Los Angeles trio, Busy Living, recently recorded a bunch of 90's-esque tracks with Spoon's Jim Eno for their follow up EP coming soon! Freshly released, "Lie Better," is a delightful mix of nostalgia and modern pop sensibilities.
Check out "Lie Better" below:
Whoever said that writing about music shouldn't be personal either had a big bowl of phooey for breakfast or they're just in the wrong profession. If you've never had a personal connection to a particular song or album, what are you doing with your life?
This past year has been pretty rough for me. If I didn't have these albums, I'd probably be in a nut house somewhere. When curating a best-of list, it forces you to reminisce on the past twelve months in detail. As you go through each album, you remember what you were going through during that particular month and so forth. Even though I wasn't at my best this year, I can honestly say that 2014 was a killer year for music and the albums chosen were carefully selected from a rather long list of contenders.
This list isn't comprised solely of albums that sold well or have garnered some critical acclaim (though some have) but rather ones that I connected to the most. Basically, this list was a no-brainer.
So, without further ado, here are my top 10 albums of 2014.
10. The New Division - Together We Shine
Released March 18, 2014
The New Division always deliver and their sophomore effort is a delight to get lost in, especially after learning the backstory of how important files were corrupted during the recording process. It just goes to show that everything happens for a reason and that hard work + determination = magical things.
*Key Tracks: Shine, Honest, Den Bosch
9. Neon Trees - Pop Psychology
Released April 22, 2014
Have I mentioned that singer Tyler Glenn is one of my favorite people ever? This vibrant third album from the Provo, UT band glimmers in 80's synths but showcases forms of hurting in the happiest way possible.
*Key Tracks: Sleeping With a Friend, Unavoidable, First Things First
8. Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence
Released June 17, 2014
LDR is probably one of the most misunderstood artists of our generation. In her sophomore effort, she quieted the naysayers and delivered a masterpiece that I still can't get over. This album let me do all the brooding I wanted this summer with the lights off and windows & heart wide open.
*Key Tracks: West Coast, Sad Girl, Money Power Glory
7. Taylor Swift - 1989
Released October 27, 2014
When Taylor Swift sets her mind to something, she really brings it! It was only a matter of time before she released a full-length pop album. With a little help from her friends and a new independent attitude, it's only gonna get better from here.
*Key Tracks: Blank Space, Style, This Love
6. Haerts - Haerts
Released October 27, 2014
I am still excited that this album is finally out. I get the chills every time singer Nini Fabi's voice blares out of my speakers and I find something new to appreciate with every listen.
*Key Tracks: Heart, Call My Name, Lights Out
5. Charli XCX - Sucker
Released December 15, 2014
I hopped on the Charli train this year and dived into her debut, True Romance, only to come out lovesick and drenched in synths. Her sophomore effort is a progressive leap from her debut, but it fits her so well. Whoever said punk and pop shouldn't mix was probably on something.
*Key Tracks: Sucker, Doing It, Famous
4. LIGHTS - Little Machines
Released September 23, 2014
I feel like LIGHTS and I have grown up together. I feel my most confident after listening to her music. She has a way with words that just makes everything click and somehow makes you feel like you're not going through it alone. I got to see her on tour this past October and I'll never forget how that show made me feel. Her third release is a let's-talk-about-growing-up-while-having-a-dance-party kind of thing.
*Key Tracks: Portal, Speeding, Muscle Memory
3. PVRIS - White Noise
Released November 4, 2014
No other album expresses the bad thoughts swirling around in my head than this one. Fortunately, it helped me let go of a lot of someone else's heavy weight. Lynn Gunn's vocals are so powerful that it's hard not to get swept up in the chaos and uneasiness. If you need an album to let go of some pent up frustrations, look no further.
*Key Tracks: Smoke, Holy, Ghosts
2. Banks - Goddess
Released September 9, 2014
Some might say that Jillian Banks is an enigma. I, on the other hand, feel like she's my long lost twin. In her stunning debut, Banks sings of heartbreak, phony liars, feeling alienated, and every uncomfortable emotion that comes with growing up with a sultry aesthetic, of course. She's not like the others, and for that, I bow down to this goddess.
*Key Tracks: Alibi, Waiting Game, Brain
1. Kye Kye - Fantasize
Released January 21, 2014
I didn't know of Kye Kye until this past May, but once I dived into their sophomore album, I knew I had found the album I had been waiting for - and what a gem it is. Every thought, every emotion and every essence of the past four years of my life are expressed beautifully throughout this album. I've sat and cried with it, prayed with it and spent numerous times lost in it's dreamy synths and gorgeous vocals of singer Olga Yagolnikov. It's helped me see things with more clarity. It was sent to me in the midst of the confusion when I started to lose faith. This is the album I will hand to someone very special while telling them to listen intently. The entire story lies within.
*Key Tracks: I Already See It, Dreams (2AM), Softly
1. Magic Man - Before The Waves
Released July 8, 2014
*Key Tracks: Apollo, Paris, Out Of Mind
2. DWNTWN - DWNTWN
Released April 29, 2014
*Key Tracks: Til Tomorrow, Skins, Blankets
3. In The Valley Below - The Belt
Released August 26, 2014
*Key Tracks: Peaches, Dove Season, Hymnal
What are your top albums of 2014? Let me know in the comments below!
