| Adam’s World’s Best of 2014
| Wednesday, December 24, 2014
It’s that time of year again, the time when I come out with my year end “best of” lists, and this year I’m covering my favorite albums, EPs, concerts, and interviews of the past 12 months. As a bonus I’ve created a few video playlists just in case you want to check out the music for yourself. Let’s get into it!
Top Ten Albums of 2014
1) The Mast - Pleasure Island
With their mixture of atmospheric electronic music and female vocals, The Mast will literally take your mind to a pleasure island when you listen to their debut album.
2) Taylor Swift - 1989
When Taylor Swift decided to team up with Max Martin to create a pure pop album you had to know it was going to be great. The replay value of 1989 is downright insane.
3) Chumped - Teenage Retirement
Mixing modern punk with 90s influences, Chumped’s Teenage Retirement defines the awkward initial years of adulthood, including trying to hold on to some of the fun of life.
4) Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds
“Habits (Stay High)” was arguably the song of the year, and Queen of the Clouds takes us through every stage of a relationship thanks to some incredible pop music songwriting.
5) Mike Doughty - Stellar Motel
Mike Doughty has become his own genre of music, and it’s a beautiful thing. Mixing indie rock with hip-hop and top notch songwriting skills, Stellar Motel is, well, stellar.
6) Ariana Grande - My Everything (Deluxe Edition)
Baby Mariah returned with another winner. Although there’s more current pop on this album than her previous one, there’s still plenty of 90s styled R&B, as well. Plus, those vocals, WOW!
7) Toussaint Morrison - Edo
A hip-hop artist who can also sing, and has something to say, but does so in an entertaining manner, Toussaint Morrison continues to impress with ever release.
8) Lights - Little Machines
It had been three long years since synth-pop artist Lights released Siberia, and Little Machines was worth the wait. Her songwriting, production, and vocals are still some of the most beautiful, and emotive around.
9) Yellowcard - Lift A Sail
Yellowcard’s Lift A Sail proved that a band can still make a great traditional rock album. I spun this three times in a row the day it arrived.
10) Kate Tempest - Everybody Down
UK emcee and poet Kate Tempest’s Everybody Down tells a complete story, and with her skills being one part Dessa, one part The Streets, it’s a story I loved hearing.
Honorable mentions: Homeboy Sandman - Hallways, Lee - 16 Reasons To Buy This Album, Butter The Children - True Crime, Metermaids - We Brought Knives, Illus - Behind The Mask
Top Ten Albums of 2014 Playlist
FYI, if you’ve never used a YouTube playlist before, you can skim through tracks using the drop down menu at the top left hand side of the video, or by viewing the playlist on YouTube.
Top Five EPs of 2014
1) Meg Myers - Make A Shadow
If Trent Reznor and Courtney Love had a baby, that baby would probably sound a lot like Meg Myers. A rocker with attitude to spare, her EP kicked more ass than just about anything this year.
2) Manicanparty - The District
Mixing electronic music and pop music, with an emphasis on drums leading the way, tribal pop duo Manicanparty, who are one of NYC’s best live acts, released another winner this year with The District.
3) Fjer - Beautiful Home
Every time I listen to Fjer’s Beautiful Home I’m amazed by the beauty of the music. Her downtempo electro-soul can put anyone in a wonderfully chill state of mind.
4) LIZ - Just Like You
If you miss the R&B inspired pop scene of the 90s (and who among us doesn’t?), LIZ’s Just Like You will take you right back to that era of TLC and TRL.
5) Nova Rockafeller - Problem Child
A hip-hop artist who actually seems to be having a great time being a hip-hop artist, Nova Rockafeller continues to be a very fun breath of fresh air in a genre that is overflowing with ego and attitude.
Honorable mentions: Fife & Drom - Introducing Fife & Drom, Ryan-O’Neil - Ryan-O’Neil, ASTR - Varsity, The Landing - We Are, Stef Lang - Rubix, Warren Britt - Awww, You Mad?!, Xombie - Capital X
Top Five EPs of 2014 Playlist
Once again, you can skim through tracks using the drop down menu at the top left hand side of the video, or by viewing the playlist on YouTube.
Top Ten Live Shows
You already know I spend more time at concert venues than I do anywhere else in the world, so it should come as no surprise that in 2014 I once again saw more than 100 artists/bands perform live. The following ten shows, which are arranged in date order, are the ones that stood out most.
February 8th - The Mast @ Mercury Lounge, NYC
May 23rd - Manicanparty @ Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2, NYC
June 17th - Summerland Tour (Soul Asylum, Everclear, Eve 6, Spacehog) @ Irving Plaza, NYC
June 19th - Kawehi @ Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2, NYC
July 24th - Under The Sun Tour (Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Blues Traveler) @ Alive at Five, Stamford, CT
July 26th - Fife & Drom @ Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1, NYC
October 21st - Rainy Milo @ DROM, NYC
November 5th - Melissa Giges @ Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3, NYC
November 7th - Corn Mo @ Music Hall Rockwood Stage 2, NYC
November 7th - Chumped @ Mercury Lounge, NYC
Top Ten Interviews of 2014
Talk about having a lot to choose from, I did 75 full length feature story interviews in 2014. My favorites are always the ones where the artist tells me an incredible story. The following are ten artist interviews that really stood out.
Cady Groves - Her ability to overcome personal, and professional, tragedy is awe inspiring, and her openness about it all was incredible. (link)
Mark McGrath - I’d wanted to interview Mark McGrath for a long time, and he didn’t disappoint. His genuine enthusiasm for music, and life in general, is fantastic. (link)
Veruca Salt - I had a lot of fun with the ladies of Veruca Salt. While they didn’t completely give me their wildest story, I had a lot of fun attempting to drag it out of them. (link)
Jade Starling - The former Pretty Poison front-woman went incredibly in-depth about the rave/drug scene of the 80s and 90s, and I was honored she felt comfortable telling me her stories. (link)
Nina Persson - Her story about The Cardigans illegally walking up a Japanese holy mountain in the middle of the night is awesome. (link)
Max Collins - Since he survived it unscathed, the story of his arrest, and being thrown in gen-pop, rather than getting any kind of star treatment, is hilarious. (link)
Gang of Four - No one else has told me about performing in a pre-unified Berlin, in the midst of rioting Marxist protestors, during which time the band’s guitar tech was high as a kite. (link)
The Slambovian Circus of Dreams - The first American band to perform in China after the massacre at Tiananmen Square, The Slambovian Circus of Dreams shared some incredible stories from that tour. (link)
Tove Lo - A handful of months after I interviewed Tove Lo her single “Habits (Stay High)” became a top five hit. I’m not saying there’s a connection, but... :) (link)
Pentatonix - Not only did I have a great interview with Pentatonix’s beatboxer Kevin Olusola, the PTX fan base helped the feature rack up over 16k views in under 48 hours. (link)
Honorable mentions: 3 Doors Down, Corn Mo, Hasan Salaam, Bear McCreary, Bryant Dope, Clean Bandit
OK, that’s my wrap up for 2014. I’m already looking forward to 2015, and all the awesome albums, EPs, concerts, and interviews it will hold!
Labels: Music Reviews
|posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:00 AM