|Zantera's Top100 Albums Of 2014|
Obligatory end of the year list, my top100 of 2014.
|100|| ||Xiu Xiu|
Angel Guts: Red Classroom
Contains what will go down in history as the objectively best song ever made, "Black Dick". I'm not an expert of this band, but this felt like a band trying really hard to be as experimental and out there as possible, but it just felt fake.
Kindly Bent to Free Us
I know their first album is considered a classic, but what did people like about this album? It was just so darn unmemorable, uninteresting and there was nothing special about it.
The Endless River
The Endless Boring.
Surfer Rosa and Doolittle are among the best rock albums ever made. Indie Cindy? Not even close. Not even in the same universe. There were maybe 1 or 2 songs that felt like they weren't b-sides, but the rest felt very generic. Bring back Kim please.
Maybe my interest in prog metal is disappearing, this was just okay to me. And I know a lot of people who liked it.
Pretty okay album. Wish I liked it as much as Fantano did.
|94||Sunn O))) and Ulver|
I wanted more from this.
Usually Mogwai puts out decent/okay albums with a few strong standout tracks, but I'm not sure I could even find that on this album. It's very okay as a whole. But not a top5 Mogwai album, and maybe even not a top10 Mogwai album.
Amour and Attrition
I could feel the cares given drop down to a 0 after 2 listens of this.
A Voice Within
A decent prog metal effort with one of the blandest vocalists ever.
|90||The Pineapple Thief|
From the band that used to be good and made albums like Variations on a Dream, 137, Little Man and What We Have Sown, let us present: Magnolia - a watered down album full of B-sides! Seriously, it's like every band that joins K-Scope just starts getting really generic after a few years sadly.
|89||Self Defense Family|
There's a decent album buried under 40 minutes of painful interview/dialog.
|88||I Break Horses|
Very okay album.
Close to the Glass
One of the first albums I heard this year, so I feel a bit nostalgic towards it. A very decent album, that rarely reaches the highest points. I did really like the instrumental 8-9 minute track though, and it's the highpoint of the album for me.
Oh the horror.
Every year has that Beatles throwback album. Last year it was Tame Impala (I think?) and this year it was Temples. I don't think this is bad, it's just a bit unoriginal. If Beatles is your whole life, you might love this.
Upside Down Mountain
|83||Royksopp and Robyn|
Do it Again
If this album had another singer than Robyn, I would probably enjoy it more.
|82|| ||Posture & The Grizzly|
Decent punk album.
The Future's Void
"Smoulder" is a fantastic track. I wish more songs on this album was as good as that one. But still, not a bad effort.
I really hope this band goes back to the dark and bleak, and crushingly heavy sound of Music Of Bleak Origin. That album is amazing. This is like a shadow of what the band used to be.
I enjoyed this more as the experiment it was, than for the actual music. It was solid, but nothing I will remember too much.
Primitive and Deadly
Other people seems to love this. It was okay I guess.
|77||First Aid Kit|
Despite being from Sweden myself, the hype for First Aid Kit is something I'll never understand. They have great vocals and they can sing, but for the most part the song-writing has been pretty standard IMO. This album is solid, but nothing that comes close to end of the year bests. It does have some great songs though, and if every song was as good as "Cedar Lane", this could be a top tier album.
Fake World Wonderland
An enjoyable listen, but the quality was a bit mixed. Some songs were great, others were forgettable.
Foundations of Burden
Other people seems to love this. It was okay I guess.
I wish I liked this band more than I do, but the singer drags it down for me. His attempts at sounding like a tough metal singer just falls flat for me.
Voces Del Exilio
I enjoyed this.
|72|| ||Thom Yorke|
Tomorrow's Modern Boxes
The last few Thom Yorke/Radiohead releases have caused similar reactions for me. Phase 1: "This is great, the best since album X", Phase 2: "I mean its good I guess, just not as good as I first thought" Phase 3: "meh"
|71||North Atlantic Oscillation|
The Third Day
Not as good as the last one, but far from bad. Needs some more spins.
Once More 'Round the Sun
My honemoon-phase with this band pretty much expires 10 listens into every album. They're very okay as a whole, and one of the better mainstream metal acts, but there is zero substance to their music for me. What you hear the first time is what you get.
This is All Yours
Not as good as the first one. Weird album for me. Every time I listen to it, I like it. But I never remember anything from the album afterwards. So this is a very sneaky nr69 entry that could very well climb 30 places if it just clicks fully one day.
She is just adorable.
A very enjoyable album, much like his first one, but I feel there isn't a lot of substance. I've enjoyed both albums, but it's like they leave my mind after a week or two, and I never feel any urge to go back.
