[sic] Magazine

Sub-Ed’s Albums Of The Year 2014

Part two of my annual round-up 2014 is what I consider to have been the best albums of the year – those that have stood out most from that which I’ve listened to. As usual, there’s been plenty of good-to-downright-great releases, each and every one of the below worth recommending in their own way. In simple terms, it would seem punk is back looking at that top ten. A welcome return in my book.

Particular credit must, however, go this year to the Mute and Sacred Bones labels, both of whom have had an annus mirabilis, each mustering five entries in my top 100. This is an even more impressive feat in Sacred Bones’s case as they managed seven last year and four the year before that too! Plaudits also go to Trouble In Mind from whom four artists also feature and special mention to the Moon Glyph, Hardly Art, Kanine, Weird World, Mexican Summer and Jagjaguwar imprints for each managing three entries apiece too.

Other statistical analysis interestingly shows that, while I consider myself an open-minded globetrotter when it comes to music, 90% of the artists in this top 100 call either the US, UK, Canada or Australia home, though this is down from 95% last year. Note to self: cast your net even wider next year.

It must be said though that I have only one pair of ears, a set amount of hours in the day and a bank balance that is far from inexhaustible, so there are, perhaps, certain notable omissions from the list below. This is certainly true of Grouper who’s Ruins I’m yet to hear and whom I’m sure would have scored well. In any case, who knows what may have been, but here is what definitely was:

1. White LungDeep Fantasy (Punk/Rock) [Domino]

White Lung

Play musical pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey with Deep Fantasy and, no matter where the needle lands, you’re on to a winner. Every bar of the 22-minute LP is dynamite. It’s lean beyond belief yet still manages to land 10 fully formed and fully brilliant punk-rock blasts rife with addictive melody. Courtesy of the firebrand Mish Way and her spicy lyrics it’s also an angry feminist punk record tempered only by heavy hooks played at high speed. Thanks to that restrictive running time there is no let up, no ambient noise instrumentals as per Perfect Pussy (see below) and no chance of you forgetting an encounter with White Lung. Deep Fantasy stripes your cheeks like razors as it hurtles past.

2. FKA TwigsLP1 (Alt-R&B/Trip Hop) [Young Turks]

FKA Twigs

Tahliah Barnett, formerly known as Twigs, now as FKA Twigs for contractual reasons, has taken the cut-and-paste, future R&B gauntlet lain down by the likes of Holy Other and re-made it for now. It’s tailor-made, hyper sexy urban for discerning catwalks, silk drawn over monumental pop. Wonderfully choreographed and picture perfect, as well as featuring hot production from the likes of Arca (see below) and Clams Casino (see previous years’ lists), it’s an arresting tableau of glitch, trip-hop sub-bass, glacial synth and low BPM. Barnett may take umbrage at the alt-R&B tag but it holds water even as she redefines it. Her economically titled LP1 is nothing short of phenomenal.

3. Gold-BearsDalliance (Indie/Noise-Pop) [Slumberland]

Gold Bears

Dalliance comes at you from your blind spot. It’s 2014 after all and it’s a cuddly indie-pop album. Crucially though it avoids being the preserve of the musty-cardigan hipster because Gold-Bears breathe so much life into the flogged corpse of twee that it becomes downright rapturous. Listen slack-jawed as Jeremy Underwood cannonballs between a Hutch Harris of The Thermals impression and some Scottish sounding noise-pop enthusiast. Housing sweet back-and-forths, 80s jangles and tumbling shout-alongs reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel it’s dangerously addictive, the kind of album that restores your faith in indie, reminding you why you fell in love with it in the first place.

