MY BEST ISRAELI ALBUMS OF THE YEAR 2014
It’s that time of the year again. The time to say the best wishes for the new year, get ready for a the big New Year dinner, looking back summarizing the old year and planning the new wishes and dreams for the next year and doing the most important and fun thing – choosing the albums and the music that made your past year so great. So here’s my best Israeli albums of the year, the albums that touched me deep inside and stayed there making me fall in love with them.
You can also listen to a special MIXTAPE with all of my favorite songs taken from each chosen album here:
ADAM COHEN | LAVAN
“Lavan” is one of those best kept treasures that you have to discover. Adam Cohen’s mesmerizing voice flying over soft electronic beats singing heart-breaking lyrics all produced in his bedroom is so beautiful that you’ll run to find his previous two albums so hurry up.
ASSAF SHATIL | PINE
“PINE” is a piano driven album, in which it is someone’s destiny for the piano to be more like an extension of the human body. The album is composed of twelve heart breaking and beautiful songs mastering the beauty of the piano and Assaf’s lyrics. This is the perfect album for this winter and any winter from now on. (Read full post)
COHEN | RAP
What a great album it is – 7 brilliantly mastered tracks with Cohen’s great flow on the mic and his soulfulness on the music and production (with great help from Jeremiah Jae & Samiyam) full of great hooks and beats. If you close your eyes and listen to this album you can totally forget the fact that you listen to Rap in Hebrew, that’s how good it is. (Read full post)
DANSKI | 11
DANSKI (Idan Shimoni) lives in a world that has its own emotional landscapes filled with textures of soft electronica, emotions and music. His voice is floating above everything like a ghost – soothing and comforting but at the same time makes you slightly discomforted. These collection of songs can make you drift away to cold places with the search after rays of light and some comfort. (Read Full Post)
ESTER RADA | ESTER RADA
Ester Rada is one of the sensational musicians in Tel Aviv right now. Her combination of Nu-Soul music with Jazzy and Funky flavours is one of those exceptional things making her debut album one of the best things around full of warm funky tunes and amazing ballads. (Read Full Post)
FLORA | EVERYTHING IS HERE
Flora’s new EP with its 6 great electronic tunes is one of those albums that you need to listen to when you’re on a big journey in a car or a train or even a plane. It will definitely make the journey better by painting it with subtle colors of beauty and emotion. (Read Full Post)
GARDEN CITY MOVEMENT | BENGALI CINEMA EP
After their first EP it was clear that Garden City Movement are defining new rules with their mixture of electronica and vocals making incredible music that is not afraid to break boundaries and define new kind of music. Their second EP “Bengali Cinema” proved to be even better and grown up with mesmerizing tunes and vocals. This year is going to be the year of their success in Tel Aviv and also abroad.
JOOVE | UNLOCK & GOOD LUCK
“Unlock & Good Luck”, complete with heartbreaking songs that combine electronic beats with folkie vibes to create a very special musical atmosphere unique to these guys and their music. If you love Hot Chip and miss the good indietronic music that makes you move your body while the tears roll down, JoovE is the answer you were waiting for. (Read full post)
LO KOHOT | LO KOHOT
the best way to describe Gilad Kahana & Tamir Muskat’s duo “Lo Kohot” is crazy ass balkan madness full of Gilad’s critical and very cynical lyrics and Tamir’s great beats combining Balkan, Arabic and other middle eastern influences. It’s great album to dance with but it will also make you think.
MICHA HERSHLIKEVITCH | KOL GIBOREY HA YALDUT
Micha’s debut album is an incredible Israeli album, with its’ unique sound, beautiful melodies and heartbreaking lyrics. All you need to do is just press the play button and let its’ sounds and Micha’s vocals and guitars to completely win you over by embracing your ears and your heart. (Read full post)
NORIA | CLEAR BACKGROUNDS
This beautiful album took the band one step further, adding to their special musical mixture of new Brit-Pop flavors, heard in perfect alternative pop songs. If you’re seeking it, “Clear Backgrounds” will give you some peace and quiet, but may also break you heart. So be careful… (Read full post)
RONI ALTER | GO WILD
Its 9 amazingly beautiful and heartbreaking songs, perfectly produced by Alon Lotringer, surround the strangeness she felt being in a new city, her longing for familiar feelings and places and the questions that appear in love. “Go Wild” is an album you’ll wish you had if ever left on a deserted island. (Read full post)
RUTH DOLORES WEISS | BESFAT BNEY ADAM
When I think about soulful and emotional singer Ruth Dolores Weiss‘s name comes first to my mind. Her ability to make all of your emotions to come up from deep places to the surface is incredible. Her latest self-produced album is one of those incredible albums that make you open up your chest and put your heart on the table while gently breaking it to pieces and gluing it back in the best way imagined.
SHLOMI SHABAN | TARGIL BE’HITORERUT
No doubt one of the best albums of the year with Tamir Muskat’s great production and Shlomi Shaban’s incredible lyrics. Instant classic with its 12 heartbreaking songs.
