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My Favorite 14 Albums of 2014 

One of the best things about this time of year is making my "best of" year-end lists! It's time for my favorite 14 albums of 2014! This year was a great year for music. There were so many albums that I absolutely loved, and I saw a number of really great shows. So, let's get started with the list!

14. Pe'ahi by The Raveonettes

Listen to "Sisters"

I first heard this Danish indie rock duo in 2011 so I was excited to see a new release from them this year, and Pe'ahi definitely didn't disappoint. In addition to their usual melodic, distorted guitar sounds and ambient, haunting vocals, they've added complex instrumentation to their sound on this album. 

For fans of: Slowdive, The Jesus and Mary Chain
Favorite tracks: "Sisters," "Killer in the Streets," "Summer Ends"

13. Floating by Sleep Party People

Listen to "Floating Blood of Mine"

This album is basically the definition of dream pop for me. The whole thing sounds like a dream. 

For fans of: Sigur Ros, My Bloody Valentine
Favorite tracks: "Floating Blood of Mine," "Scattered Glass"

12. Leisure Cruise by Leisure Cruise

Listen to "Sailing"

This synth-pop duo's debut album is one you can listen to on the treadmill at the gym. 

For fans of: Goldfrapp, M83
Favorite tracks: "Sailing," "Believer," "Ragged Dawn"

11. Dialects by Snowmine

Listen to "You Want Everything"

This Brooklyn-based indie rock band is a nod back to the alternative bands of the 90s that I used to love so much. 

For fans of: Interpol, Wild Nothing
Favorite tracks: "You Want Everything," "Columbus,"

10. So Long, See You Tomorrow by Bombay Bicycle Club

Listen to "Come To"

I've been a fan of this English indie rock band for a while, but this album is my favorite by them. 

For fans of: Two Door Cinema Club, Wild Beasts
Favorite tracks: "Come To," "Overdone"

9. Burn Your Fire for No Witness by Angel Olsen

Listen to "unfucktheworld"

This haunting indie singer/songwriter is kind of like a modern day Joni Mitchell.

For fans of: St. Vincent, Twin Sister
Favorite tracks: "unfucktheworld," "Lights Out"

8. Elite Lines by Faces on Film

Listen to "The Rule" 

I discovered this indie rock band on WRAS Album 88 (FU GPB) and they seriously rock.

For fans of: Modest Mouse, The Walkmen
Favorite tracks: "The Rule," "Your Old One," "Daytime Nowhere"

7. Awake by Tycho


 Listen to "Montana" 

I am a huge fan of this ambient musician (also known as Scott Hansen) and this album did not disappoint. This is the best "chill out" album of the year. 

For fans of: Washed Out, Boards of Canada
Favorite tracks: "Montana," "Spectre," "Awake"

6. Stay Gold by First Aid Kit

Listen to "Silver Lining" 

This duo of Swedish sisters are amazing folk/country singer/songwriters, and this album is full of well-crafted songs with heartfelt lyrics and gorgeous harmonies. 

For fans of: Fleet Foxes, Wye Oak
Favorite tracks: "Silver Lining," "Stay Gold," "Heaven Knows"

5. Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs

 Listen to "Red Eyes"

This album from this indie rock band is full of passion and awesomeness the whole way through. I hear Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen influences in this modern rock alternative album. 

For fans of: Delta Spirit, Grizzly Bear
Favorite tracks: "Red Eyes," "Under the Pressure," "Eyes to the Wind"

4. Morning Phase by Beck

Listen to "Blue Moon"

If you know anything about me, you know how much I love Beck's Sea Change from 2002. Morning Phase sounds like the sequel to Sea Change. It's basically amazing. I don't think I need to say anything else because Beck.

For fans of: Beck 
Favorite tracks: "Blue Moon," "Morning," "Unforgiven"

3. Until the Colours Run by Lanterns on the Lake

Listen to "The Buffalo Days"

This is a lovely release from the British indie rockers full of melodic and complex instrumentation, soothing vocals, intelligent lyrics, and heartfelt emotion.

For fans of: Slowdive, Beach House, Feist
Favorite Tracks: "The Buffalo Days," "Green and Gold," "You Soon Learn"

2. Familiars by The Antlers

Listen to "Parade"

Peter Silberman has one of the best voices of our time. His vocal control is absolutely amazing. The way he goes from his head voice to chest voice/belt is flawless. Be prepared to get completely lost in the instrumentation and the layers of sound on this record. The songwriting is also quite superb. 

