We are barely a quarter of the way through 2014, and I am already overwhelmed by how many incredible albums have been released. From old favorite bands to new acts, the albums that caught my eye so far this year are as varied as the people you see walking Hollywood Boulevard. Check out my list below and let me know what you’ve been spinning so far this year!
5. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
One of the most critically acclaimed albums released so far this year, St. Vincent’s self-titled LP is a perfect packing of artful noise pop. Annie Clark, the woman behind this attention-grabbing act, is fearlessly bold, from her musical arrangements to her near-manic lyrics to her flair for fashion. Listen to the perfect blend of pop and funk in “Digital Witness” below.
4. Manchester Orchestra – Cope
So, technically, my number four hasn’t been released yet (due out April 1st), but it is streaming on YouTube, and it’s already on my list of top releases of 2014. 2011’s Simple Math was a slow-brewing mix of sauntering rock music and haunting lyrics, falling more on the side of indie, jam-out rock than the hot-blooded music that made me fall in love with this group. Cope, however, is unapologetic, pounding rock with personal lyrics and a natural ebb and flow of energy. See what I mean in the single “Top Notch” below.
3. Phantogram – Voices
Phantogram has produced some of the most mesmerizing music in my iTunes library, and their recent release, Voices, is no exception. Experimenting with thumping bass, poppy synths, and dreamy lyrics, Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel create electronic music that is hypnotically interesting and endlessly playable. The album’s lead single, “Fall in Love,” has been getting serious radio play, so check it out below.
2. Taking Back Sunday – Happiness Is
I may be biased after seeing them perform last week, but the group’s sixth studio album is a testament to Taking Back Sunday’s ability to put out quality music in an ever-changing music scene. The lyrical content of the songs may have matured, but the passionate, alt-rock sound is constant, and positive energy radiates from every track. While I’ll always love Taking Back Sunday for their emotional vocals, I am digging their second single off the album, the poppy “Stood A Chance.”
1. Foster The People – Supermodel
It’s been three years since these LA natives released Torches, an album that thrust them into the international spotlight with frontman Mark Foster’s catchy dance-pop melodies and lighthearted lyrics. Foster The People has toned down the electronic influences and brought guitar work front and center for this follow-up, which also focuses on more serious topics such as consumerism and capitalism. Supermodel reveals a different side of Foster The People, proving this band is anything but a flash in the pan. Check out the infectious first single, “Coming of Age,” below.
Dozens of albums have been released already this year, and I can’t wait for many upcoming releases, such as The Used’s Imaginary Enemy (4/1), Green Day’s Demolicious (4/19), and Neon Tree’s Pop Psychology (4/22) just to name a few. Let us know what albums you are looking forward to in the comments below!