DREAM BOAT, “THE ROSE EXPLODES”
There are bands that attempt to create albums that are hypnotic and dreamy, but few succeed like Dream Boat. The Athens, Georgia duo of Paige Campbell and Dan Donahue are masters of creating sonic experiences that take us to new places, allowing us to momentarily escape reality. The Rose Explodes does just that, taking the listener on a wonderful, gorgeous, and epic journey. For nearly 40 minutes, we are taken away to places that we could only be imagined in dreams (or maybe seen in a Stanley Kubrick movie).
As far as post-punk bands go, Eagulls easily shine in this category with their self-titled debut that was released earlier this year. The band from Leeds UK had numerous appearances in the US, including on David Letterman and performing at SXSW this year. Eagulls is a rarity in this day and age of melody and mood swings – it is an album that is absolutely relentless from start to end with pulsating tracks that will be long remembered after 2014.
FIRST AID KIT, “STAY GOLD”
The Swedish duo of Johanna and Klara Söderberg, First Aid Kit can do no wrong, especially under the guidance of Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis. Stay Gold is a beautiful record laced with incredible harmonies, and full of songs that will get stuck in the listener’s head. The lyrics are honest and there’s such a positive energy even in sadness. Like “My Silver Lining” says, “there’s hope, there’s a silver lining.”
FUTURE ISLANDS, “SINGLES”
Future Islands and their album Singles was without a doubt one of the most memorable compilations of 2014. The album is a great mix of indie rock and synth pop and songwriting that is contemplative yet curious. While the album would have been noticed by many for its sheer brilliance and creativity, Singles was catapulted to new heights following the band’s performance of “Seasons (Waiting on You)” on David Letterman. Since then, everyone has taken notice. Frontman Samuel T’s vocals are unique, and he has an undeniable stage presence that just keeps your eyes locked in on him and the band. And like their live performances, the album as a whole is one that keeps you focused on one thing – the music.
HAMILTON LEITHAUSER, “BLACK HOURS”
There was a collective gasp across the music blogosphere when The Walkmen announced they were going on extended hiatus. The Walkmen had been one of the most consistent acts in indie rock that only improved with age. Fortunately it was not long after that front man Hamilton Leithauser announced that he would be releasing his first solo work, Black Hours. The results were one-half The Walkmen and one-half modern-day crooner, resulting in an excellent album to tie over the faithful fans until the eventual The Walkmen reunion.
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