[sic] Review: Gold-Bears – Dalliance

4. Big UpsEighteen Hours Of Static (Post-Hardcore/Sludge-Punk) [Tough Love]

Big Ups

Eighteen Hours Of Static is anything but. Rather, it’s a scintillating 30-min punk debut that listens like all that’s good in noise. Snotty, Irish-American ska(te)-punk as envisaged by the likes of Fugazi? Check. A tense jangle and gritted howl that comes on like Slint? Done. Quiet-loud-quiet structures as per Cloud Nothings? In the bag. Bleach-era broken-glass gargle with Big Black’s crunching bass and Anthrax’s trademark violence? Face-breaking racket in the Black Flag mould? Icing on the cake.

[sic] Review:Big Ups – Eighteen Hours Of Static

5. Zig ZagsZig Zags (Rock) [In The Red]

Zig Zags

No messin’ with exhilarating LA trio Zig Zags. Their S/T demo is pedal-to-the-metal rock in which there is nevertheless “a thought process behind how stupid” each track is. Accordingly then there’s a degree of the tongue-in-cheek to their Sabbath-shredding and white-hot thrash. No such worries with the Motörhead-brand biker fuzz and proto-punk steals from the likes of The Stooges and MC5. As the spoken sample says, “Dude / It’s so gnarly, man.” It all really is.

[sic] Review: Zig Zags – Zig Zags

6. Karen OCrush Songs (Singer-Songwriter) [Cult Records]

Karen O

This is not the solo Karen O record her fans demanded. Nobody, as she put it, needs another record “like that”. Instead her first unaccompanied outing takes years-old tour demos performed on a battered acoustic guitar alone, songs about crushing hard IRL which were never meant for public consumption, and, somewhat shyly and with almost painful honesty, she seeks the comforting confessional of cathartic strumming. Crush Songs is spell-binding and lump-in-your-throat beautiful.

7. OughtMore Than Any Other Day (Post-Hardcore/Punk-Rock) [ Constellation]


More Than Any Other Day manages to capture both youthful exuberance and political activism so neatly over choppy riffs that Ought (and you) feel the need to shout it from the rooftops to save yourself from exploding. It has the pent-up energy of a freshly shaken can of soda, frothing over in places just as messily. It’s smart and humorous too, a blitzing together of the likes of Protomartyr and Parquet Courts (see below for both) with classics such as Shellac – only as voiced by a wannabe David Byrne.

8. PharmakonBestial Burden (Industrial/Noise/Doom) [Sacred Bones]


As a recent Adhoc magazine editorial noted, some people have very firm ideas on what art should be and are vehemently against that which doesn’t comply. With that in mind the scorching Bestial Burden is here to blow some minds with extreme industrionics, deep pulses and power-electronic static. Margaret Chardiet vomits and splutters when she’s not screeching like Gollum fronting a brutal black-metal band. As the artwork confirms, it’s her body lain raw never mind bare.

9. SwansTo Be Kind (Experimental Rock) [Mute]


Rock behemoth Swans return with another two-hour slog just two years after delivering The Seer, a near-perfect album and previous [sic] AOTY winner that infamously, according to malevolent-in-chief Michael Gira, took 30 years to make. What do they have left in the tank then? Why, plenty of repeats and few rapid changes, segues to experimental noise, backing mantra, concessions to doom-folk, marauding brass and half-an-hour concept suites about Haitian revolutionaries of course.

[sic] Review: Swans – To Be Kind

10. HoneybloodHoneyblood (Garage-Pop/Indie-Rock) [Fat Cat]


Honeyblood is easily the strongest Best Coast album since Crazy For You. Wait, that’s not Bethany Cosentino? Well, it’s nice to know there’s a readymade back-up in singer/guitarist Stina Tweeddale if she ever does go missing all the same. Tweeddale hails from the West Coast of Glasgow and, as will now be obvious, she makes bittersweet pop with breezy melodies and hooks aplenty. While Honeyblood may be far from original it’s great fun nonetheless, front-loaded with pure gold.

