This year really was remarkable for music. Some of the best albums I’ve heard in years came out in 2014, and seemingly every genre had high points. Run The Jewels made one of the best hip-hop albums to drop in recent years, St. Vincent’s self-titled LP can’t even be categorized, and Bleachers is making me rethink the way I view pop.

End of the year lists obviously come out, well, near the end of the year, and between the listening, debating, and writing, a lot of time goes into creating them, which is why it’s frustrating that some artists wait until the very end of the year to release albums that would otherwise make the cut.

I don’t understand why they don’t just wait until January and set the bar for the next year’s lists, but whatever the artist’s reasoning, some albums just don’t get into the hands of reviewers in time. The following are three such albums that came out after LA Music Blog released our Top 50 Albums of 2014, but that I really think deserve some recognition as being among the year’s best.


T. Bone Burnett is one of the most amazing producers on the planet and he has a real knack for making music that has a genuine live feel, so it’s no surprise that Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes is brilliant.

A supergroup featuring the talent of Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James, and Marcus Mumford, The New Basement Tapes’ debut is based around lyrics from Bob Dylan’s The Basement Tapes. Burnett gave each singer-songwriter a set of lyrics and told them to write. The result is a brilliant collection of 20 songs stemming from one of the best poets of the century.

That a group of such talented musicians with such strong individual voices can come together to create a unified sound such as this is amazing, and the album is a great tribute to songwriting, collaboration, and one of the best lyricists to ever pick up a pen.


Another album that blew my mind is one I picked up shortly after turning in my 2014 faves. Though it’s the brainchild of Davey Havok and Jade Puget of AFI, XTRMST isn’t a pop-based punk band like you might expect. The project’s sound harkens back to AFI’s hardcore roots and is a brutal and abrasive expression of their views on music and culture.

With a heavy focus on the concept of the straight-edge lifestyle, the goal of the album is to open the eyes of listeners who might otherwise scoff at the concept and to offer its creators a way to release some of their anger at the blind world. The album really has a lot of difficult moments that are perfectly suited to its ideals, so if you like being yelled at for 32 minutes straight and want to hear a hardcore album that breaks the mold, here you go.


D’Angelo has had some issues. After the release of Voodoo in 2000, the respected soul singer went into hiding for, well, about 15 years. Known as one of the greatest voices in soul, the artist’s prestige didn’t just go away over time; the mystery and legend grew instead.

Finally, last week saw D’Angelo release the follow-up to his last album, and Black Messiah is one of the funkiest and most soulful albums to come out in a long time. The long-awaited work was released to huge acclaim, ranking among the highest rated albums of the year, but unfortunately it was too late to make many 2014 lists — not that D’Angelo realistically gives a shit about that. His return to music is a breath of fresh air for his fans and fans of soul in general.