For fans of: Grizzly Bear, Real Estate, Beach House
Favorite tracks: "Intruders," "Hotel," "Parade," "Palace"

1. Alvvays by Alvvays

Listen to "The Ones Who Love You"

If you follow me on any social media, it's probably not a shock that this Canadian indie pop band has my favorite album of 2014. This album has a mix of fun and upbeat rock songs you can dance around to and deep, emotional, nostalgic ballads. Songs like "Party Police" will break your heart while songs like "Archie, Marry Me" will have you jumping up and down singing along.

For fans of: Beach House, Best Coast, Stars
Favorite tracks: "The Ones Who Love You," "Archie, Marry Me," "Party Police," "Next of Kin"

So there you have it. My favorite albums from 2014. Yes, there are a lot of albums on this list that fans of Slowdive, Beach House, and M83 would like. But what do you expect? Those are literally three of my favorite bands. I do recognize there were a lot of killer releases this year in other genres (Prince, Skrillex, D'Angelo... hey even that Taylor Swift album was pretty legit) but these are the ones that I listened to the most. These were the albums that made up the soundtrack to my 2014. 

10 Albums I Loved in 2013 

It's that time of year that all of us compulsive list makers absolutely love. I already made a list of my 5 Favorite Young Adult Books of 2013 over on my writing blog. 

I have a grand tradition on this blog of posting my favorite albums of every year (here are my favorites from 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012), and I'm definitely not quitting anytime soon. There were a lot of great albums this year, and it was hard for me to narrow it down to just ten! 

Spoiler alert: This is one best of 2013 list that Kanye West is not on. Because eww.

These are not in any order. It's hard for me to "rank" my favorites. I'll just say these are 10 albums I absolutely loved that came out this year.

White Lies - Big TV

For fans of Interpol, The Naked and Famous, The Cure

Listen to "Change" - my favorite track from this album

This album reminds me of everything I love about 80s music with a modern twist. While "Change" is my favorite track, most of the album is actually pretty upbeat. (Of course, the sad song is my favorite.)

Veronica Falls - Waiting For Something To Happen

For fans of Wild Nothing, Twin Shadow, Slowdive 

Listen to "Teenage" - my favorite track from this album

There is not a bad track on this album. It reminds me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Everything good reminds me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Freelance Whales - Diluvia

For fans of Givers, Stars

Listen to "Follow Through" - my favorite track from this album

This album will bring up the FEELS. At least for me. But I'm a sap. 

City and Colour - The Hurry and the Harm

For fans of Bon Iver, Death Cab for Cutie

Listen to "Paradise" - my favorite track from this album

This album features some really great, great, great songwriting with lyrics that will hit you. Unless you don't have a heart. (OH!)

Little Green Cars - Absolute Zero

For fans of Band of Horses, Cranberries, Lumineers

Listen to "The John Wayne" - my favorite track from this album

If you want to hear some AMAZING harmonies, unique and soulful vocals, and kickass songwriting, this album is for you.

Guards - In Guards We Trust

 guards   For fans of Best Coast, The Raveonettes, Girls

Listen to "Not Supposed To" - my favorite track from this album

When I got my hands on this album in February of last year, I had it on non-stop for about a month. I couldn't stop listening to it. Seriously, guys, it's SO GOOD.

Smith Westerns - Soft Will

For fans of Cults, Deerhunter

Listen to "Idol" - my favorite track from this album

These guys are SO young. Seriously, they're like 12. And they're incredibly talented. This album was another one I couldn't stop playing.

Editors - The Weight of Your Love

For fans of Echo and the Bunnymen, Interpol, The Killers

Listen to "Honesty" - my favorite track from this album

This album is amazing. Period. Recommended for fans of British whiny rock. (i.e. Morrissey)

Savoir Adore - Our Nature


For fans of Slowdive, Beach House, Stars, M83

Listen to "At The Same Time" - my favorite track from this album

There is really nothing I can say that will explain how much I love this album so just click the track, people! (I know, I'm supposed to be a writer.)