[sic] Review: Honeyblood – Honeyblood

11. Ben FrostA U R O R A (Electronica/Experimental) [Mute]

On A U R O R A Ben Frost brings his textural arrangements inside the walls of heavy industry. Gone are the guitars and strings. In their place brutal synth fuzz and monumental percussion that dominates the post-everything, neo-nothing onslaught. If 2009’s By The Throat was snow-driven purgatory then A U R O R A is the fires of hell and it makes you feel tiny.

[sic] Review: Ben Frost – A U R O R A

12. White HexGold Nights (Darkwave/Goth/Post-Punk) [Felte]

Hard to resist, the dark side is. Excuse the mangled paraphrasing, but White Hex have mastered a shimmering allure that draws you in like a moth to a black strobe. At its best this rivals most Cure tracks you care to mention, moody drums and deep basslines dragging heavy bodies through fields of chiming gloom. They keep you locked in too, pop concessions illuminating the LP like daybreak.

13. Mirel WagnerWhen The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day (Singer-Songwriter/Folk) [Sub Pop]

Don’t let that Fritzl-baiting title put you off, Mirel Wagner is a very special singer-songwriter. She writes spectral folk music: bleak, whispery and timeless. And her songs originate from strange places too: one from the perspective of a buried corpse, another on the subject of a rotten tongue. Just as the chills threaten to overwhelm though, melancholy cello and piano manage to lighten the mood.

[sic] Review: Mirel Wagner – When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day

14. How To Dress WellWhat Is This Heart? (R&B/Singer-Songwriter/Pop) [Weird World]

Tom Krell just keeps ‘em coming. He’s getting better – and poppier – with every album. During What Is This Heart? he sings of love and hope whilst managing to leave the cheese in the fridge. It’s still his infinitely tender vocal that draws you in though. Once a windblown Siren, now he has designs on Prince’s purple throne, his achingly transparent bedroom R&B setting its sights on much grander stages.

15. She Keeps BeesEight Houses (Blues-Rock/Singer-Songwriter) [BB*Island]

And here it is. The album that finally sees She Keeps Bees out-do their contemporaries. The duo’s blues-rock minimalism leans more heavily on folk this time around, their palette of instrumentation greater too, but it’s the magnetic songs themselves that do it. Part Patti Smith and PJ Harvey. Part Cat Power and The Kills, and with Sharon Van Etten (see below) on backing vocals, this is seriously luxurious.

[sic] Review: She Keeps Bees – Eight Houses

16. VermaSunrunner (Post-Punk/Krautrock) [Trouble In Mind]

The first two tracks on Sunrunner are so good that if Verma had maintained the pace it could well have been album of the year. The formula’s quite simple too. Take driving post-punk guitars. Repeat them out to psychedelic length. Insert a cold, Gothic vocal. Shroud the whole thing in black and hit warp speed. Latter tracks enter nebulous synth territory but there’s no denying the power of the whole.

17. The Black LipsUnderneath The Rainbow (Garage-Psyche) [Vice]

Swampy garage specialists Black Lips have been turning in 2-3 minute party jams for well over a decade now and Underneath The Rainbow is no different. Featuring groove-heavy schlock-rock, 60s garage-psyche, ramshackle rock ‘n’ roll struts and bluesy harmonies these good-time bros are once again just kicking back, getting high and getting liquored at the fringes of society. Business as usual.

[sic] Review: The Black Lips – Underneath The Rainbow

18. SolidsBlame Confusion (Garage-Rock/Punk) [Fat Possum]

In the absence of any new Japandroids material this year up steps the Solids duo. They, of course, connect the dots between lo-fi punk, grunge, dreamy melody and early 90s pedal fuzz. With little in the way of variety, however, they have to hit each distorted hook sweetly and, fortunately enough, their rather excellent Blame Confusion is a succession of home runs as a result.

19. Sharon Van EttenAre We There (Singer-Songwriter) [Jagjaguwar]

It’s no secret that Sharon Van Etten is one of the best singer-songwriters around yet the mainstream are only just pricking up their ears. Despite the dazzling and bruised Are We There being further proof of this, what’s best is that in blending the vulnerable and defiant you get the feeling that her master statement is still to come. Expect the next one to be even better.

