Albums | Mike Koehler

warondrugs 2002014 was an incredibly strong year for music. Lots of emerging artists stood out and several veterans turned in some great work this year.

 

I’m not going to put these in any sense of order. These were the best albums I heard this year and ones that stuck with me. Some stuck with me more than others, and these are called out in my Top 2 and Best of the Best. This is certainly not comprehensive, as I have about two dozen albums I want to listen to and just frankly haven’t had the time. (Being an adult sucks sometimes.) I’m ever grateful for music as my escape. Let us hope that 2015 is as good a year, if not even better; there are already several key releases planned that I’m eagerly awaiting.

Top 2

mould beautyBob Mould: Beauty & Ruin (Merge) | It’s amazing to think that Bob Mould has been giving us fantastic music since Hüsker Dü’s 1982 Land Speed Record, and that at this late point in his career he gives us one of his strongest solo albums. It’s even better than 2012’s Silver Age, which was marked as a return to his Sugar form, and was pretty damn good. Beauty & Ruin is an incredible record from top to bottom. If you are a fan of Mould’s work during his Sugar years, when he recorded Hubcap and Last Dog & Pony Show, this is an album for you. Mould & Co. tear ass through 12 tracks at a pace you wouldn’t expect from a man in his 50s! Not sure if it’s the artist feeling nostalgic or if he’s out to prove a point to the kids, but I’ll take all of it I can get and more as it’s great stuff. RAWK.

The War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian) | Every album they make is brilliant. Fuck Mark Kozelek and his ridiculous attempt at starting an internet war with Adam Granduciel; I’m not sure why he thought this was a good idea, considering Lost in the Dream is way better than his overrated and just stupidly depressing Benji. He calls it beer commercial guitar. Umkay. Lost in the Dream is a tight, cohesive album that sounds both lush and frenzied. The title is appropriate, as you will get lost in this dream of an album. And the guitar—bejesus, the guitar work from Granduciel is wonderful. So piss off, Mark Kozelek, or take a chill pill, and let us enjoy War on Drugs.

 

Best of the Best

Manic Street Preachers: Futurology (Columbia)

Angel Olsen: Burn You Fires for no Witness (Jagjaguwar)

Twilight Sad: Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave (Fat Cat)

Steve Gunn: Way Out Weather (Paradise of Bachelors)

We Were Promised Jetpacks: Unravelling (Fat Cat)

Strand of Oaks: Heal (Dead Oceans)

Cymbals Eat Guitars: Lose (Barsuk)

Best of the Rest

Gruff Rhys: American Interior (Turnstile)

Sharon von Etten: Are We There (Jagjaguwar)

Real Estate: Atlas (Domino)

Axxa/Abraxas: s/t (Captured Tracks)

The New Pornographers: Brill Bruiser (Matador)

Drowners: s/t (Frenchkiss)

Eagulls: s/t (Partisan)

Damon Albarn: Everyday Robots (Warner Bros.)

Fucked Up: Glass Boys (Matador)

Nothing: Guilty of Everything (Relapse)

Cloud Nothings: Here & Nowhere Else (Carpark)

Band of Skulls: Himalayan (+180)

Honeyblood: s/t (Fatcat)

Hookworms: The Hum (Domino)

Lykki Li: I Never Learn (LL/Atlantic)

James: La Petite Mort (BMG/Cooking Vinyl)

Jack White: Lazaretto (Columbia)

Ty Segall: Manipulator (Drag City)

Birds of Tokyo: March Fires (EMI)

tUnE yArDs: Nikki Nack (4AD)

Luluc: Passerby (Sub Pop)

Johnny Marr: Playland (New Voodoo)

Mogwai: Rave Tapes (Sub Pop)

Mono: Rays of Darkness/The Last Dawn (Temporary Residence)

Ex Hex: Rips (Merge)

Future Islands: Singles (4AD)

First Aid Kit: Stay Gold (Columbia)

Temples: Sun Structures (Fat Possum)

The Hold Steady: Teeth Dreams (Razor & Tie)

Wax Fang: The Astronaut (Don’t Panic)

The Both: s/t (SuperEgo)

Elbow: The Take Off and Landing of Everything (Concord)

Patterns: Waking Lines (Melodic)

Twin Peaks: Wild Onion (Grand Jury)

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