Shout Out Louds - Optica


For fans of The Cure, Peter Bjorn and John, New Order

Listen to "14th of July" 

Listen to "Illusions"

Listen to "Where You Come In"

I loved this album so much, I couldn't even pick one favorite track. If there was one album I listened to more than any other album, it was this one. I started annoying my friends, I was playing this so much. So there you have it. 10 albums I LOVED in 2013. It was a good year :-)

Seven Albums I Fell in Love With in 2012 (even though two of them are EPs) 

 Well, even though we’re almost 10 days into 2013, I felt the need to write about my seven favorite albums from 2012.

Muse – 2nd Law

Everyone knows that I love Muse so I expected to love this album. While it’s still not my favorite Muse album, I really appreciate the way they experimented with dubstep in a way that was not annoying. Also, there are a few stand-out tracks that will really knock you on your ass, like the single, “Madness.”

First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar

This folk duo consists of two Swedish sisters, Johanna and Klara Söderberg. With their amazing vocal melodies and complementing harmonies and absolutely beautifully constructed songs with powerful storytelling lyrics, this album will take you on a journey.

Beach House – Bloom

This album is amazing. Everything Beach House has ever done is amazing. I want to have Victoria LeGrand’s babies. (Let’s just forget about the fact that that is biologically impossible and I don’t even want babies.)

Moonlight Bride – Twin Lakes, Moonlight Bride – Dead Language


Technically, these are two EPs, but I like to listen to them back to back and think of them as one album. Really, I think of Dead Language as the sequel to Twin Lakes. Moonlight Bride is a Tennessee band that has seriously not gotten enough attention. These two EPs are filled with catchy songs like “Lemonade” that have some pretty solid hooks to heartbreaking songs like “Open Waters.” I can’t wait to hear what Moonlight Bride will do next.

Stars – The North

Here’s another band I love. I must admit, though, I was a little disappointed with 2010’s The Five Ghosts so when I heard this album, I immediately fell in love. “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It” is probably my favorite song of the entire year. This album has all of the great songwriting that made me fall in love with Stars.

Grizzly Bear – Shields

This was another highly anticipated album for me that certainly did not disappoint. If you liked the complex, mellow Veckatimest, you will love this album. Tracks like “Sleeping Ute” and “Yet Again” stand out for me. This album has a very nostalgic quality that makes me think of classic rock bands from the 1970s.

Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon

This was a new band I discovered in 2012. On the surface, this is a really catchy pop rock album. But when you listen more closely, you’ll discover deep, meaningful lyrics that point to themes of spirituality, especially on tracks like “The World is Watching” and “Remember My Name.” But “Sleep Alone” is probably my second favorite song from 2012.

My favorites from 2011 - part 2 

So I'm continuing my end-of-year favorites! In this blog, I'm going to talk about my 5 favorite albums of the year (in no particular order) and some of the favorite shows that I saw. 

My Favorite Shows in 2011

Well, I went to a lot of shows this year - more than I've gone to any other year, probably, but most of them were on a smaller scale. So it was a lot of Drunken Unicorn, Wonderroot, Eastside Lounge, The Earl, Star Bar, Masquerade kind of shows. The "biggest" shows I went to this year were M83 at The Masquerade and Beirut at the Variety Playhouse - both of which were completely amazing. (But I love both of these bands A LOT - see below - so that's really not surprising.) 

Many of the local bands that I saw this year, though, put on amazing shows. A few of my favorites were the Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun CD release show where Moonlight Bride and Sealions played with them at The Earl. I originally went to the show mainly to see Moonlight Bride with a vague sense of liking Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun but not really remembering what they sounded like. The entire bill was spot on that night, and I truly loved everyone's performances. And I left there with a great new record from Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun. All in all, it was a win. I then caught Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun again last week at The Earl where they played their whole album Wildfire, start to finish, at the Atlanta Music Roundtable show. Amazing set.

I made it out to quite a few Verge of Bliss shows this year. Not only are these guys great people, but they are seriously everything that a rock band should be. They have a high energy level on stage, Virginia's vocals are powerful and soulful with just the right amount of grit mixed in, and the instrumentation from the whole group is solid, together, and in your face. And yet, they will break your heart with songs like "Dreaming on the Eve" and "Photographs." It's really cool to see a band grow and develop, and I can't wait until they put out their album in 2012. (And shotout to Trey Bliss for being the most supportive Atlanta musician there is. Seriously, this guy is out supporting Atlanta musicians practically every night of the week it seems. You can always count on Trey to be at the show!) 

