Marc Maron said it best: "Ranking artists and making lists is a dead culture's version of intellectualism."
Well, we're holding onto that dead culture with cold, lifeless fingers. It’s that terrific/terrible time of year in which we think about the things we didn’t find to be trite, monotonous drivel and give thanks for the things that made us hold a little flame of hope for this world. 2014 was a year of…well, we’ll let our artists and the Bloodshot staff detail what made 2014 unique. Here is a decadent digest of our favorite music, movies, TV, food, trends, YouTube videos, and personal victories of this two thousand fourteenth year of our lord. As much as this is mostly for our own amusement, you might find a few things for your own lists.
Sarah Balliet (cellist, Murder By Death)
Favorite show you played in 2014: I got to play at the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards this year in Winnipeg with Samantha Crain. She was nominated for 3 awards; it was an unforgettable experience. [editor's note: Samantha Crain appears on our new 20th anniversary compilation album While No One Was Looking, covering Ha Ha Tonka's "Cold Forgiver."]
Favorite concert/show you spectated in 2014: St Seneca @ the Bishop, Bloomington, IN
Favorite 2014 music album: Essential Tremors, J Roddy Walston and the Business
Favorite song of 2014: "Heavy Bells" by J Roddy Walston and the Business
Favorite book you read in 2014: "The Blue Bourbon Orchestra" by Carson Mell
Favorite thing from yesteryear that you just got around to in 2014: I took a gardening class this year and FINALLY learned the ins and outs of vermicomposting.
Best thing you ate in 2014: Corn smut in Tulum, MX
Best thing you drank in 2014: My favorite drink all year has been yellow Chartreuse with champagne. It tastes like the desert.
Favorite trend of 2014: Internet activism
Least favorite trend of 2014: Internet smugness
Best bad decision you made in 2014: Playing fewer shows.
Top personal victory of 2014: Moving to Louisville, KY
Use a movie quotation to describe 2014: “Nothin’ or double, Jack.”
What you are most looking forward to in 2015: Playing fewer shows, living in Louisville.
Favorite show you played in 2014: Tie: Station Inn in Nashville with Shad Cobb, Noam Pikelny, Chris Scruggs, and Aaron Till; and Union Hall in Brooklyn with Robbie Gjersoe, Shad Cobb, and Todd Phillips
Favorite concert/show you spectated in 2014: I didn't see hardly any music shows, but Ralph Stanley was great as usual at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. And Brian Regan at the Chicago Theater was pretty brilliant.
Favorite 2014 music album: Gerald Dowd's Home Now! Also, Wildbirds and Peacedrums caught my ear, and I played Miranda Lambert's new one several times with fascination.
Favorite song of 2014: Whatever song Idina Menzel is singing right now on The Tonight Show. She's some kind of enchantress.
Favorite 2014 movie: Well I only saw two 2014 movies. They were called Nightcrawler and Force Majeure, and they were both pretty good.
Favorite 2014 TV or web show: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a nearly ideal blend of information, production values, humor, and (yikes) wisdom.
Favorite book you read in 2014: A Heart So White by Javier Marias
Favorite YouTube video of 2014: Fred Armisen making things up on Seth Meyers's show.
Favorite thing from yesteryear that you just got around to in 2014: Eric Dolphy! He's my new hero. Never got around to Out to Lunch till this year - and Blue Note's vinyl reissue series is a godsend.
Also, Sonny Throckmorton, it was a big Sonny Throckmorton year for me. Also, also, also....Sarah Vaughan's first record, with Herbie Mann playing the flute - wild and bold and beautiful. And Bobby Charles. And Stan Kenton, of all things. Blake Babies. A ton of Merle Travis. In A Silent Way by Miles Davis I never heard till this year. Richard Twardzik's version of Porgy and Bess I never heard either. There seems to be no end to fantastic music, since they started recording it....
Best thing you ate in 2014: The caulifower entree at Beatrix in Chicago was good, but the Rica Nidelven's breakfast bar in Trondheim Norway was epic. I don't even eat breakfast usually, and yet I couldn't stop eating breakfast. Footnote: believe it or not, the P.F. Chang's at the Atlanta airport is real solid, and the Sunday wait staff are genial and callipygian.
Best thing you drank in 2014: Every drop of bourbon was heaven.
Favorite trend of 2014: Teenage son smoking less dope and enjoying school a little more, and national jobless rate falling.
Least favorite trend of 2014: Declining vision, hearing, knees.
Best bad decision you made in 2014: I attended our neighbor's Halloween party as a demented, lascivious old man and spoke very candidly and off-the-cuff to the neighbor ladies, and now things are a little awkward when I see the neighbor ladies.
