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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. 

Reaching Out To Musicians Who Inspire Me: Lanterns on the Lake 

Lanterns on the Lake
I decided to start reaching out to bands whose songs I have *moments* with while driving around. I sent the following e-mail to Lanterns on the Lake the other day:


My name is Sara Crawford. I stumbled across your album somehow. (I think I just saw it on the Metacritic list of new releases and listened to it on Spotify, and then I purchased it on iTunes). First of all, let me just say I have basically been listening to it obsessively since I discovered it in January. 

I love all of the tracks, but "The Buffalo Days," "Until the Colours Run," "You Soon Learn," and "Another Tale from Another English Town" are among my favorites. My absolute favorite song, though, is "Green and Gold." I love the lyrics, I love the somber piano, I love the vocal melody. I love how the emotion is practically dripping onto the notes that are being sung. I love heartbreaking songs, and this is an incredibly emotional song for me.

I really relate to the lyrics on a personal level. This has been my favorite sad song lately. I have been going through a very difficult time recently, and sad music really helps me in times like these. One of the most therapeutic things for me to do is drive around and blast a really emotional song. Over the past few months, "Green and Gold" has been that song for me. I put it on repeat, and when it gets to the "I live along, but I'm still doing the music" line, I almost always tear up. These drives and moments with songs like your's are really important to my emotional process though, and it's the only way I can start to heal. And when I feel all cried out, I let it go to the next song, "You Soon Learn." The guitar that begins that song is brilliant. It's as if you knew some chick would be having an emotional breakdown to "Green and Gold" and really need an uplifting guitar part that said "everything will be okay." 

I am also a musician, and I write a lot of sad and mellow songs. I have gotten really discouraged because it has felt like people don't really appreciate my music. When you write music that doesn't exactly inspire strangers to dance around and party at the local dive bar music venues in Atlanta, it can make you feel like that. But the other day, I was driving around having one of these moments to "Green and Gold" and I thought "these people have no idea that someone in Georgia is driving around listening to their song on repeat and having a moment to their song." And then I thought what if somewhere, someone is driving around having a moment to one of my songs and I just don't know? And that thought made me feel a little better. 

And I really felt compelled to reach out to you and let you know how your album (but especially that song) has affected me. And how I think sad songs are really important, and the people that write them often don't get much appreciation. But I really, really appreciate "Green and Gold." And I appreciate the entire album!

It looks like you're mainly touring in Europe, but I hope that you make it to the US at some point, and I really hope you play a show in Atlanta. I guarantee you I will be in the audience singing along to your songs. 

Thank you for making music. 


Today, I got a response from them. It was a great way to start my day.

Dear Sara,

Thank you for taking the time out to write to us. It means a great deal to receive your email and hear that there are people out there who find something for themselves/of themselves in our music. 

We hope to play in Atlanta sometime. We have just returned from our first US tour actually and we had a great time. We played New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington DC. New York was my favourite. We are desperate to go back and play the cities we didn't get to this time around. Hopefully Atlanta will be one of those cities and we can say 'hello' in person.

All the best with your songwriting, even if it doesn't inspire people to sing and dance in mindless fun it will connect with someone somewhere on a different level. Charles Baudelaire once said "I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no melancholy".

Keep the faith,

Check out their tunes below and go buy their album: