December 28, 2014

QuickCrit's Top 34 Albums of 2014

1.    Future Islands – Singles
I’ve always had a thing for singers who seem to get possessed by their own music. Future Islands do that trick of expanding on what seems conventional while completely deviating away from anything familiar. It’s really fucking good. - Larson 
Why are you reading this comment? Because you haven't listened to this album? That's silly, go listen to it and dance around like goof ball.  - Serena 
Samuel Herring is my human spirit animal. - Julia 
Odd, but good. - Joshua

2.    Ages And Ages – Divisionary

Clever, catchy pop-folk. Happy-clappy times. I love these guys. - Erin 
Played this for more friends than any other album because I knew they'd like their personal and cathartic chorales. And they always did. - Jesse 
Ages and Ages pack the stage and produce an overwhelmingly large sound that carries over to a thoughtful and well-written album, full of catchy tunes and verses. - Paul D.  
Is it possible to make a list without a sing along album? - Nesto 

3.    Augustines  Augustines

Such an amazing album. Tons of emotion and energy that makes every track really, really good. - Nightrain 
Their passion is visceral. Don't fight the anthem. They'll do the work for you. - Jesse 
Full of fist-pumping anthems and heart-on-your sleeve lyrics and vocals. - Jeremy

I listened to this album a lot and made me like their previous album even more. - Nesto

4.    Kishi Bashi  Lighght

Holy hell what is this thing all about? I have no clue but I love it. The word ‘light’ misspelled and a violin? Catchy enough to be accessible yet weird enough to be captivating. - Larson 
Immense talent shines through on these finely crafted tunes. - Nightrain 
I am so much in this guy's corner.  I hope Kishi continues his ascent and that his next album is where he figures himself out. - Tex 
I enjoy this album. It's how I know I'm old now. - Joshua

5.   Spoon  They Want My Soul

Each track flows beautifully one into the next, channeling the same tone and energy, but each song is distinct. There's a great deal of frustrated rage against the banality of the everyday here, which was a big theme for me personally this year. - Sara 
Spoon keeps killing it, just refining and adding new textures to their unique and wonderful sound. - Jesse 
The songs sound a bit familiar, but if you are already a Spoon fan that's probably a good thing. - Nightrain 
My first foray into spoon. I can’t say I was disappointed. - Chris

6.    TV On The Radio  Seeds

I wouldn't say this beats out Return to Cookie Mountain, but it still is quite enjoyable. - Nightrain 
Feels a little less forcefully eclectic, more poppy, but still definitely TV on the Radio. - Paul R. 
I cannot live a lie, my name is Nesto and I like this TV on the Radio album. - Nesto

7.    First Aid Kit  Stay Gold
Their voices are so beautiful and I like to pretend that we are a trio in the car. - Sharon
You had me at "Swedish folk duo." - Nightrain 
Like their last album, great harmonies, catchy tunes, and requires toe tapping. - Erin 
Polished and gorgeous, this sister act continues to grow, refine and delight.  I hope this trend continues. - Tex

8.    War On Drugs  Lost In The Dream
Listening to the album feels like a weird sodium dream. Like you had too much spaghetti and red wine before bed and then Tom Petty and Dire Straits played this weird flannel filled party. - Julia 
Perfect. - Joshua 
Pretty sure I was the oldest person in at their concert apart from the staff. I refuse to read into that very much. - Nesto

9.    Caribou  Our Love
A surprisingly off kilter fluttering album, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to dance to it or sit alone in the dark with it, but it's unexpectedly beautiful throughout. - Julia 
Caribou is another band that I've marginally enjoyed for a number of years, but this album really got to me.  In a desk dancing way. - Tex 
Dan Snaith strikes again. - Thaddeus

10.   New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
A delicious Newman-Case-Bejar sandwich. SO good! - Sharon 
Another delicious, lush pop treat from the Pornographers. - Sara 
Not vintage NP, but a junkie needs his fix. - Nesto

11.   Lana Del Rey  Ultraviolence
One beautiful Saturday afternoon I was two whiskeys deep and a haunting song came on the speakers and I was enamored. She’s got that Stevie Nicks “I’m singing but I’m bored sound” combined with an undercurrent of urgency that is just mesmerizing. - Larson 
Lana Del Rey is so much awesomer than her (very catchy) song from The Great Gatsby. All of her characters are delightfully fucked up. - Serena 
Deeper into her old Hollywood slash David Lynch film thing she's got going on. I like it. - Joshua

12.   Beck  Morning Phase
This, like many of my top 10, is an album that fits with a time, a place and a mood of 2014. Spring, Half Moon Bay, reflection. - Chris 
I want chicken I want liver Meow Mix Meow Mix Please Deliver. I want chicken I want liver Meow Mix Meow Mix Please Deliver. - Rain

13.   Sturgill Simpson  Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
A true country bad ass adding his own cynical and philosophic spin to that classic outlaw sound. - Jesse 
I was hooked immediately, and I couldn't get over how much he sounded like Waylon. The more I listened to it, the more I picked up on some Merle Haggard, too. - Jason
Simpson nails the classic country sound. - Nightrain 

14.   Delta Spirit  Into the Wide
I've always been a casual fan of Delta Spirit, but this stands out with the rockers really rocking and balanced well with the solid slower jams. - Nightrain 
A solid album. - Nesto

15.   Alvvays – Alvvays
One of those artists that seem to create a whole world in their soundscape. Everything is contained, it's all there, in these Belle & Sebastian-esque pop ditties. - Joshua
 Always happy and fun. Also the perfect album length. - Sharon

