The Year In Music 2014: Mark’s Picks

sylvan-essoBy Mark. This year’s list took some effort. I ran through top list after top list, but had trouble finding ten records that really stood out. Some early favorites such as Cloud NothingsHere And Nowhere Else faded out of rotation and never came back. Benjamin Booker wowed me for two weeks and then I forgot about him. Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There has some really bright spots, but the album dulls midway through. And as much as it pains me to say it, Ben Howard‘s I Forget Where We Were has the same problem. Continue reading

The Year In Music 2014: Jason’s Picks

claptonBy Jason. When 2014 began, I had no idea who J.J. Cale was. But thanks to Clapton’s tribute album, his work became my favorite of 2014. Despite spending the year listening to a wide range of artists outside my usual listening habits, I kept coming back to this album. Cale’s “Tulsa Sound” is so smooth and effortless. Plus you have Willie Nelson and a more interesting Tom Petty than you get on Hypnotic Eye. After spending almost 20 years listening to more face-melting guitar than any person should, I’ve come to enjoy a well-honed rhythm and the perfectly placed lead. Continue reading

The Year In Music 2014: Biff’s Picks

hissBy Biff. I don’t know if it is being in the last months of my thirties, having a kid in high school, or counting the days until my wife graduates, but I’ve been in and out of a mild depression all year. I’ve had a hard time staying focused on new music this year and in fact only 1 or 2 new albums have really moved me this year. I’ve listened to a lot of older stuff lately: the Dylan and the Band Basement Tapes, Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece, Otis Redding, The Clash, Fugazi a lot of older Wu-Tang and Rancid (which I surprisingly enjoyed a lot of the latter two’s new albums). But the album I’ve been obsessed with this year is the Velvet Underground’s self titled album. That album is amazing and it rides the highs and lows of emotions that I’ve been traveling on these days. Continue reading

The Year In Music 2014: Morgan’s Picks

wishiwashereBy Morgan. This year I felt like a poor music explorer, partially because I poured so much time and energy into job searching and partially because I took time to travel off the grid. So I am honestly more excited to have read Antony and Spencer’s pieces because I have some albums to check out by artists I love yet whose new albums have eluded me. Obviously I need to start paying attention again. But honestly, there are years where I try to be adventurous with my music taste, and this year I suppose I played it safe. My list is comprised of mostly familiar, previously beloved artists, with a few new guys: Hozier and Fink. Continue reading

The Year In Music 2014: Spencer’s Picks

Ledges-CoverLOBy Spencer. As a music blogger, there’s no better time of year than now. Ranking the year’s best releases isn’t just an exercise in appreciating greatness; it’s food for argument. So expect plenty of that as our S&N contributors use the next few weeks to rank their favorite music of 2014. The comments section will no doubt be heated!

If you read my 2013 list over at After The Radio, you know I was less than impressed with last year’s output. My principal complaint? In a year of many good albums, there were no great ones. I’m happy to report that 2014 did not follow that trend. My top five albums this year were each perfect from start to finish.  Continue reading