Monday, January 5, 2015

My Favorite Albums of 2014 (video)

Here are my favorite 50 albums of 2014. Looking back it was a great year for music, anyone who says rock is dead is just not listening.

This is a good time to put in my two cents on the resurgence of vinyl.

If you have the stereo setup for it, nothing sounds better than vinyl. Period.

That being said, most of us do not have a system that will do vinyl justice. Albums are heavy, break down over time and are inherently imperfect. But, sound great on the right equipment.

I sold off all but a select few when I made the switch to CD in the 80's. Being in radio, CDs became the easiest way to listen and much easier to move.  I still buy/get CDs and rip them to a lossless format for portable listening, I am not a fan of MP3s. And I, too, miss the glory days of vinyl but I don't think they are coming back. The cost is too high for new albums and the same issues of storage and wear come in to play.

I am loving the higher resolution sounds on Blu-Ray and DVD audio, FLAC and others. Surround sound mixes, when done right are something else you do not get with vinyl.

But, if you love vinyl, go crazy, buy all you can get. CD, digital, whatever... however you listen...keep listening. Some incredible music came out in 2014 and I have no doubt 2015 will be great. Rock on!

Opeth - Pale Communion
One of my favorite bands made their first fully prog rock album since 2003's Damnation and it is awesome from start to finish.

Soen - Tellurian
From out of nowhere at the end of the year, this is tied for my favorite listen of the year.

Anubis Gate - Horizons
Been a fan and they took everything up a notch.

Evergrey - Hymns For The Broken
The most passionate album I heard this year. Yes, that Evergrey. You have to hear it to understand. Epic.

Voyager - V
Fairly ne to the band, the new album impresses in it's diversity.

Enchant - The Great Divide
Glad to have one of my favorite bands back in action!

Haken - Restoration
It's only an EP but has more amazing music on it than most longer albums.

Twelve Foot Ninja - Silent Machine
Yes, I know this came out before but I finally got a copy and saw them live in 2014.

The Third Ending - Three Word Title
Their debut is one of my all time favorites. It took almost eight years to follow it up but the wait was worth it.

Anathema - Distant Satellites
Although similar to their last two efforts, this is still a beautiful and powerful album

Cynic - Kindly Bent To Free Us

Pink Floyd - The Endless River

Scar Symmetry - The Singularity (Phase I - Neohumanity)

Gazpacho - Demon

Lunatic Soul - Walking On A Flashlight Beam

Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

Aeon Zen - Ephemera

Mastodon - Once More 'Round The Sun

No Brain Cell - Monuments

Slash - World On Fire

Gus G. - I Am The Fire

Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways

Rival Sons - Great Western Valkyrie

Flying Colors - Second Nature

The Wild Beyond - The Wild Beyond

Transatlantic - Kaleidoscope

Bigelf - Into The Malestrom

21 Octayne - Into The Open

Godsmack - 1000hp

3 Years Hollow - The Cracks

Lesser Key - Lesser Key

Devin Townsend Project - Z2

In Search Of Sun - The World Is Yours

Mr. Big - ...The Stories We Could Tell

Slipknot - .5 The Gray Chapter

Iced Earth - Plagues Of Babylon

Lacuna Coil - Broken Crown Halo

Dragonforce - Maximum Overload

Cage The Gods - Badlands

The Pineapple Thief - Magnolia

Kyng - Burn The Serum

Emperors And Elephants - Devil In The Lake

Devour The Day - Time & Pressure

Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls

Sanctuary - The Year The Sun Died

Baby Metal - Baby Metal

Ume - Monuments

Transatlantic - Kaleidoscope

Islander - Violence & Destruction

Nonpoint - The Return


My Favorite Video Games of 2014 (video)

#videogames #ps4 #rockfile
This was my first year of of nearly zero PC Gaming time since I first played Doom. I played almost exclusively on my PS4 and loved every minute. Consoles have nearly caught up to PC's in graphical quality and for the money you cannot beat them.

I tend to play single player games much more than multiplayer but Destiny is a different animal. Much like an MMO without the monthly fee (and less story, dammit Bungie!) but it excels in co-op fun. I love finishing hard missions together with a couple of other guys to advance the story and not just finish the map. I was a beta tester for Destiny and The Elder Scrolls Online and both are fun games. Destiny is going to have to ramp up the story if it is going to keep my interest with what's coming in 2015!

Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor - Assassin's Creed/Arkham Games-style in Middle-earth, what's not to like? Smooth controls, lots to see and do and an engaging story. It may not advance the genre but what it does, it does very well. 

Little Big Planet 3 - The most creative game out there, I love them all but 3 is awesome. More actual game and more tools to create, I will spend tons of time in this world.

Diablo III: Reaper Of Souls - The definitive version of the game I started playing two years ago on PC. The PS4 version is the best version of the game, so far.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - A game I loved on my PS3 only got better on PS4.

Infamous: Second Son - Expanding on everything I loved about the PS3 games, I enjoyed Second Son even more.

Destiny - A beautiful game that is a blast to play, just needs more content.

The Elder Scrolls Online - I don't do MMOs but this was a ton of fun.

Will play these ASAP:

Civilization: Beyond Earth
Dragon Age Inquisition
Far Cry 4
Dark Souls II
Wolfenstein: The New Order
The Evil Within
Watch Dogs


My Favorite Movies of 2014 (video)

#movies #rockfile
This is the first year that I have more on my "still to be seen" list than I actually saw. But, I am catching up fast! Oscar bait bores me but I never thought I would have a year-end list this fantastical. Look at the talent involved in these movies, I mean, Robert Redford was in a Marvel movie this year! The best movies are built on great stories and Hollywood seems to be "getting it" where popular entertainment is concerned. This was the year that proved comic based movies can be engaging and well done, instead of mindless eye candy. 

Guardians Of The Galaxy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes


Captain America The Winter Soldier

X-Men Days Of Future Past

Edge Of Tomorrow

The Lego Movie

Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Muppets Most Wanted
Begin Again
The Babadook
22 Jump Street
Deliver Us From Evil

Movies I plan to see ASAP:

Under The Skin
Big Hero 6
The Equalizer
John Wick
Lone Survivor
The Signal
The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies
The Raid 2
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
How To Train Your Dragon 2
The Book Of Life
Beyond Outrage
The Congress
The Imitation Game
Gone Girl
Big Bad Wolves
Jodorowsky's Dune
Journey To The West
The Rover
I Origins