2014 is crawling to its conclusion and, as the record industry enters its mulled wine fuelled hibernation, its time to reflect on the year’s highs and lows. Guitar Planet starts with pure positivity, reflecting on the artists who released the best records, blew our minds live and helped to set the direction of travel in 2014.
The Black Keys transition from alternative workhorses to global superstars proved so assured that it’s become easy to take the duo for granted. Turn Blue, through no fault of its own, underwhelmed and Dan Auerbach is, somewhat improbably, being overlooked. Perhaps the decision to swap his six string for keys on the duo’s comeback single “Fever” alienated some, but this one-man rock and roll revival deserves his due.
The Black Keys continue to transcend the nostalgia tag by effortlessly contorting classic sounds into new structures and unleashing a seemingly endless barrage of hooks. It’s hard to think of a vocalist/guitarist who can rival Dan’s cool, almost nonchalant assurance on record and, despite the slumping sales, the duo’s return to stickier, sexier psychedelic tones was a long overdue revelation.
Enter Shikari renew their archly political assault while expanding their sonic horizons on The Mindsweep.
Brutish, brazen and ungodly satisfying, Royal Blood rode a barrage of chugging bass grooves all the way to the top of the charts in 2014.
Opeth may preach exclusively to the converted, but to overlook the Swedes’ staggeringly consistent brilliance is foolhardy.
Soothing and sorrow-laden in equal measure, Lost In The Dream by The War On Drugs left Guitar Planet speechless.
Guitar Planet has had a love/hate relationship with Slash since Velvet Revolver split, but it remains impossible to deny his freewheeling riffs and slippery solos.