Favorited ex.fm Songs

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Albums of 2014 (1-5)

If you missed the first two parts of my favorite albums list, here are links for albums 16-25 and for albums 6-15. Now onto my five favorite albums of the year.

5) Mimicking Birds - Eons

I talked about this album a bit back in August. The Portland trio released their first record in four years in 2014, and it was well worth the wait. They combine acoustic and electric guitars, keys, and percussion, along with some electronic sounding elements expertly to create their own sound. While things could seem muddled with so much going on, they layering things really well to create a nice peaceful sound. My favorite tracks are "Bloodlines" and "Acting Your Age," but it's really nice album to play from beginning to end. It would make a nice soundtrack for a Fall walk with some headphones.

4) William Tyler - Lost Colony EP

This EP marks the third release from Merge Records to make my list this year (along with the previously mentioned albums by Hiss Golden Messenger and Ex Hex). The album is entirely instrumental featuring William Tyler's amazing guitar backed by percussion, bass, keyboard, and pedal steel. The three-song EP clocks in at 26 minutes and is perfect for driving with the windows down in the summer and soaking up the world around you. The 13-minute long opening track, "Whole New Dude," is my favorite of the three. According to the Merge Records website, William Tyler and MC Taylor (of Hiss Golden Messenger) were discussing a book called "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" and joked that it should be called "Whole New Dude," which gave birth to a song title.

3) S - Cool Choices

S is the stage name of Jenn Ghetto. At least she seems to recognize the extra efforts that fans have to put in to find her on the internet since she has begun selling shirts of her face with the word "ungoogleable" across them. However, once you do find her, you're in for something pretty special. Cool Choices is anchored by her voice and piano playing although there are guitars and drums on songs too. Her lyrics can be depressing, but they have a sweet honesty and openness to them. The album starts off with the line "This is how losers feel. I am a loser. And you're here to remind me that this is how losers feel." The song manages to captures a feeling of being on the outside or feeling self doubt and marries it with beautiful piano. When the second track "Like Gangbusters!" picks things up a little bit it's a welcome transition and includes the line "Another day here, and I am not breaking. And we all fall sometimes. You will not take me down" to make you realize the whole album won't be quite as depressing as the first track. "Vampires," which has a lo-fi bedroom recording feel and is probably the most immediately accessible song, and "Brunch" are two of my other favorite tracks on the record.

2) Cayetana - Nervous Like Me

I first wrote about Cayetana two months ago, and I still can't get enough of the Philadelphia pop punk trio. Nervous Like Me is a bit of a deviation from what I normally listen to, but I found myself wanting to return to this album over and over and over again (sometimes all in one day). I'm really hoping to see the band in concert sometime in 2015 (in the meantime this live performance on NPR will have to suffice). Augusta Koch's vocals manage to wonderfully toe the line between singing and screaming in a perfect way that is catchy and fun to sing along with. Her lyrics do a great job of touching on love, longing, anxiety, the mundane, and life as a 20-something. Allegra Anka on bass and Kelly Olsen on drums help provide a constant energy to the album that manages to not get lost at all from beginning to end. My favorite tracks are currently "Hot Dad Calendar," "Dirty Laundry," and "Busy Brain," but that could change the next time I listen to the album and find something new stuck in my head.








and my favorite album of 2014 is...

1) Racing Glaciers - Ahead of You Forever EP

If you've been paying attention to my list so far, you could have predicted this album since I said there were two entries by Racing Glaciers. This five-piece from the United Kingdom just absolutely won 2014 for me, and I am so glad to have stumbled across their music. I normally don't even include EPs on my top albums list, but I couldn't imagine anything else taking the #1 spot this year. Every time I listened to the Ahead Of You Forever EP I was overcome with just how much I loved it and how well everything gelled. To me the sign of a great album is that I have a hard time coming up with anything to listen to next when I finish listening to it. This year I found myself often just starting the EP back over from the beginning for that reason. I was thankful when they released their other 2014 EP so that then I could at least play both. As I mentioned before, the band is absolutely perfect at building a song til it can't build anymore and then kicking in everything they've got. The guitars, horns, and percussion all come together into such a nice package that sounds familiar yet not really like another artist I know. To date, Racing Glaciers has 3 EPs, and I read that they are working on their first full length album now (which my fingers are crossed is true). I wouldn't be at all surprised if their debut album launches them toward stardom, so I recommend hopping on the bandwagon now so you can say you were ahead of the curve. I'm not going to pick a favorite song because the EP is only 24 minutes long and should be listened to as a whole anyway. You can find it on Spotify or buy it from Amazon or wherever else you find it.

Below is a mix of some songs from my five favorite albums of 2014.

If you use Spotify, below is a playlist where you can listen to 24 of my top 25 albums. Louis Weeks' album isn't on there, but you can stream (or download) the whole thing here.

Lastly, thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog at any point this year. Thanks to all the bands on my list and a whole bunch of others that didn't make it but still produced awesome music in 2014. And thanks to blogs like songsfortheday, We Listen For You, My Random Jukebox, Music Savage, and a whole bunch of others that helped me discover all kinds of great music. See you all in 2015!

No comments:

Post a Comment