As 2014 draws to an end, it is now time for us to go through our final list of the year. We’re doing things a little differently to years gone by though as we’ve chosen to combine our favourite albums and EPs into the one countdown.
Also, while we will be breaking the countdown into bite-sized chunks, we will be focusing the bulk of the write-up on our Top 10 releases. So, in this first instalment, we will reveal the albums and EPs that made it to numbers 25 – 11 with a short line or two on each.
Have a read, have a listen and hopefully you may find something you hadn’t heard before.
#25 Jack Robert Hardman – The Great Unknown
Gorgeous EP from one of our most underrated and unknown songwriters. Rich arrangements and warm, nostalgic textures are woven with his soft vocals with beautiful results.
#24 TV Girl – French Exit
Another band that deserves so much more praise and recognition than they seem to receive and a band that just gets better and better. Their wry lyrical storytelling is good enough to win literary prizes and the sun-haze retro feel of the music is just fantastic.
#23 Slow Club – Complete Surrender
Possibly their best and most complete album so far with songwriting that is as good as it has ever been.
#22 Tears & Marble – Romance
Gorgeously stark electronic melodies and arrangements that chill and excite.
#21 Elsie – Balance
Elsie’s gorgeous vocals alternately seduce, warn off and deal with internal torment on this fantastically produced and brilliant three-track EP.
#20 Bea – Good Thinking
The Neatherlands based lady of mystery snuck out her EP to little fanfare but her rich, deep vocals entice and enchant against the intricate and cool arrangements.
#19 Weekend At The Feelies – Summertime Bloodsport
Blog Favourite Weekend At The Feelies continued to wow us with the release of this EP, collecting a series of styles into five individual tracks that come together to create a wonderfully engaging and magnificent whole.
#18 Osca – Blood
One of the breakout stars of 2014, the London based band had one of the songs of the year with the title track of this EP. The songwriting is top notch and the piano led arrangements swung from elegant and gentile to giant indie-anthem via foot-stompingly catchy pop tune.
#17 The Ramona Flowers – Dismantle and Rebuild
Dance pop brilliance from the Ramona Flowers boys, Dismantle and Rebuild is the album we’d hoped they’d produce. The bangers bang and the slow ones twang the heart strings, it’s brilliantly produced and should (hopefully) be the first in a long line of great albums from the band.
#16 Wooden Arms – Tide
The wonderful Wooden Arms have had a fantastic year and with Tide have crafted more sublime music to close your eyes to and get lost in. This mini-album will just help you wash away your day, forget the world, forget your stresses and struggles and find peace, find that inner comfort and feel soothed once more.
#15 Royksopp & Robyn – Do It Again
A musical match made in electro-pop heaven, Royksopp and Robyn delivered an EP of fantastically intelligent and engaging compositions that captured the imagination and entertained in equal measure.
#14 Arrange – Their Bodies In A Fog
Wonderfully personal and heart-wrenching electronica from a stupendously talented young man. Their Bodies In A Fog is a remarkably honest and open record that picks up where predecessor New Memory left off as Malcolm Lacey shows us into his most personal emotional space to remarkable effect.
#13 Daisy Victoria – Nobody Dies
One of two brilliant EPs this year from Daisy Victoria, Nobody Dies is a wonderful collection of songs. Her vocals flit from the unnervingly high and operatic, choral perhaps, to the hushed and almost sinister. She rocks and croons, bounces, dances, spins and swirls, is dark, light, carefree and theatrical, all in the space of five tracks.
#12 Blooms – If
Measured, understated and seductive melodic undulations; Louise Cunnane’s debut EP as Blooms is just wonderful. Her vocals are smooth and crystalline as they glide effortlessly over the sparse, digital beat. Beneath them both the production often brings a delicate aquatic quality; a subtle electronic murmuring, pulsing like a jellyfish as it slips through the ocean. Gorgeous.
#11 Verite – Echo
Brimming with magnificent pop gems, Echo is a dazzling EP that blends the infectiousness of Light Years era Kylie and the emotion and intelligence of Robyn. She sings like a 80s pop-star, full of emotive fist-clenching and heartbreak but without ever descending near that decade’s predilection for cheesiness and overindulgence. In fact, she expertly walks the tightrope between mainstream and chic, with some commentators referring to her as alt-pop, though we like to think of it as just pop. Extremely good, extremely entertaining and enjoyable pop.
So that is the first 15 of our favourite Albums and EPs of 2014, the rest will be revealed over the next couple of days but feel free to try and guess what will feature in the Top 10 while you wait.