So 2015 is looming and now is the time to sit down with a cuppa and ponder over the hits of the year. From Young Fathers to La Roux, a handful of qmunciate’s music obsessive journalists pick out their greatest albums of 2014 for your worthy ears.
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
Highly anticipated and so worth the wait. Ethereal and euphoric with pockets of pure ecstasy in the form of chiming, melodic lyrics – absolutely exceptional.
Favourite song: Home By Now
Young Fathers – Dead
Who would have thought that the freshest hip-hop act in the world would be Scottish? An energetic blend of oblique social critique, monstrous bass and jungle drums, Dead is the most exciting record of the year and a worthy Mercury Prize winner.
Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
More than a record, TDB is Laura Jane Grace’s most important and challenging statement to date. The music is scrappy garage punk but more important is the message: a fight to reclaim your identity. A band you can believe in.
Superfood – Don’t Say That
A breath of fresh air. Organic and fun, interesting and unique, all without being too pretentious about it.
Warpaint – Warpaint
This is what happens when Lana Del Rey and Siouxsie Sioux sleep together. Also, girl power ftw.
Eagulls – Eagulls
Everything 21st Century post-punk should be. Working class Northerners telling it how it is.
Favourite song: Soulless Youth
Interpol – El Pintor
A miserable tour-de-force rock album which combines excellent musical work from the whole band with Paul’s haunting and upsetting vocals.
Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together
Vegan alcoholics playing incredibly heavy and politicised metalcore without repeating themselves nor anything else that has been done in the genre.
Favourite song: The Distant Blue
Manic Street Preachers – Futurology.
Classic anthemic Manics with a synthpop, early Simple Minds twist. It sounds like hope, travel, and most importantly, a band finally at peace with themselves.
Favourite song – The Next Jet to Leave Moscow
La Dispute – Rooms of the House
Chaotic and urgent, yet still hauntingly poetic throughout, an emotive punch in the gut. For fans of Tocuhé Amoré, Defeater and crying.
Favourite song: Woman (Reading)
Lonely the Brave – The Day’s War.
David Jakes sings as if you are the only person listening to him, taking you into personal moments that leave you as involved as he is. There’s a moment in every track, all of them emotional, that gives you those tingles when you know you’re hearing something special.
Favourite song: Victory Line.
Sleaford Mods – Divide and Exit.
Gritty spoken word that trundles through the slime of the bourgeoisie, the humour of working class profanity and the power of DIY on a music platform.
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
Proverbial lo-fi slacker rock that doles out sun-soaked riffs and feel-good philosophies in equal measure without ever taking itself too seriously.
Favourite song: Let Her Go (the riff sounds like Beauty and the Beast!)
St Vincent – St Vincent.
Fuzzy guitar and bleep-bloopy electronics from everyone’s fave crazy-haired futurist Annie Clark, clear Talking Heads/mid-70s Bowie influence with the perfect balance between bizarre and catchy.
Favourite song: Regret
Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!
Gorgeous, soothing, imaginative and incredibly crafted electronic hip-hop jazz by an absolute genius.
Honorable mentions to Wild Beasts, Caribou, FKA twigs, the Xcerts and Pianos Become the Teeth, though.
And the best song title of the year goes to Poor Things for ‘A Drunk Man Considers The Royal Wedding At Kelvingrove Park’
The Xcerts – There Is Only You
The Xcerts the poppiest parts of their debut with the melancholy of the second album to produce clever songs which are still huge tunes. They’ve perfected a more radio-friendly sound without sacrificing anything (really, this is their most well-rounded work) and they very much sound like a band who are ready to become as successful as they deserve to be. The title track is unreal.
Also wanna mention Jhene Aiko for Souled Out (great for chilling out in the midst of coursework stress if anyone is in need) and Four Year Strong for their latest EP.
The Great Old Ones – Tekeli-Lin
Emerging from the murky, black depths of the underground, this post-black metal band from France present a harrowing retelling of Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness. Soaring dissonant leads and a crushingly dense atmosphere give a listening experience that is both intense and disturbing.
Dads – I’ll Be The Tornado
Noodly guitars and hard-hitting, jumpy drum styles. Unique lyrics that catch the feeling of growing up. Half punk dissonance, half heartfelt affection and guilt.
Favourite song: Chewing Ghosts.
Royal Blood – Royal Blood
A truly disgusting amount of fucking with the noise (and it is noise – glorious, glorious noise) range of a bass guitar. A reminder that, in spite of what ass hats like Gene Simmons say, rock bands are still 100% relevant in 2014. One of those albums that makes you want to go running for the nearest guitar to hand and beat the shit out of it. Come On Over’s intro is just the most fun thing in the world.
La Roux – Trouble in Paradise
It may not necessarily be the flashiest album of the year but La Roux took her time and doubled down on her debut’s shimmering falsetto and post-disco attitude to produce a calypso masterpiece that balances heartbreak with dancing your cares away.
Favourite song: Sexotheque
Honeyblood – Honeyblood
Scotland’s answer to Best Coast with added riot grrl attitude and the wondrously cute anger-anthem, Super Rat. Like Royal Blood, they’re a pair who bring the noise and energy harder than any symphony orchestra – live and on record.
She & Him – Classics
Dreamy, melodious & smooth with rich vocals, the whole album is beautifully vintage and fused with a timeless spirit.
Favourite song: Stay Awhile
Mink Mussel Creek – Mink Mussel Manticore
The Pangaea band that split into supercontinents Pond, Tame Impala, GUM, Melody’s Echo Chamber etc. finally release recorded material. Fuzzed-to-fuck guitars and thundering drums fuse with Nick Allbrook’s hyena vocals make a true psychedelic/blues/funk odyssey to which you can headbang until it hurts (I can testify).
Favourite track: Makeout Party Girls