PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO (2014)
Brathwaite turns his keen ear for melody to some of the deepest electronic production of 2014, enveloping the listener in a syrup-soaked cocoon of sultry noise. His croon, auto-tune enhanced, is the strongest instrument, and wielded with precision to strike at the heart of sensitive men and danced-out women alike. A party you'd welcome next door.
Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk (2014)
Aimless and mostly boring, the psych-prog EP from Steven Drozd, Wayne Coyne, & Linear Downfall swirls down the drain and leaves zero reason to even worry about. The most unfocused work of the past decade, the Flaming Lips-ian twist on Miles Davis ("Transform!!!") is the only savior of this waste of time, charging and wailing. Please stop this now.
The Golden Echo (2014)
Kimbra is determined that you know she has personality, and her sheer will is enough to propel this record. She belts, she croons, she cowers before towering, and whilst her lyrics are blunt objects her ambition is iron-clad. A quirky mix of sounds ensures it isn't dated and will hold up past the ambiguity of 2014. Just don't mention Gotye, please.
Best song:Love in High Places
R&B is meant to be pretty sensual, but few artists are as sexy as FKA Twigs. The mysterious former dancer sings in the sultriest of voices over minimalist beats that are full of rich details. Put on your headphones and be amazed by the percussion alone. These are sounds to indulge in, or to do very naughty things to. A glorious debut by a unique talent.
Best song:Two Weeks
Dark Horse (2014)
The dark horse? And then some! His acrobatic tongue is matched by a mind that conjures more metaphors in a 30 second verse than most in an entire album. He calls himself the Higgs particle, likens himself to an alien with intergalactic flow and claims to be Yoshimitsu. This is for the purists and the casuals, a mind boggling display of skill.
Best song:Burnin (Feat. Wiz Khalifa and Berner)
Heaven & Earth (2014)
No Rick, no Yes. Unfair? Without his dextrous fingers the lengthy songs feel dull and patched together. Light of the Ages is badly drawn out, and closer Subway Walls cements their descent into the soft-rock mush that many 80s bands found themselves in a decade ago. This is a band dramatically showing their age; slow march towards dementia.
Best song:Believe Again
The Gaslight Anthem
Get Hurt (2014)
Awful!? Gaslight Anthem had a hard time carving out a new monument since their ’59 sound, wearing out the themes of their tunes and lyriscism. TGA warned the fans for something completely different. It is different. It’s honest, the soft tones even enticing, but the greater part comes out flat, shallow and cock-rocky. Still, it’s growing on me.
Best song:Get Hurt
Redeemer of Souls (2014)
Oh man can these pensioners rock! Whilst Ozzy Osbourne can't brush his own teeth, these lads throw some of the hardest music of 2014 at us. Rekindling their love of a truly great rock riff ensures that each exploration into metal territory is guided by musical integrity. Even the harmonies aren't out of place. This will get you amped!
Best song:Battle Cry
Gist Is (2014)
Not often do you hear something that sounds completely new, but Adult Jazz manage to really surprise. Sure, there's hints of alt-J, Yeasayer and Everything Everything, but these intricately structured 5- to 10-minute epics, despite their few elements, come fully formed and completely original. Sophisticated,controlled music with just a hint of crazy.
Live Life Living (2014)
Standing on the precipice of the electro-pop abyss, Example balances with aplomb, turning a dead-eye for melody into a record of rave-tastic noise. Think early David Guetta, with more lyrical nous. His trademark rap is barely heard, not detracting from the depth of content. He dips deeply into the well of 90s electro and extracts some gems.
Best song:Longest Goodbye
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Mandatory Fun (2014)
Wielding punchlines like a starchy matron, Weird Al is intent on forcing rather than inducing laughter. Tackling huge pop songs, he manages to sound boring in comparison. That's never a criticism he's fielded before. His 'Blurred Lines' is nerdy without the catch phrase. In the Twitter generation, we've heard all of these jokes before, ad nauseum.
Glass Boys (2014)
No concept album or rock opera this time for Fucked Up. Just ten new tunes with loud guitars and the screams of Pink Eyes. It all sounds a bit less heavy and serious, more straightforward and plain punk. That's not necessarily bad, but it's lacking real stand-out memorable songs. Having delivered two epic albums, it's hard to tone it down.
Best song:Sun Glass