SPOON, “THEY WANT MY SOUL”
It is hard to believe that Spoon has been releasing truly outstanding music for over 20 years. What is not surprising is that the Austin-based, indie-rock gods latest album, They Want My Soul, makes our list of Favourite Albums of 2014. They Want My Soul once again demonstrate the unmatched ability of Britt Daniel and his band mates to create melodic rock music that can be challenging and provocative while at the same time accessible.
SPRINGTIME CARNIVORE, “SPRINGTIME CARNIVORE”
Whereas Spoon has wowed us for 20 years, Greta Morgan – a.k.a. Springtime Carnivore – released her self-titled, full-length album this year. Transporting us back to the time when pigtails, high socks, and bubble gum were trendsetting, her album was a dazzling display of ’60s and ’70s pop and neo-soul, moving effortlessly from catchy, uptempo tunes to dramatic, delicate numbers. And as great as Springtime Carnivore is, it represents the tip of the iceberg for the 26-year old singer-songwriter, whose star shall only shine brighter with each new album.
ST. VINCENT, “ST. VINCENT”
St. Vincent is one of the most interesting musicians out there today. It’s absolutely impossible to categorize what St. Vincent is doing because her sound is evolving at a pace that the rest of popular music just can’t keep up with. On her self-titled record, St. Vincent almost sounds like she recorded this album on another planet. This record features some of the most creative uses of distortion, horns, guitar, and even drums. There are some tracks that have an obvious David Byrne influence, but more importantly, his influence seemed to inspire St. Vincent to explore more and more uncharted musical territory. This is one of the most important records of the year. It signifies not just a turning point in Annie Clark’s career as St. Vincent, but possibly a few years from now we’ll recall it as one for popular music as a whole. On top of all this, St. Vincent also managed to create one of the most captivating and must-see live music experiences out there today. St. Vincent has become elevated to incredible popularity, evidence by the fact that her new music video has over 75,000 views in less than 48 hours. All hail the Queen of indie rock!
STEVE GUNN, “WAY OUT WEATHER”
For several years, Steve Gunn was known more of his superb guitar skills and his work with the great Kurt Vile. While Gunn had written a couple of albums before, Way Out Weather is his OK Computer or Joshua Tree, a truly remarkable that will make people acknowledge his greatness as a songwriter and musician. Each of the eight songs on the album are fantastic, highlighted by the epic and truly remarkable “Tommy’s Congo”. With Way Out Weather, Gunn can rightfully take his place next to Vile, Granduciel, and the other great songwriters of today.
STRAND OF OAKS, “HEAL”
Timothy Showalter a.k.a. Strand of Oaks released a great rock album this year titled Heal. His last three releases had much more of a folk influence, but Heal really reveals Showalter’s rock roots. J. Mascis even made a shredding appearance on the track “Goshen ’97”, but the album lyrically reveals some of his personal struggles in life, including infidelity in his marriage, addiction and isolation. Through the personal struggles, Showalter has grown as a musician and songwriter, channeling his energies into one of the most personal and remarkable albums of 2014.
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