Top personal victory of 2014: Played Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, made good time in the Shamrock 8K run in March.
Use a movie quotation to describe 2014: "We gotta get out of here."
What you are most looking forward to in 2015: This is a pretty banal answer but I'm genuinely excited about every musical project I've got in the coming year -- a play I'm scoring, a film Jenny Scheinman scored that she and I are doing live accompaniment for, a little duo touring with Redd Volkaert, and a new record.
2015 New Year resolution and % chance of success: Every January I think, "It really is time I got around to the big names of 19th-century Russian literature," and every January I drop the ball. It is sad to think of an intellectually curious person dying without having read the dozen or so necessary books in this field. So I'm going with the idea that I'm going to live on indefinitely into the happy future, and therefore I keep kicking the heavy can of Russian sorrow down the road: 2% chance.
Mary Richardson (vocalist, Banditos)
Favorite show you played in 2014: I’ve decided to go with the first one that pops into my head--not because it was the most spectacular, or the most attended, because it was the most electric. It was actually the week I first met some of you guys, funny enough. So, obviously, it was our first SX and our set at Hotel Vegas was something I anticipated and it delivered. It was sweaty, loud; the people were excited, like, wailing after songs. It was almost overwhelming the response we got. Something about having people packed in that skuzzy room (albeit in the most endearing sense) and their energy was so intense and we were feeling it--really projecting it right back. I remember people applauding a long time after each song, to the point I was blushing and thanking a little too much. I felt so grateful to even be at SX let alone play one of the most memorable shows we’ve had this year. The folks after were great, really respectful, charming and appreciative of live music & raw emotion. It seemed fitting to feel so warm in a punk/garage kinda club since we were raised in that environment. I think it just affirmed in my head that we were running right beside the other bands there and that made me feel really fucking good.
Favorite concert/show you spectated in 2014: Billy Joe Shaver at the AMAs was incredible. What a crowd charmer. He had us captivated the entire time. His backing band was the shit, and well, seeing him clap his hands together, smiling with his two fingers missing warmed my heart a bit. It was so packed you could hardly move, but everyone was smiling. I was standing next to Jonny Fritz. I could hear him singing and laughing at every joke. That’s a guy I really love and respect, looking at a man he loves and respects, then there’s me looking at everyone looking and being completely blown away. Oh yeah, Doug Seegers played right before him. Corey and I were together and had never heard him before - super amazing stuff.
Favorite 2014 music album: I would like to play the role of Captain of the Obvious-As-Shit Ship and say I loved Sturgill Simpson’s album. Yeah, I know, everyone knows it was great, but it is great, and it frequented our tour van. If I were to dig a little deeper in the less of a throw-away answer I’d tell you I’ve enjoyed Ronny by Ron Gallo of Toy Soldiers. I love his writing style. It’s super peculiar & imaginative.
Favorite 2014 movie: Hands down Birdman. This was the best movie I’ve seen in some time. I was lucky enough to think of it on Thanksgiving day. So, I was feeling kinda weird about it & decided to call up my roommate Luke Bell and say, “Hey, be a buddy and come see this movie we’ve been talking about seeing.” He’s also a musician hailing from Wyoming. This movie is the most wide-open look into an artist's psyche I’ve seen. It was incredibly executed and all too real. It’s posh to say "meta," but yeah, that shit gets in your head. Me & Luke kept looking at each other in disbelief. There’s this one scene where Keaton is tearing the shit out of his dressing room and I’m sitting there like, "I feel yah, man."
Favorite 2014 TV or web show: I really enjoyed Fargo (the TV series). The creator Noah Hawley & of course, the Coen brothers, did a nice job with it. My mom made me watch The Hobbit tonight, actually, and I couldn’t see anything else but Lester Nygaard. Funny story, the night we watched the finale of this show we were in New Orleans staying at our friends Kid Carson's house & my sleeping bag got peed on by a too stoned/drunk passeroutter. That was a bummer.
Favorite book you read in 2014: One of my best friends recommended me to read some Carlos Castaneda and I’m just now climbing on board the mystic train. It’s been a fun ride. Currently on A Separate Reality; I didn’t know you could smoke mushrooms. (I should really hope you’re not putting this anywhere my parents can see...)
Favorite YouTube video of 2014: Maybe it’s because I grew up with him, and maybe it’s because this band has been close to us for awhile, but I think it’s mainly because he’s a genius film maker, and they’re incredible musicians, but Hurray for the Riff Raff’s “The Body Electric” directed by Josh Shoemaker just came out, and it is incredibly powerful. I’m so proud of everyone involved on the project. People like Alynda make me proud of this generation of free-thinking, thought-provoking badasses out there making art be what it has always been made to be, compelling.
