#30-11 in alphabetical order
Alvvays – alvvays
Fun indie pop 60s throwback album. 'Marry Me Archie' is definitely
one of the year's catchiest tunes.
Angel Olsen – burn your fire for no witness
Like 2013's stellar 'Cerulean Salt' by Waxahatchee, Olsen offers
laid back folk rock bolstered by a commanding voice and
Ariel Pink – Pom Pom
After two relatively straightforward, accessible releases (by
Ariel Pink standards), Pink drops his Haunted Graffiti back up
band and goes wild in an uneven album that still produces some
off-kilter 70s throwback gems.
Benjamin Booker – benjamin booker
Raw, exciting indie rock.
CARIBOU – OUR LOVE
While I prefer the swirling, sun-tinged kitchen sink psychedelia
of Dan Snaith's former outfit Manitoba, Snaith is still one the
most consistent sources of catchy and intelligent dance music
Ex Hex – Rips
An album of catchy garage pop gems.
Jack White – Lazaretto
Perhaps a more subdued work but White still delivers
his exceptionally well-honed brand of bluesy rock and pop.
Jenny Lewis – The voyager
It would be easy to write off Lewis' countrified pop as white girl
neo-soul lite but as with her work with Rilo Kiley she brings her
confident vocals and hooky songwriting to make an effortlessly
classy AM pop album.
First Aid Kit – Stay Gold
Beautiful Scandinavian folk pop delights.
Flight Facilities – Down to earth
You won't find a song much catchier than the Reggie Watts-assisted
'Sunshine', but this Aussie band's long awaited LP debut is full
of smooth electro pop that's almost as good.
frankie cosmos – zentropy
17 minutes of indie pop heaven. Not as twee as it may seem on first
Mac Demarco – salad days
Our favourite slacker indie rocker is back with his most accessible
batch of tunes yet.
Owen Pallet – In Conflict
A less sprightly, more intense listen than we'd usually expect from
the Canadian string savant, but one that puts forward some of his
most wrenching songs to date.
The Preatures – Blue Planet Eyes
While I wish 'Better than it ever could be' was included, the fact
that the album remains solid and chock full of groovy pop songs
despite it's absence, highlights this Aussie band's knack for hooky
Run The Jewels – Run The jewels 2
An exceptionally fruitful combo, El-P and Killer Mike deliver this
years' most assured and dynamic hip-hop album.
Sharon Van Etten – are we there
Van Etten is nothing if not consistent. Here we get another set of
beautifully understated music. Brooding and powerful in equal
Sun Kil Moon – Benji
Despite constantly putting his foot in his mouth, creatively, this
year has been a strong one for Mark Kozelek. Benji is full of
world weary, bleary eyed indie rock. Not his most accessible album,
but ultimately his most rewarding.
swans – to be kind
A huge album both in length and ambition. 10 minute post rock freak
outs might not seem like a fun way to spend one's time, but the
album's variety and excesses keep it engaging and exciting amongst
all the chaos.
Taylor swift - 1989
This wasn't originally in my list, despite earning critical
plaudits. I really tried to resist it but I can't deny that I've
listened to certain songs on this album more than most of the
albums of this list. Pure pop at its finest.
Tennis – Ritual in repeat
Their most fully realised and consistent album yet. Easy going
indie pop done right.
TUNE-YARDS – NIKKI NACK
While not as consistently strong as 2011's brilliant 'WHO KILL',
'Nikki Nack' sees Garbus producing a more mature album without
suppressing the energy and dexterity of her musical talents.
Perfume Genius – Too Bright
It took until 'Too Bright' for PG's music to kick into the next
gear and deliver music that was as passionate and raw musically as
his lyrics and vocals have been since his debut.
Spoon – They Want My Soul
After the somewhat more sober 'Transference', Spoon go back to what
they do best, marrying the straightforward indie rock of classic
'Kill the Moonlight' with the pop sensibilities of 'Ga Ga Ga Ga
Ga', resulting in another strong effort from a band that has never
made a bad album.
Real Estate – Atlas
While it's easy to say this is a more somber effort for Real
Estate, the autumn album to 'Days' summer if you will, the
general formula doesn't deviate too greatly from the intricate
yet relaxing guitar pop that Real Estate excel in. Music that
immediately sounds timeless without being derivative.
Future Islands – Singles
Seasons (Waiting On You) was my favourite track of the first half
of 2014 and while the rest of the album is not as instantly hooky,
it is a very consistent set of alternately throbbing and shuffling
pop songs delivered in Samuel Herring's unmistakable howl.
FKA Twigs – LP1
Dark, icy, gorgeous pop music. James Blake but with a breathy
yearning replacing his croon.
THE WAR ON DRUGS – LOST IN THE DREAM
The very definition of a grower album. This isn't workout music,
it's a long, slow burn psychedelic shimmer that rewards any
listener that gives it the time it needs to wash over them.
TV on the Radio - Seeds This is by no means TVOTR's strongest album, that would be a toss
up between 'Return to Cookie Mountain' and 'Dear Science'. Seeds
lacks the experimental tendencies and the command of different
musical styles that those albums deliver. But 'Seeds' is still a
triumph. An uplifting set of poppy indie rock that strive for
positivity in the wake of the death of bassist Gerard Smith in
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS – BRILL BRUISERS
The New Pornographers have always gotten me. Their pop
sensibilities so clearly match what I love about music that it's
scary. Even on their poorer, slightly phoned-in last 2 efforts,
each song had a golden nugget of hook that would sustain me. Now
Brill Bruisers is their best effort since 2005's Twin Cinema,
brimming in neon soaked pop and slipping in some electronic
elements without compromising their energy.
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
People say Beyoncé is the queen, but I'll always bow before Annie
Clark. I have nothing else to say.