04 Jan Top Albums of 2014
Late to the party as I’m posting this in 2015 – but I’ve been trying to do some form of this since 2004, so I figured I’d do my best to make a decent list for my own records.
Unfortunately, this year I didn’t do a fantastic job of keeping up with the newest music so I don’t quite have enough albums to actually fill out a full top 10. I also spent away too much time listening to one album. I definitely have a favorite album of the year, but the ranking after that isn’t as clear to me, so I’ll just kind of mix them all in no particular order.
Favorite album of the year:
- The Antlers – Familiars
This album definitely didn’t pique my interest on the first few listens, but as I continued to listen, more and more details began to reveal themselves. 35 full play-throughs later, and this is one of those rare albums where I don’t skip a track, and every few weeks I’d find a new track was my new favorite. There are a lot of subtle details to be found and picked apart, and the emotional space of the album is ambiguous but very engaging. It also feels very consistent and complete, almost like a concept album, but where each song can easily stand on it’s own without sounding repetitious.
Favorite tracks: Revisited (that guitar at the very end…), Hotel, Palace
Other great 2014 albums:
- Phantogram – Voices
Phantogram’s long awaited second LP Voices had a bunch of new tracks, and some older ones I had been hearing for a little while, some of which came out on their 2013 LP. The album has a lot of standout tracks, but some of the sleepers are quite good as well. They still manage to have a sound that is totally unique to them, but still very crowd pleasing. I’m also honored to have been able to play live visuals with them on several occasions, including a show this year that promoted this album.
Favorite tracks: Fall in Love, Bad Dreams, I Don’t Blame You
- Conor Oberst – Upside Down Mountain
I may never get another Bright Eyes album, but this felt very close to one of those. Not every track managed to get me, but there were some great moments in there, especially lyrically, and the backing band is fantastic.
Favorite tracks: Time Forgot, Artifact #1, Night at Lake Unknown
- First Aid Kit – Stay Gold
Swedish alt-country with a pair of lovely voices. What else could you ask for?
Favorite tracks: My Silver Lining, Stay Gold
- Hundred Waters – The Moon Rang like a Bell
I discovered this one pretty late in 2014, but it’s been growing on me. Out Alee is easily one of my favorite tracks of the year with it’s unusual rhythms and dreamy melodic line.
Favorite Tracks: Out Alee, Murmurs
- Paul Thomas Saunders – Beautiful Desolation
Random find from hearing a track on a TV show. Really lovely stuff from a UK artist with a great voice and really spacey but detailed and structured instrumentation.
Favorite tracks: A Lunar Veteran’s Guide to Re-Entry, Good Women
- Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
Honestly I don’t listen to this album on my own time that much, but this is hilarious and epic background music for any situation.
- The War On Drugs – Lost in the Dream
Also discovered this very late in 2014, so it’s still growing on me. Has the feel of 1980’s Americana/rock with an extra subtle psychedelic layer
- Lucius – Wildewoman
This album actually came out in 2013, but I didn’t discover it until mid-2014. Great album, great range of songs, and the vocal talent is mesmerizing. I got to see them live recently, and their live show is miles above most bands of their size/age/popularity…so definitely one to keep an eye on.
Most anticipated album of 2015: The Velvet Teen’s new, currently untitled album. First album since 2006’s Cum Laude