands at Hampden Fest. “It was one of the best things I’ve seen in this city in a long time. Electric atmosphere,” said Goldstein.
Surf Harp lead singer and guitarist, Phil Bolton called Dope Body’s show at Fraziers and Porches at Bahamas his two favorite of the year.
Local reporter and music fan, Pat Taylor loved the No Other tribute concert at Floristree featuring Beach House, Robin Pecknold and Hamilton Leithauser.
Kinsey Matthews of Us and Us Only recalls a girl and her mother in front of the stage at the Mitski show at Metro Gallery singing along to every song. “It looked like she was having the best time of her life. Very cool to see music mean so much to someone in the moment.”
Author Taylor DeBoer grew up in the Baltimore area and studied Writing and Sociology at Loyola University Maryland. He is a local writer, music lover, and edits a website that he co-founded, Manikmusic.net. Follow him on Twitter at TayDeBoer23.
cover photo courtesy of City Paper