There’s only two and a half weeks left until we depart 2014 and arrive in 2015, a year which is already shaping up to be very musically promising. Before the year takes a bow, though, we’ve got one final list to finish off – The Best Albums of 2014. Read on to find out who has made it into the first half of our Top 20.
20. ANDY BURROWS – FALL TOGETHER AGAIN
What we said: If Fall Together Again has proven anything, it’s that Burrows is certainly capable of releasing a coherent yet simple album. It may lean heavily towards singer-songwriter territory at times, but the songs themselves have enough substance to make them memorable. Standout track Watch Me Fall Again stands out head and shoulders above the rest of the album, yet that doesn’t take away from the fact that the whole album is impressive. Burrows thrives on intimacy, yet he may have to take a step up to the bigger venues if this album becomes as successful as it deserves to be.
Best song: Watch Me Fall Again
19. MOTIONLESS IN WHITE – REINCARNATE
What we said: Despite a lot of the songs following a hardcore-by-numbers formula, there are still plenty of electronic elements and extreme tempo changes to keep Reincarnate a fresh and interesting album, particularly in a scene where every band tries to imitate one another, song by gruelling song. Reincarnate may not be the most accessible record ever, but it’s a step in the right direction for Scranton’s finest.
Best song: Reincarnate
18. THE GROWLERS – CHINESE FOUNTAIN
California’s absurd indie rockers The Growlers returned this year with a fresh batch of demure love songs with a dark side. Focussing centrally on Chinese imagery (as seen in the artwork), the record doesn’t tend to deviate from topics concerning love and life, with the funky title track and anthemic Good Advice standing out in particular. If you choose to delve deeper into the lyrical content of the album, you’ll find frontman Brooks Nielsen leaning heavily towards heartbreak and relationships, something which is particularly present in the woozy Not the Man and serene Rare Hearts
Best song: Chinese Fountain
We’re still awaiting a quote on the album from frontman Brooks Nielsen.
17. SKATERS – MANHATTAN
This debut offering from the New York City punks showcases a whole variety of Ramones and Sex Pistols influences in an almost flawless coming-of-age record. The influence of this groups’ hometown is everpresent in the use of vocal samples and recordings from everyday life, with Deadbolt being one hell of a track. Elsewhere, I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How) comes at you with the sole intention of dragging you to an indie disco, whereas To Be Young in NYC eats, sleeps and breathes the influence New York City.
Best Song: Deadbolt
16. THE WYTCHES – ANNABEL DREAM READER
What we said: As debut albums go, Annabel Dream Reader is impressive. Its low-fi, chaotic attitude makes it sound exciting. There are signs of repetitiveness in a few songs, but that’s made up for by the sheer brilliance of the likes of Digsaw, Gravedweller and Summer Again, all of which demonstrate The Wytches’ ability to produce a killer riff, yet also reign everything in for a few minutes. The Wytches are a band who are definitely going places.
Best song: Summer Again
15. DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 – THE PHYSICAL WORLD
What we said: If there’s anything we’ve learnt from DFA1979 throughout their whole career, it’s not just that they make killer music, but also that their music has a long lasting influence on many artists around today. Work by the likes of DZ Deathrays and Royal Blood are littered with Granger and Keeler’s influence, which makes it all the more important to have a band like Death From Above 1979 around now, still making music. Let’s hope that The Physical World doesn’t become too much for the duo, and that we don’t have to wait another 10 years for album number 3.
Best song: Gemini
14. CHROMEO – WHITE WOMEN
Chromeo may not be the most credible or revolutionary act we’ve ever seen, but White Women is a surefire dancefloor banger encompassing the best funk and R’n’B we’ve heard in a long time. The effortlessly catchy Jealous (I Ain’t With It) and soulful Over Your Shoulder blend in perfectly with the 80s Radio FM of Play the Fool and Hard to Say No.
Best Song: Hard to Say No
13. BLITZ KIDS – THE GOOD YOUTH
The Good Youth is a fine record by all means, showing us exactly why Blitz Kids are worth getting excited about outside of the “Warped Tour” scene they’re slowly getting themselves into alongside contemporaries Lower than Atlantis and Mallory Knox. Leaning more towards alternative hard rock than punk, the Bloc Party-esque Sometimes and raunchy anthem Sold My Soul are two of the records’ best tracks.
Best Song: Sold My Soul
12. THE BLACK KEYS – TURN BLUE
What we said: Turn Blue is a sonic rollercoaster, and by far one of the standout records of 2014. It’s The Black Keys doing what they do best, whilst still progressing by introducing new styles to their music. 2014 is the year that The Black Keys will go from “almost there”, to “right up there”. Watch out, because The Black Keys are not going to leave your sight for the next 12+ months, and that’s with a good reason.
Best Song: Gotta Get Away
11. THE FAMILY RAIN – UNDER THE VOLCANO
What we said: Despite there still being work to be done and styles to be explored, Under The Volcano is a successful step in the right direction for The Family Rain. Yes, quite a few songs follow a very similar formula, but bar On My Back (which could easily have been replaced by the massive bonus track Vulpicide) 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!
Best song: Vulpicide (Bonus Track)
The Top 50 concludes next week with the final 10 albums.