Nothing like end of the year music lists. Love reading them and making new discoveries and hearing good arguments about what's great. I love the process of relistening to many albums and making a list of my own. I've done this since 2006...
Previous Years -- My Best Albums
I'm leaving minimal comments, but trying to give some hint at what I like. Bottom line for me is that it's really easy to click a link and listen to the samples to see if anything catches your ear. That's often how I discover great albums.
Please let me know in the comments your favorite albums of the year, your top 5, whatever you like!
Honorable Mentions (recommended): The Gloaming - The Gloaming | Wovenhand - Refractory Obdurate | Lykki Li - I Never Learn | The Black Keys - Turn Blue | Hozier - Hozier | The Raveonettes - Pe’ahi | Damien Jurado - Brothers & Sisters of the Eternal Son | Vancouver Sleep Clinic - Winter
20. Swans - To Be Kind | I just LOVE what they do. Deserves recognition.
19. Ty Segall - Manipulator | Rocking retro music. Catchy catchy.
18. Hiss Golden Messenger - Lateness of Dancers | One my favorite songwriters right now.
17. The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers | A band that rarely makes a mistake. Masters of the catchy. The best pop music in the world that doesn't make the radio.
16. Phantogram - Voices | Listened to more than most albums on this list because it's just so much stinkin' fun! Dance, dance revolution!
15. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness | Love the creativity behind the angst. An album worth meandering through again and again.
14. Alvvays - Alvvays | A hazy, dreamy daisy. A lot of fun. I put this on a lot. "Marry Me, Archie" is a favorite song this year.
13. Andrew Bird - Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of... | Got so much play late in the year. Might be the most accessible Andrew Bird album out there.
12. Champs - Down Like Gold | Not easy to get, but worth it. Gorgeous harmonies. Thoughtful lyrics.
11. FKA twigs - LP1 | A little over-produced, but a remarkable, powerfully delicate sound. Broke so many of my expectations.
10. Sharon Van Etten - Are We There | Somber. Rarely fun. But so, so good. Beautifully written & emotionally performed. Sharon's body of work is outstanding, album after album.
9. Spoon - They Want My Soul | I've liked Spoon for some time, but I don't remember an album that called me back over and over. Some of the best indie rock being made.
8. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else | A fantastic album that I had listed lower and it kept saying to me, "I'm better than that." Yes. Yes you are. Punky, rock, and throttled. Turn it up and go.
7. Jack White - Lazaretto | Crank UP the title track. I listened when I first picked it up, stopped for a while, and now I listen to it more than ever. Evidence of a great album is that it won't let you stay away. One of White's best albums.
6. Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear | The remarkable song, "Chandelier," deserved some attention so I gave it some at CaPC. This is way bigger than one song. A remarkable selection of some of the best pop songs of the year by what I think is one of our better minds in the pop music world. She gets the mix of thoughtful lyrics, big hooks, and soaring sounds. The levels of honest are remarkable.
TOP 5 ALBUMS OF 2014
5. Caribou - Our Love | The best amalgamation of music I can close my eyes and dive in to on my headphones as well as can serve as background for work or play. Everything Caribou does is gold and this is 24K.
3. The War on Drugs - Lost In The Dream | This is one of the best reviewed albums of the year. I've seen 10 #1 listings so far. Could easily be higher. I struggle to even describe what this album is. It crosses some of my favorite kinds of music. Can I just ask you to check it out? Ok, thanks.
2. John Fullbright - Songs | This was a late year discovery for me and has had me entranced from the first listen. So. Many. Good. SONGS. Some of the best songwriting I've found. And the dude's like 25. This one can appeal to people who like troubadours, singer-songwriters, baritone, indie, even country, or americana.
1. Delta Spirit - Into the Wide | I expect to put up a more proper review of this album sometime. It's overdue, and this album and this band deserves more attention from the world. To me, this is simply one of the best bands playing. They are outstanding live. They know how to do quiet and thoughtful as well as really loud and thoughtful.
This is one heckuvan album, and it's beloved by members of my family who have very different tastes.