Favorite thing from yesteryear that you just got around to in 2014: Billy Swan’s cover of Elvis’s “Don’t be Cruel.” I adore it. Well, we all adore it in the band. We listen to it all the time, and will probably cover it. The video is hilarious and makes the song completely goofy, but I still love it.
Best thing you ate in 2014: Also going to go for the first thing I think of on this one and that’s a dish from Frank & Lola’s in Bartsville, Oklahoma. I just looked it up and it made me so hungry, but it was pan seared salmon glazed in sweet thai chili sauce, served over jasmine rice, with cool asian slaw and red curry cream sauce—verbatim. BLAMMO.
Best thing you drank in 2014: I was going out with a bartender here in Nashville for a few dates, and he was firstly, a craft beer dude, but secondly, a cocktail genius. He made me this one drink with 35 year old rum that was just...and then he took me to a couple fancy shmancy places that had cocktails with ingredients of words that have never once entered my vocabulary, so, I can’t tell you exactly what, but I’ve been forever changed from the two-ingredient cocktails. I’ve had a taste for the finer things, and it is good. For now I’m gonna keep to my drink ticketed well-whiskey rocks, but god damn if I don’t want that $12 thing in the dainty glass.
Best bad decision you made in 2014: Getting Tinder
Top personal victory of 2014: Getting rid of Tinder
Use a movie quotation to describe 2014: "We're very lucky in the band in that we have two visionaries, David and Nigel, they're like poets, like Shelley and Byron. They're two distinct types of visionaries, it's like fire and ice, basically. I feel my role in the band is to be somewhere in the middle of that, kind of like lukewarm water."
What you are most looking forward to in 2015: Getting these greased wheels slipping down the road a little further. I’d kiss your ass [Editor's note: we think she means Bloodshot's collective ass] a little, but you already know how much we love it. Should be a good’n.
2015 New Year resolution and % chance of success: Quit all the shit I keep talking about quitting. It’s always 50% but this time, THIS TIME it’s happening.
Steve Pierce (banjo player/vocalist, Banditos)
Favorite show you played in 2014: Hotel Vegas at SXSW
Favorite concert/show you spectated in 2014: Natural Child, New Years Eve at The East Room in Nashville. First one of the year.
Favorite 2014 music album: Ronny by Ron Gallo. He's one of the few that does Nilsson better than Nilsson did.
Favorite song of 2014: "Angie's Song" by Doug Seegers
Favorite 2014 movie: I recently watched Burt's Buzz; that guy has it figured out.
Favorite 2014 TV or web show: Fargo
Favorite book you read in 2014: Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson
Favorite YouTube video of 2014: Deez Nuts Joke on People's Court
Favorite thing from yesteryear that you just got around to in 2014: Podcasts! I can't believe I haven't been listening to them this whole time! There aren't enough hours in my day to listen to everything.
Best thing you ate in 2014: Riley Downing (of The Deslondes)'s Signature Slow Smoked Ribs
Best thing you drank in 2014: Yerba Mate + Tito's
Favorite trend of 2014: The pictures of guitarists in mid solo with a giant slug in their hands.
Least favorite trend of 2014: That goddamn ice bucket challenge.
Best bad decision you made in 2014: Yerba Mate + Tito's
Top personal victory of 2014: I did not break my phone...(yet)
Use a movie quotation to describe 2014: "Got a joint, man? It be a lot cooler if you did."
What you are most looking forward to in 2015: RELEASING OUR ALBUM WITH BLOODSHOT RECORDS!
Billy Bungeroth (guitarist, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound)
Favorite show you played in 2014: Le Sonograf - Le Thor, France 11/19/2014
Favorite 2014 music album: D’Angelo Black Messiah
Favorite song of 2014: "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars
Favorite 2014 movie: Guardians Of The Galaxy
Favorite 2014 TV or web show: Black Mirror (UK version)
Favorite book you read in 2014: Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Favorite YouTube video of 2014: Too Many Cooks
Best thing you ate in 2014: Home cooked meal at Le Temps de Crisis, France
Best thing you drank in 2014: Kurimi Coffee by Intelligentsia
Favorite trend of 2014: Hacking corporations when you don’t like their movies.
Least favorite trend of 2014: Cancer attacking Chicago.
What you are most looking forward to in 2015: Recording our new record.
2015 New Year resolution and % chance of success: Be patient - 100%
Ben Lamb (bassist, Lydia Loveless)
Favorite show you played in 2014: Bellingham, Washington, April 8 @ The Green Frog. We had just played a sold-out show at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle the previous evening, but weren't sure what to expect on a Saturday night in little ol' Bellingham. We arrived at the venue about an hour before doors, to find the rooom full of clowns, balloons, and small children…none of which are really my idea of a good time in a bar. The management assured us that the kids' matinee was wrapping up shortly, and that we could have whatever we wanted at the bar for free. Our moods brightened up considerably, but there was still the ambiance of disaster in the air, i.e. "I've told you a hundred times, it's 'Spinal Tap', THEN 'Puppet Show'".