[sic] Review: Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

20. Ak’chamelLowlands Of Hteklum (Psyche/Tribal) [Moon Glyph]

Even though it features below, the truly intrepid traveller can forget Goat’s tribal soup. It pales in the face of Ak’chamel, children of the world who take kraut-psyche on the trip of its life via traditional Thai and African folk, as well as the indigenous grooves of the Maya. Think long and hard before that visa application. The Lowlands Of Hteklum are more than a destination; they’re a state of mind.

[sic] Review: Ak’chamel – Lowlands Of Hteklum

21. tUnE-yArDsnikki nack (Alt-Pop/Singer-Songwriter) [4AD]

nikki nack is Merrill Garbus’s third LP and, again, it’s a rather wonderful pop album, but the newcomer won’t be given an easy ride for hers is a very particular brand of melting-pot future-pop. This time she digs deeply into African-American history, decorating her multi-tracked, kitchen-sink madness with vocal snippets from the open savannah, the cotton fields and from gospel harmonies.

[sic] Review: tUnE-yArDs – nikki nack

22. The Cult Of Dom KellerThe Second Bardo (Heavy Psyche/Kraut) [Cardinal Fuzz]

Power psyche like this either relies on speeding fury or raw noise. The Second Bardo hammers the latter, developing into a caught-in-the-face-of-Armageddon kraut-psyche blaster. Compensating for what it lacks in pace with juggernaut chug, the guitars are like Hendrix on Mogadon, the vocals are slathered in distant doom and reverb, and that’s not to mention the cavernous low end.

[sic] Review: The Cult Of Dom Keller – The Second Bardo

23. Angel OlsenBurn Your Fire For No Witness (Singer-Songwriter/Folk) [Jagjaguwar]

Olsen is an old world singer. Or at least she was. One listen to Burn Your Fire For No Witness’s stomping fuzz-pop and you’d assume she was done with her acoustic. You’d be wrong though. She’s had a refreshing facelift is all. Now she freewheels from Hank Williams-tinged rockers and tumbling storytelling to mesmeric Kimya Dawson/pre-war hybrids and, yes, stunning acoustic capture.

[sic] Review: Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

24. Straight ArrowsRising (Garage-Psyche) [Agitated]

What do you do when classic garage-psyche strums out of every flick of your wrist? Why, you pen a whole bloody album of scruffy rock ‘n’ roll and rickety jangle while the iron’s hot. Straight Arrows break the 3-minute mark for the first time on Rising simply because their vocal harmonies, Girl Group melodies, 60s riffs and tinny surf just won’t be contained in small parcels any more.

[sic] Review: Straight Arrows – Rising

25. ArcaXen (Electronica/Beats) [Mute]

Venezuelan-born producer Alejandro Ghersi is part of a vanguard of producers working in the field of forensic beats. He doesn’t so much make music as reconstruct it from stabbing shards, flickers of melody, heart-pumping judders and memories of melody. Xen surges into and out of your consciousness, challenging and appeasing your notions of art and audio simultaneously.

26. Purling HissWeirdon (Indie/Rock) [Drag City]

In cleaning up his signature scuzz on the last Purling Hiss LP, Mike Polizze managed only to bash out an unspectacular collection of psyche-rock stompers. Weirdon is dialled back even further, now resembling a number of 80s/90s, alt/college icons and mining a substantial seam of charm as it goes. Its success though is down to balance: punk, pop, psyche, indie and rock in blissful harmony.

27. Sun Kil MoonBenji (Singer-Songwriter) [Caldo Verde]

Mark Kozelek is a truly one-off singer-songwriter. He could sing his shopping list (and sometimes does) and he’d still catch your ear. He doesn’t often bother with rhyme. He’s an arch misanthropist and his extra-honest tales make for awkward/fascinating listening, but it’s precisely for these reasons that he’s able to beguile from a unique vantage and with unparalleled insight.

