The 20 Best Albums of 2014

12/17/2014 1:31 PM |


7. Amen Dunes Love

The music Damon McMahon makes as Amen Dunes sounds like a loner’s attempt to connect. The songs, built out of acoustic guitar loops, rudimentary percussion, and drones, are wandering questions in search of an answer, infused with a bittersweet solitariness that calls to mind Syd Barrett, Skip Spence, or Will Oldham. McMahon’s voice is an elastic instrument, a shamanistic warble that he doesn’t project so much as unfurl. Key Track: “Lonely Richard”  — PP



6. Alex G DSU

There is a wealth of great indie pop coming out of Philadelphia these days, and Alex Giannascoli, a Temple University student, is making the best of it. He’s built up a small-but-ardent following releasing his songs online; DSU is his first official release, on Brooklyn-based Orchid Tapes. It’s all rough-hewn acoustics, wobbly vocals, spidery guitar leads, and weirdo melodies, reminiscent of Big Star’s Third or Built to Spill, if they relied on digital trickery. Key Track: “Sorry”  — PP



5. GODMODE Records compilation Common Interests Were Not Enough to Keep Us Together

Exploring the breadth of the best little label in Brooklyn, this tape release illustrates the difference between good taste and strict genre allegiance. Its tracks cover dark-edged dance, surly rock ‘n’ roll, thoughtful post-punk deconstruction, and a couple of soul/house/disco cuts from sure-thing future pop star Shamir, all flowing together as if booming from the PA of the hippest bar in the world’s hippest city. This is a primary text suggesting our local music scene, despite its venues closing with grim frequency, sounds more vibrant than it has in years. Key Track: Shamir – “If It Wasn’t True”  — JK



4. Frankie Cosmos Zentropy

The kids in Greta Kline’s songs are sweet, sad and wise, but Zentropy isn’t just some terminally cute millennial Peanuts cartoon. The dog dies, for one. Frankie Cosmos’ first full-band album following dozens of Bandcamp sketches isn’t tough or cool, but it has incredible focus. Ten songs in 17 minutes, and not one without a buoyant melody or resonant turn of phrase. Those pathologically repelled by all things twee insist that warmth and whimsy don’t reflect the real, cruel world. As if that was a bad thing. Key Track: “Buses Splash With Rain”  — JK


One Comment

  • These are the best albums of 2014? This is some of the most uninspired and unexamined vomit I’ve ever heard. It’s a self-indulgent, jerk-off fest – I would feel less depraved listening to Taylor Swift, at least while I drown in that bubblegum kitsch I’ll get to hear a pop hook.