They say that time flies when you’re having fun—and if there’s even an ounce of truth to that statement, 2014 has been an all-around blast. Being a music junkie, album releases obviously impact how I’m feeling about any given year. And so far, 2014 has been hitting the high bar that 2013 set.
Here are five of my favorites albums, so far.
Against Me! have been making pop-friendly punk for nearly two decades now, but the late 2000’s found the band lacking the ferocity they once harnessed. That all changed with this year’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues, a semi-autobiographical account of the life of front woman Laura Jane Grace, who publicly came out as a transgender woman in 2012. The album’s lyrical content is hands-down the most important you’re going to hear all year, but Transgender‘s musical content nearly matches in quality, having found a drive of its own.
In 2012, Dylan Baldi took his musical venture Cloud Nothings from a bedroom project to a full-blown rock outfit. Here and Nowhere Else, Cloud Nothings’ second release as a full band, is another healthy dose of raw guitars, ferocious drums and yelping vocals. The record gets in and out in half an hour, not wasting any time in rocking the heck out. And though its heavier than some Cloud Nothings fans may be used to, Here and Nowhere Else is just as full of hooks and catchy choruses as the ones Baldi used to pen alone in his bedroom.
I’m only 22, but sometimes I feel too old to appreciate Modern Baseball. The band is technically of the “emo” variety, but that tag is most assuredly due to front man Brendan Lukens’ memorable but sulky vocals. The actual music that Modern Baseball dabbles in is all over the map, ranging from pop to punk to acoustic ballads. Their second record, You’re Gonna Miss It All, caught me completely off guard — but its quietly become my most spun record of the year.
Nikki Nack finds Merrirl Garbus (AKA tUnE-yArDs) perfecting her unique brand of progressive pop; it’s weird, it’s fun and, above all, it’s just good music. For anybody who’s sick of the blandness surrounding today’s indie pop scene, Nikki Nack will be just the breath of fresh air they crave.
The War on Drugs‘ Lost in the Dream brings to mind Springsteen, Petty and Dylan, but the album stands alone because it takes those influences and crafts something sprawling and unique out of them. Every track here sifts into the next, crafting one seamless, beautiful blur. I have a hard time believing a more cohesive, front-to-back record will be released this year—and that doesn’t bother me one bit.
Luckily for us, the second half of 2014 is looking just as juicy as the first. I’m already looking forward to Spoon‘s They Want My Soul (8/05), and self-titled debuts from Alvvays (7/22) and Jungle (7/15).
Andrew is a communications intern at Murfie. When he’s not blogging here, you can probably find him blogging at a handful of other music sites. And when he’s not blogging at all, you can probably find him curled up with a good beer and a great book.