[sic] Review: Sun Kil Moon – Benji

28. Ty SegallManipulator (Garage-Rock) [Drag City]

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d already heard Manipulator. Garage whirlwind Ty Segall is high on quantity (quality too), but variety is not his forte. That said, Manipulator is probably his most complete and accessible album to date. It’s also one of his best because as well as being thrilling, excessive and glorious it’s also a near perfect stream of high-octane pop-rock.

[sic] Review: Ty Segall – Manipulator

29. Halasan Bazar & Tara King th.8 (60s Psyche) [Moon Glyph]

Following wonderful recent releases from both of these artists, the 8 collaboration was much-anticipated in the truest sense of the word. With a pan-European memberbase, as well as strong soundtrack and 60s psyche influences, it’s all super evocative. Classy too, Béatrice Morel-Journel and Fredrick Rollum Eckoff duetting like Nancy Sinatra making eyes at a stoned Ian McCulloch.

[sic] Review: Halasan Bazar & Tara King th. – 8

30. Kikagaku MoyoForest Of Lost Children (Sitar-Psyche) [Beyond Beyond Is Beyond]

Here we have a group of mesmeric Japanese longhairs who’ve crept out of the woodwork thanks to being “the best live band at this year’s Austin Psyche Fest”™. Forest Of Lost Children is thus an easy sell. It’s also a masterclass in sitar-psyche, that exotic jangle transporting you across continents, decades and dimensions. Breathe it in deeply, exhale and you could by anywhere and anywhen.

31. Ultimate PaintingUltimate Painting (Indie/60s/Slacker) [Trouble In Mind]

Collaboration alert! Ultimate Painting is Jack Cooper of Mazes and James Hoare of Veronica Falls and the two make perfectly pitched jangles. Charming hooks fall over one another as they nod to the commercial end of the Velvet Underground, Beach Boys and Byrds collective canon. It’s an LP that has sweet win stamped through it so extensively it could be mistaken for a stick of Blackpool rock.

32. Future IslandsSingles (Synth-Pop/New-Wave) [4AD]

An album of two halves, Singles boasts post-punk basslines, super-poppy synth work and frontman Sam Herring as far detached from Vic Reeves’s club singer as he’s yet been able to muster (still quite close). Yet, in polishing their sound they’ve lost some of their appeal. Too often we’re left asking “so what?”. Balance the strong hits with the misses though and this is still a very solid collection.

[sic] Review: Future Islands – Singles

33. Leisure BirdsTetrahedron (Kraut/Psyche/Space-Rock) [Moon Glyph]

Expounding on the interstellar potential of geometry and physics, Tetrahedron is reverbed to the point of mysticism, the band trying to communicate through interpretive kosmische and retro-futurist sands of time. Dithering analogue synth, bass pulses and star-scanning drone swirl across two-sun sky back-drops. Tetrahedron may just have been spawned from the Big Bang itself.

[sic] Review: Leisure Birds – Tetrahedron

34. Fucked UpGlass Boys (Garage-Punk/Hardcore) [Matador]

Quite simply no-one else is making rock like this. There’s as much classic punk-rock and even pop in Glass Boys as there is the band’s trademark hardcore. Tracks close with organ-led psyche or open with delicate arpeggios and acoustic jangles. In between, an inevitable onslaught of drums and fuzz clears the path for Damian Abrahams to gargle and growl. Rock opera is rarely so enjoyable.

[sic] Review: Fucked Up – Glass Boys

35. Perfect PussySay Yes To Love (Garage-Punk/Hardcore) [Captured Tracks]

Breaking the Captured Tracks mould, Perfect Pussy channel unfiltered art-punk fury into just 23 minutes. It’s an “LP” rife with ear-filling scree too, thrilling balances of ultraviolence and melody during which poor Meredith Graves sometimes struggles to make herself heard. “But without real love, it’s just sad noise” she does manage to audibly muse at one point. Say Yes To Love in a nutshell.

