Below are my TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2014 plus a selection of “nearly made the cut, but are still really good albums that you should listen to.” Enjoy.
10. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun
Unpopular opinion, but each new Mastodon album is better than the last. Shut up, it’s the truth. Once More ‘Round The Sun is stonking great from start to finish. Those who found the guitars on The Hunter a bit flat in places, will have their ears well and truly pummelled with the riffs served up here. The roaring thunder of the prog-metal barrage that is Chimes At Midnight, sits comfortably with the spiralling chaos that is Aunt Lisa (complete with female-Ramones-gang vocal chanting) and the shining glory that is the almost churning-rock five minute jaunt of The Motherload (arguably, one of their finest tracks -with drummer Brann Dailor on lead vocals).
Listen to: Aunt Lisa
9. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
Dylan Baldi’s Cloud Nothings know what they’re doing – raucous, serrated punk rock delivered faster than your brain can comprehend. At a modest eight tracks, Here and Nowhere Else doesn’t outstay it’s welcome – instead it smashes the door down and starts braying like a pissed seaside donkey, trampling over everything in its path. From the grunge punk yowl of No Thoughts, to the almost shoegaze-raw rock of Pattern Walks and the thunderous rip of Psychic Trauma, Cloud Nothings are a sweat-soaked grin of wild energy and bruised emotions.
Listen to: Psychic Trauma
8. Mongol Horde – S/T
“Keith Richards is a T-1000” chants Frank Turner on the bile-vomiting fury of Hey Judas, the final track from Mongol Horde’s self-titled album. He could well be right; hell, Turner is so convincing, so righteous, so boiling with maniacal passion, you could well believe that Natalie Portman does have a tapeworm, that the Communists did ruin Christmas and that you are all fucking charlatans (not the band). Zealous hardcore channelled through a wordsmith of bilious anger.
Listen to: Weak Handshake
7. Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
This is how you do a comeback record. Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F Keeler’s return in the form of Death From Above 1979 calls for much rejoicing. The Physical World is a barnstormer of their trademark dance punk; however this isn’t simply a rehash of already trod ground – ten years have gone by and there’s depth, raw emotion, crunching riffs and some of the best drumming you’ll hear all year – just listen to the fills on Crystal Ball and tell me that’s not awesome. Welcome back guys, don’t leave it so long next time.
Listen to: Right On, Frankenstein!
6. Tilts – Cuatro Hombres
Everything Andrew Elstner touches turns to gold. His work on Torche and his former band, Riddle Of Steel, shines brightly on Cuatro Hombres, the second album from the Tilts mastermind. An unholy concoction of Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters (back when they were good), ZZ Top and Van Halen create this volatile, riff-soaked machine. This is 10 tracks of adrenalin pumping, air-guitar, party jamming excellence from start to finish.
Listen to: Thomas Jefferson II
5. Lonely The Brave – The Day’s War
Hearts beating so hard they threaten to break from their collective chests, Lonely The Brave are splintering, fragile sentiment stretched over some of the most breath-taking and gut-wrenching emotive rock you’ll hear this year. Of the 11 actual tracks on offer, any one of them could be your favourite; it’s just that bloody good. Here’s to many, many albums lads, that’s if vocalist David Jakes can keep it together for that long.
Listen to: Victory Line
4. The Austerity Program – Beyond Calculation
Justin Foley and Thad Callabrese are too disturbing for words, as is their latest album; the paint-stripping, cadaver-rotting ugliness that is Beyond Calculation. The Austerity Program are callous, unrelenting and captivating – their ragged, post-punk ranting stretches over these 8 songs of bitter, scathing hate and not once do they let up. Words are spat with unrelenting disgust; riffs crunch and howl like a wounded animal and the drum machine is a cold, calculated attack on the senses. This will chill you to the bone.
Listen to: Song 39
3. ’68 – In Humor and Sadness
Possibly destroying their instruments as much as they are playing them, Atlanta duo ’68’s debut album, In Humor and Sadness is born from impulse. Keeping The Chariot’s raw, chaotic bloodletting alive, this is 10 tracks of debauched, raw grunge-rock that stamps of invincible power and frantic improvisation. You can tell this was recorded live; you can feel them in the room with you – amps melting beneath the sweating, roaring heat and wild energy that radiates forth. “HEY! I STILL GOT A LOT TO SAY!” Screams vocalist/guitarist Josh Scogin – we’re all ears mate.
Listen to: Track 1 R
2. USA Nails – Sonic Moist
Disgusted with the world and rightly so; Sonic Moist by USA Nails is a volatile thrash of kraut-punk chaos condensed into half an hour. Lyrics are spat with sneering derision and cheek-chewing bitterness, whilst musically, it switches from splatter rock fury, to sinister, dead-eyed grunge-punk snarling. Weird, discordant horror that will infect and rot your mind in equal measure.
Listen to: Distilled Town
1. Adebisi Shank – This is the Third Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank
A euphoric, encompassing universe created by an incredibly talented power trio. Third is sadly, Adebisi Shank’s final album, but it’s also their best. Tracks like the Daft Punk-spiral of Sensation, the triumph of Big Unit and the joy-gasm good feeling of Voodoo Vision are just some of the reasons why this is my album of 2014. Going out on such a blissful, ecstatic high of space-prog-techno-dance-mega-melt doesn’t get much better than this. An utterly essential musical odyssey of the mind.
Listen to: Sensation
A great bunch of lads and ladies released some other corkers that you should check out as well:
Arms and the Man – …Are Nothing But Animals
Baby Metal – S/T
Bare Bones – Cut Throat Living
Beige Eagle Boys – You’re Gonna Get Yours
Billy The Kid – Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
Brawlers – I Am A Worthless Piece Of Shit
Christian Fitness –I’m Scared Of Everything That Isn’t Me
Die! Die! Die! – SWIM
Fat Goth – 100% Suave
Gnarwolves – S/T
Floor – Oblation
Johnny Foreigner – You Could Do Better
Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again
The Moms – Buy American
Robot Death Monkey – Full Dunham
Royal Blood – S/T
Run The Jewels – RTJ2
Sleaford Mods – Divide and Exit
Stolen Nations – Smoke Signals
Taylor Swift – 1989
The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There
Truckfighters – Universe
Ultra Panda – Satan, Salsa
White Lung – Deep Fantasy
Wild Throne – Blood Maker