Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best Albums of 2014

Wow what a year for great music yet again. Some albums came out of nowhere while some returning bands released some of their best work. TV On The Radio's last few albums have been great but haven't been as solid as "Return To Cookie Mountain". After the death of bassist Gerard Smith early this year from cancer. After the tragedy it must have been hard to carry on but the band sound reinvigorated and "Seeds" is definitive proof that their best work is not behind them but still to come. Interpol released some excellent albums since the departure of bassist Carlos D but with "El Pintor" it sounds like they have left the past behind and forged a new path with Paul Banks taking over bass duties on the recording.

Probably the best debut album in quite some time comes from Temples in the form of "Sun Structures". A blistering slice of psychedelic rock with smatterings of The Beatles, Kula Shaker and many more thrown into the mix, these guys will be ones to watch for the next while. Recorded in their bedroom, the album sounds as accomplished as any studio album and just as assured. If they aren't on your radar yet then they definitely should be. The Horrors continued to evolve into the band that they teased us with on "Primary Colours". Not the band everyone expected when "Strange House" was released in 2007. Fully embracing their dark roots and continuing to experiment with their sound, they will only get better from here.

Kasabian released probably their most divisive album to date in "48:13". Well some felt that they strayed to far from their humble guitar beginnings, others loved the twists and turns that each track brought. They have always been a guitar band with electronic elements and I think this album proves how well they've adapted their sound to be their own. The Raveonettes released one of their most personal records with the death of Sune Wagner's father contributing to a large part of the album material. Listen to "Summer Ends" and tell me it doesn't stir up some emotions. Love The Raveonettes for continuing to surprise us, album after album, with exciting and emotionally beautiful records.

Angel Olsen came almost out of nowhere for me and instantly placed herself firmly on the year end list. Wish I had heard of her sooner but glad I found out before too late. The 27 year old released a record that is lyrically and musically one of the best efforts of the last decade. Her voice moves effortlessly from rock growl to melodic songstress without missing a beat. Definitely a highlight album of the year that people need to check out. The Orwells brought back the intensity of the early days of The Strokes and some punk rock attitude to release a solid sophmore album. Their live performance on Letterman is what caught my eye and I am sure they are just starting to find their stride.

Well yet again another year begins and so much amazing new music floods my ears. I can't wait to see what 2015 brings with releases from Radiohead, Tool and many others to look forward to. As always continuing sharing the music you love and let others in on the music you love. Till next year...

1. TV On The Radio - Seeds
2. Interpol - El Pintor
3. Temples - Sun Structures
4. The Horrors - Luminous
5. Kasabian - 48:13
6. The Raveonettes - Pe'ahi
7. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness
8. The Orwells - Disgraceland
9. Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
10. Dum Dum Girls - Too True

11. Jack White - Lazaretto
12. The Smashing Pumpkins - Monuments To An Elegy
13. Beck - Morning Phase
14. Ryan Adams - S/T
15. Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business
16. Alt-J - This Is All Yours
17. Nothing - Guilty Of Everything
18. Johnny Aries - Unbloomed
19. Eagulls - Eagulls
20. Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

Honourable mentions included below (after concerts). Don't stop here...

Top 3 concerts of the year:

1. Slowdive at Le National in Montreal
2. Massive Attack at The Greek Theatre in L.A.
3. Temples at The Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver

More exceptional shows:

Arcade Fire at The Saddledome
The Horrors at The Mayan Theatre
Beach House at The Republik
The National at Prospect Park
DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist at Flames Central
Kasabian at The Vogue Theatre
Jack White at X-Fest
Arctic Monkeys at X-Fest
Johnny Marr at The Republik
Ryan Adams at Southern Alberta Jubilee
Broken Bells at Jack Singer Concert Hall
Gruff Rhys at The Palomino
Gord Downie and The Sadies at Wildhorse Saloon
Dead Meadow at Electric Owl
Dum Dum Girls at The Biltmore
Kings Of Leon at The Saddledome
Black Sabbath at The Saddledome
Kool Keith at Dickens Pub
Band Of Skulls at Commonwealth Bar

