Well folks, it’s that time of the year. We are wrapping up 2014.
This means I get to share my top albums of the year (with anyone who has any interest in what I have to say).
There were tons of great releases this year and honestly, I know I passed up a few. In fact I’ve even added a few names to the below list numerous times while pondering what all caught my attention in 2014. (NOTE: I have even added a few more to my list that I overlooked and feel need to be included – perks of running your own blog I suppose.)
I am not putting any limits on my best of list this year as no artist should be left out. I’m am just sharing the albums that really impressed me this past year and maybe even reasons why.
I’m not sorry for how long this post has become. I’m actually quite pleased with what I have come up with. It really proves that 2014 was a great year for music. I’ve also decided to add a list of albums that just did not do it for me.
Best Albums Of 2014:
Tim Barry – Lost & Rootless
-I just listened to this album in full this morning and instantly had to add it to my list. This is the best thing he has ever done in my opinion. Music writing doesn’t get more real than this.
Mastodon – One More Time Round The Sun
-This album blew me away and continued to do so over the course of the year. I really was not sure what to expect after hearing The Hunter, but they managed to keep their style and improve it resulting in one of my favorite albums of 2014.
Cheap Girls – Famous Graves
-I love everything about this band. I think the best part is that they are just all quality dudes who are extra loaded on talent. I really need to snag a copy of this album on vinyl. If you have not heard of this band, you need to change that. This album was perfect.
Ryan Adams – S/T
-This album was thoroughly enjoyed by this music lover many times. I can’t say I’ve been into all of his past material, but as of late I am finding myself becoming a bigger fan.
United Nations – The Next Four Years
-It was only a matter of time before U.N. released new material. This super-group of musicians really outdid themselves with their sophomore release. In fact, I favor this release more and more with each listen.
Murder City Devils – The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands Again
-I never thought the day would come when MCD came out with new material. After seeing them in 2011 at Fun Fun Fun Fest, I knew it was only time before they recorded new material. The result was yet another classic album full of plenty of jams that I’ve listened to over and over without growing tired of one bit. I just wish it were a little longer.
Xerxes – Collision Blonde
-This band slays. So much. I was not ready initially when I checked this album out and was literally just taken by surprise. Best feeling ever.
Chris Stowe – Hollow
-This heartfelt album tops my list when it comes to one man and his guitar. When I say heartfelt I mean sad but with true emotion. He is the emo of emo and a class act dude as well. This album really impressed me.
Chuck Ragan – Till Midnight
-This album was intensified so much more thanks to his special pals he recruited to play with him throughout the album. As big of a fan of Hot Water Music as I am, I can honestly say I am a bigger fan of his solo material.
Banner Pilot – Souvenir
-It’s Banner Pilot. Enough said. This band never disappoints.
Cory Branan – The No Hit Wonder
-If you have not heard this album yet, stop reading right now and find it. This was one of my favorite releases of the year. Amazing songwriter.
Chris Cresswell – One Week
-Intense album by a guy who usually is known to scream loud in the Flatliners. Subtle tracks with Joey Cape helping along made for such a beautiful release. I love that this was recorded at Cape’s house in just one week.
The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast
-No lie, I was nervous about this album when I heard it was going to be released. I am not sure why. Lucky for me, it was solid from start to finish.
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
-This album was a little more Broken Bells sounding than I was hoping for thanks to Danger Mouse’s touch, but overall it still ruled. I have found myself listening to it a lot again after taking a few months off. It is still catchy as hell and those guitar jams are still amazing.
Mariachi El Bronx – III
-How can you not like this album? It is so good. I loved how it just was not even so much a concept anymore as much as just a new direction for a talented group of dudes.
Swingin Utters – Fistfull Of Hollow
-This band refuses to slow it down. This is their 3rd release in 3 years and is the best stuff I have heard by them in a long long time.
Needles//Pins – Shamebirds
-DIY punk garage rock excellence is the best way I can describe this album. I can not even tell you how many times I have listened to this release over and over. If you dig the Ramones, I guarantee Needles//Pins are right up your alley.
J Mascis – Several Shades Of Why
-I have few heroes in my life. Mascis is one of them. This may be the most amazing thing I have ever heard him do aside from that Mazzy Star cover he recently performed.
Baby Ghosts – Maybe Ghosts
-Pop-indie-garage-rock-fun-fueled-goodness. I may be falling out of the scene these days and miss out on a lot of the DIY music that completely rules, but I can honestly say I am glad I did not miss out on this album.
The Menzingers – Rented World
–Chamberlain Waits will always be my favorite release by The Menzingers, but this album is a very close second. Very close…
Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
-I know this album got a lot of attention due to Tom exiting and Laura entering, but aside from that, this album is just sick. I hated to see such a revolving door of members in the band over the years, but they still have managed to keep it together and produced an intense album.
7 Seconds- Leave A Light On
-I am a huge fan of 7 Seconds and am ok with that. To see them regroup and drop an all new release made this aging punk rocker very happy. This album was tougher and harder than some of their past releases and did not sound forced one bit. This album was probably the best punk record I listened to all year. Suddenly getting old doesn’t seem so bad.
Sage Francis – Copper Gold
-Sage returned and delivered. I can still recall the day this album dropped and how excited I got. I was live tweeting my feelings for all to read, including Sage himself. I was having a fanboy moment.
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels II
-EL-P and Killer Mike dropped the surprise album of the year and pretty much gave it away for free. This should be at the very top of my list as I can not stop listening to it. I was lucky enough, thanks to a good pal, to obtain a physical copy that I know I will spin over and over.
