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12.11.14 Sitarhero's Best Of '1411.26.14 Sitarhero's Concert Schedule 2014-2015
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Sitarhero's Best Of '14

2014 was a year full of transitions for me, so I didn't have much time to discover new albums. However, of the limited number of new releases I got my hands on this year, these were the best. In no particular order...
10Casualties of Cool
Casualties of Cool

I've gotta admit, I was looking forward to Z2 far more than I was this, and this took a while to grow on me, but now that it has it's probably the superior of Townsend's 2014 efforts. How the man continues to reinvent himself in excellent ways is beyond me, but it makes me curious to see what he does next.
Better Days Comin'

There were no less than two excellent hair-nostalgia albums released this year with Winger's 'Better Days Comin' and Mr. Big's 'The Stories We Could Tell'. This spot is for both of them, although Winger's album is probably slightly better by sounding just a little more vital and energized, which is what you'd want out of this kind of hard rock record. However, The Stories We Could Tell might be the more sentimental pick because it will be Mr. Big's last album with drummer Pat Torpey who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
8The Contortionist

A fresh vocalist and a fresh sound suits these guys just fine. Of course, there will be inevitable complaints about the band getting soft, but the ongoing evolution suits the band just fine.
7Animals as Leaders
The Joy of Motion

After a disappointing sophomore effort, AAL bounced back with The Joy of Motion which shows that the trio still has a bunch of tricks up its sleeve as well as improved songwriting.
Guiding Lights

The band's first single off the album - 'Evolution' - was as much a mission statement as it was a snapshot of the band's ambitions. With haunting ambiences, guitar technowizardry and warm vocal melodies galore, the album shows a substantial amount of growth for a band that was already well-placed in terms of having a trademark sound and earns the band it's progressive label.
5Destiny Potato

The album may be inconsistent but the scope of mastermind David Maxim Micic's Townsendian prog-pop-metal ambitions and virtuosic guitar and compositional skill is matched only by singer Aleksandra Djelmas' vocal repertoire making this an incredibly intriguing project.
4Big Wreck

This album came out of nowhere and won the band a whole slew of new fans. It's probably the pinnacle of modern rock, it may sound superficially simple and accessibly catchy, but if you dig even a little bit past the surface you'll find layer upon surprising layer.
3Warren of Ohms
The Wolf and the Fox

I'm not even a fan of math-rock and this album resonates with me pretty deeply. Exquisite passion and emotion in every note that's played and sung.

What? You were expecting this not to be on the list? Maybe it's a gimmick, maybe we'll forget all about it in a couple of years, but for now it's the sound of 2014.
Are you kidding me? No.

The Protest the Hero comparisons are easy to make, but I think Destrage are even wilder and wackier than their influences. The music is a surprise a minute and fun to boot.
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