On the folksy singer/songwriter side, it was all about the ladies this year for me. I was impressed by the wonderful songwriting abilities of people like Juliana Finch, Molly Parden, Rebecca Loebe, and Sydney Eloise. I had the opportunity to see all four of these ladies throughout the year (some of them more than once! and some of them I even got to play with!) They all write very sincere and honest songs with such skill that you can't help but be a little bit awed. They are also all huge inspirations to me. I definitely had "moments" to each of their songs when I was at their shows this year. Definitely check them out. 

Other local and/or indie shows that I really enjoyed this year: Cinetrope, Siberia My Sweet, Sour Soul, Wowser Bowser, Calm White Noise, Railbird, 1880s Dance Party, and nerdkween.

5 Albums I Fell In Love With in 2011

Beirut - The Rip Tide

It's no surprise that I would love this album given the fact that I've been in love with everything that Zachary Condon has done, but The Rip Tide really combines all of the elements that I loved about Beirut's previous albums. There are some songs that you can dance around to, there are some songs that will break your heart, there are great melodies all the way through and great arrangements. And as always, this guy's level of talent blows me away.

Foster the People - Torches

This is an album that I wouldn't have expected would make my favorites list, but it was definitely one of the albums that came out this year that just makes me happy every time I pop it in. Of course, it's catchy as hell and certainly poppy with a very mainstream appeal, but once you actually listen to the lyrics and hear what they're saying underneath all of the catchy melodies, there's actually quite a lot of meaningful substance here. So whether you just want some music you can dance mindlessly too or you want music that makes you think, Foster the People manages to do both here, which isn't always easy.

Radiohead - The King of Limbs

This album almost didn't make my list. If I were making a "favorite Radiohead albums" list, it would be on the bottom. But even my least favorite Radiohead album is still one of my favorite albums of 2011. Although the initial few times I listened to it, I wasn't completely blown away (like I was with In Rainbows), I quickly found that songs like "Separator" and "Lotus Flower" were some of my favorite tracks from any band this whole year.

The Kills - Blood Pressures

This is a great "straight up rock" album. Straight up rock is a new genre name I've invented (well, I'm sure many other people have used it before!) because with SO much music these days and SO many sub-genres that get grouped into the "rock" category, you can sometimes forget what a real rock n' roll album sounds like until an album like this comes along. "Future Starts Slow" wins the award for "best song to drive around and feel like a badass" to. "The Last Goodbye" will break your heart. "Heart is a Beating Drum" will make you dance around like an idiot. All-in-all, this album is a great experience.

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

This "list" is not numbered, but if I had an absolute favorite album of 2011, this would definitely be it. This 2-disc album really and truly takes you on a journey. From songs like "Midnight City" that will make you dance like crazy to heartbreaking nostalgic ballads like "Wait" to incredibly trippy songs like "Raconte-Moi Histoire" to incredibly epic songs like "Outro," this album has everything. Every album M83 has put out has been progressively better than the previous one (in my opinion), and considering how much I loved Saturdays = Youth, I was bound to love this album. One of the great things about Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, though, is that the whole album comes across as one epic, emotional dream.

So those are my favorites from 2011!

Definitely go and check these out, especially the locals! There are a ton of links for you to click on. Go to their pages, listen to their tunes. If you're in Atlanta, catch a show in 2012! Going to see a local show is always a great thing to do. It's cheap (and sometimes free!) live music! Typically in a place where you can drink BEER. And you never know what kind of free shit you will get - moon pies, stickers, free CDs, free beer! Who knows? And if you go support a local band, I guarantee your presence will be appreciated. Everybody wins :)


Music I fell in love with in 2010... 

Alright, I know everyone is all listed out by now with all of the "Best of 2010" lists floating around. Also, I thought about it, and for me it's really hard to "rank" music. How can I compare one album to a completely different album? It's like saying "Which is the better fruit? Bananas or oranges?" Neither one can objectively be "better" although we may each have different favorites. So I thought instead of doing a countdown, I would just tell you about some of the albums that I fell in love with this year.

Beach House - Teen Dream

Teen Dream on

Beach House's website
Beach House on myspace

Of course, I have to mention this album. How could I not? Especially after I saw them live twice this year. (Ironically, neither show was in Atlanta. The first one was in Asheville, NC in late April. I drove up there to see them when their Atlanta show was sold out. The second time I saw them was in Athens at the 40 Watt.)

