Best Albums 2014

 

Music is so niche that most best album lists I’ve viewed contain maybe two or three albums I’ve actually heard.  It’s so personal but I try to choose albums that I think may have a longer shelf life and that I think get better upon frequent listens.  I also think it’s no coincidence that most of the albums that I have in my favorites list, suddenly appeared after I saw their live show.  With all the talk of streaming and loss of digital and physical sales it’s still the live show that really gets people to discover new artists or truly appreciate the songs.

In no particular order,

 St. Vincent “St. Vincent” A true freak and amazing musician.  Her show was something to behold and this album is a perfect amalgamation of her songwriting and musicianship

Lana Del Rey “Ultraviolence” I never though I would have Lana on my list but with producer Dan Auerbach she was able to merge her noir style lyrics with dramatic arrangements

The War On Drugs “Lost In The Dream” It’s the album I recommend to all my friends that love classic rock but can’t find anything new to embrace.  It’s part Dylan, part Petty and yet all uniquely the vision of singer/songwriter Adam Granduciel.

D’Angelo “Black Messiah” A late entry…actually really late as it’s been 14 years since his last album but he surprised everyone with this album last week.  It’s similar to The War On Drugs in that it reminds me of old school Prince and 90s  R&B and yet is still so uniquely the vision of D’Angelo.  I’ll be listening to this one well into 2015.

Sturgill Simpson “Metamodern Sounds In Country Music”.  For those that say they don’t like Country Music I say, well you obviously haven’t heard Sturgill.

tUnE-yArDs “Nikki-Nack”.  Like St. Vincent, Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards is a true freak and embraces it to the fullest.  Another artist that won me over with her over the top live show.

Alvvays “Alvvays” You wouldn’t expect sunny songs from a Canadian band but each song is a brilliant pop performance.  If you love Best Coast, you’ll find yourself gravitating towards Alvvays.

Strand Of Oaks “Heal” A happy find.  I think I heard Strands of Oaks on World Cafe and gravitating towards the album.  I haven’t stopped listening to this straight ahead rock record.

Hurray For The Riff Raff “Small Town Heroes”.  I discovered this band at a performance at the Grammy Museum and their unique take on Americana music grabbed ahold of me and has yet to let go.

Beck “Morning Phase”  Beck is always intriguing but sometimes has trouble a full record.   This album is dense with sound and lyrics and just gets better with each listen

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