Best Music of 2014

Some great music was released over the past year.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to write and blog more - and that doesn’t mean just on technical topics but also on topics I am generally interested in. I just need to get in the habit of writing more, generally speaking.

Anyway, any of you who know me know that I am a big fan of music. In fact, until about mid-2013 I was doing a bi-weekly Internet radio show (called Vitamin Sweet) focused only on new music. If you’d listened to that show you might Charli XCX in Februrary of 2013, Foxes in May 2013 and Lorde in July 2013, among others who later became famous.

Along those lines, before 2015 got too far along, I wanted to share my favorite music from 2014.

Magic by Paperwhite

I have a habit of following bands I like on Facebook, and it has often led to fun discoveries. In this case, one of the two members of Paperwhite is also in a band named Savoir Adore, which is how I learned of them. “Magic” is just an EP but there really isn’t a bad song on the entire album. If you love catchy, 80’s infused pop, this is a total winner, with the standout song being “Take Me Back.” Outstanding stuff.

Haerts by Haerts

“Wings” by Haerts was probably one of my favorite songs of 2013. It was released as a single, all by itself (as in, no B-sides or even remixes). The band slowly released new music, including their 4 song Hemiplegia EP in 2013, but 2014 finally got a full album. Sure, if you had the EP, all those songs are back again, but there’s plenty more here and every one is a winner. “Wings” is still the best song on the album, though “Call My Name” is my favorite of the songs that had not previously appeared.

Siren by Young Summer

I don’t even recall how I heard of Young Summer. I tend to go searching for new music here and there and have been known to download albums that I proceed to forget about without even a listen. Young Summer nearly fell into this trap for me. I was browsing my iPod and could not even recall downloading the album - boy would I have missed out. Young Summer is electronic alt-pop (if that’s a thing) that is insanely catchy - many mornings I have woken up with one of the songs in my head. My favorite is “Blood Love,” but will admit that the one that sticks in my head most often is “Taken.” If this woman doesn’t become a star soon, I will be very surprised.

There for U by Astronomyy

If you are a fan of chill out, “date night” music along the lines of Rhye (or Milosh), then you will love Astronomyy. As of yet, there’s no full album available, but the “There For U” EP features 4 superb songs. He also recently released a new single called “Not Into U.” Hopefully a full album is on the way. Nonetheless, I highly recommend getting everything he’s made available so far. You won’t regret it. My personal favorite is “Pack of Wolves.”

Days of Abandon by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

I fell in love with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart way back in 2009 when their debut album was my favorite album of that year. Much of the composition of the band apparently changed between 20011’s “Belong” album and this one (basically, only the band’s founder remained the same from what I recall). You could expect this to mean that the music might suffer, but “Days of Abandon” sounds like what you’d expect from the band - and that’s a great thing in my opinion. If anything, they got more accessible. You may actually recognize “Simple and Sure” (which is one of the standouts) as it was featured in some commercial, but my favorite is “Beautiful You” (though, unfortunately, this isn’t available in their SoundCloud stream).

PocketKnife by Mr. Little Jeans

I love Mr. Little Jeans so much that my wife (who loves her too) and I bought tickets to go see Lilly Allen just because Mr. Little Jeans was the opener (not that their is anything wrong with Lilly Allen, but we very rarely go to concerts). I’d paid too much for upper floor, standing room only tickets where we had to stand with our backs against the wall the entire time to allow people to cross in front. Somehow though, Mr. Little Jeans wasn’t there (perhaps a mistake on the SongKick listing, though I did end up discovering Samsaya, who is not bad). Needless to say, we were willing to put up with a lot just because Mr. Little Jeans is great and this album is fantastic. If you’ve heard a song from it, it is “Oh Sailor,” which is a fabulous song, but my personal favorite is “Mercy” (which, unfortunately, is not embeddable on her SoundCloud stream).

Voices by Phantogram

“Voices” is the fifth album, EP or single that I’ve bought from Phantogram since “Eyelid Moves” in 2010. I liked every single one, but rarely loved them. Voices changed that by being much more consistently good and much more accessible (in my opinion) than their prior releases. It’s a great album and “Nothing But Trouble” is an especially great song. If you’ve enjoyed Phantogram before or even if you haven’t, you should give this album a try.