Honorable Mentions 2014

It’s that time of year again: List Season. Starting things off, here’s our Honorable Mentions list – albums that are good, but failed to make the Best Albums of 2014 list. Nonetheless, these albums made the soundtrack to 2014 worthwhile. (Click the photo for a link to the full review)

– This list is loosely based on the original score each album received on its original review. –

In no particular order…

Awake –Tycho

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“I hate to stereotype, but this is the album that the hipster kids will be listening to in the summer. When their minds are set on the glorious and sun soaked days ahead, where the days are filled with hanging out with friends and driving around, and the nights are filled with mischievous antics and three in the morning Whataburger runs. Yet, they can never escape the fact that the end is very near, and the future is as unpredictable and uncertain as ever, a future where nothing is promised or granted. The fact that Hansen can communicate these feelings without words makes the message more powerful and meaningful; this is music that both reassures and moves, a plea to enjoy what you have now before it all fades away.”

 

Communion – Black Walls

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“On top of that ‘Communion’ is a visually stimulating piece of music, the images generated from each track will probably resonate from person to person, for example, on ‘PTSD’ the haunting and reverbed guitars forms a feeling for me, one I haven’t felt in a long time, of a unsettling reminder of visiting a place I haven’t seen in a long time and being acutely aware of what’s changed – these emotions transcend through the audio, meltingly vivid and unbound by judgement. An album not for those with fleeting attention spans however those who give it time and dedication will find themselves lost within it so far as that when it’s finally over you’ll be left with an overcoming sentimentality, like waking up from a really lucid dream.”

 

Here And Nowhere Else – Cloud Nothings

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“It’s in the melodic chord progressions, rebellious and triumphant yet retrospective lyrics, lyrics that can easily be quoted in someone’s valedictory speech…Change comes with time, it isn’t easy, but the only way to accept is to live in the present. With your worries away, the only moment we should be living in is here, and nowhere else. From being a kid from Cleveland with no real prospects to a successful musician in the indie rock world, Baldi’s story is one to celebrate. Much like Japandroids’ track off of their 2012 album ‘Celebration Rock’, “Fire’s Highway”, we only have “one night to have and to hold”. And hopefully one night, we’ll see you in the mosh pit.”

 

No Coast – Braid

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“When a band takes a 16 year break between full-lengths and decides to come back with a new release, too many times do people say “it’s like they never even stopped.” In the case of Braid, this seminal emo rock group decided to call it quits around the turn of the new millennium, a breakup that opened up new doorways for the band members; various projects, including Hey Mercedes and The Firebird Band, became the primary focus of the Illinoize-makers. Overall, Braid return with a solid follow-up to 1998’s ‘Frame and Canvas’. Showcasing progression and diversity, the quartet proves that despite the break, they are a reborn force to be reckoned with in 2014.”

 

 

‘STN/MTN’ and ‘Kauai’ – Childish Gambino

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“Childish Gambino has impressed hip-hop and music fans alike with his creativity both within the album and outside of his releases with his ability to tell a story through sound and connect with any listener. With this dual release, many fans of Childish Gambino as well as rap/hip-hop enthusiasts around the world were surprised of the album due to its ingenuity and characteristic sound. Glover obviously reinvented himself in releasing ‘Kauai’, but stayed true to his original sounds in ‘STN/MTN,’ something very impressive for a multi-talent in the internet age.”

Tyranny – Julian Casablancas & The Voidz

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“While Tyranny will probably cultivate a divisive reception, for me, it’s finally plugged my craving for an artist to blend volatile punk with the Streets of Rage 2 soundtrack. At it’s worst Tyranny is overly indulgent, asphyxiating and hard to digest and at its best, wonderfully unstable.”

Foundations Of Burden – Pallbearer

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“While ‘Foundations Of Burden’ is still working off of the same palette used for 2012’s ‘Sorrow And Extinction,’ Pallbearer still put out a nostalgic yet modern album that pays tribute to the forefathers of 70s doom metal, stoner rock, psychedelic rock, and prog rock. If any of this sounds appealing, check this album out.”

S/T – Five Seconds Of Summmer

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‘For their first album, 5 Seconds of Summer truly have out done themselves. Although 5SOS have crazy fans equivalent to that of One Direction, they are a pretty good and talented band. They are kind of like a modern day All Time Low, although I’m pretty sure All Time Low is still around. As awkward as it seems, 5SOS is some what a guilty pleasure for guys.Think about it: how many guys would you see at a 5SOS concert? In conclusion many of the tracks on 5 Seconds of Summer not only brings forth catchy lyrics, but also the pop-punk feeling that bands like All Time Low, Cute Is What We Aim For, and Cartel brought to the music scene, making this debut a much better album than I expected.”

Worlds – Porter Robinson

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“In conclusion, ‘Worlds’ is definitely one of the most noteworthy albums of 2014 thus far. However, it’s not that it was an album that everyone was talking about that made it noteworthy, it’s that this work of art serves as a stepping stone into what some call “Post-EDM”. It’s great for both Porter himself and EDM as a genre.”

What Is This Heart? – How To Dress Well

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‘With a penchant for dissection that we, as listeners, can never fully grasp, Krell uses music as a metric for feeling. Dealing with anxiety, love, death and the sub-par expectations of humanity, he possess a level of self-examination we could speculate about. Like Charlie Gordon running parallel to Algernon, Krell has an ever-growing potential shown in the cinematic splendour of ‘Pour Cyril’ leaving me begging for a taking on of more ambitious projects. Only Krell himself can know the dimensions of his heart and for us, we have this record, a first-hand translation of human emotion to music and art.”

A U R O R A – Ben Frost

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“Fuzz, atmosphere, clangs, thuds, and pings. That’s all this album is about. Take it for what you think, or for what I think, which is that this is one of the finest drone/noise albums I’ve heard all year. Although the redundancy on the album is tiresome, these tracks are thought provoking, compelling, and imaginative. It isn’t often that you find an album destined to be the soundtrack for Event Horizon playbacks venturing into daydreaming landscapes. It may not be as cinematic as it could have been, but it still stays mystifying: mysterious in its devious, sinister ways.”

S/T – Champion Lover

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“Canadian punks Champion Lover deliver a non-stop onslaught of digging guitar phrases, driving drums and dirty bass tones. Delivered with a strong, spunky attitude, this record encapsulates everything that is desirable about punk, noise and rock. Emotional delivery and tight performances make this album a very solid release. “

Days Of Abandon – The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

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“‘Days Of Abandon’ can almost be like a transition album from shoegaze to indie-pop with more to come. Or in another sense, ‘Days of Abandon’ is the beginning of a new, “mature” Pains.”

 

 After The Disco – Broken Bells

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“Broken Bells fear nothing and have no need to. Their music hasn’t digressed much from the foundations they laid earlier in the decade but their blend of engrossing synth-pop like on “Perfect World” or the influence of Mercer’s South-Central infancy on “Leave it Alone” makes for a varying and confident album. Under Producer Danger Mouse’s wing, or the anatomical rodent equivalent, After the Disco paints an altering landscape of energies and influences which often spark beauty and introversion while balancing the less subtle and far rarer nods to rehashed ideas from their debut like on tracks “Medicine” or “Lazy Wonderland” for instance. Satisfying but choppy chord strums at the finale of closing track, “The Remains of Rock’n’Roll”, recapitulate the exact sentiments of Broken Bells, not flawless but truly organic.”

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