Best of 2014: 20-11

How to describe the Best of 2014: 20 - 11. In looking over the list, it is clear to me that I really dug into these albums. I got to know them. I know many of the tracks on the album, and got into them. I've thought and thought about their rank, and really agree with their rankings.

20 The War on Drugs Lost in the Dream 

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Standout Tracks: In Reverse
The War on Drugs are solid artistic folk rock. You wouldn't be crazy for thinking they were from the Midwest or the Plains, but they hail from Philly. They go down real easy, like if Bruce Springsteen spent a bunch of time taking music lessons from Bob Dylan. Here's their official video for one of their bouncier numbers, "Red Eyes":

19 Chromeo White Women 

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Standout Tracks: Jealous (I Ain't With It), Ezra's Interlude
What if early 80s disco jams were updated to 2014? Wonder no longer. Chromeo is here to help. Check out their official video for "Jealous (I Ain't With It)":

18 Warpaint Warpaint

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Standout Tracks: Keep It Healthy, Feeling Alright
This all girl group has been around since 2004. As their cover art might indicate, they are artsy, indie and are not afraid of using reverb to create a mood. Here is the official video for "Keep It Healthy":

17 Future Honest

Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Standout Tracks: Honest, Benz Friendz (Whatchutola), I Be U
Hip hop records can sometimes lost spots in their rankings because they circle around specific singles. I'm almost bummed there weren't more to elevate this record. This record included two songs that rolled around in my head for a good portion of the year, "Honest" and "Benz Friendz". Here's the audio for arguably one of my favorite tracks of the year, "Benz Friendz (Whatchutola)":

16 Sun Kil Moon Benji

Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Standout Tracks: Carissa, Pray for Newtown, Jim Wise

Mark Kozalek is Sun Kil Moon, and is the folk world's Randy Newman. He'd most likely call me the c-word for saying that, but I don't wish that that should denigrate from his talent. I should also mention that this album is incredibly depressing. I mean, I was a little low in late Spring and this album did NOT drag me out of that funk. I'm not really selling it, am I? There are some tracks on this album that are so beautifully subtle in their lyrical narrative and song structure, that I am still so very impressed by this troubadour of the modern age. Here's the audio for the most compelling song about his little second cousin "Carissa":

15 Damien Jurado Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

Hometown: Seattle, WA
Standout Tracks: Silver Donna, Silver Joy

I don't want to make this album write-up more about me than him, but I met Damien Jurado at a house party in Seattle once. He was nice. Also, his cover art reminds me of the Domes in Milwaukee, where I spent a lot of time as a kid. This album is pretty legit. Here's :

14 Typhoon White Lighter 

Hometown: Salem, OR
Standout Tracks: Post Script

With eleven members, they have a lot of options. But mostly they play poignant indie rock, and they do it very well. This is an album that is consistently good throughout without being great. The one exception is the incredible track, "Post Script". Here they are performing "Post Script" at KEXP in Seattle:

13 Future Islands Singles

Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Standout Tracks: A Dream of You and Me
This is some super listenable light rock with some light guitars, light drums and light keyboards. The standout with this group is Samuel T. Herring's voice, which is deep and almost foreign sounding in its intonation. Check out their official video for "Seasons (Waiting on You)":

12 Broods Broods EP & Evergreen

Hometown: Nelson, New Zealand
Standout Tracks: Never Gonna Change, Bridges, Taking You There
Broods popped up out of nowhere. I spent a good amount of time listening to both their EP and full length that were released this year. They are similar to CHVRCHES, with a bit of a darker vibe to them. Keyboards, harmonies and mood. Hot. Here's the official video for "Never Gonna Change":

11 The Hold Steady Teeth Dreams

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Standout Tracks: In Reverse
Fronted by Craig Finn (Lifter/Puller), The Hold Steady are a band that I have struggled with. For some reason, I didn't want to like them. I really don't know why. That being said, they are #11 on the list for this year. They put out a great record that is full of listenable rock, including this incredible song called, "On With the Business". This song just screams. It has a really smooth Pixies(hint, hint) feel to it, and I am simply carried away when it kicks into the chorus,
Blood on the carpet
Mud on the mattress
Waking up with that American sadness

Excellent. Here's the audio for "On With the Business":

Stay tuned. The top 10 videos and a Spotify playlist are coming soon.

3:43 PM