The room was tiny, and the stage even tinier. I decided to leave my upright bass in the van, and to save room, I elected to play my Hondo II electric bass (an $89 piece o' crap I picked up earlier in the tour). We started playing and the room started to fill…and fill… and fill. Before we knew it, the place was extremely packed with enthusiastic fans, and nary a clown in sight. We never would have guess that would happen, but there we were. The set was going well, and then my amp blew up. Or I thought it blew up. I had the sound engineer bypass the amp, and just go through the monitors, but it still was cutting out. I figured it must have been my Hondo (which had just taken a nose dive out of the van the previous evening). I asked Lydia to play a solo acoustic tune while I retrieved my upright from the van.
It was not easy to get that thing in the room past everyone but I managed. And even though it seemed like technical problems were going to derail the set, when I finally got the upright plugged in and blasted through the mains, it felt like a whole new level of intensity for the band, and the crowd erupted. The rest of the evening seemed magical, (even when the bar eventually realized that perhaps offering us an unlimited bar tab at the beginning of the evening was a huge mistake).
Sometimes the best sets emerge from the precipice of calamity, and this was no exception. Equal parts Blues Brothers, Spinal Tap, and the last scene of the Anvil movie, this show reminded me yet again to never assume anything about a town, a crowd, or a venue. And that if you persevere, once you get the crowd on your side, anything can happen.
Favorite 2014 music album: Bridesmaid Breakfast at Riffany's. Ok, odds are that if you are reading this, you're not going to like this record, unless you're Scott H. Biram. But if you're Scott H. Biram, you're probably not reading this anyway, because you are too busy deep-frying an elk, or making peyote sun tea or whatever else awesome thing occupies your time.
Regardless, Bridesmaid is an instrumental band, comprised of two bass players tuned to Z-flat, and a drummer. There's an inherent doom/grindy aesthetic to it, but there's also a surprisingly upbeat melodic element winding its way through the compositions. I put this record on when I work on art, and when it's done, I just flip it over and start again. Crank this album and get instant cred from any headbanger or indie rocker while befuddling hipsters with tunes like "Ralpha Centauri" and "Francis with Wolves".
Favorite song of 2014: "Fall In Love" by Phantogram. Whenever we're in the 11th hour of a van drive, when everyone is woozy and listless, and the scenery turns into Dali-esque hallucinations luring me off the freeway and into the ditch and chain-smoking all the grape cigars in existence no longer wakes me up…nothing energizes the troops like this song. It's always better than anything on the radio.
Favorite 2014 movie: Birdman. I'm not sure how to describe this movie, so I won't. But I will note that Ed Norton steals the show in an acting tour de force as an actor's actor. (There's a whole lot of acting in this movie.) Birdman also cleverly serves as a slyly executed Raymond Carver film adaptation, much how Adaptation was a twisted, re-imagined take on The Orchid Thief. My wife, my sister-in-law, and I saw this movie together twice, which is really saying something because we hate everything.
Favorite 2014 TV or web show: Lydia bought me a DVD of season three of Mr. Show that she found at a thrift store. Definitely the best thing on [my] TV this year. A close runner-up would be the series finale DVD of Burn Notice that I picked up out of the free pile at the Onion office in Chicago. Screw you, Aziz Ansari! (If you can't tell, I am an anachronistic cheapskate with questionable taste.)
Favorite book you read in 2014: The Book of Duels by Michael Garriga. This was another freebie from the Onion office. This remarkable book chronicles 33 duels, both historical and imagined, and the last thoughts of each of the participants, as well as an observer's perspective in glorious prose. Scenarios include Cain vs. Abel, Dueling Banjos (on the set of Deliverance), Don Quixote vs. Windmill, and Caesar Julius vs. I Am (participants in the last legal cockfight in the US). I have never heard anyone else mention this fantastic book, and I can only hope that Garriga's distribution network consists of something somewhat better connected than merely just the discard pile at the Onion. However I must concede that it has proven undeniably effective, at least from my perspective.
Favorite YouTube video of 2014: Everything I needed to know about playing bass, I learned from this video:
Favorite thing from yesteryear that you just got around to in 2014: I bought a vintage fountain pen from the '30s and have since been covering every piece of paper in my house with experimental calligraphy. I plan on upgrading soon to an authentic feather pen, as soon as I can grab ahold of that damn peacock that's been tormenting our neighborhood. A pox on you, my fine-feathered knave!