Better than some of her lowest points (Beekeeper, American Doll Posse and Midwinter Graces), but still has some of the misses. The good songs are very good, and Invisible Boy is one of her best songs in quite some time.
|65||The Smashing Pumpkins|
Monuments to an Elegy
Not as good as Oceania or their best albums, but a decent effort. Has a few standout tracks and some pretty meh ones. Out of 9 songs, there's at least 3, maybe 4 that are good enough to make this a decent release.
Words to the Blind
~40 minute long experimental drone/noise rock song. I quite liked this, but it's very experimental.
Despite the hate, I liked this quite a bit. Very catchy and melodic.
If Sigur R?s and Slowdive didn't already exist, this would have been really nice. But considering they do exist, and make music about 5 times more exciting than this, Shelter remains a good album that I had higher hopes for.
A nice metal album, but I'm not huge on pure Black Metal. Prefer it when they mix it with some other genres a bit more.
Very experimental album that took me some listens to get into, but pretty nice.
|59||The Mire |
A nice surprise when it came out, but it has dropped a bit since. Nice if you like Sludge/Post Metal.
A very nice and sparkly album.
An album that has grown on me quite a bit since it came out. Still, bring back the Volta. Do it. DO IT.
|56||Young and in the Way|
When Life Comes to Death
Solid Deathwish release with a few jarring cuts.
In a year without Deftones, I'm happy we got a Crosses album, because Chino's voice is always nice to hear. I hadn't really been following too closely with the EPs, so this felt like a genuine album to me. Some songs are hits (cough Telepathy) and others are not so much, but overall it's a pretty solid debut. I would love to hear more electronic stuff with Chino singing, and hopefully we'll get a follow-up. I'd rather take Eros and/or a new Deftones, but I guess we'll get the latter in 2015.
American Football and Cap n Jazz are two favorites of mine, and I'm always intrigued to see what the Kinsella brothers are up to. This was a pretty darn solid release, but I noticed I have returned to it less and less over the year. Still, "Ancient Stars Seed" is one of my favorite tracks of the year.
Digital Dream Sequence
I was intrigued to check this out due to the connection to BTBAM. It was fine I guess. Very good for its genre, but the experimental/avant-garde nature of the music would have worked better with vocals IMO. Like, really interesting Toby Driver-esque vocals would have added punch to this.
|52||Casualties of Cool|
Casualties of Cool
So this album ended up pretty low when I finalized my list, but I enjoyed this quite a bit. One of Devin's best albums in some time. I'm not entirely sold on him as a musician, because for every good album he puts out, we get a really over-the-top and ridiculous space opera with fart sounds, but I like him when he makes music like this. More calm and melodic albums like this one, and less Ziltoid 3: Rise of the Electric Boogaloo please.
I feel bad for placing this so low considering I put his last album in my top5 of 2011? Or was it 2012? I've already forgotten when the last one came out. Still, my issue with this album is that the quality is a bit up and down. The first song does not work for me at all, and in fact I find it pretty jarring. The second and third song are both very okay, but it isn't really until the fourth song that I'm hooked and on board, and that's almost half way through the album. The good songs on this album are really good, I will say that. If you like bands like Anathema and Sigur R?s, give this guy a listen. From the Anathema-inspired "From the Outside", the Sigur R?s sounding "Wings" to the amazing climactic finale of the album with "Days Like These", this album has some really strong moments, it's just a shame that some of the songs are far from that quality.
The Last Dawn
A very nice light take on their sound.
Rays of Darkness
A very nice dark take on their sound.
I feel like a lot of people are placing this much higher, but I'm not head over heels in love with her like many others are. I think St. Vincent is a damn fine musician, and I admire the hell out of her. But I feel like sometimes, her willingness to experiment and do crazy things kinda take over from the songs. I feel like someone like Kimbra pulls off that balance better, knowing when to experiment and when to go the safe route. Still, this is a pretty solid album, but not as good as her last one.
The Hunting Party
Linkin Park in the top50?! Stop the presses! No but seriously, the band got me interested in music when I was like 10. We all have that band we look back at with fondness and nostalgia, and we're willing to overlook problems that other might have with them, because of what they mean to us. And LP is that band to me. The Hunting Party was the most exciting first listen I had with an LP album since Meteora. Nice to hear them bring out the guitars again.
|46||Pianos Become the Teeth|
I really enjoy the artwork, and the direction the band has gone with the album. The music hasn't fully clicked though, but I think it will. If not, it still remains a solid album, I'm just hoping it will climb a bit more.