[sic] Review: Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love

36. GoatCommune (Psyche/Tribal) [Rocket Records]

Goat are the second coming of Christ, or so it seems. Granted their out-of-nowhere (everywhere?) World Music was bloody brilliant, and they truly are a must-see live, but Commune doesn’t push the envelope. It’s World Music’s b-sides. And you know what? It’s still pretty great, those hand-drummed tribal rhythms injecting deep grooves into the band’s mystic and sexy psychedelia.

37. Run The JewelsRun The Jewels 2 (Hip-Hop) [Mass Appeal]

Think Run The Jewels 2 is this list’s token hip-hop release? Think again because it’s here on merit. Killer Mike and El-P are enjoying something of an Indian summer in their careers, the pair attacking varied topics with smart beats and acerbic tongues. Those seeking subtlety should probably look away all the same. Upfront and with the heft to back it up Run The Jewels are doing everything right.

38. The War On DrugsLost In The Dream (Heartland Rock) [Secretly Canadian]

Parts of Lost In The Dream are tedious, Adam Granduciel preferring column inches in Classic Rock magazine and studies in heartland tablature over anything resembling a hook. Yet, from what some are dubbing the album of 1984 rather than 2014, moments of sheer beauty rise miasmatically, minor interjections of urgency that ripple across the LP, the butterfly effect in motion.

39. ProtomartyrUnder Color Of Official Right (Post-Punk) [Hardly Art]

The mainstream’s post-punk album of the year deserves it plaudits for one simple reason: it’s different. Think post-punk and think angles, grey skies and trench coats. Thanks Ian Curtis. (No, seriously. Thanks). Protomartyr comply where they have to, but in the laconic Joe Casey they have an anti-frontman whose everyday sneer and deadpan lyrics really help set them apart.

40. YvetteProcess (Noise-Rock/Industrial) [Tough Love]

“We will not profit off this record. Most people will not hear it and, of those who do, many will not like it.” So reads part of the press release for Yvette’s bruising industrial debut Process. Well, some people did hear it, drawing accurate parallels with HEALTH’s brand of post-punk. With snippets of beauty and melody to light the way, Process isn’t the post-apocalyptic bully it at first seems to be.

[sic] Review: Yvette – Process

41. Zola JesusTaiga (Alt-Pop) [Mute]

My hopes weren’t high for Taiga. Nika Danilova had been on a downwards trajectory ever since her incredible Stridulum EP. Not that that is to say her recent material had been poor, just increasingly less impressive as she diluted her Goth operatics with more linear pop. The pure pop of Taiga is thus a natural extension of that and, free of conflict, it sparkles with newfound confidence.

42. Strand Of OaksHeal (Heartland Rock) [Dead Oceans]

Strand Of Oaks started as a folk project, Timothy Showalter, this “metal-looking dude”, recounting intimate tales from his youth from behind a protective veil of pin-drop guitar. These days he’s more expansive, incorporating classic rock and synth into his palette. It doesn’t stop him sounding like the Boss though. Heal is the kind of heartland rock where the stress is on both heart and rock.

43. Lorelle Meets The ObsoleteChambers (Psyche-Rock/Shoegaze) [Sonic Cathedral]

These spacey Mexicans have been around for a few years now and on Chambers they smash the needle into the red for the first time, quick-fire repeato-jangles sounding sorta like Loveless spun at 45rpm. And you don’t need me to tell you that iconic balance of noise and melody is ever impressive. Chambers knocks you down and, once there, you’ll wallow in all it throws at you.

