It is nearing the end of the year and I, as many music reviewers, have a list of my favorite albums from 2014.  Let me be clear about this.  I do not proclaim these to be the ten best albums of the year.  Also I am not ranking these albums in any particular order.  The following list contains albums from 2014 that stuck out as great albums.  Some are old friends returning with new sounds and some are amazing debuts, but they are all worth your listening time.

St. VincentSt. VincentSt. Vincent  – Her fourth album is clearly influenced by the collaboration she did with David Byrne.  This album is fuzzier and more experimental than her previous work. However, it isn’t so far removed as to make it unrecognizable as her work.  It is a challenging album that remains quite accessible.

Stand out track:  “Digital Witnesses.”

 

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Nickel CreekA Dotted Line – Nickel Creek’s reunion album doesn’t break new ground by any means, but that’s okay.  A good mix of modern, bluegrass influenced music with the requisite instrumental and experimental tracks.  The formula works and it was good to see the band back together for a bit after a lengthy hiatus.

Stand out track:  “Hayloft.”

 

highends-superclass-1500xHigh EndsSuper Class – Electro pop goodness with nods to dream pop and some very 90’s sounds.  High Ends is the solo project of Jeffrey Innes, front man for Yukon Blonde.  Conceived as a collaborative album, he reportedly ended up recording it all himself when he found his would be collaborators were all out on tour.  I think it all worked out for the better.

Stand out track: “Cappuccino.”

 

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Wax FangAstronaut – From all the way back at the beginning of the year, the rock concept album from Louisville’s very own Wax Fang.  Enough lyrics to drive the story encapsulated in extended, guitar driven jams.  Wax Fang has always brought interesting concepts into their music and this one feels like a natural progression for the band.

No stand out track, you just need to listen to the whole album.

 

The-Last-Bison-coverThe Last BisonVA – A family band steeped in folk tradition and full, wondrous harmonies.  The Last Bison is the real deal.  Where some bands are trying to mimic a sound, this band is the sound.  VA is the third full length album from the band and the first in which they utilized an electric bass and keyboards.

Stand out track: “Maroon”

 

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Lily & MadeleineFumes – Their second full length album brings more of what makes these sisters stand out.  Sparse production combined with ethereal harmonies catch your attention from the first notes.  Lily & Madeleine are a breath of fresh air and I hope they continue to make music for many years to come.

Stand out track:  “Blue Blades”

 

anomalyLecraeAnomaly – Whether or not you agree with his beliefs, you cannot deny Lecrae’s talent as a rapper.  Anomaly debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 for a reason.  Lecrae comes to the mic and lets loose as an anomaly, someone who will stay true to himself in a world that values conformity.  This is an album that is sorely needed in this time when societal and racial tensions are mounting each day.

Stand out track:  “Welcome to America”

 

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SpoonThey Want My Soul – The 8th studio album from Spoon is slightly dichotomous in my mind.  On the one hand Spoon is playing as good as they ever have.  Plus they sound like they are genuinely having fun on this album.  On the other hand it doesn’t really go beyond anything they did on Transference.  So they kind of break even here, but atleast they aren’t taking any steps backwards.

Stand out track: “Rent I Pay”

 

2014-08-21-the_new_pornographers_coverThe New PornographersBrill Bruisers – The 6th studio album from the New Pornographers sees them taking some chances while maintaining a sort of core sensibility throughout the album.  Kicking off with the bombastic title track the album is laced with familiar group harmonies, nonsense background choruses, and the indie rock feel this group is known for.  It also includes some explorations into vocal manipulations, electronic music, and pure rock sound.  This album also feels more energetic than the last couple of releases.

Stand out track: “Backstairs”

 

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Streets of LaredoVolume I & II – As much as I hate to make this comparison it is the best way I can describe this album:  If Mumford & Sons were more influenced by the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Eagles of the early 70’s.  Please, hear me out.  This indie-folk band out of Brooklyn undeniably has a sound similar to Mumford & Sons from the vocal harmonies and folk influences.  However the lack of frantic energy and stripped back instrumentation keep this band from becoming cheap imitators. This is a fun debut album.

Stand out track:  “Slow Train”

 

About The Author

System analyst by financial necessity. Writer by necessity of expression. DJ because music is in my Top 5 essentials for living. I grew up on a steady diet of comic books, science fiction/fantasy, and a wide variety of musical genres.

In addition to writing for Destroy the Cyborg I also produce a weekly podcast at Idiosyncratic Transmissions.

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