Each year that rolls by begs the question, where can music go from here? How many more genres of music can we create? As the popularity of online music streaming shuts up beloved record stores, bands strive for invention and re-invention, festivals diversify and bands spend most of their musical careers touring the world for a fair living, we Wandering Lambs take a semi-year moment to celebrate New Borns that kept our passion for music alive. So with an urge to share, we bring your our Top 5 for mid-2014.
But first, a few words from one of our Contributors.
“A review like this drives home how much brilliant music is created in the world every day. Choosing just five from the last six months was excruciating; how do I even begin something like this? Methodically, re-reviewing and shortlisting, or going with gut feelings first ones that swim to the top of my psyche?
A little bit of both, it turned out. I could go over and over this list and still never be sure if they are the final five, so I’ll just fling them out as they are, but with honourable mention to those who were so close; Metronomy’s Love Letters, Fear of Men’s Loom, Bo Ningen’s III, and The Acid’s Liminal. So close, but no banana.”
Various – ‘Space Project’ I lied, this one is definitely in order, being the straight up best album released this year
Against Me! – ‘Transgender Dysmorphia Blues’ Context is important to this one; the effect of Gabel (now Laura Jane Grace)’s gender transformation is dissected in the songs – and you can hear the pain and despair in his trademark guttural wail
Damon Albarn – ‘Everyday Robots’ A middle aged ex- 90s rocker goes solo and pens an album based on damn technology these days. Sounds straight out of Grumpy Old Men – except it isn’t, it’s amazing
Mc Dermaro – ‘Salad Days’ Continues the recipe of lo-fi guitar hooks and whimsical lyrics that you actually cannot get wrong, seriously, how can you fuck up this sound? But that’s cool, because I love everything he cooks up
tUnE yArDs – ‘Nikk Nakk’ Whut. Yep…Hang On…Yep I love it.
Beck – ‘Morning Phase’ Beck never fails to surprise but with this album he takes some time out and delivers an effortless beautiful album
Wild Beasts – ‘Present Tense’ There is no mistaking the trademark falsetto vocals and ryhtmic beats of Wild Beasts, there finest work to date
James Vincent McMorrow – ‘Post Tropical’ An album of sheer talent and softness, made all the more wonderful with such an amazing live experience
Damon Albarn – ‘Everyday Robots’ Damon Albarn continues to reinvent himself and serves up a collection of personal songs that sounds like a complete back catalogue in one superb debut solo album
Craft Spells – ‘Nauseau’ This is album defines the sweetness of dream-pop, an album packed full of catchy melodies, effortlessly played from start to end
Future Islands – ‘Singles’ The most original sounding synthpop there is.
War on Drugs – ‘Lost in a Dream’ Layered and textured triumphant Dad rock
Hundred Waters – ‘The Moon Rang like a Bell’ A beautiful blend of twists and turns that masters the less is more effect
Little Dragon – ‘Nabuma Rubberband’ Nabuma Rubberband takes you straight to the heart of Swedish Electronic Pop
Sharon Van Etten – ‘Are We There’ A powerfully delivered record for the heartbroken.
Total Control – ‘Typical Systems’ Home-grown supergroup’s impressive post-punk-synth treasure
Temples – ‘Sun Structures’ 60’s glam/psych-pop revivalists debut fresh out of the UK
Straight Arrows – ‘Rising’ Garage pop at it’s very best, Sydney style
Mac Demarco – ‘Salad Days’ Slacker attitude and cheap guitars make for the perfect sunny afternoon soundtrack
Parquet Courts – ‘Sunbathing Animal’ Guitar music done way it should be; DIY, punky and fun
Wild Beasts – ‘Present Tense’
The War On Drugs – ‘Lost in the Dream’
Real Estate – ‘Atlas’
Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Feast of the Broken Heart’
Future Islands – ‘Singles’
Glass Animals – ‘ZABA’ The Oxford-born and bred group has a fresh and quirky new alt sound with awesome integrated hip-hop jams. Will be the breakout band of 2014
Real Estate – ‘Atlas’ Newest album from the indie rockers adds another level of maturity musically and makes them all the more engaging
Chet Faker – ‘Built on Glass’ Once touted the ‘next big thing’, his debut album cements his position as the king of down-tempo and electronica
Fractures – Fractures Internet sensation Mark Zito demonstrates his songwriting acumen on a debut EP that will possibly see him become one of electronica’s more exciting new artists
Wondercore Island – Wondercore Island (compilation) An album compiled by Simon Mavin (of Hiatus Kaiyote fame), that features some of the best future soul that Melbourne has to offer.
The Roots – ‘And Then You Shoot Your Cousin’ It’s The Roots … need I really say more?
FKA Twigs – ‘EP2′ Ethereal, brooding and disarmingly captivating
Lykki Li – ‘I Never Learn’ I usually find heart break confessionals a little country but this one was cathartic and life – after — break up affirming
How To Dress Well – ‘What Is This Heart’ I hate to pigeonhole with terms like ‘PBR & B’ and ‘hipster R & B’ but this has been one of the strongest releases in the genre this year. Thoughtful, inspired and just plain old ear candy
St Vincent – ‘Self titled’ Innovative, poetic and merciless in execution. If its good by Annie Clark, then its good by me