[sic] Review: Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – Chambers

44. Cloud NothingsHere And Nowhere Else (Garage-Punk) [Wichita]

After the U-turn Dylan Baldi pulled in 2012, switching from likeable pop-punk to serrated post-hardcore, Here And Nowhere Else is disappointing only because it’s predictable. It’s ostensibly more of the same, Attack On Memory recreated from memory, if you will, but when you’ve a shadow of a great on your hands it’d be foolish to dismiss it for there’s plenty here from which to feast.

[sic] Review: Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere Else

45. BeverlyCareers (Girl Group/Garage-Pop) [Kanine]

Of all the Girl Group-influenced garage-pop bands out there Beverly were one of this year’s standouts and it’s little surprise to find fuzzy dream-pop specialist Frankie Rose at its core. There’s some considerable skill in finding new mileage in tropes as well-worn as these and Rose and Drew Citron coast through Careers like a summer’s breeze. Lovely stuff.

[sic] Review: Beverly – Careers

46. Sd LaikaThat’s Harakiri (Electronica/Experimental/Bass) [Tri Angle]

The superb Tri Angle label is getting weirder and weirder, its affiliations with diaphanous drag and witch-step long since put to bed. These days they release artists like the mysterious Sd Laika, a Milwaukee producer with a penchant for glitch, beats and bass. That’s your way in, from there it’s static, hissing drone and strings. So too a sense that amidst the chaos there might just be magic.

47. Conor OberstUpside Down Mountain (Singer-Songwriter) [Nonesuch]

The master’s still got it. His anger’s dissipated (15 years of success will do that to a man), but the former Bright Eyes singer still knows how to pair tumbling imagery with industrial-grade hooks. He remains, too, a contrary soul: an outsider from the heartland; staunch practitioner of the traditional but drawn from an America entirely of his own generation. Welcome to Upside Down Mountain.

48. The Fresh & OnlysHouse Of Spirits (Indie/Synthwave) [Mexican Summer]

Gone are those iconic Bay Area garage motifs, for 2014 finds Tim Cohen and his Fresh & Onlys in a sombre mood. Instead of reaching for a jangling riff on autopilot, House Of Spirits digs deeper into the band’s fascination with British indie of the 80s, drum machines and synths the backing for a despondent collection of reverbed atmosphere and heavy-hearted sighs.

49. Lust For YouthInternational (Coldwave) [Sacred Bones]

Dark Danish synths that slash at the cold night air like visions of reimagined Joy Division songs deconstructed and reassembled with unerring precision. In with the atonal Iceage gang, this is post-punk for machines, International’s lighter edges hinting at the breaking of dawn with concessions to Balearica and straightforward synth-pop. Needless to say, sugar coating not included.

50. The MenTomorrow’s Hits (Rock ‘n’ Roll) [Sacred Bones]

Brooklyn band The Men’s transition from scrappy indie-punk to raucous rock ‘n’ roll is complete. It’s taken them four wide-ranging albums (in four years) to get there, but they’re a proposition no longer. Bar-room honky-tonk defined, Nick Chiericozzi and Mark Perro even had the time to push their more psychedelic edges into their new and excellent project Dream Police (see below).

The best of the rest (no particular order):

