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noiseredux
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Favorite albums of 2014?

by noiseredux Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:53 am

like we do every year...

1. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2
this album is unreal. I'm a long (LONG) time fan of El-P. And Killer Mike has always got the props. But this record just came out of nowhere and dethroned everything for me. It's a mess of crazy production and shit-talking. But it's also a masterpiece of the old back-n-forth MC vocals. Brilliant to the point I don't have words. You just gotta hear it.
"Jeopary" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUZaEDl ... oXB5eQijs7

2. Rick Ross - Mastermind
I'd never expect Rick Ross to end up in my Top 10. Nevermind the fact he came close to #1. But yeah, Mastermind is fucking awesome. I think my favorite thing is that it's the usual Ross - expensive thug shit - it's also this homage to golden age hip hop referencing Wu-Tang, Camp Lo, Souls Of Mishief, and Biggie. Never have I felt that Ross was such a straight up classic hip hop fan til I heard this record. It's just stunning.
"Thug Cry" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTBRFeJ8lqw

3. Mobb Deep - The Infamous Mobb Deep
No secret - I love Mobb Deep. And while most fans spent the past decade (or two) wishing they'd just remake The Infamous, I've been enjoying their records plenty anyway. But for them to go back and try to re-capture that energy and macabre creepiness with this one (plus include a full disc of 94 sessions) means that they've managed to somehow record their most compelling album in probably a decade. Even if it was a shrewd cash-in, it totally worked.
"Taking You Off Here" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eadPjCzBVw

4. Mogwai - Rave Tapes
Agh, Mogwai. Sure they've got their pretty shit. Sure they've got their heavy shit. But on this one they managed to get both on balance and also lace it in awesome electronics. This album sounds like a score to an 80's b-movie that none of us saw because the VHS was too warped when we rented it. Fucking awesome.
"Remurdered" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ5nEuG-CRc

5. Crosses - s/t
I love The Deftones. And I love 80's synthpop. So hearing Chino sing over 80's inspired synths is incredible to me. This album felt to me like Chino fronting Depeche Mode.
"This Is A Trick" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuQV3sDW2YE

6. Iggy Azalea - The New Classic
Iggy was certainly a polarizing figure this year. She was introduced to me as "A$AP Rocky's ex." Later she was the girl responsible for "Fancy" which played every half hour of every day of the entire Summer. But the truth is she made one hell of an album.
"Rolex" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epiM94qLmLU

7. Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence
I had no idea Lana could get so much better. I loved Born To Die. Paradise was great. But she went into hiding and came out with this insanely dark blend of tremelo'd guitars and tremelo'd vocals. This is a lost David Lynch soundtrack right here. Brilliant, beautiful and scary.
"Black Beauty" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLNN82R9K5o

8. The Roots - And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
The Roots went further into the realm of concept album on this one. They dipped their toe before. But this is off the deep end Pink Floyd shit here. This is crazy musique concrete and snatches of ambience shit. This is just completely amazing.
"Understand" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umuJUsZjHEw

9. Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends
Like most of the best Flaming Lips projects, this makes no sense on paper. Ok, so a cover album of the entire Sgt. Pepper's record and bring in folks as divers as Maynard and Miley. Yet it's just ridiculously incredible.
"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a77SVKEXLQE

10. YG - MY Krazy Life
The antithesis to Kendrick's Good Kid Maad City, this is party and BS music at it's finest. The soundtrack to a night of debauchery. Minimal beats and icy synths keep heads nodding while lyrics bounce from sex, drugs and breaking the law.
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Re: Favorite albums of 2014?

by Hobie-wan Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:16 am

As always, I picked up much more stuff that wasn't from this year. So I guess by default that's going to be the 2 that were released this year.

Got A Girl ‎– I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now
Kinda sticks out in my collection, but a fun album. There's a Revolution is by far the catchiest tune to me, but overall it's nice when in the right mood for it.

Coil / Nine Inch Nails ‎– Recoiled
Some very cool old mutations made by Coil back around when Downward Spiral was released.
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Re: Favorite albums of 2014?

by noiseredux Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:18 am

Got A Girl was really cool. I love Automator and I love Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Good pick for sure.
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Re: Favorite albums of 2014?

by Metal Jesus Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:34 pm

I listened to way too much Steel Panther - All You Can Eat this year. That damn Glory Hole song gets stuck in your skull!

Also really enjoyed Winger - Better Days Comin'. Who knew Winger would only get better with age?

