The Best Music We Heard in 2014

Here is the best music we heard in the past year. Most, but not all, was also released in 2014. “I had a sparse year for new music” says Cory. “I wish I could say that I fell in love with more tunes this year. But, I have a deep, deep fondness for the records I did discover this year.”

Top 8 (in random order)

Next 13 (also in random order)

Derek Jennings, “Bummertown” EP

This past week Cory alerted me that Derek Jennings’ (known as D-Rockets on MFR) excellent EP “Bummertown” was available on iTunes.  I’d known it was streaming on Bandcamp but didn’t know it was for sale, so I snagged it immediately and I encourage you to check it out below and do the same.


I’m hardly, but it’s the title of the Truckfighters song that’s on right now.  If you like early Queens of the Stone Age, check out Truckfighters; debut Gravity embedded below, more at Fuzzorama Records Bandcamp page.

Keeping it short; my Mac (the personal one, not the studio PC) had a huge, weird, unexpected node problem Friday night and I’ve spent a bunch of time recovering from that.  At this point it looks like I have everything, but it’s going to take a bunch of time to get it all back where it belongs, including my iTunes library (gigantic), Thunderbird (email, plus it functions as my to-do list), GIMP (MFR artwork), and more.

I’ve started recording instrumental leads for Cory’s long-awaited solo jawn; two tracks of keys and one of harmonica (!) are down.  That leaves four leads, probably all electric guitar and assorted effects, background vocals, and whatever little guitar texture bits are needed after the other stuff is in place.  It’s a lot of fun to do, and going to sound really, really cool.

Mars Lights EP release is scheduled for January 13.  We just finished mastering, and figure everyone’s busy for the next couple weeks.

Ventura Mix Set-up

I still have a lot to learn about mixing.  Ventura is probably my best mix so far, though, and besides simply having more experience I attribute that to using a reverb set-up that I learned from Bobby Owsinski’s blog.

Here’s a diagram of the mix:


  • Outputs
    • Kick and bass tracks go directly to the master output/buss
    • All other tracks are output to a stereo aux track with a simple high pass filter, set very low (I think it was 44 or 46 Hz on Ventura; you could certainly go up into the 70s or even higher, I was being conservative), to clear out those useless sub-bass frequencies on non-kick/bass sounds
  • Sends
  • Reverb
    • The three EQ auxes output to a stereo aux with the actual reverb effect on it, set 100% wet, which outputs to the master output/buss.  So this applies the same reverb sound to all the tracks, resulting in a natural-sounding reverb and putting everything in the same room sonically
    • I like to set a timed pre-delay on the reverb, such as a 16th or 32nd note, for clarity
    • The post-fader track sends usually work for me at unity gain (i.e. following the track fader), but some – bass, kick, maybe vocals, maybe other drum mics – may need to be pulled down to avoid jumping out as too wet
    • This is a matter of taste, but I liked this method of creating reverb across a whole song much more than either 1) using reverb in mastering or 2) setting reverb track-by-track (i.e. one reverb on the snare, another on the vocals, etc.).  I tend to like natural-sounding, dry-ish production, though, so your mileage may vary

Questions?  Hit me in the comments!