THE SECRET SEA | THE SECRET SEA
“The Secret Sea” is one of those rare bands that successfully calm me down, making everything sensible. Their first full album “The Secret Sea” showcasing their great abilities as a band to write and perform amazing pop tunes and timeless melodies and pour everything into an amazing album full of beautifully crafted songs such as “Afterlife”, “Slow Burning Light”, “Elegy” and “Not About Us”. (Read full post)
THE ANGELCY | EXIT INSIDE
The Angelcy’s songs are a mixture of sadness and happiness, a marching band that sings about the triumphs of the heart. Every time I listen to them I find myself crying while my heart is singing… Their full length debut is one of the best thing that will happen to your soul.
TOM GEFEN | THROUGH FIRE
One song, one perfect song, on repeat. One song, beautifully mastered song, that rips your heart out shapes it differently and puts it back where it belongs. That’s all you need in life. One song on endless repeat. That song is on Tom Gefen‘s debut EP “Through Fire” along with 3 other heartbreaking and amazing songs that will make you wish it was a full album with 10 songs at least. He worked with Ben Spector on the EP giving it an electronic fill combined with more live instrumental arrangements and with his true and wise lyrics sung by his magnetizing voice. (Read full post)
SHANA TOVA EVERYONE!
Matan Ben-Zvi /// The Unnecessary Joy
It’s still so hot outside so it’s hard to believe that autumn is on its way to us but I’m making sure to stock some beautiful autumn and winter music for the cold days that I love so much.
Matan Ben Zvi’s debut album “The Farewell of The Prodigal Son” is the right album to listen to when it’s windy outside with its’ 11 beautifully mastered songs all produced by Matan himself. Wild West sounds with rocky flavours alongside couple of powerful ballads and heartbreaking lyrics all making this album into a strong musical statement and as it says in the title – a farewell. Before this album Matan released an EP called “Awakening Project” in which he produced different musician singing their own written songs but all under his musical production – making him not only a singer songwriter but also a producer that not only producing himself but also other artists. Now after releasing the album and touring he’s leaving to New York to study and play his music to a bit different audience and discovering more sides to him as a musician.
Tamar Eisenman /// Nothing (Klum Lo)
Sometimes you need to go far away to eventually come back to what’s really familiar and close to you finding a shelter in that place.
That is what happened to the singer-songwriter, producer and guitar phenomena Tamar Eisenman who released 3 albums (plus one EP) in English and now she’s going to release her forthcoming album, the first one in Hebrew, and somehow it feels and sounds like the natural thing to do for her. Her famous guitar abilities are still there and her fine energy is also there but suddenly the language is different. Hebrew it a tough language to sing and you must know how to master it and Tamar is mastering the lyrics perfectly and her voice gives to the song its’ final great touch. Soon the album will be out and meanwhile she’s finished yet another album in English and touring with her great songs. It’s hard to not totally fall in love with a strong woman and her guitar.
You can CATCH her performing (along side DJ Yoav Arnon) today (16.09) at Abraxas Bar as part of the “ABSOLUT TRIPLE” nights that connects Musician with DJ’s in a new way to create a special and one-night-only show.
Graph Rabbit /// Snowblind
As we go further into the music shuffle era it’s harder to listen carefully to a full album. There’s too much to hear and not as much time left to really sit down and listen to everything, let alone to get excited or be moved. But sometimes an album comes along that makes you to sit down, relax and let the music envelope your mind, body and your shuffle addiction.
Graph Rabbit‘s debut album “Snowblind” is one of those incredible albums that you have to dedicate time to. You have to give your whole being and listen to it, track to track, from beginning to end. Although after you hear the first few seconds of the album, it’s hard to resist. Graph Rabbit are the Brooklyn-based duo of artist/composer Austin Donohue and experimental pianist Shy Kedmi. With the help of engineer and producer Allen Farmelo – who worked with The Cinematic Orchestra – they created a new world with magical music that tells the story of an unnamed character through a loose-knit narrative. This character wanders through a surreal, minimalist snowscape, falls in and out of sleep, follows deceptive birds, argues with a river and eventually surrenders to the silence of snowfall. You can’t ignore the influences of names such as Björk, Sigur Rós’s Jonsi and even Múm, but at the same time it’s so different, such beautifully crafted music with Austin’s beautiful voice elevating everything into another dimension.
For a concept album like this, it was only suitable to make a live show that will go hand-in-hand with it. So the duo chose to perform the album live front-to-back with no computers to really bring the world they’ve created to their audience. So after more than 200 shows all over the states they have come to Israel for a mini tour kicking it first in Tel aviv [solo] (08.09), Be’er Sheva [opening act by Flora] (09.09), Tel aviv [opening act by Shelly & Rotem] (10.09), Jerusalem [opening act by Alon Eder] (11.09), Haifa [opening act by Paspartou] (12.09) and closing the tour again in Tel aviv [opening act by Einav Jackson Cohen] (13.09).