No Mythologies to Follow
Discovered this gal when I saw her at a festival in August. Her debut album is a very solid one with a lot of untapped potential. It's a great album, but I'm more curious where she will go on from here.
Nothing For Us Here
I feel bad for placing this so low, because it is a very good, and very enjoyable Deathwish release. I haven't revisited the album in a while, so maybe when I do, it could climb some placements.
After being bored and disappointed with his last few albums, Deadmau5 delivers one of his best albums in quite some time. Maybe even his best album ever?
The Flesh Prevails
A very nice progressive metal album.
This album has been a very slow grower. I liked it at the start of the year, but couldn't really see the fuzz. Now, almost 12 months later, it has grown on me to the point of being a really nice album, that I always enjoy revisiting. "Drive" in particular is one of the best songs this year for me.
After the Disco
Some of the catchiest songs of the year are on here. The title track and Changing Lights have become favorites, and while the whole album doesn't live up to the same quality, it's still a valiant effort. One of those "early year favorites" that drops down on the list once more albums starts getting released.
The Powers That B - Part I: Niggas on the Moon
Death Grips put out another solid album. Does it come close to The Money Store? No, but it provides some good songs, and overall it's pretty cool. The addition of Bj?rk gives it a nice flair.
Plowing Into the Field of Love
Very solid Post-Punk album.
Home, Like NoPlace Is There
This album is like a mixed bag for me. I love some of the songs on it. Like, really love them. The first track is amazing, and the last 3 or so, are also spectacular. The middle is very mixed and drags it down for me. "In Framing" in particular sounds like a B-side to the American Pie 3 soundtrack, and I just can't stand the college punk shit.
|36||Run the Jewels|
Run the Jewels 2
Probably my favorite hip-hop/rap album of the year. I should listen to more music like this, but I listen to so much else that it kinda falls in the background. This album was dope though.
One of the most solid releases to have come out of K-Scope this year. This band has a very progressive and minimalistic sound, and the album truly feels like a journey.
Roads to the North
A very interesting mix of black metal and bluegrass. This album has some potential to climb even higher with more listens.
Once one of the best bands within progressive metal, today a shadow of their former selves. I will say that this is a valiant effort. If Opeth are gonna make 70's prog rock influenced music, Pale Communion is a damn fine album for that style. I really enjoyed this album with that mindset, but sadly the whole "retro"-trend overall isn't my cup of tea. Still, miles above Heritage IMO.
Amplifier is one of my personal favorites. After Oceansize sadly ceased to exist, Amplifier sort of picked up that torch of carrying the Manchester spirit. I like everything they have done, some albums more than others, but even the often overlooked albums "Echo Street" and "Insider" gets love from me. Mystoria was another fine album by them. It doesn't beat the debut, and not The Octopus, but it's on par with the other two IMO.
This band is on fire. While a nr31 spot might sound modest, this is a very pleasant album. Some of the songs on this album are among their best. It doesn't beat Fragments for me, but it remains another strong release by a great band.
Clearing The Path To Ascend
Hadn't heard this band before this year, but was impressed with this release. The Sludge/Doom/Stoner (whatever you wanna call it) is a mixed bag for me, but this was one of the better releases in that genre.
Anathema puts out a great, if not safe album. Their formula is getting very familiar and you pretty much know what to expect at this point, but I liked this album. Even more so than Weather Systems. It has a few songs that doesn't do much for me, but the really good songs (basically half the album at least) makes up for it.
|28||Have a Nice Life|
The Unnatural World
A very pleasant release that has gone under the radar a bit, considering it dropped in February already. They will always have to live with the burden of Deathconsciousness being a perfect album, and following it up is pretty much impossible, but The Unnatural World is a worthy follow-up.
Aphex Twin pulled a similar stunt that Boards of Canada did last year. Showing up again with a brand new album after years of silence. While Syro is not as good as Tomorrow's Harvest was last year, and while it doesn't reach the high highs of Selected Ambient Works, this is about as good of an album I would expect, and hope to get from him in 2014. This is a very solid, very capable and very good album.
|26|| ||Flying Lotus|
Flying Lotus is an artist I have always liked, but he has never fully clicked. I would say his three latest albums are all very solid 8 out of 10 albums, but it also hasn't clicked to the point where I would put him in my top5 of those years. I have a feeling he will click more, because he puts a lot of effort into his albums, and every listen is like peeling off a new layer.
Rooms of the House
A very good album that I had higher initially, but it has dropped down a bit. Still a very good release.
|24||Dog Fashion Disco|
Is this as good as Adultery? No, but who expected that? This is easily on par with the two latest Polkadot Cadaver albums, and possibly even better. So many catchy songs on here, that it doesn't matter that every song isn't a home run.