The first time I listened to this album all the way through, it was like magic. I completely fell in love with Victoria Legrand and her captivating vocal melodies, especially paired with Alex Scally's guitar, which weaves together with the organ so beautifully. This album took me somewhere, every time.

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

The Suburbs on Amazon

Arcade Fire's website

Arcade Fire on myspace

I've been a huge fan of Arcade Fire ever since Funeral came out in 2005. I was a little obsessed with Funeral and Neon Bible, actually. So I was really excited about their 2010 release. But when I listened to the first few times, I was a little disappointed. It wasn't what I expected it to be. It didn't make me feel the way that those first two albums did, especially Funeral with it's longing and joy and childhood nostalgia. 

And then one day, I just sat down and listened to the whole thing, and I had a moment. I got it. It captures that suburban-9-to-5-sitting-in-traffic-this-is-almost-like-being-in-jail-but-we-don't-notice-because-we're-too-busy-drinking-lattes-and-playing-on-our-iphones feeling extremely well. But it still slightly irritates me because Arcade Fire doesn't have to punch the clock or work 9 to 5 day jobs. They get to play music for a living. I'm sure at one point, they understood the frustration, living in the sprawl, feeling trapped, but I feel like this album is really coming from an outside perspective. I still have mixed feelings about it in that regard. Nonetheless, I've come to absolutely love the music. Especially this song, which I've definitely listened to non-stop, on repeat, for at least a day or two.

Blonde Redhead - Penny Sparkle

Penny Sparkle on Amazon

Blonde Redhead's website

Blonde Redhead on myspace

This is an album I haven't seen mentioned a lot on the various best of 2010 lists, and I really don't know why. This album is amazing! The airy vocals and dreamy guitars will send you into another world as well. They remind me of Slowdive meets the Cocteau Twins. If you like shoegaze or dreamy music, you should definitely check out this band. I am really hoping they make it to Atlanta sometime soon so that I can catch them live.

UNKLE - Where Did the Night Fall

Where Did the Night Fall on Amazon

UNKLE's website

UNKLE on myspace

This is another album I haven't seen mentioned much, which I also think is weird. I became completely obsessed with this album when I was in Mexico. I've been a fan of UNKLE for a while, but it was really listening to this album that made me pay attention. I especially love the tracks that UNKLE does with The Black Angels (there's one on this album and one on the Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack, which is actually a great soundtrack.)

Check it out!

Dark Dark Dark - Bright Bright Bright

Bright Bright Bright on Amazon

Dark Dark Dark's website

Dark Dark Dark on myspace

If you like Regina Spektor or My Brightest Diamond, you must listen to Dark Dark Dark.  This EP goes from eerie to nostalgic to passionate to elated to longing all within the span of six songs. After I saw the band live at The Five Spot in October, I was hooked. Their live show was amazing as well. They had an incredible presence. (And who doesn't love accordions?)

So there we have it. Five releases that I absolutely fell in love with in 2010.

Releases I'm excited to hear in 2011 so far? Well, PJ Harvey, Lykke Li, Devotchka, and Adele are all supposed to have albums coming out in 2011. I have a good feeling about this upcoming year. :-)

Top 10 favorite albums of 2009  

For more info on these albums and to hear a sample track from each album, listen to the podcast! (It's my first podcast.)

Honorable mention - The Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack

10. Swoon - Silversun Pickups

Silversun Pickups Website
Silversun Pickups Myspace

9. Lost Channels - Great Lake Swimmers

Great Lake Swimmers Website
Great Lake Swimmers Myspace

8. Ain't Too Bright - Electric Owls

Electric Owls Website
Electric Owls Myspace

7. Fantasies - Metric

Metric Website
Metric Myspace

6. Elvis Perkins in Dearland - Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Elvis Perkins in Dearland Website
Elvis Perkins in Dearland Myspace

5. The Resistance - Muse

Muse Website
Muse Myspace

4. Far - Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor Website
Regina Spektor Myspace

3. Veckatimist - Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear Website
Grizzly Bear Myspace

2. Up from Below - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Website
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Myspace

1. Conditions - The Temper Trap

The Temper Trap Website
The Temper Trap Myspace