Last week, we commenced our countdown of our Favourite Albums of 2014. In quick review:
- First five included Alvvays, Angel Olsen, The Antlers, Beck, and Benjamin Booker.
- That followed with Chad VanGaalen, Conor Oberst, Coves, Damien Jurado, and Doug Keith
- The last five consisted of Dream Boat, Eagulls, First Aid Kit, Future Islands, and Hamilton Leithauser.
Here are the next five.
HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER, “LATENESS OF DANCERS”
North Carolina-based singer-songwriters M.C. Taylor and Scott Hirsch have been releasing some incredible music for over half a decade under the name Hiss Golden Messenger. The duo’s fifth album, Lateness of Dancers, may finally be their long overdue, breakthrough record. With the help from a cast of good friends, including members of Megafaun and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig of Mountain Man, Taylor and Hirsch expand on their foundation of Americana and folk to create a mesmerizing, enthralling sound. “Saturday’s Song”, “Mahogany Dread“, and “I’m A Raven” are three of the year’s finest songs on a record full of remarkable tracks.
Hospitality returned earlier this year with their sophomore album Trouble that saw the Brooklyn-based, indie-pop band rise to a different level in their songwriting. Lyrically, the album takes a darker turn, challenging our conceptions of life and its relationship. Sonically, the band continues to grow, adding new layers to its complex and multi-faceted sound. While it’s difficult to classify Hospitality’s new identity, their evolution has resulted in a stunning and spectacular album that equally moves our body and mind.
HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF, “SMALL TOWN HEROES”
Hurray For The Riff Raff made their major label debut in a big way with this year’s Small Town Heroes. At a quick glance, this is a fantastic folk record, but it is also so much more. Hurray For The Riff Raff’s Alynda Lee Segarra cites many influences, ranging from Woody Guthrie to Bikini Kill, but the band adds a grittiness to folk music that presents them as a true alternative to today’s popular folk movement. Whether it’s a politically-charged song or one about the social changes in our communities, Segarra sings with a raw, powerful emotion that lifts the album above any of the band’s contemporaries.
JENNY LEWIS, “THE VOYAGER”
On her latest solo outing, Jenny Lewis transitions away from the folk-infused, pop sound that was more prominent during her Rilo Kiley days with a far more lush and orchestrated sound. The Ryan Adams-produced The Voyager has a surprisingly sweet, almost breezily light musical feel, yet lyrically it is dense and moving with its underlining theme of the struggles of womanhood, loss, and relationships. Track by track, it is one of Lewis’ best offerings and a contender for top album of the year.
JESSE MARCHANT, “JESSE MARCHANT”
Add Jesse Marchant to the list of outstanding modern-day singer/songwriters like Mark Kozelek, Damien Jurado, Beck, Chad VanGaalen, and Timothy Showalter that have put out awe-inspiring musical works this year. Marchant’s self-titled album is the perfect combination of classic Americana while still channeling a modern feel. At times, it is reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen early in his career and at other times transporting us to the early years of My Morning Jacket for its haunting beauty and contemplative songwriting. It’s an album that is on repeat listening for many of us, and one that years from now will be remembered as masterful and brilliant.
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