Best Albums of 2014 ... so far

Jul 9, 2014  

The first half of 2014 is over. Instead of doing an all-year best-of at the end of the year, here are my favorite albums (and why they are my favorites) of the past 6 months. In no particular order…

  1. Metamodern Sounds in Country Music by Sturgill Simpson | Sounds like: not-stupid country music

    An album for those too cynical to believe country music can rise from its current inanity (lol baby u song ;)). It’s got a psychedelic flavor to it, but it’s all jangly and twangy and old-school-country good. So, so good.

    You should listen to: Long White Line

  2. Water Liars by Water Liars | Sounds like: Honesty soaked in fuzzy, southern goodness

    Wyoming was one of my favorites from last year and Water Liars’ second album in as many years wasn’t disappointing. I really like his writing style, and the honest simplicity of their music.

    You should listen to: I Want Blood

  3. Dark Arc by Saintseneca | Sounds like: Catchy, folksy tunes with clever, comtemplative lyrics.

    I’d heard of Saintseneca before but nothing from them really stuck until this album. The production on Dark Arc is really, really good. I went back and listened to their earlier stuff, and while it’s good, this album feels way more layered and grown up.

    You should listen to: Happy Alone

  4. Sylvan Esso by Sylvan Esso | Sounds like: Deliciousness

    If you made me pick a favorite album, this is it. It’s unbelievably good. I’m not against electronic music, but it generally is pretty difficult for me to really like it past “WOO THIS IS BEEPY AND FUN”. This album is both electronic and earthy which is probably why it is so mesmerizing.

    You should listen to: Dress…no, wait…Hey, Mami…no, just listen to all of them

  5. Parish Lines by Rod Melancon | Sounds like: Rootsy, bluesy, twangtastic’ness

    An album full of really great songs that tell stories. Maybe I’m just cynical that story songs seem to be confined to folk singers, but this album assured me that great songwriters can still throw cheddar.

    You should listen to: Duck Festival Queen

  6. PHOX by PHOX | Sounds like: Sassy, smooth dreams

    I’ve been waiting a pretty long time for this album. PHOX has had a few singles and YouTube songs floating around, and I’ve even (sorta) seen them live twice. But no actual album … UNTIL NOW. Self-described as “nap pop”, the production on this album was really, really good and all the songs are done really well. It’s a little soulful and smooth, but also a little snappy and poppy all at the same time.

    You should listen to: Slow Motion

  7. Range of Light by S. Carey | Sounds like: A cup of tea by a lake in the fog. Electronic fog.

    While knowing how to pronounce Bon Iver doesn’t get you hipster points anymore, knowing Sean Carey is their drummer and putting him on your favorite albums list probably does. I didn’t really like his first album that much, but this one is really good. It’s definitely an album for when you’re in the mood and have time to really listen to it. It’s layered and atmospheric and intricate.

    You should listen to: Neverending Fountain

Here are playlists (Spotify and Rdio) with all the songs plus a bunch more other songs I’ve been listening to so far this year.