30. Arkells – High Noon
29. Hozier – Hozier
If you were watching the VS Fashion Show last week and found yourself asking how someone like Hozier found his way to the runway, I’m sure you weren’t alone. But take one listen to the eponymous debut album and you’ll soon find out the why and how.
Hozier’s vocals are the epitome of what it means to be a good vocalist – range, power, soul, emotion – he has it all. And it’s not just one song where he puts it all together, it’s every damn song. With that said, the second half of the album tails off in terms of tempo but the quality is still there. With a more appropriate track order and better flow, it very may well have found itself much higher up the list. – Quinn
28. Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
It’s no surprise that Bombay Bicycle Club’s latest, So Long, See You Tomorrow, was their first to reach the top of the UK Album Chart. Not only did the band gain a bit of momentum with A Different Kind of Fix, but it’s also been three years since we last heard from them. Anticipation can be a powerful weapon, but it’s effects aren’t always favorable.
Luckily, the stylistically-confusing Londoners do not disappoint with So Long, See You Tomorrow. After dabbling in garage rock revival (I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose), back-to-basics acoustic singer-songwriter (Flaws) and occasionally-electronic soft indie rock (A Different Kind of Fix), Bombay Bicycle Club seem to have found their way to something they can call their own.
So Long, See You Tomorrow is arguably the band’s most compelling and sonically-engaging work to date. As early as the album opener, we’re introduced to frontman and primary songwriter, Jack Steadman’s newfound comfort with world music (primarily Bollywood) as well as his willingness to incorporate a more noticeable use of the electronic sounds and ideas introduced on A Different Kind of Fix. In fact, if there is any linear evolution in the Bombay Bicycle Club storyline, it’s their compulsion toward electronic instruments between the last two albums.
However, what’s most gripping about So Long, See You Tomorrow is the influence their new sound has on Steadman’s charismatic emotionally-forthrightness. This nearly-flawless marriage is perhaps most apparent on “It’s Alright Now” or the album’s final track.
Starting with a looping synth, repeated lyrics and what I think are woodwinds, “So Long, See You Tomorrow” eventually crescendoes into something probably more at home on A Different Kind of Fix, but as the song falls back to a simmer the new Bombay Bicycle Club is fully realized in song’s explosive closing minutes.
So Long, See You Tomorrow very solid album and a very important step for the band. It deserves your attention. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard any Bombay Bicycle Club before, the context of their catalog has hardly ever hinted at what was in store. – Rondeau
27. Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
26. Wampire – Bazaar
Spooky and strange are two words to describe Wampire’s Bazaar. The duo have gone the distance since their early Into The Woods projects, and they’re taking Polyvinyl’s already diverse catalogue and adding a new ghoulish dimension to it with their second release on the label. Listening to Wampire’s aesthetic, there is something morbidly interesting about their music. They’re name may be an obvious suggestion of this, but however surreal their music becomes into the future, it is injected with an upbeat and positive sound that lends a guiding hand into their freakishly appealing music genre. – Evert
25. Alex G – DSU
DSU is a great indie release by Alex G and Orchid Tapes. It’s unfamiliar sound has been swimming its way through the internet this year, and it nostalgically pulls along some of my favorite sounds from other artists I love. Full of thin trebly guitars, keyboards, and ambient sounds, the album assimilates itself with the DIY culture that is filling the music world with imagination and emotion. There is something about the music that leaves its origins in the unknown, and the ability of replicating it is only in the hands of Alex G. It is certainly a discovered treasure of 2014. – Evert
24. Beck – Morning Phase
23. Tycho – Awake
One thing of many that I love about Tycho is Scott Hansen’s modern aesthetic. Though he shares two personas (aka ISO50) he combines his artistic graphic works with his music. This creates an unbelievable personal aesthetic similar to that of his Ghostly International comrades. Awake contains the kind of music that has the ability to bridge the gap between pop and ambient music. For me it is somewhat of a gateway to the more sound-oriented projects out there. Musicians like Tycho are crucial in a music world full of technology today. – Evert
22. Hurray For The Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes
21. Ariel Pink – pom pom
This Ariel Pink solo project with so much collaboration is one of the most dynamic and holistic albums of the year. Pom Pom has so much ingenuity and activity in it that it is nearly impossible to understand what realm of the universe it even originate from. Pink sits at the same table as so many great musicians who can create a unique pallet of sounds from the past and present in order to build the future of music. The cult like cinematographic quality of Pom Pom will take you through comedy, horror, and romance. The work’s ability to comprehensively mesh intricate sounds and styles has truly made one hell of an album. – Evert