Day 21 – Music of the Year

We round up the year of music with our list of top albums from all corners of the musical world. These are just a few albums that have been on repeat here at Richer Sounds HQ this year. For a comprehensive list of top albums of 2014 from over 80 publications check out Album of the Year’s website.

Video of the year:
Radio Soulwax Presents: As Heard On Radio Soulwax pt. 2

In 2003 two members of Soulwax, aka 2ManyDJs, released a mashup album containing no less than 45 distinct tracks, mixed into an hour long LP. In honour of its 11th birthday, the collective created a video with animated album covers of the songs, as and when they appear. It’s for its simple audacity on a grand scale that we’ve decided to name it our Music Video of 2014.

Folk album of the year:
Marissa Nadler – July

With great delight, we kick our top ten albums of 2014 off with a beautiful number by Marissa Nadler. On to her 6th album, we see an obvious contribution Randall Dunn, producer of some Doom heavyweights. It’s his eerie contribution that adds an otherworldly dream-like quality to Marissa’s album. A special mention also goes to Sacred Bones Records, who released this in 2014, as well as other great albums by Amen Dunes and Dream Police just to name a few.

Americana album of the year:
M Ward – Hold Time

The co-founder of super group Monsters of Folk has produced an album of genre defining proportions. Think an upbeat Kurt Vile creating radio/chart-friendly songs. Nice! More of the same please.

Indie album of the year:
Post War Glamour Girls – Pink Fur

Amazing combination of song writing and musical performances combine to create 43 minutes of music that will haunt you. Have you ever wondered what The Bad Seeds would sound like if they were English… in the 80s… with added female vocals? Wonder no longer!

Electronic album of the year:
Culprate – Deliverance

John Hislop, aka Culprate, has released an album of scale beyond simple comprehension. Winding stories, journeys and breaks at jaunty angles add depth to his particular brand of electronic music. Many influences are on show here, as are the fingerprints of the many collaborators on this album. It reveals more on each listen, which is still the test of time so many lesser albums fail to pass.

Psychedelic album of the year:
The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Revelation

Those who have seen Dig! and assumed that was the sole artistic contribution by mis-guided genius Anton Newcombe should explore his recent releases. Still producing a sound that is both retro and surprisingly zeitgeist in direction, his most recent full-length release takes a pleasing eastern influence.

Re-release album of the year:
Lewis Baloue – Romantic Times

Randall A. Wulff recorded two albums in the 80’s under the stage name Lewis Baloue. Only one copy of the second album is known to exist (recently discovered in a Canadian store) and placed on eBay, fetching $1,825. The album is a dystopian soundscape where Lewis teeters between romance and something far more sinister. Sounds like the soundtrack for David Lynch directing Searching For Sugarman.

Metal album of the year:
Fen – Carrion Skies

Like a dynamic hammer of light, Fen’s 2014 release Carrion Skies adds complexity and misdirection to the heavier side of music. Taking obvious influences from the instrumental Post-Rock world of music, ’Skies is a tour de force of Shoegaze and Black Metal that breaks down many barriers. By far, the London metallers’ strongest work to date.

Epic album of the year:
Swans – To Be Kind

Much has been written about this album, claiming a high place on many top album lists. It’s both a continuation and divergence from 2012’s The Seer, both in aesthetics and sound. Where as that album was dark, it had a beacon of light at the end of the tunnel. This outing is very much its polar opposite. Even down to the artwork, we see a breaking down of normality to the more surreal side of life. At over 2 hours running-time, this is both epic in structure and scale. To be played at no less than full volume.

Post-Punk album of the year:
Have a Nice Life – The Unnatural World

Creating a soundtrack for the apocalypse is never an easy thing. The Unnatural World is this year’s must hear for fans of the dark-arts: those who enjoy a bit of The Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine.

Live album of the year:
Radkey – Spotify Sessions at SXSW

Invoking the spirit of punk with all the tunes you’d expect from a band on at least their 4th or 5th album. Which is even more impressive when you find out they have yet to release their debut album. This is where fans of The Ramones and fans of more complex compositions can get together and enjoy some live music.

End of year bonus song…

7” Single of the Year:
Battle Lines – Colonies

This Leeds quartet released their bitter-sweet 7″ single on No Sleep Records towards the start of the year. Having previously played a SXSW showcase in Austin, Texas, and soon to be recording their debut LP, we are excited to see where these guys are taking their music next.

Author: Ian, Marketing