Honorable Mention 2014 records:
Coldplay – Ghost Stories, Deadwood Floats – Three Years, Ex Cops – Daggers, From Indian Lakes – Absent Sounds, Future Islands – Singles, Gates – Bloom and Breathe, Gelatinus Cube – The New Corn, Halfnoise – Volcano Crowe, King’s Kaleidoscope – Becoming Who We Are, LIGHTS – Little Machines, Porter Robinson – Worlds, Real Estate – Atlas, S. Carey – Range of Light, Saintseneca – Dark Arc, Sir Sly – You Haunt Me, Slow Magic – How to Run Away, St. Vincent – St. Vincent, Switchfoot – Fading West, The Last Bison – VA, U.S. Royalty – Blue Sunshine.
Top 25 records of 2014:
25) Anderson Cale – Flight
Ashamedly I must admit that I knew of this band for a few years before I really listened to them. That changed at their comeback show in February. Flight soars (forgive the pun). The whole record is beautiful and at times is capable of moving people to tears (see “The Wedding”).
24) Fever Fever – Aftermath
One of my most anticipated records of the year ought to be listed as a definition for the phrase “earthy ambient rock” if such a phrase existed in a musical term glossary. One Columbus music journalist mentioned that the band “find(s) beauty in the midst of destruction.” An ample descriptor. See our full review here.
23) Foster the People – Supermodel
I feel like this record, in spite of being one of the bigger releases of the year, got overlooked by a lot of major publications. Supermodel feels like a natural progression from the first record. More diverse in sound, yet perhaps a bit lacking in the department of huge hooks. See our full review here.
22) Bummers – Bummers
I like to tag all my instagram posts of this band performing as “#surfsup”. Listen through this record once and I think you’ll agree. Fun music about familiar topics with ample musicianship. See our full review here.
21) Beartooth – Disgusting
There isn’t much to be said about this album except that it makes exceptional headbanger music. That, and its intensely raw and personal lyrics.
20) Cardboard Kids – Echo Boomer
One of my favorite finds of 2014 came from this band. Cardboard Kids brands themselves “rock/soul,” but really they’re much more rock! Blast this with the windows down in the summertime.
19) Tycho – Awake
I feel like this is the easy listening album even the heartiest of music snobs could get on board with. Awake is just calming. Ironically, also a good record to fall asleep to.
18) I Break Horses – Chiascuro
The electronic/rock/synth/indie whatever revolution has prominently featured CHVRCHES and Purity Ring, among others. I Break Horses falls into the “among others” group. I wish this weren’t the case, although Chiascuro isn’t exactly easily accessible. It’s hypnotic and beautiful, though. See our full review here.
17) Maria Levitov – Hold
The second I heard “Brother” I knew I had found a gem. Though most of the songs are sad, I don’t find myself saddened at all. The way Levitov enunciates each line is unique and cathartic.’
16) Young the Giant – Mind Over Matter
This is just a catchy alternative record. Just right amount of pop injected without detracting from the “adult” value of the record. And Sameer’s vocals are incredible as ever. See our full review here.
15) Artifex Pereo – Time in Place
The successor to Circa Survive you didn’t know you were looking for. Tooth and Nail Records’ best signing in years. I’m stoked for the future of this band. See our full review here.
14) Nothing – Guilty of Everything
I was always kind of aware of shoegaze, but 2014 was the year I plunged into it. This album is the reason why that happened. I really want to book a Tuned Up event with this band now.
13) Needtobreathe – Rivers in the Wasteland
Needtobreathe, it seems, is able to release spectacular albums in their sleep. Rivers in the Wasteland is no exception. In fact, this might be my favorite of theirs. See our full review here.
12) The Soil and the Sun – Meridian
Complementing their spectacular live show is an awesome record. “Experiential spiritual orchestral rock,” per the band’s Facebook profile, is actually a pretty adequate descriptor. Songs shorter than 5 minutes long are rare. One is over ten minutes long. And not a second is wasted.
11) Lemonade – Minus Tide
Dream pop meets synth rock in a very, very infectious way. Unlike I Break Horses, this IS accessible. Why this band from Brooklyn isn’t blowing up, I have no idea.
10) Alt-J – This is All Yours
A buzzworthy record worthy of the hype. Love the vocal acrobatics and harmonies in the intro track. And of course the Miley Cyrus sample that is actually tolerable. See our full review here.
9) Bear in Heaven – Time is Over One Day Old
Very interesting guitar progressions and drum beats on a record that sounds like Animal Collective in another universe. Except, I like this record more than any AC song. Ethereal tones at their best. See our full review here.
8) Glass Animals – Zaba
Sugary sweet beats create a mood that’s unique. Nearly my favorite discovery of 2015. Kudos to the guy that customizes those grooves.
7) Wolves at the Gate – VxV
Melodic metalcore that sounds a lot like heavy Thrice at times. Steven Cobucci’s vocals are on point, Nick Detty’s energy is high, and the lyrical themes are bolder than ever. Rock out and be moved. See our full review here.
6) Comrades – Safekeeper
The most pleasantly surprised I ever been at a live show is something that arose from an impulse visit to a friend’s place for a house show. Beautiful heavy post rock with some hardcore influences.
4) Weeknight – Post Everything
Dark post wave? Did I just make up that genre? Favorite new discovery this year, hands down. The music is simple but very, very effective at what it does. See our full review here.
3) The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream
This album though. There’s a reason this is so high on so many blogs. Pay attention! Driving rock that teeters on ambient for most of the record. “Under the Pressure” is a great album opener. The whole record is great late night music, much like Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans.
2) Copeland – Ixora
Speaking of calming late night music – Ixora is pretty great too. Comeback albums are often hit and miss, yet Ixora is a big, big hit. Aaron Marsh has still got it. See our full review here.