Best thing you ate in 2014: Lydia made salmon deviled eggs for us last night. I might have eaten something better than that earlier this year but any memories of such an occurrence were immediately cancelled out. I would recommend them but there's no way she's gonna make them for you. So just imagine the best thing ever and it was just like that, but with Lydia serving it to you.
Best thing you drank in 2014: My good friends at Surly Brewing Co. hooked us up with 3 cases of beer the last time we played in Minneapolis. I believe my thrifty musician friends will agree with me when I say that free beer has a glorious taste all its own, but when that free beer is Surly's "Bender," then it approaches the sublime.
We also had a fan send us a bottle of Woodford Reserve engraved with "Lydia Loveless: Somewhere Else 'Record of the Year' 2014". And that was quite delicious as well. We might have been snubbed by the Grammys, but we cleaned house in the Free Booze awards.
Favorite trend of 2014: People not putting up with institutionalized bullshit has been pretty rad in 2014. Let's see more of that in 2015.
Least favorite trend of 2014: Our connectivity as humans reached an all-time high in 2014, just as our ability to generate meaningful content seemingly reached an all-time low. We can now instantly communicate about anything to anyone, anywhere, and what do we do with this power? You know what, if all you can do is post lists of things (ironic, I realize, in this context) in clickbait form, and share shitty stock photos with someone else's philosophy superimposed on them, then you should just take a year off and think for yourself. Come back when you have an original thought. And I'm not saying that in a mean way. Charlie Parker took 6 months off to learn sax, and it was time well spent. The same with Robert Johnson learning to really play guitar (although I understand he may have had some outside assistance). Get off the internet and make something personal and real, even if it's ugly and awkward. Most original things start that way. Also, kids on my lawn. Get off of it.
Best bad decision you made in 2014: At the end of our Halloween show (where I was dressed as King Neil Diamond) I chucked my pointy '80s Kramer bass toward our guitar rack and totally missed, breaking off the hockey stick-shaped headstock. It was probably for the best. I've never had an instrument inspire so much animosity in an audience. Hmm…maybe I should glue it back together after all.
Top personal victory of 2014: In February, I managed to trade in our Dodge conversion van for a Ford Econoline. The Dodge stalled whenever you took your foot off the gas, which made parallel parking and driving in the snow a treat. When I pulled the Dodge around at the dealership for them to evaluate its trade value, I left the engine running and prayed to The Boss that it would stay running for once in its miserable life, for at least until I got the Ford off the lot. And it did! We finished the year and our touring in the Econoline, and for the first time ever, we suffered zero breakdowns and zero mechanical failures while touring. Thanks, Bruce Springsteen!
Use a movie quotation to describe 2014: Jake: "Uh, Bob, about the money for tonight." Bob: "Oh, yeah, $200, and you boys drank $300 worth of beer."
What you are most looking forward to in 2015: We are going to record the best album in our lives in 2015, with the best band I've ever been in. And if people don't like it, I'm throwing all my possessions in the nearest active volcano (there have to be a few in central Ohio) and flying into the cosmos on the back of a giant Bernese Mountain Dog (a la The Never Ending Story) while cranking Michael Martin Murphy's "Wildfire."
2015 New Year resolution and % chance of success: Every year for the last 10 years I have had the same resolution: Learn to play "Drop Dead Legs" by Van Halen on guitar, and bench press my weight. Well, this year I finally got a weight bench in my basement (and I finally got a basement) so I'd say we're up to .5% chance of success. If I could talk Robbie Fulks into giving me some guitar lessons though, I bet I could push that up to 50%. If I can lose 150 or so pounds, I think I can increase that to 75%.
Rob Miller (Co-Commander, Bloodshot Records)
Favorite concert/show you attended in 2014: Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds at Red Line Tap in Chicago. Chicano psychedelic surf garage, with covers of The Cramps and The Gun Club by a man who was THERE.
Favorite non-Bloodshot 2014 music album: Other people put out music?
Favorite non-Bloodshot song of 2014: Say again?
Favorite 2014 movie: Tie: Birdman and The Lego Movie
Favorite 2014 TV or web show: Orange is the New Black (if I can ignore the lead character), The Colbert, sniff, Report…
OR, the Love Boat episode I caught one hung-over Sunday morning (it was a two-parter - BONUS). It involved Telly Savalas as a mad scientist, a robot Isaac, a Scandinavian bikini contest judged by John Davidson, and Gopher falling for a Swedish actress. Do I really have to tell you more to pique your interest? A ROBOT ISAAC!!!
Favorite book you read in 2014: Fiction: Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. Non –Fiction: Young Men and Fire by Norman MacLean, a riveting kind of procedural whodunit about a wildfire in Montana 1949 that killed 11 firefighters by the author of A River Runs Through It.
