Doug "Rat" Brooks (photo: Soozan Palsa/WOUB)
Doug “Rat” Brooks (photo: Soozan Palsa/WOUB)

Doug “Rat” Brooks: My Top Albums of 2014

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This is the eighth in a series of year-end blog posts by WOUB staff, volunteers and contributors. Check out all of this year’s lists at this link.

It’s the time of the year for me to look back through my CD collection and set lists to see what I would consider to be the best of the year.

It has been a good year, not only in terms of what I have purchased, but what I have been a part of.

My favorite recordings of 2014, in no particular order:

Cymbals Eat Guitars, LOSE

Supernobody, Old Strange Power

Shovels and Rope, Swimmin’ Time

Saintseneca, Dark Arc

Leonard Cohen, Popular Problems

Phish, Fuego

Temples, Sun Structures

Water Liars, Water Liars

John Hiatt, Terms of My Surrender

Quiet Life, Housebroken Man

Beck, Morning Phase

Cracker, Berkley To Bakersfield

Lydia Loveless, Somewhere Else

Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, Hey Kid

Not new, but new to me:

Chastity Brown, Back-Road Highways (2012)

And two albums that I got again on vinyl that I had somewhere on cassette:

Husker Du, Warehouse: Songs and Stories

The Meat Puppets, II

Other musical events of note:

Radio Free Athens

I have been allowed to continue my time as one of the DJs that bring you Radio Free Athens most every Saturday. We have expanded the number of DJs this year and they are bringing you an incredible variety of music.

I would especially recommend Art Cromwell’s Out of the Afternoon show. He is incredibly knowledgeable about the world of jazz and each show is a history lesson.

We are also happy to announce that we are producing the first Radio Free Athens Christmas show. On Christmas Day from 3-8 p.m., join hosts Geoff Backstrom, Adam Pergram, Michael Gillespie, Michael Tedesco and myself for a unique take on holiday music. Tune in 1340 AM in Athens or stream it live at

Athens music community

One of the best parts about Athens is the musical community. After the fire that devastated much of West Union Street, the outpouring of generosity that is the Athens music scene came out in full force. Money has been raised by local musicians to help many of the people who have lost work due to the fire.

I am also fortunate to be part of an organization called the Johnny B Fund, set up in memory of our long-lost friend and bandmate John Bartlett. Much of the money that is raised at the annual Lennonfest helps local kids pay for music lessons and instruments. It also supports school-based programs and other programs like the Stuart’s Opera House After-School Program and the Rock Camp for Girls.

Lennonfest has traditionally been held at The Union and Jackie O’s. After the fire, there was some debate about not having it. But the community came through. Casa Cantina agreed to help host it, and despite lots of fundraisers and benefits going on this past month, people still came out and had a great time, dancing and listening to lots of great Beatles music. Thank you to everyone involved!

Nelsonville Music Festival

My number one music event for 2014 has to be the Nelsonville Music Festival. I am also fortunate to be involved with it and I have never had a bad time. Being so close to Dinosaur Jr. was mind-melting. St. Paul & The Broken Bones and Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas were just two of the many amazing acts to come to the festival. 2015 promises to be just as good. I hope to see you there.

Doug “R@T” Brooks is one of those people who moved to Athens to attend Ohio University and never left. When he is not teaching, running beer tents for local festivals or chasing around his four-year-old son Raad, he can be heard on Radio Free Athens on Saturdays from 3-6 p.m.