Prong - Ruining Lives is a shock at how good it is! Definitely one of their best albums ever

Also listened to a fair amount of In This Moment - Black Widow. Not quite as good as their previous Blood... but it's grown on me.

Finally, probably the biggest disappointment for me as the new Opeth - Pale Communion. I just can't get into their softer/jazzier side. I want the scary GROWL and death metal! :)
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Re: Favorite albums of 2014?

by Niode Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:50 pm

Aphex Twin - Syro

[/thread]
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Re: Favorite albums of 2014?

by J T Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:06 am

10. Leonard Cohen- Popular Problems
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This old poet never disappoints in the lyric department. “Slow” was my kind of song, and “Almost Like the Blues” was almost perfect.

9. Magical Time Bean and Disasterpeace- Escape Goat 2 OST
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I listened to this soundtrack a lot, and I haven’t even played the game yet! I’m a little worried that the game won’t live up to the strength of the music, but noiseredux assures me it is fantastic. This album has a unique electronic dreaminess to it that I really loved and kept me returning to listen again.

8. Tobacco- Ultima II Massage
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Chunky and dirty sampledelic beats! This had such a nasty edge to it that so much clean sheen producer music lacks.

7. The Glitch Mob- Love Death & Immortality
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I’ve been listening to edIT since he released the fabulous Crying Over Pros for No Reason, which is a must have for any fan of glitch hop music. His sound has gotten bigger and more bombastic since those early fragile recordings, which is very different, but not a bad thing with how strong these tunes bang.

6. Venetian Snares- My Love is a Bulldozer
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Aaron Funk found love and made an album about it. He’s still as crazy, dark, brooding, and spastic as ever, but with a beating heart and weird sense of humor. Plus, the album cover is majestic as fuck.

5. U2- Songs of Innocence
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For some reason, people got mad that they got this for free. I will never understand people. This album was great, and I don’t usually like U2 that much. Raised by Wolves had a great edge to it (no pun intended).

4. Tori Amos- Unrepentant Geraldines
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This album saw Tori experimenting with both more folk and electronic production in a quietly beautiful set of songs.

3. 4mat- Nadir
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This was one of my most listened to albums this year. I usually listen to 4mat for the ambient beauty of his typical work, but this album was different. It was funky and it grooved. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed seeing this other side to his music.

2. Flying Lotus- You’re Dead
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This is hip hop jazz done right, not some crappy “jazzy” hip hop. Solid.

1. Aphex Twin- Syro
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This is an album that you could slip on and enjoy without paying attention to it, yet if you do stop and attend, it will reward you tenfold more. The grooves are solid, but immensely varied. There is a simple surface beauty, but like diving into a fractal, there is immense complexity in the details for those willing to tune in.



Honorable Mentions
Hail Mary Mallon- “Bestiary”
This Aesop Rock side project might climb up the ranks of my list, but I haven’t finished listening to it yet. I like what I’ve heard so far.)

Nine Inch Nails- “Recoiled”
This was like taking a trip back to the mid 90’s. I didn’t feel it was fair to include it in the top 10 because it was recorded long ago. Otherwise it would have definitely ranked. This is an amazing time capsule back to the best years of NIN and Coil. These remixes were buried for about 20 years.

Jake “Virt” Kaufman- Shovel Knight OST
This was my game of the year, and the soundtrack was a big part of that. Virt is a killer in the chiptune scene. Also check out his FX4 album if you like this one.

Cametek- Sudden Shower
My favorite vocaloid producer who usually goes by Camelia, released this impressively powerful dubstep album.

ProleteR- Tribute to the Masters Vol. 1
I’ve listened to this a lot and really enjoy it, but I didn’t feel it was fair to earn a spot in the top 10 when he relies so heavily on the source material of Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Louis Armstrong, Percy Sledge, and Ella Fitzgerald to make this album swing. Still, if you want some funkier beats added to the classics, then give this a listen.

Primus- Primus and the Chocolate Factory
This was a fun little cover album with some really unique takes on the classic Willy Wonka movie songs.
Last edited by J T on Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Favorite albums of 2014?

by dsheinem Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:13 am

Thanks for bumping this, JT - it reminded me that I still need to post my list. I am still trying to finalize it over this next week or so as I listen to/weigh a few more things, but I already see a few on both your list and noise's list that I know will be making the final cut :)
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Re: Favorite albums of 2014?

by darsparx Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:16 am

J T wrote:5. U2 - Songs of Innocence


Honestly I never understood the digust for this album. It's free and it's good, though I need to change it back to what the album cover was originally. I don't know why but I kinda liked the original cover it showed than what it does now....
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Re: Favorite albums of 2014?

by Niode Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:23 am

darsparx wrote:
J T wrote:5. U2 - Songs of Innocence


Honestly I never understood the digust for this album. It's free and it's good, though I need to change it back to what the album cover was originally. I don't know why but I kinda liked the original cover it showed than what it does now....



