This year in music seems defined not by the return of highly anticipated musicians, but instead by the breakout of some lesser-known talents. Here are my picks for the best music of 2014.
Video of the Year:
DJ Snake feat. Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
This hilarious and visually interesting video wins by a landslide. Equally important, the song is great.
Song of the Year:
3) Hamilton Leithauser, “Alexandra”
While the hiatus/breakup of The Walkmen is depressing, I now have confidence that we will keep getting great music from front-man Hamilton Leithauser.
2) Perfume Genius, “Queen”
Most of Mike Hadreas’ songs are too sparse for my taste, but not “Queen.” This song is full of muscle signifying Hadreas’ passion for the subject with lyrics that snap back at social conservatives’ critiques of homosexuals. “No family is safe, when I sashay”
1) Protomartyr, “Come & See”
This song features strong guitar, powerful drums and acerbic lyrics. The song could be seen as a eulogy for a dying city, but it mostly just rocks. Don’t be scared by the unusual vocals of Joe Casey, this band is great!
Album of the Year:
3) The Both, The Both
Not since the Black Keys have I seen two great solo artists create such a successful collaboration. Ted Leo and Aimee Mann’s funny and well-crafted album is arguably better than what either had released in years. In addition, since both are practically comedians, I can’t wait to see them in concert for what I imagine is impeccable tag-team banter.
2) Bombay Bicycle Club, So Long See You Tomorrow
In a year where the major releases were somewhat disappointing, it was great to discover a band that was entirely new to me. After they reinvented themselves, the foursome created an album that feature diverse tracks that somehow blend together to create some kind of a hypnotic bliss.
1) Future Islands, Singles
Future Islands might have hit their breakout this year. Their new album features sharpened synth instrumentals and charismatic vocals to create a refined, unique, and refreshing sound. The album begins with the great single “Seasons (Waiting on You)” and the album continues to build on the foundation.