2014: The Best Music So Far

With 2014 only just having reached its mid-point, there are already tons of fantastic albums which have made their mark on the music world in the last 6 months. With fantastic comeback albums from the likes of Kasabian, Coldplay and The Black Keys, as well as brilliant debuts from Temples, The Family Rain and SKATERS, All Things Loud takes a look at the 5 best albums of 2014 so far, as well as the albums to keep a look out for in the following 6 months.

At the end of this year, All Things Loud will compile a Top 10 list of the best albums released in 2014. Each album receives a mark out of 10, along with reasons for its particular place in the Top 10. As we’re only halfway through the year now, we’ve done the same, but with the current Top 5.

  1. Temples – Sun Structures
    What we said then: At just over 50 minutes long, Sun Structures may well be the record that propels Temples to the top of the psychedelic stratosphere. It’s filled with fuzzy guitars, woozy vocals and hypnotic synths – a perfect formula for a band like Temples, who thrive on creativity built from the simplest of instrumental formulas’. It can only get better from here…
    What we think now: With Sun Structures’ release already 4 months ago, the record has certainly proven a success for the Kettering quartet. After charting at number 7 in the official charts, the band took to the road for a successful UK Tour, as well as supporting Interpol on the NME Awards Tour. They’ve also performed to large crowds throughout Europe, the US and Asia. With more shows set for the rest of the year, including 2 sets at Glastonbury Festival next weekend, Temples are as hot as they’ll ever be.
    Best Song: The Golden Throne / 10
  2. Of Mice & Men – Restoring Force
    What we said then: Restoring Force could well be the record that rockets Of Mice & Men to the big leagues of rock and hardcore!
    What we think now: Following the release of Restoring Force, Of Mice & Men have certainly proven that this album will be their claim to fame throughout the worldwide. New single Would You Still Be There has shown their ability to create radio-friendly rock, whereas songs like Public Service Announcement and Bones Exposed still maintain the quintet’s heavier side. The future is exciting for Of Mice & Men, and their year is only just getting started!
    Best Song: Bones Exposed / 9
  3. Breton – War Room Stories
    What we said then: Despite this record being extremely different to their debut, Breton have still managed to retain the elements that made them one of the most exciting bands around. This time it’s not so much the rawness that we hear, but a polished sound which sounds like a band moving forward instead of looking backwards.
    What we think now: Following a successful European tour, Breton have managed to keep riding the wave of success which War Room Stories has provided them with. Gone are the shows in gritty downtown basements, being replaced by large festival shows in Germany, Spain, Holland, as well as a successful US tour. 4 months after release, War Room Stories has proven its consistency and grandeur as a record. Definitely Breton’s best release by far.
    Best Song: Got Well Soon / 9 
  4. Kasabian – 48:13
    What we think now: Having only been out for one week, 48:13 is a record which will be fresh in our minds for a very long time. The fact that it has made our Top 5 in such a short time definitely says a lot about the Leicester quartet’s fifth album. Named after its length, and with a cover comprising of the individual song lengths, 48:13 combines everything Kasabian do best. Heavy opener Bumblebeee sets the scene, with 3 instrumental interludes accompanying the rave anthem Eez-Eh, party rocker Doomsday and funky Treat. Ending on the acoustic s.p.s., 48:13 showcases Kasabian’s ability to create a masterpiece in its simplest form.
    Best Song: Doomsday / 9
  5. The Family Rain – Under the Volcano
    What we said then: Under the Volcano is a successful step in the right direction for The Family Rain. Yes, quite a few songs follow the same formula, but bar On My Back this record is flawless and should definitely do Ollie, Timothy and William’s 3 years of hard work justice. If this is just the beginning, then there’s plenty of reason to be excited for what this band has to offer!
    What we think now: Under the Volcano has managed to remain a big record with a big sound, creating the perfect springboard for The Family Rain in creating even more fantastic music. There’s a busy summer ahead for the band, on the back of a successful UK tour. Let’s hope that, by the time album 2 is done and dusted, The Family Rain will be even bigger and better than before.
    Best Song: Trust Me, I’m a Genius / 8

Other albums that only just missed out on the Top 5 include Turn Blue by The Black Keys, Blitz KidsThe Good Youth, Ghost Stories by Coldplay and the debut album by SKATERS, Manhattan.

Alongside these albums, though, there are still plenty of exciting albums yet to be released. Below, we’ve listed the 3 albums we think are worth getting excited about the most.

  1. Jungle – Jungle
    Following over a year of mystery and hype, Jungle’s real identity has slowly been becoming more known to the general public. On record, elusive duo J and T are Jungle, becoming a 7-piece for live performances. Groove-laden singles Busy Earnin’ and The Heat, as well as the R’n’B-tinged Platoon, already showed us how exciting Jungle are. New single Time is in the same funk vein, making the July-released debut album one of the most hotly anticipated released of 2014.
  2. Alt J – This Is All Yours
    Minimalistic trio Alt J broke through in 2012 with the release of their Mercury Award-winning debut album, An Awesome Wave. The record saw a mixture of exciting sounds and eerie melodies combined with Joe Newman’s distinct voice. Last week, the group (who became a trio earlier this year following the departure of Gwil Salisbury) announced details of their second studio album, This Is All Yours, to be released in September. First single Hunger of the Pine is due this week, making it an exciting week for Alt J fans.
  3. Foo Fighters – Album #8
    No songs have been released, nor a date or a title, yet Foo Fighters’ 8th studio album is already tipped to be the biggest album of 2014. All we know so far is that the record will contain 8 songs, each recorded in a different American state. The whole recording process has been documented for an HBO series titled Sonic Highways, which will showcase how each song was recorded with different local musicians throughout America. It’s a very different approach compared to 2011’s Wasting Light (recorded in Dave Grohl’s garage), but if it’s anything as good as its predecessor, then we’re in for a treat.

Other albums which are worth looking out for this year also include Pierce the Veil and Black Veil Brides’ 4th albums, as well as releases from Peace, The Wytches and Saint Raymond. If the next 6 months are as exciting as the first 6, then 2014 is definitely going to be a fantastic year for music.