Inspired by Sound Opinions and their count-down of best albums of 2014, I wanted to start the tradition of creating my own list. So, here it goes…
- Broken Bells – After the DiscoYou can’t beat the pairing of James Mercer and Danger Mouse. Their first album was a favorite and I think I like this one is a bit better. The beats are catchy and it’s simultaneously retro and modern.
- Tricky – Adrian ThawsTricky is ALWAYS unique and unlike anything else out there. This isn’t his best work, but it’s good.
- Damon Albarn – Everyday RobotsDamon’s first solo effort isn’t quite as adventurous as his work with the Gorillaz or Blur, but it’s no less interesting. This is much more slow-burn and introspective. However, it’s masterfully crafted and innovative with a bit of trip-hop influence.
- Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded FantasyDamien Rice is a classic singer-songwriter and I’ve always admired his work. This new album is no let-down. Great heartfelt lyrics, great melodies… great album.
- James – La Petite MortJames has long been one of my all-time favorite bands. Their new album doesn’t live up to their best (Laid, Whiplash, Millionaires), but it’s evidence that they are still making great music after all these years and trying new things.
- Spoon – They Want My SoulSpoon does what Spoon does best and even adds a few new ingredients into the mix. This is just a classic Spoon album that goes right up there with Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and Gimme Fiction.
- Little Dragon – Nabuma RubberbandAlternative rock, pop and a bit of trip-hop come together beautifully in Little Dragon’s latest. I’ve liked Little Dragon from collaborations with the Gorillaz and Big Boi, but this is the first time I’ve listened to one of their albums in full and I was well rewarded.
- alt-J – This Is All Yoursalt-J’s freshman album was a favorite from a few years back and it has only grown on me since. So, I was excited to listen to their follow-up effort. This Is All Yours isn’t as immediately likable as An Awesome Wave, but it grows on you. It’s slow-burn music and takes a bit to sink in, but once it does, you love it. Like their first, it’s quirky and cool, but this new album adds more haunting atmosphere to the mix.
- TV On The Radio – SeedsTV On The Radio is a consistently great band and Seeds continues the tradition of great albums. Like Nine Types of Light, it’s a nice mix of alternative rock and danceable pop. I still like Nine Types of Light better as an album and no individual song on here is quite as good as “Wolf Like Me”, but this still ranks up there with their best work.
- Warpaint (Self-titled)This is one of the first new albums I listened to in 2014 and it’s been my clear favorite ever since. I’ve liked, but never loved Warpaint’s previous work. This one is a masterpiece. Catchy, infectious, haunting… this is music you can work to or put on late at night but is also great for more active listening. Needless to say, a clear winner.
All of these are compiled on my Spotify playlist (direct Spotify link). Enjoy!