The Best Albums of 2014 // #30-#21

Two weeks ago we kicked off our Top 50 Albums of 2014 countdown with the first 9 albums, which included entries from Future IslandsPulled Apart by Horses and Caribou. Last week we continued with entries from the likes of Jamie T, Architects and St Vincent. Today, the list continues as we bring you the next set of 9 albums. Read on to find out who charted in between 30 and 21.

Following the death of bassist Paul Gray and departure of longstanding drummer Joey Jordison, Slipknot returned this year with the catastrophically heavy .5 The Gray Chapter, named in honour of their late bassist. Comeback tracks The Negative One and The Devil in I set the scene for what is one truly awesome metal album. Album highlight Custer encompasses pounding drums and scrawny guitars alongside an epic chorus.
Best Song: Custer

The second offering from these four ladies further showcases their ability to make soothing, relaxed indie rock. The likes of Love is to Die and Keep it Healthy are perfect daydream songs with beautifully crafted layering, whereas Disco//very sees Warpaint go absurd disco. It might fall off track in places, but Warpaint is a very cohesive album for the most part.
Best Song: Disco//very

What we said: Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is a fine album. Although these songs are nothing exceptionally groundbreaking or revolutionary, they carry just enough weight to keep the listener interested. Lead single and album highlight A Brain in a Bottle demonstrates this perfectly as it shows us that Yorke is still great at what he does. You’ve also got to give it to Yorke for repeatedly finding new ways to release music, as that makes his releases even more exciting. Let’s just hope that, by the time another spectacular marketing ploy unleashes a new Radiohead album upon us, that the marketing and release isn’t more exciting than the actual music, because that’s a trap Yorke may have fallen into with this release.  
Best Song: A Brain in a Bottle

What we said: As an album, Songs of Innocence is actually rather impressive, to be perfectly honest. There is always going to be a stigma attached to all aspects of U2, yet Songs of Innocence is showing us that U2 are still capable of making a solid album. Although there are some predictably cheesy lyrics, this is an album which has shown U2 starting to look backwards, as opposed to constantly looking forward. You can say what you like about U2, but the important question is if they are still relevant. Regardless of how they launched the album, this is an album which has proven that U2 still do have long lasting relevance in the world of music. Come this time next year, and Bono & co. will be taking Songs of Innocence all over the world, and you’ll all want to be a part of it, because why not? 
Best song: Volcano
What Rowan of Kassassin Street said: I thought I’d wait for the hype to die down before giving it a listen. I actually quite liked it. I thought it was a really interesting move for them to work with Danger Mouse, I generally like most of his production work. I couldn’t help but feel it was a very bold thing to do, to sign up with a massive corporation like Apple in order to dish it out to unwilling recipients. But hey, it certainly got people talking. Love them or hate them,, for a band as big as U2, all they need is people to talk!

What we said: El Pintor is by far one of the best albums Interpol has ever released, seen in particular on the melancholic grooves of Same Town, New Story and the wondrous Tidal Wave. El Pintor also sees Paul Banks starting to use more falsetto than before, something which he used to stray away from. With a big world tour approaching, Interpol will definitely be satisfying plenty of current fans with El Pintor whilst also winning over plenty of new fans (like myself). If this album is anything to go by, we’ll definitely be seeing Interpol grow even bigger over the course of the next year or two.
Best Song: Tidal Wave

What we said: With Black Rat, DZ Deathrays have made big progression. Gone are the super raw elements present on Bloodstreams, and in are the melodies and polished production. It’s also evident that Parsons and Ridley have grown up, with more mature lyrics accompanying their well thought out sound. Black Rat may just be the record which pushes them further into the spotlight. 
Best song: Gina Works at Hearts

What we said: This album may not be a revolutionary piece of art, or anything close to ground breaking for that matter, but it’s definitely not a bad album. The album see’s Black Veil Brides break away from the cliché heavy metal of their past and cement themselves in classic hard rock with hardcore tendencies. It’ll certainly silence the critics of the past, that’s for sure.
Best song: Walk Away

What we said: Ghost Stories is already receiving mixed reception, and there are definitely reasons for that. At times, the album seems to focus too much on vocalist Chris Martin, with two of the tracks essentially being Martin solo tracks. However, the full band songs on the album demonstrate Coldplay at their melancholic high, particularly on True Love and Another’s Arms. With no tour planned, it’ll be interesting to see how these songs will be pulled off live. It’s without a doubt that Ghost Stories is a great record yet, as with every record, there are things which are holding Coldplay back from this album being a stunner. 
Best song: True Love

The flamboyant former frontman of scene favourites My Chemical Romance has returned with a whole new style of music, worlds away from the teen angst rock of his former band (who split in 2013). Encompassing various elements of the popular 90s Britpop scene, Hesitant Alien sees Way unleash himself from the chains that formerly bound him to My Chemical Romance. No Shows is a perfectly emotional arena anthem, whereas Maya the Psychic is a bouncy power rock sing-a-long.
Best Song: Maya the Psychic

What we said: Overall, …And Star Power is a record which has firmly solidified Foxygen’s status as one of the most interesting American bands of today. Yes, it could be shorter in places, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a well thought out record with a lot of tiny little details, and every song ends up having its own identity on the album. It could make do with a few omissions and certainly is not a hit record, but there has definitely been a lot of thought into the concept it set out to deliver. Each chapter has its own standout track (How Can You Really, 666, Freedom II and Everybody Needs Love, respectively), which is accompanied by a whole host of other exciting tracks. …And Star Power is best listened to in a full sitting, because only then do you ‘understand’ the album and its concept. Some songs are perfectly fine by themselves, but this record is meant to be listened to as a whole. This record may not become a commercial mega hit, but it will likely become memorable in its own right.  
Best song: How Can You Really

Check back next week for the first half of our Top 20!