What Had Happened Was… (Best Albums 2014)


I love music. ’nuff said. Here is a partial list of albums that ruled the year. Enjoy at your leaisure. Links are to artist sites. please buy from them, that way they get all the profit (not the corporate flunkies at Apple).

(warning: some songs may contain profanity. I like punk. it happens. sometimes 4 letter words are the best word for the song, anyway.)

1. Dum Dum GirlsToo True.

These lo-fi lasses rock. I love their simple but not simplistic jams. Here is a favorite slow jam from the album: Trouble Is My Name.

 

2. Brody DalleDiploid Love.

This punk priestess from The Distillers and Spinnerette continues to make great music. As a fan of fuzzy guitars and muddy, scuzzy bass, here is a great live performance of Blood in Gutters:

 

3. St. VincentSt. Vincent.

I love that St Vincent shocked the world with her several mainstreams appearances early in the year. It was seeing the internets have a collective WTF moment. St Vincent is not for everybody; but if she is for you, we are brothers (or sisters). Here she is throwing the David Letterman audience with her kitschy, electronicy, discoy, rocky Bring Me Your Loves:

 

Best line: Letterman saying “Some of the that was semiphore” while SV was giving him the side-eye.

4. Drive By TruckersEnglish Oceans.

My boys. From my home state. Putting their best foot on the pedal. The highlight jam is their 7 minute salute to their longtime merch guy who recently died of cancer. Here is that salute, Grand Canyons:

 

5. Sturgill SimpsonMetamodern Sounds in Country Music.

One of the more interesting albums of the year. The man has a voice made for country music And when I say that I don’t mean the Taylor Swift / Carrie Underwood kind of country, I mean the Waylon, Hank, and Willie kind. The dark side, if you will. The kind you listen to while doing shots of whiskey in the kind of bars where fights are a nightly occurrence. Yet here he is adding that voice to a distortion riddled song about sin and the folly of trusting the devil. It Ain’t Flowers, for sure.

 

6. The Hold SteadyTeeth Dreams.

Many have called this a return to form after a couple of lesser albums. They’re right. The Hold Steady prove they still got a Positive Jam to spin in bars across the country. Here they are with a trademark piece about the transcendence to be found in human relationships and pharmaceuticals: The Big Cig. And with it is the questioning, the yearning, and the doubts that separate them from everyone else who tries to write about bars and their denizens.

 

And if you’re linking to a HS song without showing the live version, you are not Hold Steady. We love Craig and his “daddy rock.”

7. Iggy AzaleaThe New Classic.

Iggy set the world on fire showing that white women could rap and rap well. Personally I love the idea of woman rapping about their power and showing their brothers how to do this. Here’s Iggy and Charlie XCX rocking the American Music Awards.

 

I dare you to listen to this without finding yourself walking around singing “I’m So Fancy or Make You Beg” for hours afterwards.

8. Jack WhiteLazaretto.

Jack White has been making bluesy rock for so many years, it’s easy to take him for granted. But each song he produces really is a gem of the fun, danceable jams that we all need for those late night pick me ups. Here is Just One Drink, as beautifully fun a break up anthem as we have:

 

 

9. Zola JesusTaiga.

She really is indescrible and unclassifible but a wonderfully unique talent who makes the kind of lo-fi music I cannot get enough of. It’s like if Enya was good and a rock goddess. Here is what NPR called the closest thing to a pop song, she has made: Dangerous Days, which has a surprisingly hummable tune (for ZJ that is), but then you listen to what is going on and you go, oh it is Zola.

 

I love that the poster of this video called her “the dark princess of sound.” I wish I had written that. Totally stealing it.

10. Charlie XCXSucker.

This one just dropped this month, but is good. For such a small girl, she makes huge music. From hanging with Iggy or Icona Pop to dropping the most loved beat on a teen movie sensation (TFIOS). Here she is rocking Austin with Breaking Up.

 

All I want is for all those girls who think Taylor totally rocks would put down 1989, pick up this album, buy a leather jacket, and figure out that feminism is not a dirty word or something close.

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