Lists, Mundo, Mundo Musique, The Revue, Year-End Lists — December 17, 2014 at 9:00 am

50 Favourite Albums of 2014: Parquet Courts, Perfume Genius, PHOX, Real Estate, and Royal Blood

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We’ve turned the corner and heading down the final stretch. If you missed the first twenty-five, you can check out these posts (1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, and 21-25). Now time to get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

 

PARQUET COURTS, “SUNBATHING ANIMAL”

Parquet Courts have been busy this year. Not only did they release Sunbathing Animal earlier this year, they also released Content Nausea under the name Parkay Quartz. For our best of list, we are focusing on the former (although the latter was pretty awesome)The Brooklyn-based band with Texas roots has really expanded their sound on Sunbathing Animal. Their 2012 album, Light up Gold, was blistering post-punk music that garnered the attention of many critics. With Sunbathing Animal, the quartet have progressed into a stellar mix of ’70s and experimental rock while still maintaining their punk roots, demonstrating that you can treat an old dog (or cat?) new tricks.

 

PERFUME GENIUS, “TOO BRIGHT”

Frail and fragile, unabashedly honest, contemplative and real, Mike Hadreas, who performs under the moniker Perfume Genius, has written arguably the most powerful and rich album of the year with Too Bright. It is not an album for the faint of heart for the themes that Hadreas writes about, and for all its fearlessness there is a vulnerability in every note and word that Hadreas sings. Too Bright is a hauntingly beautiful experience, one that simultaneously challenges and enthralls.

 

PHOX, “PHOX”

Wisconsin indie-folk band PHOX released a sublime, self-titled debut album this year. It is difficult to characterize this band as they include so many styles in this album including folk, pop, alt-country, Americana, jazz and folk. With the sleek and smokey vocals of Monica Martin, it is hard not to become enthralled and mesmerized after listening to the album in it’s entirety. Released early in the summer, PHOX was the perfect record to spin while one was laying back in the yard, at the beach, or at the cottage. With their dreamy indie folk-pop and smooth and cohesive overall sound, PHOX is a band to watch in the years to come.

 

REAL ESTATE, “ATLAS”

Real Estate‘s Atlas picked up where their 2011 masterpiece, Days left off – a carefree, laid-back feeling of those late summer days. Unfitting of its March release date, Atlas almost has an autumn vibe to it, where one looks back on the months that have just passed. Lyrically, the album has a bit more of a melancholy vibe, but musically, Real Estate truly come into their own. Atlas is a lot more jammier than Days, and the guitar work is some of the best on any record in 2014. It’s was a record that we easily got lost in, longing for those lazy, summer days.

 

ROYAL BLOOD, “ROYAL BLOOD”

Every few years, there is a new power duo in rock n’ roll. Over the past fifteen years, we’ve witnessed the rise of the White Stripes to the Kills to the Black Keys. And now, there is Royal Blood, this year’s champions of minimum instrumentation, garage-blues rock. What is truly amazing about Royal Blood’s debut self-titled album is that the instruments of choice are only a bass guitar and drums. The Brighton, UK-based band was a huge hit in native England and is now starting to get more attention in the west with their fist-pumping debut.

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