16.   Benjamin Booker – Benjamin Booker
Although not written about this year’s civil rights struggles, they could be. I hear the same anger, frustration, and confusion resonate in his soulful garage rock. - Jesse 
A classic. Prepare for the rock to get all over your face. - Nesto

17.   Taylor Swift  1989
Can we please stop calling Taylor Swift a guilty pleasure? She is at the top of her pop-game and is producing mature and introspective songs that are, like it or not, shaping an entire generation of pop-music-listeners. - Paul D. 
I'm not embarrassed.  I don't think there is a better three song sequence on an album in 2014 than “Blank Space” followed by “Style” followed by “Out of the Woods.” - Julia

18.   Budos Band  Burnt Offering
I randomly caught an in studio session and didn’t understand what I was listening to. Their sound and themes are in such a weird competition for attention that it all just works out and starts to make sense. Right? I dunno… just listen to “Into The Fog” and “Aphasia” and you’ll get it. - Larson 
This just makes me want to get all of my bros together and have a sweaty, tequila driven, tighty whitey dance party until the sun comes up. Then, in the light of a new day, we go to the sea and kill a turtle and roast its flesh black over a pallet fire. What happens next must never be spoken of... - Rain

19.   St. Vincent  St. Vincent
No comment on the hair weirdness, but the best songs on this album are as good or better than any she's written. - Joshua
She continues to develop her sound and it just gets better. - Paul R.

20.   Tennis – Ritual In Repeat
Icy cold, but still enticing. Their best album so far. - Paul R. 
They do an excellent job of creating music that feels familiar while simultaneously pushing their boundaries. Some people might say that the progression on this album is more production, I say it sounds amazing and bring it on. - Larson

21.   Phantogram – Voices
Much of my music taste these days is shaped by what I can comfortably listen to at my desk - not terribly distracting, not terribly esoteric, nice to desk dance to.  This was my heaviest work rotation this year. - Tex

22.   Tycho  Awake
This is another favorite focus-and-get-it-done album.  Keeps me calm and attentive.  If I were in a movie and needed a "putting it all together" montage soundtrack, this album would be it. - Tex

23.   Iggy Azalea – The New Classic
It’d be cooler to say that I listened to an unknown bearded duo that recorded on a gameboy or some Czechoslovakian drone band but no…  I listened to this album, and I listened to it a lot.  So many hooks, so much production, and so much ridiculousness. - Larson

24.   Lykke Li – I Never Learn
For those times when you just feel like bawling, but then get all fired up about how you're going to overcome every damn thing, Lykke Li has got you covered. - Sara 
An album where every song is a power ballad, brilliant. - Julia

25.   Ex Hex – Rips
Poppy punk from a local D.C. band? Yes, please. - Sara 
Joan Jet vocal reverb and fuzzy guitar and bass.  Nice and simple and a bit of a sugar rush.  If that makes any sense. - Tex

26.   Rural Alberta Advantage – Mended With Gold
This album snuck up on me. I don't remember these guys being so tight, or their songs this awesome. - Jesse 
The band is an acquired taste, but this album really clicks in an addicting kind of way. - Nightrain

27.   Odesza  In Return
Should anyone put on “All We Need” and give me even the slightest come hither look they’d better brace themselves for a hearty make out sesh… This album is super sexy. “Say My Name” is a banger and the rest of the album is a fun hook laden dance fest. - Larson 
I love this kind of stuff lately.  Super loopy, dancy, electronic.  Perks up any tedious task. - Tex

28.   Cibo Matto – Hotel Valentine
I've been in love with Cibo Matto since I first saw them at 9:30 Club waaaaay back in the 90s. Who was expecting a new Cibo Matto album, like, ever? Certainly not me—but this puppy delivered. Its got all the weird narratives and hip-hop inspired beats that you expect from Yuka and Miho, but doesn't sound like a re-hash of past offerings. - Sara 
A couple of decent tracks from an album I was crazy hyped out. - Chris

29.   Sun Kil Moon – Benji
Mark Kozelek can write songs about literally anythingcat names, cousins, dude friends—he is weird and incredible. - Serena 
I tried to not like this dude, but I really want to listen to his songs. - Chris

30.   Jungle – Jungle
Bring the dancy FUNK. - Nightrain

31.   Ryan Adams  Ryan Adams
My boyfriend continues to nail it! - Sharon 
For those that know me they're probably shocked to only see this as an honorable mention. - Larson

32.   Flying Lotus  You're Dead
Comes closest to delivering on the promise of mash-ups, true acid jazz and the match Miles lit more than 40 years ago with Bitches Brew. - Paul R.

33.   Sallie Ford  Slap Back
Love that while she pushes sonically beyond her rockabilly roots, her frank lyrics are still delivered with a charismatic grin. - Jesse 
It's no Untamed Beast, but Sallie Ford sure knows how to put together one hell of a record. Her all-girl band rocks a room like no other, and that fun and energy show up in full force on Slap Back. - Paul D.

34.   Horse Feathers – So It Is With Us
Still lovely and soft, but more upbeat than their first. Nice lazy Sunday tunes. - Erin 
Won over at just the prospect of a joyful Horse Feathers album, especially after hearing the terrific lead single, Violently Wild. - Jesse


Rain Hiawatha Kernytsky said...

Taylor Swift?!? I die now...

Nightrain said...

The people have spoken!

Caitlin Dacey said...


Samuel T.Cummins said...

There are lots of English music albums released in history but there are some that stand out among equals. Read on to discover some of them which have delighted a large number of fans worldwide.

Donald L. Johnson said...

I love to listen album "Awake" when I'm doing my university homework, this is the best for the relax!!!