While I'm not a hardcore fan of this band like many others, they are very solid and managed to top their debut with this one.
Interpol - El Pintor. The name is an anagram, get it? So yeah, this was surprisingly good. Probably their best since Turn on the Bright Lights.
Feel the Dyeing Note
The japanese female fronted version of how American Football could sound in 2014.
|20|| ||Uchu Conbini|
Looking At the Moon's Reflection
The japanese female fronted version of how American Football could sound in 2014.
|19||The Great Old Ones|
I wasn't entirely sold on their last album, but this one was glorious. Holy balls. One of the best metal albums of 2014 for sure.
This album made me discover Boris, and I'm really happy for that. Is it as good as Feedbacker or Flood? No, but that doesn't make it bad. Songs like "Angel" and "Quicksilver" alone makes this album worth your time, and overall it displays the many sides of Boris, and works as a really nice starting point for the band if you are new to them.
The only thing that kinda bumps this album down, if just for a few positions would be the singer, who I'm still not 100% sold on. But before you jump on my throat for saying that, I think this album is glorious in most ways. A strong concept album with a lot of good ideas and a lot of memorable melodies.
Without a doubt the most fun, quirky, positive and bright album of the year. The songs range a bit in quality, from top of the year material like "Carry on Phenomenon" to songs that could have been left out. Still, it's a very solid album, and has some really good individual songs.
Perhaps not as good as the previous album, but I genuinely enjoyed Low. A very dark album with some really neat ideas.
|14||The War on Drugs|
Lost in the Dream
A very very solid album. Some people complain about the long ambient sections, personally those are my favorite parts of the album. While it doesn't reach the very peak of my list, it's still a fine album.
The dark and bleak shadow of emptiness and loneliness.
While the trajectory of most K-scope band these days seems to be going down, Gazpacho remains unique and true to their sound, and deliver their best album in a few years, possibly since Night in 2007. This is progressive music that actually feels progressive, and they manage to surprise me with some of the twists and turns the songs take.
Coffins on Io
After Hubardo blowing me away last year, expectations for this was pretty high. This is a very different album from Hubardo, and it's not really even fair to compare them. I would call this a slow grower. A very good and solid album, that really hits the right notes when I listen to it at the right time, which is usually night time.
Bloom and Breathe
Late discovery of the year, and a very pleasant surprise. This is like Thrice minus the Christianity plus some dozes of the warm Post-Rock sounds you can hear from bands like Sigur R?s (on Takk or Med Sud) or Maybeshewill. Very nice album.
|9||Thee Silver Mount Zion|
Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything
This album comes very close to being just as good as the awesomeness that is GY!BE. While I would want a new GY!BE album more than most things in life, I would probably be okay with no more albums from them, if Thee Mt. Silver Zion keeps delivering albums as strong as this one.
|8||Sun Kil Moon|
This album has been the rollercoaster of 2014 for me. I loved it right away, and it made me discover Mark Kozelek. But after getting into Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon, my feelings for Benji dropped a bit. It has gone up and down, and up again since, and I think it deserves its high place. Not quite as good as Ghosts of the Great Highway or April, or even the best albums of RHP, but Benji might be his most personal release, and a very strong one.
|7||Dir En Grey|
After the metal behemoth that was Dum Spiro Spero, Dir En Grey have gone back and embraced some of their older albums, and the result is one of their most varied albums yet. Less heavy and more atmospheric, Kyo delivers yet again another awe-inspiring vocal performance.
I have felt a drop in interest when it comes to Progressive Metal, but this album was a breath of fresh air. The mixture of Progressive Rock, Metal with touches of Ambient music really works for me, and The Contortionist delivers my favorite metal album of the year.
Probably the most beautiful album released this year. Music you can put on, and just dream away.
Here and Nowhere Else
Cloud Nothings manage to top Attack on Memory with an even stronger follow-up. This album is short, to the point and every song hits it home. The best pure rock album of 2014 IMO.
What a breathtaking album. Basically the best of Sigur R?s and Bon Iver packed into a neat little package with the best of Post-Rock, Electronica and Folk.
The Golden Echo
Vows is one of my favorite albums ever, and following it up was not an easy task. The Golden Echo does a pretty damn fine job though, and Kimbra delivers an interesting album with a lot of variety. Even in the least good songs, there is a lot of hard work to admire.
To Be Kind
Swans manages to follow up The Seer with an equal, or even better album in To Be Kind. I'm not sure what more to say, this album stood out from the first listen and pretty much solidified its place as nr1 on this place as soon as I first heard it.