Tilts – Cuatro Hombres
-This band is the definition of rock music or at least what I think it should sound like. Remember when Queens of the Stone age were cool? Tilts are better.
Pup – Pup
-This is the one album I sat on for too long in 2014. I am glad for whatever reason I decided to check it out. This is one notable debut.
Restorations – LP3
-Take all of the music I was into in the 90s, and I guarantee you this album would have fit in perfectly. This is one of the best bands out there. I know they have a good fan base already, but I seriously think that not enough people are aware of how talented this band really is.
Best of EPs of 2014:
Beach Slang – Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?
-Without a doubt, this is the greatest band out there right now and they have yet to release a full length. They are not young kids and are perfectly ok with that. They are just here for the tunes and these tunes are exceptional.
Beach Slang – Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street
-So gooooooooooooood. Yes. I adore them. Deal.
Low Culture / Iron Chic – Split
-2 of my favorite bands on one EP. Nothing tops that, except maybe pizza or tacos.
Low Culture & Needles//Pins – Split
-Garage rock maximus. Both bands are incredible and it only made sense for them to release a split together.
Ryan Adams – 1984
-Surprise release of the year. I loved what he did on this EP and wished it were a full length. Adams really is a man of many talents when it comes to music and I have a fonder appreciation for him now. 1984 carried quality similarities to so many SST and Discord bands.
The Public – Shibuya Crossing
-These guys could be the next big thing to come from Cleveland if they keep it up. Dead serious.
Remainders – Fine Exits
-These guys could be the next big thing to come from Pittsburgh if they keep it up. Dead serious. (yes, I did that on purpose)
Signals Midwest – Wherever I Might Land
-Hearing these dudes cover Iron Chic’s “Time Keeps Slipping Into The (Cosmic) Future” pretty much made my year. This was a download only release, but I hope that I can find a bag of money so that this can be pressed on vinyl. I would need to title it SGNLS MDWST though as all the cool bands lose the vowels.
The One That Got Away In 2014:
Of Us Giants – Nova Scotia
-Seriously, what the hell was up with this band? They started 2014 off in a good good way with their debut and disbanded before even hitting the road to tour. It seemed almost as if they worked harder selling their merch to their adoring fans making up for lost product over keeping it together as a band. I am sure they had their reasons, but Novia Scotia was a solid release and I really thought Of Us Giants was going to make it big.
Whatever Of 2014…
Death Grips – The Powers That B
-I liked this album. A lot. I did not like how this band went out. Kind of pompous if you ask me. Luckily, most folk moved on with their lives.
Rancid – Honor Is All We Know
-I honestly hate that I am admitting this, but I only liked about 45% of Rancid’s latest offering. I even listened to it again today and felt the same. I just was not been overly impressed with the entire album and I really wanted to be. There were a couple instant classics in there but some of the tracks just didn’t hit me well. Rancid will always be one of my Top 5 bands. Don’t you worry boys. I still love ya.
Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
-I tried, I really did, to enjoy this album but just could not get into it at all. At first I thought I appreciated the lyrics and just needed to get into the music, but in reality I think the Gaslight fanboy in me was just in shock on what I was hearing. It was just too chilled out for me. I will give it a chance again soon.
Weezer – Everything Will Be Ok In The End
-No it won’t. Two songs in on this album and I turned it off. Sorry guys, I’ll stick to your older albums. I could not get into this at all.
Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
-I love Blur and the Gorillaz. I can not say the same for this album. It is different and just not what I was expecting. I appreciate anyone who does their own thing, I just can’t say I will like it.
Pixies – Indie Cindy
-I did not have the highest expectations for this release. Maybe it was due to Frank Black saying that “there’s been a shift in the lineup, big woop-dee-doo…as far as we’re concerned it ain’t that big of a deal.” Yes it is Frank. It sure was a big deal. It was a Kim Deal. You should have quit when she did and stated something else.
Wu Tang Clan –A Better Tomorrow
-I hate to have anything negative about Wu Tang Clan, but after hearing “Ruckus In B Minor”, I thought this album was going to be the greatest thing in 2014. Sadly the single was the strongest track on the album with a couple of other tracks that came close. Do not get me wrong, this was a good album but I was hoping for way more hip-hop and less R&B.
Masked Intruder – M.I.
-Sorry dudes…your first album was so much better than your follow-up. I dug it for maybe a week and just lost interest. It is not terrible by any means. My review was sincere and I initially liked it but not for long. I know not everyone will agree with me on this. The band has major talent. Perhaps I am old and just don’t get it. Get off my yard!
Worst Albums Of 2014:
U2 – Songs Of Innocence
-Jerks. Rolling Stone was paid off. Apple was paid off. This album was not that good and I am still pissed that the Apple sponsored commercial had so many punk rock heroes in it. I am entitled to my opinion. Nothing like jumping on Google to learn how to remove an album from my iTunes that I never wanted.
The Flaming Lips – With A Little Help From My Fwends
-No. Just….no. Maybe if I was on a lot of drugs and was just an eccentric individual I might get it. My ears were bleeding with this. Quit trying so hard and bring back Yoshimi. I know some people adored it. I did not. These Beatles covers were terrible.
I hope you all enjoyed this list/rant/babble. I know I had a good time putting it all together. Seeing how awesome 2014 was with music, I can not wait for 2015 to start.
Happy holidays suckers!