Honourable Mentions:

*(Local/Canadian music)

Spoon - They Want My Soul
The Drums - Encyclopedia
Mode Moderne - Occult Delight
Nine Inch Nails - Seed Eight EP
Royal Blood - S/T
Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots
The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream
Johnny Marr - Playland
Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World*
Merchandise - After The End
Let's Wrestle - S/T
Kent - Tigerdrottningen
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz - Tyranny
FKA Twigs - LP1
Wolfmother - New Crown
Mr. Little Jeans - Pocketknife
The Wytches - Annabel Dream Reader
Nine Black Alps - Candy For The Clowns
The Black Angels - Clear Lake Forest
Superfood - Don't Say That
Kele - Trick
Real Estate - Atlas
The Mary Onettes - Portico
Elephant Stone - The Three Poisons&*
Carsick Cars - 3
Kaiser Chiefs - Education, Education, Education And War
Jimi Goodwin - Odludek
Natural Child - Dancin' With Wolves
Coldplay - Ghost Stories
Bo Ningen - III
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - IX
Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End
2:54 - The Other I
The Coral - The Curse Of Love
Zola Jesus - Taiga*
The Drowners - Drowners
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Only Run
Black Lips - Underneath The Rainbow
Pixies - Indie Cindy
Childhood - Lacuna
By The Sea - Endless Days, Crystal Sky
Ty Segall - Manipulator
Band Of Skulls - Himalayan
Gord Downie, The Sadies and The Conquering Sun - S/T*
The Rifles - None The Wiser
Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams*
Sun Kil Moon - Benji
Cheatahs - Cheatahs
Cherry Ghost - Herd Runners
Sleepy Sun - Maui Tears
Black Submarine - New Shores
Reverend and The Makers - Thirtytwo
Bush - Man On The Run
SOHN - Tremors
Fryars - Power
The Sunshine Underground - S/T
Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways
Iceage - Plowing Into The Field Of Love
Blonde Redhead - Barragan
The Afghan Whigs - Do The Beast
Ben Everyman - Subourbon*
Risky Endeavor - EP*
Stars - No One Is Lost
The Blue Angel Lounge - Sea Of Trees
We Were Promised Jetpacks - Unravelling
Philip Selway - Weatherhouse
Foster The People - Supermodel
Tricky - Adrian Thaws
The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends
Pink Floyd - The Endless River
Catfish and The Bottlemen - The Balcony
The Tea Party - The Ocean At The End
Mogwai - Rave Tapes
Caribou - Our Love*
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye
In-Flight Safety - Conversationalist
Eels - The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra - Fuck Off, Get Free, We Pour Light On Everything*
Broken Bells - After The Disco
Maximo Park - Too Much Information
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - Dust
The Kooks - Listen
†††(Crosses) - †††
James Walsh - Turning Point
The Vacant Lots - Arrival/Departure
Alvvays - S/T
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Revelation
Phantogram - Voices
Cold War Kids - Hold My Home
Wild Beasts - Present Tense
St. Vincent - S/T
Blood Red Shoes - S\T
Howler - World Of Joy
The Vines - Wicked Nature
Raised By Swans - Öxnadalur*
Counting Crows - Somewhere Under Wonderland
Hamilton Leithauser - Black Hours
Elbow - The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
Metronomy - Love Letters
Future Islands - Singles
Hookworms - The Hum
Mac Demarco - Salad Days*
The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams
Swans - To Be Kind
The Black Keys - Turn Blue
Klaxons - Love Frequency
Manic Street Preachers - Futurology
Weird Al Yankovic - Mandatory Fun
Angus & Julia Stone - Angus & Julia Stone
Karen O - Crush Songs
Robert Plant - Lullaby and The Ceaseless Roar
U2 - Songs Of Innocence
Zulu Winter - Stutter
Gruff Rhys - American Interior
Haunted Hearts - Initiation

There a couple more albums that I have to listen to but there you have it kids...