Watch Graph Rabbit’s videos below and purchase yourself a copy on HERE.
Tom Gefen /// They Will Hold You Now
One song, one perfect song, on repeat. One song, beautifully mastered song, that rips your heart out shapes it differently and puts it back where it belongs. That’s all you need in life. One song on endless repeat.
That song is on Tom Gefen‘s debut EP “Through Fire” along with 3 other heartbreaking and amazing songs that will make you wish it was a full album with 10 songs at least. Tom who was in the past a footballer and also the lead singer for the Metal band “Reign Of The Architect” decided to take some time out and give to the singer-songwriter in him a fair chance and apparently it was a very wise choice. He worked with Ben Spector on the EP giving it an electronic fill combined with more live instrumental arrangements and with his true and wise lyrics sung by his magnetizing voice. Now Tom is planning to tour with his band and with his songs and working on a full length album.
You can CATCH them performing & launching the EP TODAY (27.08) at “Tmuna Theatre” (Shonstino 8, TLV). Watch the video for “They Will Hold You Now” and listen to the EP below.
MARBL /// Plastic
I feel very lucky each time I’m introduced to new and exciting music as if I found a nickel on the pavement exactly when I needed it.
MARBL was created by Moria Or & Jonathan Maimon. She’s a Singer-Songwriter that lives in Israel and released her solo debut back in 2012 and He’s a Producer-Arranger that lives in London. After meeting for the first time and introduced to each others music they fall in love and decided to make some gorgeous music out of their love, and we all know that sometimes the best things come out of love. Now they are touring all over UK and Israel and working on their first album from which comes “Plastic” – a collage of classical, electronic, pop and rock elements combined with Moria’s mesmerising vocals and lyrics. I’m sure there’s more good stuff to come from this duo.
CATCH them live TODAY (21.08) Live at Radiotrip & The Workshop in London and watch the live video for “Plastic” below.
Djamchid Sisters /// Sandcastle
It’s usual for siblings to fight. What is unusual is when a pair of siblings come together and collaborate creatively – and manage to make it work.
Meet the Djamchid Sisters, Eden & Shay-Li Djamchid, two sisters from Jerusalem that make beautiful music together. They have already released their first single and now they’re working on their debut album while they tour the country. “Sandcastle” is the musical embodiment of a peaceful, tropical island – sung by both sisters with Eden on guitar and Shay-Li on cello.The harmony of their famililial voices picks up their melodies perfectly.
Tesha /// Sheer Light
Meet Tesha a.k.a Neta Tia Elias and her magical music. Introduced to me by Ori Rakib with whom she had a mini success touring in Berlin as “Thin Drapes”. Since then she came back to Tel Aviv to work on her own solo projects releasing her first EP “Crystallization” (listen & download HERE) earlier this year under her new pseudonym Tesha.
4 incredible songs showcasing Tesha’s unique voice attached to some great Hip Hop beats floating in a pool of some fine Dream Pop tunes and Electronica with her illusive and heartbreaking lyrics and her incredible delivery of it all. You don’t want to miss this!
CATCH her performing live TODAY (31.07) at 22:00 as part of “Shenkar College of Engineering and Design” first year students exhibition “Hybrid Night” and watch the live desert jam version of “Sheer Light” and the amazing cover of Destiny’s Child “Bootylicious”.
Sharon Gesthalter /// Great Expectations
In the endless search after some piece of mind it’s always nice to find some piece of great music that can ease my mind when dark days are visiting.
Sharon Gesthalter‘s debut album “Promised Land” is like a pill that can take away all your worries and pain with its’ 12 beautiful songs all written and composed by Sharon herself and produced and arranged by the amazing Roy Dahan. She started to take piano lessons from Roy and this is what awaken the songs that was asleep inside of her, overwhelmed and with internal dialogue she started to create her songs feeling like the whole experience “Clicked on the play button of my soul and cracked the stone from which water came pouring” as she noted. You can actually hear her soul on each song and feel how it’s peeling layers from one note to another and one song to the following one until you can hear the whole beauty pouring into your ears.
CATCH Sharon performing live at “Bar Giora” on the 30th of July and listen to “Great Expectations” and “Promised Land” below.
Smadar Ronen /// Ma’agalim (Circuits)
Escapism is not a bad thing especially in times like this. All I need to do is sort my music collection and find something that will take me to faraway places…
Smadar Ronen‘s debut album “Hezi Kadur” is the perfect pill to take and escape from all this troubling days. After 4 years in progress and 11 songs written by Smadar herself and produced by Yonatan Levital “Hezi Kadur” has the perfect tension between sadness and happiness with its’ Jazzy flavored tunes on the one hand and a Folky tenderness on the other and Smadar’s beautiful and soulful voice on top of it all backed by great musicians who help to fill the music with extra meaning.