Last week, I gave you the first five of my Top Ten Albums of 2014. This week, I bring you the second half of the list. I had one of my best years yet, and this music comprised the soundtrack. May 2015 bring you the best music you’ve ever heard – Happy New Year!
- The Orwells, Disgraceland – This Chicago band put out a seriously awesome album this past year. I like almost every song on this record and the couple that I’m not a fan of are not bad songs, just victims of overplay. The Orwells write songs in classic verse-chorus form in the garage/alt rock vein that has potential to be really sloppy and thrashy (much like their live show, unfortunately), but is put together in a really clean production. These guys are really young and perform like hotel room-trashing brats, but if they can put out a record this solid at 19, I can’t help but wonder what they’ll do next.
- This Will Destroy You, Another Language – I am a fan of music that makes my everyday life feel like a Sci-Fi movie and this album effectively turned walking down the street into a spooky otherworldly activity. I did a lot of this in 2014. I also loved Swans’ latest album for this reason. Another Language reminds me of some of my old favourites while introducing some of the more aggressive qualities that took over my tastes in the past year. It’s postrock, while darker than Explosions in the Sky and ambient, while more aggressive than Sigur Ros. The album is full of minimalist slow-builds to huge booming moments of tension. The whole record feels like one long piece of art.
- Ty Segall, Manipulator – I saw Ty Segall at The Danforth Music Hall a few months back and it was one of the best shows I saw this year. Manipulator was one my most frequently played albums of this year, too. All of the songs have that 1970s rock feel, but with some glam thrown in there, a little psychedelic in some places, and some punk in others all with lyrics that deal with current issues. Ty Segall writes incredible songs, performs like the best of them and contributed to a bunch of releases by other artists in 2014.
- Iceage, Plowing Into the Field of Love – This record isn’t nearly as ‘feel good’ as some of the others I have listed. I like this record because it’s contemplative and sullen; it inspires thought and creativity. I enjoy the morbid-sounding piano chords against the heavy drums and guitars and the moaning vocals. Plowing is a bit grim, but that’s is ok – there were plenty of rainy days in 2014 that suited this album perfectly.
10. Azaelia Banks, Broke with Expensive Taste – Azaelia banks is profane and aggressive and a total rock star in my opinion. Even though Broke With Expensive Taste is fairly new to my music collection, it’s so perfect for running or the gym or anything that you might need to summon some misplaced energy for. This album has a lot going on – New York City Subway samples, Caribbean beats, and blends of different house and dubstep styles. We hear signature brash rapping but also showing a slightly softer side singing on hooks and choruses. All of the sounds collide to sound like New York’s frantic organized chaos.
Taylor Swift, 1989 – Best not-that-guilty pleasure music.
The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream – Best bedtime music.
King Tuff, Black Moon Spell – Most consecutive stage dives witnessed at a show in 2014.
Clipping, Clppng – Best new hip hop find.