The 10 Best Albums of 2014 So Far

LxL_TopTenThursdays_02_900x300Best Albums of 2014 So Far

This has been an odd year in music by all accounts. There have been nearly no big-time rap albums (except arguably Future’s Honest), it’s been a down year for electronic music (just months after I declared 2013 the year dance music became king), and rock music has made an unexpected comeback (with three albums on our list being unabashed guitar rock records). The albums on our list are also decidedly slower, and more relaxed, as I would say half the albums on this list are very melancholy albums (especially our top two). Without further ado, our top ten so far in this odd year of music.

10. First Aid Kit – Stay Gold  


These Swedish sisters fully realized their potential on Stay Gold, making pastoral folk with impeccable harmonies.

9. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds In Country Music          


Existential outlaw country? Count us in. Sturgill Simpson is truly one-of-a-kind, making songs that sound timeless but with an oddness that is uniquely him.

8. Jack White – Lazaretto 


Jack White continues his streak of consistency with his angriest and most venomous album of his storied career.                             

7. Sun Kil Moon – Benji    


Love it or hate it, Mark Kozelek has made a masterwork in Benji, a folk album more personal than your 6th grade diary.

6. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots   


Like Jack White, Damon Albarn has taken on so many different bands and sounds, so it’s almost surprising Everyday Robots is his first true solo album. Albarn got his solo debut right, with poignant commentary on how technology affects our souls.

5. Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso                


Sort of the odd-ball album out on our list, the debut from Sylvan Esso, the duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, is twinkling electro-pop that’s like the musical equivalent of Pop-Rocks to your ears.

4. St. Vincent – St. Vincent                     


St. Vincent has quietly become one of the best guitar players alive, and that, along with her flair for funky arrangements and biting commentary, make her self-titled 4th album her most unique.

3. Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal  


Propulsive and relentless rock music: they just don’t make it like this anymore. Parquet Courts deliver in back-to-back years with Light Up Gold and Sunbathing Animal.

2. Antlers – Familiars                       


Not to sound creepy, but the Antlers music has a way of getting deep under your skin, into your bloodstream, and completely absorbing you.  Familiars does this better than maybe any other album of theirs: lush, sorrowful, and just plain beautiful.

1. Beck – Morning Phase                        


Beck’s 12-year later follow-up to his 2002 folk masterpiece Sea Change picks up right where it left off. Morning Phase is so carefully constructed with every string swell, drum beat, and guitar strum hitting at just the right time, making this a wonderful and therapeutic listening experience.

Just Missed

Austin – Trophy Scars – Holy Vacants


Austin discovered these guys on a whim, and has absolutely fallen for their versatile and completely bonkers style of rock.

Wes – Lykke Li – I Never Learn


Power ballads never felt so good.

Todd – Death Grips – niggas on the moon


Now defunct, the rage rap duo went out with a bang.

Author: Wes

Hoosier. Writer. Music Buff. Media Man. Tourist. Polar Bear.

10 thoughts on “The 10 Best Albums of 2014 So Far”

  1. Why do you guys like the Beck album so much? It sounds like Sea Change b-sides. I agree with Wes on Lykke Li. Much better album than many of those on that list. Also, Todd Terje should be on there.

    1. I had Terje in my top ten, but no love from the other two. If you play Sea Change and Morning Phase back to back, Morning Phase actually compares pretty favorable.

  2. Great list, I’ve yet to really get into Beck’s most recent.
    However, Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs is pretty great. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it.

      1. Absolutely. These are personal choices and are also limited by what one has heard. e.g. some of the best albums I’ve heard this year have come from India but not many people outside would’ve heard those or even heard of those. I was just curious.

  3. If you’ve not heard the new BROODS, I highly recommend it! But, definitely, St. Vincent is sheer genius, and I agree with the quality of the others, though I may not have ordered them in exactly the same way. BROODS review will be up on my blog within the hour… won’t you take a look-see? It’s my first time having a guest-blogger… you know how hard it can be to tackle it ALL on your own! <3

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