We know that the end of the year is a time for critics to list their favorite albums/films/tv shows etc., so not wanting to feel left out, I’ve compiled my own list of the best albums and song of 2014. Enjoy.
#10. Eels – The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Eels’ main man Mark ‘E’ Everett puts it all on the line in a series of songs which are sad even by his standards. Key track: “Mistakes of My Youth.”
#9. Bob Mould – Beauty and Ruin
Bob Mould shows that being in your fifties doesn’t prevent you from still being able to rock out in a series of tuneful yet aggressive songs. Key track: “The War.”
#8 Sun Kil Moon – Benji
Mark ‘controversial’ Kozelek takes time off from pointless feuds to deliver some of the most honest songs he has ever written, and that’s saying something. Key track: “Dogs.”
#7 Priests – Bodies and Control and Money and Power
Pointed political punk from a righteously furious Washington DC band, who take aim on a series of authority figures. Key track: “Design Within Reach” (which is regrettably not available on YouTube).
#6 Perfect Pussy – Say Yes to Love
Feedback and synth strewn noise + hardcore punk rhythms + Meredith Graves’ incredibly honest lyrics = one of the albums of the year. Key track: “Interference Fits.”
#5 YOB – Clearing the Path to Ascend
Epic doom metal from a band that manages to make 10 minute plus epics seem like the most natural thing in music. Key track: “In Our Blood.”
#4 White Lung – Deep Fantasy
Canadian punks go for the jugular on this set of fast and furious songs which are guaranteed to provoke a reaction. Key track: “I Believe You.”
#3 St Vincent – St Vincent
A modern pop classic from the former Annie Clark whose career goes from strength to strength on this “party record you could play at a funeral” (her words). Key Track: “Digital Witness.”
#2 Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness
Jaw dropping set of songs from the previously restrained singer who turns up the volume on this set of Roy Orbison-tinged melodic ballads. Key Track: “Stars.”
#1 Ex Hex – Rips
The album of the year is one of the most fun rock and roll albums I’ve heard in years, seemingly designed to have you signing along on each track, in the style of those carefree anthems that played on the radio once upon a time. Full of great riffs and witty lyrics, Mary Timony, Betsy Wright and Laura Harris have created a mini masterpiece that should be played every summer, to remind you of how enjoyable music can be. Key Track: “Waterfall.”
Song of the Year: Sleater-Kinney – “Surface Envy”
Maybe a predictable choice, but “The Only Band That Matters” return with a fantastic three minute call to arms from the forthcoming reunion album No Cities to Love. “We win, we lose – only together do we break the rules,” implores Corin Tucker over pounding drums and angular guitar. Here’s hoping the rest of the album lives up to this.