Favorite YouTube video of 2014:
I can't NOT laugh every time….
Best thing you ate in 2014: Jamon Iberico de bellota in Barcelona, the ham of the gods. Throw a poached egg on top of it and TOUCHDOWN!!!
Best thing you drank in 2014: I can’t remember, it was the best thing I drank…
Favorite trend of 2014: The pretzel-ing of just about everything. I'm in. Cucumber flavors in drinks.
Least favorite trend of 2014: Same answer as every year since I was 6: The vast majority of popular culture
Top personal victory of 2014: I got a puppy (my first pet) and I have not, as of this writing, strangled it yet.
Use a movie quotation to describe 2014: "Going in one more round when you don't think you can - that's what makes all the difference in your life." Or, alternatively, "I will break you" and "I win for me! FOR ME!" –Ivan Drago (Soviet man-machine bad guy) Same source. Rocky IV provides countless nuggets of wisdom, trailing only Road House as a sina qua non guidebook to life in these troubled times.
What you are most looking forward to in 2015? As usual, Henry Kissinger's funeral. Continued non-strangulation of puppy.
2015 New Year resolution and % chance of success: Not to make a rather random and binding promise to change a deficient quality in myself starting on January 1st. 100%.
Nan Warshaw (Co-Commander, Bloodshot Records)
Favorite non-Bloodshot song of 2014: “Neu Sensation” by Razorhouse. Full disclosure and personal bias, this is my husband’s great band, and I didn’t think I liked lyric videos until I saw this trippy one.
Favorite 2014 TV or web show: Podcasts: I listen to TED Talks.
Favorite book you read in 2014: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I’m a sucker for fictionalized modern history (my longtime favorite author is Erich Maria Remarque). Liked the teen hit The Fault In Our Stars by John Green so much I don’t want to see the movie to allow it to ruin my images of the characters.
Favorite YouTube video of 2014: The sickeningly sweet inter-species animal friendship videos:
Favorite thing from yesteryear that you just got around to in 2014: At Riot Fest in Chicago I saw Cock Sparrer for the first time. I loved their show because they were having a blast on stage and sharing their enthusiasm with the audience. 30 years ago I didn’t give them a chance - I naively assumed they were “just a skin” band, and as a punk, I wasn’t interested. Glad I’m beyond that thinking so I could now enjoy them.
And unrelated, I saw the great and classic Mel Brooks movie Spaceballs!
Best thing you ate in 2014: Everything cooked by chefs Jason Vincent and Alan Lake
Best thing you drank in 2014: More Lambrusco
Favorite trend of 2014:
1) Gay marriage
2) Marijuana legalization
3) Independent distilleries
Least favorite trend of 2014: Mustaches. I had hoped that 2012 and 2013 trend would be gone by now.
Top personal victory of 2014: Walking to work.
Pete Klockau (Sales Captain & Bon Vivant, Bloodshot Records)
Favorite concert/show you attended in 2014:
At the Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale, FL at the impossibly-way-too-early-who-the-hell-booked-this-thing time of 11AM, we saw the Left Arm of Buddha, a full 12 piece Exotica orchestra, complete with bird calls, four dancers, and multiple costume changes. I had never heard of them… but it was unreal, and for a very brief moment (even at 11AM) you could imagine what it was like to be sitting seaside, sipping a Jet Pilot, watching the Martin Denny Orchestra at the Hawaiian Village Shell Bar in 1964.
Favorite non-Bloodshot 2014 music album: My personal top 5 "Most Played" list, in no particular order...
Shinyribs - Gulf Coast Museum (Nine Mile)
Possessed by Paul James - There Will Be Nights When I'm Lonely (Hillgrass Bluebilly)
Water Liars - Water Liars (Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum)
Gold Dust Lounge - Lost Sunset (self-released)
Favorite 2014 TV or web show:
Both Drunk History and Nathan For You continue to be absolutely, consistently hilarious.
Favorite book you read in 2014: A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert Ripley by Neal Thompson. Reading about Robert "Believe It Or Not" Ripley's jet-setting world-exploring life as a CARTOONIST in the 1930's really taught me nothing more than that I was clearly born in the wrong era. Yes…once upon a time you could be the most famous person in the world, globe-hopping to your heart's content and be… a cartoonist. I can't be positive about this, but I'm pretty sure that's what 8-year-old me thought cartoonists should be doing.
