I listen to all the bad music, so you don’t have to . . .
Best Indie Rock
Bradford Cox fronted band, Deerhunter, return with a critically well received indie rock album. After 2013’s rollicking Monomania, this newest album shows a turn back towards hazy Dream Pop.
- Genre – Indie Rock, Dream Pop
- From – Georgia
- Fav Tracks – Snakeskin, Breaker, Living My Life, All the Same
- Recommended Tracks – All the Same, Living My Life, Breaker, Duplex Planet,
- Singles – Snakeskin, Breaker, Living My Life
Beach House just released Depression Cherry a couple of months ago, so the surprise release of another full length album was quite a surprise. High marks for Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally for maintaining great quality writing while being simultaneously prolific.
- Genre – Dream Pop
- From – Baltimore, MD
- Fav Tracks – All Your Yeahs, Marjorette, Elegy to the Void, Somewhere Tonight, Common Girl
- Recommended Tracks – Marjorette, She’s So Lovely, All Your Yeahs, One Thing, Common Girl, The Traveller, Elegy to the Void, Rough Song, Somewhere Tonight
Best Synth Pop
Alan Palomo is the mind behind Neon Indian. Palomo was born in Mexico and was raised in San Antonio, TX. He lists Austin, Denton (he attended the University of North Texas) and Brooklyn as his hometowns on Facebook. In Vega INTL. Night School, Palomo careens down the 80’s look and sound highway.
- Genre – Electronic, Synthpop
- From – Texas
- Fav Tracks – Annie, Slumford, The Glitzy Hive, 61 Cygni Ave
- Recommended Tracks – Annie, The Glitzy Hive, Slumlord, Techno Clique, Baby’s Eyes, 61 Cygni Ave
- Single – Annie
Best Alternative R&B
Kelela’s EP stands tall among the high quality female vocalists in alternative R&B this year (FKA Twigs, Nao)
- Genre – Electronic, Alternative R&B
- From – Maryland; Los Angeles, CA
- Fav Tracks – Rewind, All the Way Down, A Message
- Recommended Tracks – A Message, Gomenasai, Rewind, All the Way Down
Best Electronic Art Pop
Devon Welsh and Matthew make up the Canadian electronic duo, Magical Cloudz. They make moderately paced and pensive indie pop.
- Genre – Electronic Indie Pop
- From – Montreal, Canada
- Fav Tracks – Downtown
- Recommended Tracks – Are You Alone?, Silver Car Crash, Downtown
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die can come off as larger than life with a name that is a small story in itself and a large group of come and go members numbering around eight. The songs also depict elaborate topics such as the track, “January 10th, 2014,” which reportedly depicts the story of Diana Hunter of Busdrivers who is a revenge killer in Mexico.
- Genre – Emo
- From – Connecticut
- Fav Track – January 10th 2014, You Can’t Live There Forever, I Can Be Afraid of Anything
- Recommended Tracks – January 10th 2014, I Can Be Afraid of Anything, You Can’t Live There Forever, Rage Against the Dying of the Light, Ra Patera Dance, Haircuts for Everybody
Best Side Project Collaboration
Matt Berninger (The National) and Brent Knopf (Menomena) set their regular bands aside for a highly listenable collaboration.
- Genre – Indie Rock
- Fav Tracks – Return to the Moon, I’m the Man to Be, Paul Is Alive
- Recommended Tracks – Return to the Moon, I’m the Man to Be, Paul Is Alive, Need a Friend, Silent Ivy Hotel, No Time to Crank the Sun, It’s a Game, Sleeping Light, Careless
Best Alt Country
Dallas Green puts forth a soulful and earnest album with a strong pop sensibility.
- Genre – Indie Folk, Alt Country
- From – Ontario, Canada
- Fav Tracks – Wasted Love, Runaway, Lover Come Back
- Recommended Tracks – Wasted Love, Runaway, Lover Come Back, If I Should Go Before You, Woman, Northern Blues, Map Of The World
- Genre – R&B
- Fav Tracks – No Sleep (PKCZ remix), Burnitup!, Unbreakable
- Recommended Tracks – No Sleeep (PKCZ remix), No Sleeep, Burnitup!, Unbreakable
Patty Griffin returns with her bold ninth album. Spacious arrangements and several songs without a constant meter render this a sort of avant-garde folk, if you will.
- Genre – Folk, Singer-Songwriter
- From – Maine
- Fav Tracks – Hurt a Little While, Servant of Love, Everything’s Changed, There Isn’t One Way
- Recommended Tracks – Servant of Love, Hurt a Little While, 250,000 Miles, Made of the Sun, Rider of Days, There Isn’t One Way, Noble Ground, Shine a Different Way
- Single – Rider of Days
Best Experimental Electronic
Arthur Ashin strays further from pop with this album, but the strength of his vocals carries this album along with the interesting jazz instrumentation.
- Genre – Experimental Electronic, Alternative R&B
- From – New York
- Fav Tracks – Panic Room, Never Wanted, Age of Transparency, Switch Hitter
- Recommended Tracks – Panic Room, Age of Transparency, Switch Hitter, World War Pt 2, Get Out