Spent a good part of my morning sorting out records in my collection to shape up my top 20 list for 2014. I figure I would start posting entries for that pretty soon so that I can finish well before the year draws to a close.
Before doing that I wanted to quickly highlight some honorable mentions that didn't crack the top 20...
Meat Wave: S/T - I penned an entry about this - would be release in 2014 back in January. I struggled with including it in my top 10 albums or not. It was recorded and released on cassette in 2012... I learned about it in 2013, by way of Mitch Clem and it got a proper release on Vinyl earlier this year. I loved it so much that I purchased both color pressings for my collection. Sorta by accident... I enquired about the album at my local record store and they wrote it down. They ordered me a copy at some point and it turned out to be a different color release from the pre-order I secured directly from the indie record label: Hawthorne Street Records.
The Self Title album is truly one of the most rewarding listens of this year and really any year. In many ways it influenced my decision on my number one album of the year pick...
I just read that they're going to release an EP in January (2015) so we all have that to look forward to. In the mean time check this track out.
Other releases that got me through 2014: Tigers Jaw, Braid, The Lawrence Arms
All three artists had great releases but they didn't crack my top 20 releases for the year... The Braid release is going to likely haunt me down the road. I don't know why, but I suspect that this album is going to grow on me a few years down the road. It's a great release, I really enjoyed the tracks on it but it I'm having a hard time reconciling the feels I had for the band in my early 20's and how I feel now at age 37.
Tigers Jaw and The Lawrence Arms both turned in incredible albums and I highly recommend you check them out. Here are some stand out tracks from all three releases.
Show of hands for these three artists: The Black Lips, Spoon, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
All three of these artists released albums well into their discographies and each of them put their best foot forward. The Black Lips album was especially tasty... they kinda released the Parquet Courts album that I was hoping to get in 2014. Spoon finally released an album I wanted to add to my collection since they released Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Lastly, we have The Pains of Being Pure at Heart who may have released the best bedroom dancing album of the year. I didn't give this as many repeat listens as it deserved... In a weaker year I think this would have cracked the to 20 with ease.
Rounding out my list of honorable mentions: The Front Bottoms, The Family Crest, Strand of Oaks
So the Front Bottoms did what they always fucking do... they released a record with anthemic songs I want to sing loudly amongst a group of sweaty strangers the next time they roll into town. ROSE is reportedly the first of several releases that will contain b-sides, unreleased songs and early demos. I can't wait to hear their next full length release and especially can't wait to take Rhiannon to her first Front Bottom show. The Family Crest, is an artist I heard about in passing and when I purchased the album, I was certain that they would be championed by the masses because of palatable sound. I think they remain relatively unknown, which is a fucking shame. The album is incredible and I can't recommend it enough. The last album that I think everyone should find sometime to check out is by an artist called Strand of Oaks. The album is one of those releases that gets recorded by an artist when they've hit a personal rock bottom. It's refreshingly honest and loud when it has to be.