Favorite YouTube video of 2014:
Best thing you ate in 2014: I'd say the brandy and bleu cheese tenderloin medallions from Ishnala Supper Club in Lake Delton, WI (not to mention the cheese curds and brandy old fashioneds) are right up there. Of course, the Chicken Cordon Bleu (made from entirely local ingredients), homemade smelts, and Bombay Sapphire martinis that we had at the Del-Bar in Wisconsin Dells the night after Ishnala would be a close second. We do not eat light on vacation… we're in it to win it (and by "win it," of course I mean extra weight, bloating and ultimately shame and regret).
Best thing you drank in 2014: I found our local-ish liquor store on Argyle now stocks (mostly) the full line of phenomenal Rhum Clement products from Martinique. Their Barrel Select is both incredibly smooth and drinkable, and affordable, and (along with their Creole Shrub) it makes one helluva fine Mai Tai.
Favorite trend of 2014: I don't follow the trends, maaan… I make 'em...
Least favorite trend of 2014: The steady dead-horse-beating of perceived "hipster culture" by ad agencies and the media. A couple things to note...
Best bad decision you made in 2014: We bought an absolutely incredible 1960's Witco bar for a song, complete with Tiki-shaped barstools and leopard print fabric, that is absolutely, utterly fantastic. Unfortunately, we are have no room left in our little condo. It is going to take some extremely creative re-arranging to fit this in.
Use a movie quotation to describe 2014: "I don't make monkeys, I just train 'em"
What you are most looking forward to in 2015: Getting our collective social life back in proper order after a year of TCB.
2015 New Year resolution and % chance of success: To announce and immediately rescind my plan to explore possibly considering the likelihood of potentially announcing my plan to run for president in 2016.
Josh Zanger (Publicist/guy, Bloodshot Records)
Favorite concert/show you attended in 2014: Tie: Descendents, Hot Snakes, and PUP at Riot Fest Chicago; Bad Sports and Radioactivity at Empty Bottle in Chicago; Foo Fighters at Cubby Bear in Chicago
Favorite non-Bloodshot 2014 music album: Tie: Robert Ellis The Lights From The Chemical Plant; PUP PUP
Favorite non-Bloodshot song of 2014: Parquet Courts, “Sunbathing Animal”; Taylor McFerrin, “Place In My Heart," Water Liars, “Cannibal”
Favorite 2014 movie: Finding Vivian Maier
Favorite 2014 TV or web show: Black Mirror - it's like the UK version of The Twilight Zone, with some sci-fi bits thrown in here and there. The episode "The Entire History of You" is especially bonkers.
Favorite book you read in 2014: Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers - anyone who can read should read Charlie's recounting of the Louvins' tale.
Favorite YouTube video of 2014:
I can't not laugh whenever I watch this.
Favorite thing from yesteryear that you just got around to in 2014: Sacred harp singers. Regardless of religious context and how far away from popular, accessible music this is, the cultural and musical elements represented in some of these songs is awesome and real. Listen.
Best thing you ate in 2014: Hot dog with grilled onions at U.S. Cellular Field. It's the simple things in life, folks.
Best thing you drank in 2014: Gallons of Julius Echter at Huttenbar in Chicago
Favorite trend of 2014: The growing support for small local business, use of Divvy bikes, pizza eating
Least favorite trend of 2014: Shitheads, gourmet olives, trends
Best bad decision you made in 2014: Bad decision = Traveling to Indianapolis. Best bad decision = Traveling to Indianapolis to see Lydia Loveless and Old 97's.
Top personal victory of 2014: Moving without losing my mind. The release of our 20th compilation.
What you are most looking forward to in 2015: Eating new foods, drinking way too much, Bloodshot 20th anniversary show at Metro in Chicago.
2015 New Year resolution and % chance of success: Not hearing the Spin Doctors. 32% success rate.
Mike Sosin (Radio/streaming/music-for-the-masses dude, Bloodshot Records)
Mike Smith (New Media Digital Cyborg, Bloodshot Records)
Favorite concert/show you attended in 2014:
Foo Fighters at Cubby Bear in Chicago
Wilco at Riviera Theater in Chicago
Cory Branan at a packed OUT-the-door Schubas in Chicago
Water Liars at Schubas in Chicago two days after that
Diarrhea Planet at Hotel Vegas in Austin
Lucius at Metro in Chicago
Favorite non-Bloodshot 2014 music album: Can't pick between Saintseneca's Dark Arc, Hiss Golden Messenger's Lateness of Dancers, The Sugar Stems' Only Come Out at Night, Robert Ellis's Lights from the Chemical Plant, or The War on Drugs's Lost in the Dream
Favorite non-Bloodshot song of 2014: "Can't Do Without You" by Caribou
Favorite 2014 movie: Thinkpiece: Grand Budapest Hotel; Popcorn flick: Guardians of the Galaxy
Favorite 2014 TV or web show: Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver, Louie, Pawnography
Favorite book you read in 2014: The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero. I'm also about a quarter of the way through Robert Hilburn's unbelievably in-depth, 700-page biography of Johnny Cash, and it's incredible.
