The Black Market (2014)
Take a trip back to your teenage years. Remember when black clothes, band pins and nail polish were cool? There's even traditional feel good anthems, like Sudden Life and Bridges! Each track explodes with drum-fuelled energy, and whilst the lyrics are a touch corny (think old-school Panic!), they can resonate on the sunniest of days.
Best song:People Live Here
Fair Youth (2014)
The irresistible melody in the title track denotes another solid Maybeshewill album. Aerated guitar riffs, interspersed with soft keyboard touches litter Fair Youth, which is a stomping return to form for the Leicester band. You'll feel like you're permeating a delicate atmosphere of noise, a self-sustaining bubble of fun that never seems to wane.
Best song:Waking Life
Tied To A Star (2014)
J Mascis... What can you say about him that hasn't been said? Well, his solo career is a new thing, and surely most people will dismiss it because Murph and Lou aren't around. But it's these mostly acoustic tracks that lend a certain bad taste in your mouth. Because if this was a Dinosaur Jr. album, it would kick ass. It could be so much more.
Mystoria feels like a band stuck between anthemic home-coming shows and dirty opening pub acts. Both can be just as enjoyable, and Amplifier fill both rolls with aplomb, yet the low down groove of OMG or the straight thrash of Black Rainbow is too often absent. Give me a dirty glass and a broken bar stool, and assault my ears.
Yeah, he's prolific, and, yes, he's awesome, but Ty Segall manages to bring everything from his past and present and smack it all onto one booming LP. There's every shred of Ty's skin and every drop of his blood throughout this heady trail. I'm sure someone's said "rock is dead" to Ty, but he doesn't care. He'd rather live in the past than Hell.
Best song:The Crawler
There's such a thing as too ethereal. Too white. Maybe JJ have crossed into a drugged out perma-haze where each touch is sensual, each sound is lyrical, each movement artistic. The rest of us still reside on planet Earth, and V is, for the most part, boring. Their ability to create ambient-fusion is depressingly absent.
Best song:Hold Me
Foundations Of Burden (2014)
Pallbearer's second album is a fiery oblivion of riffs, transitions, and pure emotional intensity. Doom metal rarely is this powerful and Foundations Of Burden exceeds typical observation. This is a record you have to breathe, and it's very hard to actually keep breathing in the claustrophobic air of the album. They have triumphed massively again.
Best song:The Ghost I Used To Be
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)