Yes, it’s the time of the year where I actually post something in this space. So, without further ado, here’s my top 20 albums of 2014. Enjoy.
Honorable Mention. “Weird Al” Yankovic: Mandatory Fun
No explanation required, right?
#20 Timber Timbre: Hot Dreams
Probably helped along a lot by a single really great title song, but worthy of #20.
#19. Vulcano: Live Wild Die Free
The video for “Choir of Wolves” is pretty messed up, but if you can’t have the Knife, this is pretty close.
#18. TV on the Radio: Seeds
Clearly not their best album, but hard to go wrong with TV of the Radio.
#17. Girl Talk/Freeway: Broken Ankles
Girl Talk’s first non-mix album probably didn’t make the impact that he had hoped, but still a fun listen.
#16. Liars: Mess
Sometimes it takes many, many albums to finally get into a band. This was the album that finally did it for me with the Liars. Not sure why.
#15. Iceage: Plowing Into the Field of Love
Speaking of which, sometimes all a band has to do is almost completely change its sound for me to decide I like them. Iceage suddenly decided they were some sort of hybrid between Nick Cave and the Clash rather than a noise rock band and now we’re all good.
#14. Beck: Morning Phase
I’m a Beck-as-balladeer sort of fellow.
#13. Wolfmother: New Crown
I like guitars.
#12. St. Vincent: St. Vincent
See also: Liars.
#11. Rentals: Lost in Alphaville
The dozen of us who have missed the Rentals really had a banner year.
#10. Damon Albarn: Everyday Robots
I liked Damon’s first solo outing. I mean, I liked it, but didn’t love it. Sometimes I wondered if he was dozing off in the recording studio.
#9. Broods: Evergreen
Yes, we’re heard a lot of bands like this over the past few years. Too bad for you.
#8. New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers
It has been a bit since I really enjoyed a NP album, but this one was on the money (at least for a Pornographers’ record made in the last decade).
#7. Spoon: They Want My Soul
Britt Daniel and I are converging, musically. One day soon he’ll make an album that will top my annual list.
#6. Royskopp & Robyn: Do It Again
Synthpop. Glorious, glorious synthpop.
#5. Run the Jewels: 2
Here’s the thing that separates RTJ from other hip-hop albums these days. Listen to (the decidedly NSFW) “Blockbuster Night Part 1”. It starts off as a thunderous, dark and ominous track that then, without even a hint of warning, breaks out a flamenco beat, meshes the moods perfectly, then marches onward.
#4. Hamilton Leithauser: Black Hours
People who know me and my lists of favorite albums for the past decade could assume that if Hamilton recorded an album of spoken word diatribes on international tariffs, it would likely land in my top 5. You’re probably be right.
#3. Afghan Whigs: Do to the Beast
If you had to pick my 1990s-00s version of Hamilton Leithauser, it would be Greg Dulli.
#2. Allo Darlin: We Come From the Same Place
So quietly did you sneak up on me that it took a glance at my most-played songs on iTunes to notice how much I listened to your album.
#1. Aphex Twin: Syro
OK, this list does feel like its populated by a lot of bands of yore that happened to release new material this year. Does this mean that I am no longer in touch with the pulse of new music or that back in the day, things were much better. I dunno, maybe both?
With apologizes, as always, to all the bands you like that I didn’t mention.
Here’s to 2015!