Favorite YouTube video of 2014: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, and Conan O'Brien take an unsuspecting Lyft car in East LA and eat fast food and mess with the driver's friends.
Favorite thing from yesteryear that you just got around to in 2014: The Louvin Brothers' tribute to The Delmore Brothers. Creature Comforts America. The Newsroom.
Best thing you ate in 2014: Chile Relleno Burrito from Chicharronia Don Choche food truck in Albuquerque, NM. I ate it while watching a honky tonk band in the rain on the patio at Marble Brewery
Best thing you drank in 2014: Few Distillery's Whiskey Barrel-Aged Gin (yes it's exactly how it sounds)
Favorite trend of 2014: The artisinal revolution
Least favorite trend of 2014: "Bro country." I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around why people enjoy this music or would subject themselves to its stupidity and severe lack of musicality. It's just...gross. I suppose I am not part of its target market. I'm also consistently complaining about the genereal degradation of journalism.
Best bad decision you made in 2014: Reading The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made
Top personal victory of 2014: Bicycling nearly 1000 miles this summer, the release of Bloodshot's 20th anniversary compilation (over a year in the making)
Use a movie quotation to describe 2014: "Somebody's poisoned the water hole!"
What you are most looking forward to in 2015: More cycling. New Bloodshot releases. Various travels. The new Avengers and Star Wars films. (Super cool guy right here! Ladies, take a number!)
2015 New Year resolution and % chance of success: Don't play in a band; 50% chance of success.
Leigh Ann Getchis (Tour Promotion Dame, Bloodshot Records)
Favorite concert/show you attended in 2014: The Menzingers, Pup, Lemuria, Cayetana at Bottom Lounge in Chicago in June. This lineup was amazing, but most noteworthy was PUP. They blew my mind with their live performance; I went home with their vinyl and have been a big fan ever since.
Favorite non-Bloodshot 2014 music album: I can’t pick just one… so here is a top 3 list:
Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
PUP – PUP
Tigers Jaw – Charmer
Favorite non-Bloodshot song of 2014: The Menzingers – “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore” Best music video I’ve seen this year too.
Favorite 2014 movie: The Babadook, an Australian psychological horror movie
Favorite 2014 TV or web show: American Horror Story: Freak Show
Favorite YouTube video of 2014: Too Many Cooks!
Favorite cat vine of 2014? Oh what’s that? You didn’t ask? Here it is anyway:
Favorite thing from yesteryear that you just got around to in 2014: The IT Crowd! How was this show not on my radar before this year?!
Best thing you ate in 2014: Cornbread with homemade honey butter…‘aint nothin’ wrong with that.
Best thing you drank (alcoholic or not) in 2014: Festina Peche a Dogfish Head brew; my new-found favorite summer beer.
Favorite trend of 2014: All the space discoveries and accomplishments: Rosetta landing on a comet, Orion test launch, NASA Rover finding water and ancient organic chemistry on Mars. Wuuut?!
Least favorite trend of 2014: Those Ice Bucket Challenge videos… all of them.
Best bad decision you made in 2014: Drinking the famous Fernando’s margaritas at the Bloodshot Holiday party. Best bad decision of every year. [Editor's note: Adding that to my answer too...]
Top personal victory of 2014: Seeing Patti Smith, Buzzcocks, and Television at Riot Fest this year.
Use a movie quotation to describe 2014: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
2015 New Year resolution and % chance of success: Read more often and finish a book or two. 60%
Anthony Nguyen (Bookkeeper/Moral Compass, Bloodshot Records)
Favorite concert/show you attended in 2014: Buzzcocks and Die Antwoord at Riot Fest, PUP at Burlington, Death from Above 1979 in Toronto.
Favorite non-Bloodshot 2014 music album: PUP, PUP; St. Vincent, St. Vincent
Favorite non-Bloodshot song of 2014: "Resevoir" by PUP; "Birth in Reverse" by St. Vincent
Favorite 2014 movie: Nightcrawler or How to Train Your Dragon 2
Favorite 2014 TV or web show: Bojack Horseman
Favorite YouTube video of 2014:
Favorite thing from yesteryear that you just got around to in 2014: Trees Lounge
Best thing you drank in 2014: Mansinthe
Least favorite trend of 2014: Racism
Best bad decision you made in 2014: Bringing a bottle of Malört into Riot Fest Chicago
Top personal victory of 2014: Driving from Milwaukee, WI to Las Vegas, NV and completing the Riot Fest Trifecta (Chicago, Toronto, Denver) in between.
Until next year!