Best Albums of 2014 – 20 to 11

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Best Albums of 2014 - 20 to 11

20. bis – Data Panik etcetera

Best Albums of 2014 - 20 to 11

Released many years after bis first split up this album combined the songs they wrote together as Data Panik. Finally we have an official fourth bis album and while the songs may not be new, they were previously unavailable. What bis have managed here is to produce sparkling songs that combine all the best bits of their original three albums and mould it all together into one. It grabs you buy the throat and makes you dance, sing, shake and shout. Best of all it makes you smile your widest smile because you know music and fun combine to make the perfect couple. (Words by Martin Wilson)

19. Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

Best Albums of 2014 - 20 to 11One listen is all it takes to figure out that Parquet Courts are from New York. The quartet exude an undeniable coolness that only denizens of that perennially fashionable city can. Sunbathing Animal, their third since 2011, comes across like Hubert Selby, Jr. ramblings set to a more sardonic version of the Strokes. An engrossing listen, the record twists and turns along a route through Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx. Turn it up, and crack open a beer. (Words by Jamie Coughlan)

18. Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave

Best Albums of 2014 - 20 to 11

I had the pleasure of reviewing this album in its entirety for Overblown earlier this year, and my only criticism is that it’s a bloody long name to have to type out repeatedly. Carpal Tunnel aside, this fourth album from Scottish post-punk indie rockers The Twilight Sad is a glorious, paradoxical ode to the perverse satisfaction that comes from revelling in misery. This is the ultimate musical accompaniment to your end of year break-up/ break down/ meltdown… (you get the idea).  (Words by Kat McNicol)

17. Bear’s Den – Islands

Best Albums of 2014 - 20 to 11

Drawing inspiration from the classic children’s book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, debut Islands, from London alt-folk trio Bear’s Den, portrays an adult world, as seen through child’s eyes. Each track on this eagerly anticipated debut is meticulously crafted, and beautifully executed. Standalone single “Think of England” aired on Radio One this week, so you only have a limited amount of time left to check these guys out before they turn all mainstream and popular on us. (Words by Kat McNicol)

16. Real Estate – Atlas

Best Albums of 2014 - 20 to 11

The magic of Real Estate is the effort and skill that goes into making music sound so wonderfully simple. This album evokes a sense of missing, of being in the right place at the wrong time, of wishing you knew a little better. Despite the despair and anxiety it all sounds beautiful. The guitars are squeaky clean and sound like spring-time sunshine. The vocals are gentle and the lyrics direct. It’s all structured perfectly and so gently it doesn’t even burst the air bubble it floats through the breeze in. (Words by Martin Wilson)

15. Ex Hex – Rips

Best Albums of 2014 - 20 to 11

This album seemed to come out of nowhere, just one excellent single preceding it. Yes, we know the people but we didn’t really know the band. Rips makes a great first impression and we’re pleased to be instant friends. This album doesn’t sound like anything particularly new. It’s good time garage rock n’ roll played with exuberance, style and no shortage of songwriting skill. It’s instantly accessible and satisfyingly memorable. Rips in name and in nature. Turn it up and enjoy. (Words by Martin Wilson)

14. Dum Dum Girls – Too True

Best Albums of 2014 - 20 to 11

Previous Dum Dum Girls records had certainly hinted that there was an excellent songwriter at play and Too True backs up all that’s gone before and more. What previous records perhaps didn’t strongly hint was that they could be a great pop band. These songs are as polished as it gets. Even more glossy sounding than the records front cover. We still get shimmering, echoing guitars but it’s the vocals and melodies that shine through the upbeat to the more melancholy. Champagne indie pop. (Words by Martin Wilson)

13. Honeyblood – Self-Titled

Best Albums of 2014 - 20 to 11My love of Honeyblood may be slightly unreasonable. It has been suggested that I possess an unreasonable love for late 80s/early 90s indie rock, and Glasgow duo Honeyblood do seem to possess a certain case of legendary indie fuzz pop duo “The Vaselines”. Aesthetic would matter for naught without tunes to match, and Honeyblood drop effortlessly infectious track after track after track. You’ll be singing along before the needle hits the groove. (Words by Jamie Coughlan)

12. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead

Best Albums of 2014 - 20 to 11

It’s remarkable that Flying Lotus (aka Steven Ellison) is only 31. The youthful experimental multi-genre music producer has released five ever increasingly adventurous records since 2006’s 1981. This year’s You’re Dead is simply astounding. Combining jazz, prog, electronica, and hip hop, the record brashly and confidently bounces from one genre to another with what would be arrogance if the results were not so accomplished. Particularly effective is Flying Lotus’ collaboration with hip hop golden boy Kendrick Lamar. To be heard to be believed. (Words by Jamie Coughlan)

11. Future Islands – Singles

Best Albums of 2014 - 20 to 11

It would be easy to diminish Future Islands to a novelty act after the enigmatic performance of frontman Samuel T. Herring during the band’s appearance on David Letterman. But, the fact of the matter is that they are far from having just one trick in their deck. They are an endearingly earnest and slightly odd group, and their latest album Singles is a masterclass in balancing  emotion and catchy as all hell pop tunes. A step up from their previous efforts, Singles has been my going out album all year. And that is a coveted position, believe me. (Words by Jamie Coughlan)