Compared to previous output it's just so clutched and safe. That's the problem I had with it. They had the perfect opportunity to throw something outlandish out there and reinvent themselves (again) and pull off another Unforgettable Fire or Achtung Baby. If it backfired and nobody liked it then they could turn around and go "well at least you didn't pay for it". In my opinion it was lowest common denominator songwriting without a dash of sincerity or risk that makes me side with the detractors. A missed opportunity for something truly special, they (obviously) don't need the money as they were intent on pushing this as a 'gift' for iTunes users so why play it so safe?
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Re: Favorite albums of 2014?

by dsheinem Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:14 am

No ranking, just faves. First, I'll concur with a few of y'all and just mention some things already posted:

Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2
I didn't listen to a lot of hip hop this year, but this one is easily the best I did listen to. Ace.

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Aphex Twin - Syro
This one strikes me as a a bit more "chill" and melodic than a lot of James' classic period stuff, but I think it helps the album sound quite contemporary and fresh while still retaining some of that signature sound and production.

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Flying Lotus - You're Dead!
In a year where I got into Sun Ra a bit and listened to a lot of classic jazz in general, this was a nice bridge/mashup between old and new. As JT said: solid.

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Past that, here's some some things I really dug that I haven't seen yet:

Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else
Ok, even though I am not doing any rankings, this is probably my album of the year. Their previous effort was also excellent, and they are probably my fave band of the past few years. Smart, driving, bombastic rock and roll with a lot of fuzz and wit. Heaven.

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Killer Be Killed - Killer Be Killed
A blistering debut by an intriguing supergroup, this one got a lot of play in the car this year. Heavy, fast, and angry...and always compelling.

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Drive By Truckers - English Oceans
I thought the last Truckers albums had lost a step, and in my mind they've struggled to do something interesting and fresh since Isbell left. This album rights the ship, and is a really nice evolution of their schtick and their sound. It isn't near their best, but it is one I enjoyed a lot this year.

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Mastadon - Once More 'Round the Sun
Another album that, like DBT's, represented a kind of return to form and a nice evolution. This one fires hard on all cylinders and reminds me a lot more of Crack the Skye than the more lackluster The Hunter. They continue to be my fave modern band to listen to when I am in the mood for some heaviness, and this one offers up something new with each listen.

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Jack White - Lazaretto
This is probably my favorite post-White Stripes thing White has done. The album is all over the place in a good way, and White's range and eccentricities are on full display. It works, though, and I hope he keeps following whatever muses are calling to him lately...

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Pink Floyd - The Endless River
This one didn't get a lot of love from critics since it is basically The Division Bell outtakes, but I think it really works very well as a (mostly) instrumental album and, truth be told, I think at this point I prefer it to TDB. "Louder than Words," the one track with vocals is excellent, and everything else is vintage, proggy Floyd sound.

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Honorable Mentions
Trent Reznor and Atticus Rose - Gone Girl OST
Tweedy -Sukierae
Thurston Moore - The Best Day
FKA Twigs - LP1
The Smashing Pumpkins - Monuments to an Elegy


Best Reissues/Compilations:
The Smashing Pumpkins - Adore Deluxe Box Set
Wilco - Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014 Box Set
Sun Ra - In the Orbit of Ra


Biggest Disappointments
-Beck - Morning Phase and Beck - Song Reader - Beck has been on a slump for at least the last 3-4 years now. Morning Phase was just predictable and dull, and Song Reader just wasn't very good on the whole. Each had some good tracks, but Beck used to make albums that were artistic events. No more.
-Neil Young - Storytone - Neil's A Letter Home was good and the solo disc in Storytone has some nice stuff, but the focus of this one - the orchestra disc - is a production nightmare of middling songs.
-Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways - I like the Foos a good deal, but I think the more effort they put into making a special album (e.g. bringing in lots of guests, travelling to various locales, etc.) the worse their albums become. This one was meh, and a huge drop in quality from the excellent Wasting Light.
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