K-Pop pundits love to predict who's going to be the one star to stick in America, and with the impending debut of 2NE1's CL, these predictions have reached a fever pitch. These lists never seem to change much: Girls Generation, 2NE1, G-Dragon, CL, BIGBANG, and...

Oftentimes, a complete change in sound and a long delay between full-length albums marks the death knell of a band, or at least a rebirth. After a long brainstorming session -- during which the band lost a guitarist, put out an EP without that guitarist, and gained another in time for the latest record -- Metavari has returned, and the Metavari you hear on Moonless is not the Metavari you heard six years ago, during the release of Be One of Us and Hear No Noise. This time around, the quartet from Fort Wayne, Indiana, seems to have found its niche in the instrumental world, eschewing the grand sonic explosions commonly associated with post-rock in favor of analog and electronic sounds and samples.
Metavari Press Photo

The idea that the multiverse is more akin to an art project than a science experiment (or an art experiment, if you're so inclined) is one of those Occult themes that typically gets dismissed by both overly scientific and religious types alike, even though it quite inarguably resonates now more than ever. One of the stranger aspects of human psychology that we essentially avoid touching in typical academic or spiritual discourse involves the fact that your average person now consumes roughly a hundred thousand times more art in a given year than they did even a mere century ago. We used to rely on mediums like galleries, plays, symphonies, and libraries to dispense our art, most of which weren't super accessible to people who weren't wealthy or close to an urban center. Now the fact that the internet and cable television beam recreational distractions into our homes 24/7 seems almost like a trivial afterthought.

Album Covers of the Year 2014
In contrast to modern patterns in music consumption comes our annual Album Covers of the Year feature, where, instead of forgetting album artwork even exists, we hyperextend ourselves to assert that it is an artform that is vitally connected to the spirit of the music. This feature, which is divided at times into thematic elements and at times into artistic medium, incorporates interviews with not only musicians, but also artists involved throughout the artistic process. We pride this list in being diverse and multi-faceted, as well as philosophically exploratory. See all of our entries from previous years or get started by choosing a category below. Happy travels through the artistic universe we've crafted for you.

With wide-reaching arms and hungry ears, each of our writers has compiled his or her top albums of the year, for you to peruse our eclectic, atypical, and only occasionally overlapping tastes. You'd be well-served to check out every single record here.
Vivian Hua - dance, indie, pop, psychedelic, electronic Troy Micheau - metal, electronic, experimental, ambient Jason Simpson - pop, soul, electronic, ambient Ian King - electronic, ambient, instrumental, pop Peter Woodburn - ambient, metal, garage, indie Judy Nelson - dance, electronic, indie, pop, hip-hop Albums of the Year 2014

O'Death - ROAM Music Video
In the music video for O'Death's latest single, "ROAM", mismatched body parts from sixteen people contribute to tunnelvision of a most peculiar kind. Psychedelic experiments usually seen on full-color blast are given carnivalesque life through black and white articulation, as viewers take a swirling ride past grim lyrics and disembodied structures. Created by band member Gabe Darling, the experience of this music video is perhaps best summarized using his own description; upon viewing it, "You're just a tourist in this fleshy-hell-party." O'Death's latest record, Out of Hands We Go, is out now on Northern Spy Records, and can be streamed in its entirety on CMJ.com. You can also catch them on their national tour now, with a series of west coast dates beginning in the Pacific Northwest with Stone Jack Jones! Full tour dates below, along with the music video stream and a Q&A with Darling, in which the humor behind his "fleshy-hell-party"-crafting mind truly shines through.

Kiev Band Interview
Bands navigating today's music industry are prone to micromanaging and deeply scrutinizing their every career move, but Orange, California's Kiev are not so cynical. Guitarist and vocalist Robert Brinkerhoff -- who introduced himself as "Bobby" at the start of our phone interview -- believes his band prefers a "slow burn" approach, with grassroots, hand-to-hand fan interaction. Kiev's grassroots tactics, which they're perfecting while promoting their debut full-length album, Falling Bough Wisdom Teeth, entail "sticking to your guns and making music you want to make, and knowing that it takes getting people in a room. It means playing shows to all different types of audiences, and hitting the road. It means doing things you love, which for us means making live performance videos, sharing them, and hoping that people get turned on to them in a genuine way and want to share them, as opposed to just being sort of click-bait or a sort of spectacle that gets popular really fast and then dies off really fast."

Portland, OR based art-collective-of-two MSHR have had a busy year. Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy deepened their self-mythologizing practice during a residency at NYC's Eyebeam and just returned from Langenthal, Switzerland, where they constructed the sister show to this year's Time-Based Art Festival (TBA) installation. All this work means the TBA crowd gets more MSHR than ever before - more complex interlocking shapes of ambiguous signification, more mind-bending feedback loops of sound and light and, notable for the group's artistic evolution, more physical space, as the installation sprawls out in a large corner of the warehouse-like Fashion Tech building.
MSHR's installation, Resonant Entity Modulator, is showing daily until September 30th from 12 to 6pm with a performance by the duo on September 19th at 10pm not to be missed.

MSHR

MSHR
"Where we're at right now, it doesn't make sense for us to join a preexisting community or culture that has a set of rules or traditions. That can't happen for us, but we want that -- everyone wants that -- and with this project, we're creating our own sacred spaces and traditions. Pathways in. And up." - Brenna Murphy, MSHR

 

"Although our work has a visual component, our work is more about a virtual realm. There are these invisible, virtual hyper-chambers that are there. - Birch Cooper, MSHR
MSHR Artist Collective Interview