Montreal native, Xavier Cafeine, is beloved in Quebec's vibrant punk culture. His first two albums are considered classics and his upcoming LP, New Love, should be no different.
First single, "Love Disease (Christmas In New York)" is a dark, yet triumphant, ode to the pain and isolation of one's first Christmas without a lost love - something we can all relate to at one point or another.
Check out the video for "Love Disease (Christmas In New York)" below:
Get a FREE download HERE!
New Love will be available February 17.
The Bandicoots - For fans of: Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, The Royalty
The Bandicoots are an indie rock four-piece hailing from Hamilton, Ontario that will knock you off your feet within seconds of your first listen. They are getting ready to release their second EP, This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things, (lol), sometime next year.
Check out their 60's rock-inspired single, "No Turn On Red," below:
Want to be featured in From The Indie Vault? Find out how here.
It’s here, suckers!
Charli XCX released her killer sophomore effort, Sucker, today and I think at this point it’s safe to say that this album is her key to superstardom. She’s been quoted saying that she wants to take over the world and now her empire stands on such solid foundation for that dream to take flight. With this album brings everything pop music has been missing since the Spice Girls said goodbye and punk faded from the somewhat-mainstream scene.
It was only a year ago that 22-year-old Charlotte Aitchison lived in electro-pop obscurity, releasing her debut, True Romance, a budding chart-topper with an impressive tracklist of synthpop heaven into the world. Though this London queen held the reigns way before she hit Top 40, being at the helm of Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” it was her rather “Fancy” collaboration with rap superstar Iggy Azalea and the main single to The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack, “Boom Clap,” that catapulted her to where she is now. It’s about damn time.
Sucker opens with the appropriately-titled title track and a very loud, “f$%# you, sucker!” “Sucker” sets the tone of the record without giving away too much as “Break The Rules” and the Ramones-esque, “London Queen” (which blares resemblance to punk royalty’s “Blitzkrieg Bop” on so many levels, I almost always expect her to be shouting “hey, ho, let’s go!” in the background) take us through the mind of what it’s like to be a burgeoning pop star in a world where the word "punk" only comes to mind in the fashion world and 90's nostalgia roams far and wide.
While the singer previously stated that fans of her first record may not like her new sound, songs like “Doing It” and closing track, “Need Ur Luv,” seem to prove otherwise with just enough synth to keep True Romance lovers hooked. There’s really nothing she can’t do.
Sucker is the perfect wrap-up album to a long year. Let loose and enjoy this one. It’s a new chapter. I have no doubt that XCX will be emblazoned into our heads all through 2015. Are you ready? If you're not, she's just gonna do it anyway.
Sucker is available now HERE.
More For You
Virginia Beach, VA's Feral Conservatives shared their brand new single, "Class Reunion," today off of their upcoming album, The Feeling Noise Becomes, out on February 10 via EggHunt Records. The song features Sonic Youth-esque grunginess and 90's nostalgia.
Take a listen to "Class Reunion" below:
Kingslynn - For fans of: Kye Kye, Broods, DWNTWN
Kingslynn are an indie synthpop band from Miami, FL consisting of Evelyn Grace, Michael Blanco and David. A. Molina. If you're craving some blissful atmospheric synths, you're going to want to check this three-piece out now. They released their debut Dreamer EP this year and are currently writing and recording their second EP slated for release in summer 2015. Kye Kye fans need to get these two bands touring together soon!
Stream the Dreamer EP below:
Dreamer is available now HERE.
Want to be featured in From The Indie Vault? Find out how here.
It's beginning to feel a lot like winter! Fall's leaves are long gone and it is time for a new season and a brand new year. Thank you for reading, sharing and ultimately, caring! I created this special column here in the land of buzz to bring you guys closer to new music in hopes that it'll brighten up your day and fill up your music collection. Brand new bands and artists to buzz about are on their way in 2015, so sit tight and check out what you might have missed this fall!
Stay tuned for more bands and artists to buzz about this winter!
Have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments below!
Teenage rebellion has been a hot topic in music for as long as we can remember. We were in the heart of it growing up and we can still taste it as we grow older. While being a teen has it's bittersweet moments, there's nothing sweeter than hearing our own rebellion through the eyes of another soul. Pop music, through all of it's high and low points, can come in with a bang and stick in our minds for years to come, bringing every adolescent emotion with it - not to mention the days when you'd jump around your room with a hairbrush belting out every ounce of frustration like it was a neccessity.
In 2004, I strongly remember having Skye Sweetnam's "Billy S" stuck in my head every morning as I begrudgingly made my way to school. Now, a decade later, we have another anti-school anthem by the brash and powerful, Charli XCX, in "Break The Rules." Whether you were the school nerd or not, you can't deny that little spark of rebellion you feel when hearing anthems like these two.
While Sweetnam's "Billy S" isn't as bold as XCX's chart-topping hit, (there's no "getting high and getting wrecked" - more like a PG-let-me-sleep-and-leave-me-the-hell-alone/early Avril Lavigne sort of rebellion) it still resonated with somewhat-brazen 16-year-olds like myself. XCX's modern-day anthem, with a killer instrumental track, brings teenage rebellion (though she's 22) to a whole new level, proving that this kind of I-don't-give-a-f@$% behavior is here to stay. As if any of us had a say in the matter.
Check out both songs below and let me know your thoughts on each and which one you think would win in a battle of rebellion. Mashup, anyone?
"Break The Rules"