Lydia AinsworthRight From Real (Electronica/Alt-Pop) [Arbutus]
Dream PoliceHypnotized (Rock/Psyche) [Sacred Bones]
AlvvaysAlvvays (Indie/Pop) [Transgressive]
Jane WeaverThe Silver Globe (Psyche-Pop/Kraut) [Finders Keepers]
Peaking Lights Cosmic Logic (Electronica/Pop/Dub) [Weird World]
The Vacant LotsDeparture (Psyche-Rock) [Sonic Cathedral]
The Twilight SadNobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave (Indie/Rock/Post-Punk) [Fat Cat]
Old TestamentOld Testament (Psyche/Alt-Country) [Cardinal Fuzz]
Les Big ByrdThey Worshipped Cats (Psyche-Pop) [A Recordings]
HappynessWeird Little Birthday (Singer-Singwriter/Slacker-Pop) [Weird Smiling]
Parquet Courts Sunbathing Animal (Punk-Rock) [What’s Your Rupture?]
Thurston MooreThe Best Day (Alt-Rock) [Matador]
Twin PeaksWild Onion (Garage-Rock/Pop) [Grand Jury]
EMAThe Future’s Void (Alt-Rock) [City Slang]
The RaveonettesPe’Ahi (Girl Group/Garage-Pop) [Beat Dies]
Nick MulveyFirst Mind (Singer-Songwriter) [Polydor]
Eternal Summers The Drop Beneath (Indie-Pop) [Kanine]
Human HairMy Life As A Beast And Lowly Form (Garage-Punk) [The state51 Conspiracy]
Fear Of MenLoom (Dream Pop/Indie) [Kanine]
PapercutsLife Among The Savages (Indie) [Memphis Industries]
ColourmusicMay You Marry Rich (Noise Rock/Shoegaze/Kraut-psyche) [ Memphis Industries]
Cherry GlazerrHaxel Princess (Garage-Punk/Pop) [Burger Records]
Pure XAngel (Psyche-Folk/Indie/Rock) [Fat Possum]
Warm WidowChildless (Post-Punk) [Filthy Home Recordings]
Morgan DeltMorgan Delt (Psyche-Pop) [Trouble In Mind]
Dum Dum GirlsToo True (Garage-Pop/Goth/Post-Punk) [Sub Pop]
Doug TuttleDoug Tuttle (60s Psyche) [Trouble In Mind]
Alex GDSU (Slacker/College/Singer-Songwriter) [Lucky Number]
Weyes BloodThe Innocents (Singer-Songwriter/Folk) [Mexican Summer]
HookwormsThe Hum (Psyche-Rock) [Weird World]
EagullsEagulls (Post-Punk) [Partisan]
Ashrae FaxNever Really Been Into It (Shoegaze/Post-Punk) [Mexican Summer]
HTRKPsychic 9-5 Club (Electronica/Alt-Pop) [Ghostly]
Thee Oh SeesDrop (Garage-Psyche) [Castle Face]
TrustJoyland (Darkwave) [Arts & Crafts]
Esben And The WitchA New Nature (Post-Rock/Post-Punk) [Nostromo]
Pink MountaintopsGet Back (Rock) [Jagjaguwar]
Amen DunesLove (60s Psyche) [Sacred Bones]
LiarsMess (Dance-Punk) [Mute]
September GirlsCursing The Sea (Girl Group/Garage-Pop) [Fortuna Pop!]
Tense MenWhere Dull Care Is Forgotten (Post-Punk) [Faux Discx]
St. Vincent St. Vincent (Alt-Pop) [Republic]
La Sera Hour Of The Dawn (Garage-Pop) [Hardly Art]
Gem Club In Roses (Singer-Songwriter/Chamber Pop) [Hardly Art]
Warpaint Warpaint (Dream-Pop) [Rough Trade]
Wild Beasts Present Tense (Synth-Pop) [Domino]
Beck Morning Phase (Singer-Songwriter) [EMI]
Woods With Light And With Love (Psyche-Folk) [Woodsist]
Last Ex Last Ex (Soundtrack-Psyche/Kraut/Atmospherica) [Constellation]

[sic] Review: Warm Widow – Childless

[sic] Review: Thurston Moore – The Best Day

[sic] Review: Old Testament – Old Testament

[sic] Review: The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave

[sic] Review: Morgan Delt – Morgan Delt

[sic] Review: Dum Dum Girls – Too True

[sic] Review: Doug Tuttle – Doug Tuttle

[sic] Review: Esben And The Witch – A New Nature

[sic] Review: St. Vincent – St. Vincent

[sic] Review: La Sera – Hour Of The Dawn

[sic] Review: Wild Beasts – Present Tense

[sic] Review: Beck – Morning Phase

[sic] Review: Woods – With Light And Love