31st December, 2014

2014 music roundup

It was yet another cracking year for new music, and I consumed as much as possible, making my annual roundup as difficult as ever. To follow my 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 lists, here’s 2014. Let’s get on with it.

Top Ten Albums

It was tough to define a top ten, but here it is. The Antlers continue to make the kind of music only they can make, and I consider Familiars to be the most beautiful and perfect album of the year. Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen’s Kiasmos was everything I want in electronic loveliness. Real Estate’s Atlas delivered deliciously sunny guitars and sweet songs that had me swaying all year.

  1. Familiars – The Antlers
  2. Kiasmos – Kiasmos
  3. Atlas – Real Estate
  4. Burn Your Fire For No Witness – Angel Olsen
  5. Morning Phase – Beck
  6. Are We There – Sharon Van Etten
  7. Our Love – Caribou
  8. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
  9. World Peace Is None Of Your Business – Morrissey
  10. Too Bright – Perfume Genius

Other notable albums

Some of these could easily make my Top Ten on another day, but not today. Regardless, some exceptional albums here.

  • Liars, Mess
  • Gruff Rhys, American Interior
  • Future Islands, Singles
  • Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues
  • Hamilton Leithauser, Black Hours
  • Hey Rosetta, Second Sight
  • I Break Horses, Chiaroscuro
  • Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams
  • Aphex Twin, Syro
  • Temples, Sun Structures
  • Hospitality, Trouble
  • Manic Street Preachers, Futurology
  • Goat, Commune
  • James Vincent McMorrow, Post Tropical
  • Sohn, Tremors
  • Ultimate Painting, Ultimate Painting
  • Jenny Lewis, The Voyager
  • Ingrid Michaelson, Lights Out
  • Ty Segall, Manipulator
  • Foxygen, …And Star Power
  • Grouper, Ruins
  • The War On Drugs, Lost In The Dream
  • The Horrors, Luminous

Oh, and also, a nod to local boys Sleaford Mods who had a great year. I can’t really listen to them too much because they’re brutal, but I do like ‘em.

I was a little sad that new albums from Elbow and Interpol (two bands I adore) were disappointing, hence they’re missing from my lists.

Top Ten Tracks

Yeah, The Antlers again. I adored so many of SVE’s new songs but seeing her perform I Know on Later… sealed it. As for Angel Olsen, I could have chosen any of four or five incredible songs from her album.

  1. The Antlers, Hotel
  2. Sharon Van Etten, I Know
  3. Real Estate, Had To Hear
  4. Angel Olsen, Windows
  5. Kiasmos, Burnt
  6. Future Islands, Seasons (Waiting On You)
  7. Hospitality, Going Out
  8. Hamilton Leithauser, The Smallest Splinter
  9. Ryan Adams, Am I Safe
  10. Elbow, Fly Boy Blue / Lunette
  11. James Vincent McMorrow, Gold
  12. Beck, Blue Moon
  13. St. Vincent, Digital Witness
  14. Perfume Genius, Queen
  15. Against Me!, Fuckmylife666
  16. I Break Horses, You Burn
  17. Belle and Sebastian, Nobody’s Empire
  18. Jenny Lewis, The Voyager
  19. Caribou, Our Love
  20. Foxygen, Cosmic Vibrations

Re-releases, Compilations, Live albums

The Holy Bible is one of the best, bleakest, darkest, nastiest albums I ever heard and 20 years on the reissues are everything they should be (the US Mix is exceptional). I enjoyed digging back into some classic Underworld and Siouxsie albums too.

  1. Manic Street Preachers, Holy Bible 20 (Remastered)
  2. Underworld, Dubnobasswithmyheadman
  3. John Grant and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Live in Concert
  4. Wilco, What’s Your 20? Essential Tracks 1994-2014
  5. Siouxsie And The Banshees, (various albums remastered)

Top Gigs

Sparse for various reasons, but these three gigs gave me goosebumps.

  1. Interpol, Rock City, Nottingham
  2. Hey Rosetta Christmas Show, St. John’s, Newfoundland
  3. Arkells, Islington, London

That’s that

If you so desire you can listen to my 2014 Faves on Rdio. 121 tracks, 521 minutes of music. Boom.

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