old waver top 25 favorite albums of 2014

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This blog is hardly a blog anymore, but that doesn’t preclude me from posting a hastily assembled year-end album list. 2014 wasn’t the strongest year for music, at least in my humble estimation, but I was able to pull together 25 list-worthy releases. Keep in mind these are personal favorites of stuff I’ve actually listened to, not necessarily the “best”. I’ll leave that kind of definitive deconstruction of art to the experts.

If you don’t have patience for the countdown, there’s a Spotify playlist and a quick list for reference at the bottom of the post.


25. Simple Minds – Big Music
A surprising return from the Scottish greats that pulsates with new wave energy.

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24. Mogwai – Rave Tapes
Although less engaging than Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, it’s still magnificently crafted background noise.
Rave_tapes_cover
23. Aphex Twin – Syro
Richard D James returned with his first album in 13 years, which was almost as good as the Aphex Swift mashup. Kidding. Kind of.
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22. Cymbals Eat Guitars – LOSE
Mature third album from the NYC band that stirs fond memories of Sunny Day Real Estate.
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21. Hooray For Earth – Racy
Another NYC outfit, Hooray For Earth went less synthy but even bigger with their second album.
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20. Temples – Sun Structures
English psychedelia that’s even more Beatlesque than Tame Impala.
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19. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
The closest thing to Blur he’s ever released under another name.
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18. The Faint – Doom Abuse
The Omaha synthpunks returned with their first album since 2008, and it pummels the eardrums like nothing they’ve done before.
Doom_Abuse_Packshot
17. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
The beautiful and talented Annie Clark pushes the boundaries of pop as much as anyone out there.
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16. Elephant Stone – The Three Poisons
Indian influenced psychedelic grooves from Montreal. A genre of one.
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15. Liars – Mess
Not as tightly formed as WIXIW, it’s still bold electronic experimentation with hooks.
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14. Raveonettes – Pe’ahi
A “surprise” release, it’s a sonically adventurous one that explores loss and mortality after the death of Sune Rose Wagner’s father.The_Raveonettes_-_Pe-Ahi
13. Eagulls – Eagulls
Snot nosed English punks who sneak a little of The Cure into their primal racket.
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12. Gardens & Villa – Dunes
Chilled out New Order style electropop with a southern California sheen.
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11. Caribou – Our Love
Dan Snaith has an uncanny knack for creating accessibly off-kilter dance music.
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10. Beck – Morning Phase
A sleepy, comforting amalgamation of Mutations and Sea Change.
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9. Cheatahs – Cheatahs
Featuring members from the UK, US and Canada, Cheatahs shred shoegaze with equal parts My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver.
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8. Interpol – El Pintor
Their best since Antics, it almost makes you forget about the absence of Carlos D.
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7. The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave
By splitting the difference between their last two albums and dialing back the Scottish brogue, they’ve created their best album to date.
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6. Morrissey – World Peace Is None Of Your Business
Overshadowed by label drama (it’s already out of print) and cancelled shows (does he have cancer or not?), this is Moz’s most adventurous solo album that’s filled with some of his most vitriolic lyrics.
Morrissey-World-Peace-Is-None-of-Your-Business-MP3-Digital-Album

5. Johnny Marr – Playland
A late-blooming frontman, Johnny edges out his former bandmate with increasingly confident vocals and brilliant guitar pop.
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4. Real Estate – Atlas
These regular guys from Jersey craft some of the most intoxicating jangle pop this side of Johnny Marr.

realestate3. The Horrors – Luminous
The evolution of The Horrors continues to take them further into a vortex of dream pop, shoegaze and synthpop, which pleases me.

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2. The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream
Dylanesque dad rock isn’t usually my jam, but the krautrock influence and impeccable songcraft makes this a dream worth getting lost in.
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1. Future Islands – Singles
The Letterman appearance was a blessing and a curse. Its meme moment probably put Singles on more total year-end lists, but also likely knocked it down a few rungs on the lists of cooler-than-thou tastemakers. Regardless, Samuel T. Herring is a force and this album is near perfect.
Future-Islands-Singles2

Spotify playlist (minus Morrissey, obviously):

Quick list:

25. Simple Minds – Big Music
24. Mogwai – Rave Tapes
23. Aphex Twin – Syro
22. Cymbals Eat Guitars – LOSE
21. Hooray For Earth – Racy
20. Temples – Sun Structures
19. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
18. The Faint – Doom Abuse
17. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
16. Elephant Stone – The Three Poisons
15. Liars – Mess
14. Raveonettes – Pe’ahi
13. Eagulls – Eagulls
12. Gardens & Villa – Dunes
11. Caribou – Our Love
10. Beck – Morning Phase
9. Cheatahs – Cheatahs
8. Interpol – El Pintor
7. The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave
6. Morrissey – World Peace Is None Of Your Business
5. Johnny Marr – Playland
4. Real Estate – Atlas
3. The Horrors – Luminous
2. The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream
1. Future Islands – Singles

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2 thoughts on “old waver top 25 favorite albums of 2014

  1. Peter

    Nice list GXD. I might have worked in Cloud Nothings, Sunny Day in Glasgow, and Fear of Men though. Good job though, thanks for keeping up the blog-

  2. tarbandu

    I went and picked up the CDs by Temples and Real Estate – and I have to agree, they are among the best of 2014. I’ll check out some of the other entries on the list as well……the Old Waver blog remains – to me at least – a unique and useful source of info on these genres of music, so keep it up !

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