Photo Courtesy of Matt Biddulph//Creative Commons
For those who think punk is not political anymore: Against Me!’s “Transgender Dysphoria Blues”:
This is the most important album of the year, but hold tight to that umbrella. While much of the coverage of the album focused on the band’s “frontman,” Laura Jane Grace (who was then known as Tom Gabel), the album itself is a true punk masterpiece. The lyrics prove that the main protagonist is the revolution itself: “You want me to surrender my identity/ I was a teenage anarchist/ The revolution was a lie.”
For those who still believe in pop music: Bleachers’ “Strange Desires”:
It’s the type of album to reignite your faith in synths and the treble key.
For that kid who won’t shut up about Mumford and Sons: NEEDTOBREATHE’s “Rivers in the Wasteland”:
NEEDTOBREATHE has long been a bright point in the music spectrum because it represents thoughtful, experimental, fun, Kings of Leon-esque, Christian-inspired rock that, well, doesn’t suck.
This is the perfect album for those who want clean, foot-stomping anthems that are safe to play in the grandparents’ house or at a house party.
For those who “totally get” Beck: “Beck’s Morning Phase”:
First of all, you probably don’t. Second, get ready for another brilliant Beck album that is way more “Sea Change” than “Odelay.”
For those who want proof that guitar rock can still be innovative and cool: Cymbals Eat Guitars’ “LOSE”:
The instrumentation is standard, but the sound is fresh and deep without being too weird.
For those who want a fantastic album to share with Dad: Spoon’s “They Want My Soul”:
It’s Spoon. Need I say more?
For those whose voice goes up an octave when talking about the Apocalypse: EMA’s “The Future’s Void”:
EMA produced one of the great concept albums of 2014. Its haunting melodies and fast-paced rhythm make for a stunning and coherent narrative.
For those who want to be sad: Sun Kil Moon’s “Benji”:
If you’re the type who loves to turn up Bonnie “Prince”, Billy’s “I See A Darkness” in the car, this album is for you. It is haunting, offbeat and cathartic with a twinge of remorse.
For those whose James Blake poster is fraying at the edges a bit: Sam Smith’s “In the Lonely Way”:
The marriage of soul and ambient electronica has been a thrill to watch. Sam Smith’s newest LP has traces of John Legend, James Blake and even Massive Attack in what has been one of the most remarkable and popular albums of the year.
For that kid who knows way too much about both party drugs and Dostoyevsky: Aphex Twin’s “Syro”:
But we love them anyway. Richard D. James of Aphex Twin is one of the most respected names in electronic music, and this new album is evidence that the man’s still got it.
Other notables: Ex Hex’s “Rips,” Joanna Gruesome’s “Weird Sister,” Run the Jewels’ “Run the Jewels 2,” A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s “Sea When Absent,” Real Estate’s “Atlas,” Shamir’s “Northdrugs,” Grouper’s “Ruins,” Angel Osen’s “Burn Your Fire for No Witness”
Note: All of these tracks can be found on Spotify.
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