So here is the bottom half of my Top Albums of 2014. Let me know if you agree or disagree with my choices and thanks again for reading. Stay tuned for the Top 10 coming very soon…….
#11. Röyksopp – The Inevitable End
As the title of Röyksopp’s latest album suggests, could the end be nigh for Norway’s finest electro-pop duo? Well, from what I’ve been hearing it could well be their last album, but it does not necessarily mean they will be hanging up their synthesisers for good. Thank goodness for that! Rather, the duo were quoted saying that they were, “not going to stop making music, but the album format as such….is the last thing from us”. Take from that what you will. Their latest offering has a dark feel to it. Tracks such as the wonderful “Monument” featuring Swedish pop princess Robyn is an electro-pop gem and has an almost Jean Michel Jarre feel to it. I’ve always admired that Röyksopp seem to find such amazing vocalists to feature on their tracks. Previous albums have included the Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson, Lykke Li and Kings of Convenience singer Erlend Øye. On this album we find the talented Jamie McDermott of art-pop collective The Irrepressibles and up-and-coming Norwegian singer Susanne Sundfør. An altogether mini electronic dance music masterpiece and a fine way to sign things off from these nice chaps.
#12. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2
Run The Jewels are American rapper Killer Mike and rapper / producer El-P. Both have been on the hip-hop scene for some time but only came together as a duo last year, releasing their well received and imaginatively named “Run The Jewels 1” debut album. A year on from their first album and they sound better than ever. Their sound is very electronic (perhaps one of the main reasons I enjoyed it so much) and has some with some wonderful hooks, riffs, massive bass lines and nice, old-school hip-hops sounds. At only 39 minutes long, this is one dark and fierce flowing record. P.S there is an
#13. Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden
I’ll admit it, I don’t know a heck of a lot about metal music, but, in the past 2 years I have been listening to a good fair bit of it. Pallbearer are fairly accessible if you’ve never really listened to much metal. They are an American ‘Doom Metal’ band from Arkansas, now into their second album. Doom metal, is a slower and heavier form of metal and Pallbearer do it with sheer perfection. Despite there only being 6 tracks on this album, it lasts a surprisingly long 55 minutes (including 12 minute closing track, “Vanished”). It fair to say this fits into the “progressive” style of music with tracks building, gaining momentum and power and creating a great sense of atmosphere with some amazing 90s style metal guitar riffs. This. Album. Truly. Rocks. HARD!
#14. La Roux – Trouble In Paradise
Being a massive synth-pop fan, I was really wishing and hoping that this much anticipated new La Roux album would, well, be half decent. I was amazed and delighted to hear that it wasn’t just decent, but bloody good and far superior to the self titled debut album. It’s been a long wait for the second album, 5 years to be exact. In that time, the duo have become a solo act, and Elly Jackson shows no sign of weakness with this top-notch effort. Influences of 70s disco, with catchy 80s style hooks and choruses, I found myself listening to this playful and upbeat album on many an occasion.
#15. Liars – Mess
Amazingly, this is Liars 7th studio album. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, this dance-punk, electronic outfit seem to be working their assess off since forming in the early 2000s. This is an album of pure electronic sounds. Totally artificial and synthetic, with massive squidgy synth, pulsing beats and cold, almost Gary Numan-esque vocals. The album starts with so much energy and perhaps peaks early with one of the stand-out tracks, “I’m No Good” with its big organs sounds, bleeps and hard hitting kick drum. The album does not quite repeat this high energy pattern as it signs off with a few down beat tracks, each of which are exquisite however. Probably the best pure electronic album of the year.
#16. Metronomy – Love Letters
Metronomy are back with this, their 4th album. Love Letters is a nicely constructed and arranged indie, synth-pop record which seems to nab influences from several different genres (think disco, 70s electro and baroque pop), which I think will appeal to many people. Arguably this is Britain’s coolest and most forward thinking pop group and I have been impressed with all their records to date.
#17. Charli XCX – Sucker
I was pretty surprised to see that Charli XCX put out another album so soon after releasing her excellent, “True Romance” record just last year (2013). I also wasn’t expecting anything anywhere near as good, but, I will admit it, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a really nice pop album with uplifting rock rifts, massive electronic sounds and loud shout-y vocals which seems to be inspired by all the best bits of the 80s / 90s and beyond. This pop heroine certainly has some darn fine producers working for her, of particular note a super-Swede, Patrik Berger who has worked with artists like Robyn, Icona Piop and Lana Del Rey. Arguably the Swedes make the best pop music in the world so I have to hand it to them yet again. This is a great pop record which is full of cool attitude!
#18. The Coathangers – Suck My Shirt
Ok, so at number 19 we had what I think is the coolest name in music and at #18, we have The Coathangers. From the name you probably won’t be surprised to learn that this all girl punk band from Atlanta formed as a bit of a joke. Now into their 4th album, its fair to say their music has matured massively over the years, however, they haven’t quite lost that fun, punky, garage edge. Obviously with an album title like “Suck My Shirt” you can’t expect something totally serious and, all in all this is a fun record. The album is playful, upbeat and furiously fierce and just seems a little bit more polished that predecessors. A great choice of album for anyone wanting to rock out.
#19. Planningtorock – All Love’s Legal
Firstly, I’d just like to say that I think Planningtorock is the coolest name for a music artist. Planningtorock is English born Janine Rostron who now calls herself ‘Jam’ Rostron, as you do. Based in Germany, I have been following her music for some time and I absolutely loved her 2011 album, “W”. Although I feel her latest album isn’t quite as good its still pretty darn fine. Fans of The Knife should like her style. Her warped, distorted vocals sound very masculine as she mutters lyrics like “lets talk about gender baby” (which may I add is a tune) over plucking guitar chords, fat bassline and stabbing synth sounds. Planningtorock truly is a unique artists, especially in the world of electronic music as her lyrics seem to take centre stage focusing on love and gender politics.
#20. Jungle – Jungle
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that a funk album would be one of my favourite albums of 2014. However, Jungle are just that, an ultra slick and groovy funk duo from London formed by members Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson. They broke onto the scene in 2013 with some pretty outstanding video’s for tracks like “Bust Earnin’” and “Platoon” which kinda went viral. These are both well worth checking out if you have’t seen them. I wasn’t really sure what to expect after hearing these songs, but its fair to say all the lead singles are the real stand-out tracks. This album oozes sunshine with its shimmering synths, lovely falsetto vocals and almost tropical beats. It will definitely be going with me on my next holiday, that’s for sure.