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Best Albums of 2014 (Amanda Edition)

Looking back at this past year, I realize that I didn’t get to listen to as much new music as I’d wanted to (something I hope to rectify in 2015!). That being said, the new releases I did hear were fantastic! I’ve narrowed it down to my personal few favorites (there should be no surprises here! But here goes…)

Temples, Sun Structures (February 5th)

 Temples’ debut album, Sun Structures, is a beautiful and mesmerizing record that has started the band’s career off with a bang! Until this past year, I’d never been too heavily into psychedelic music. Australia’s Tame Impala had given me my first taste, and I was pleasantly surprised by 2012’s Lonerism. But it was Temples who completely blew me away with this stellar debut. There’s a wonderful and dreamlike vibe to every track on this record, putting a modern twist on the classtic 60s-style psych rock sound. It’s so easy to listen to, and easily one of the best releases of this past year.

Jack White, Lazaretto (June 10th)Jack_White_-_Lazaretto

The incredibly unique (and insanely cool!) vinyl release of this record should be enough to earn Jack White’s Lazaretto a spot on anyone’s list this year, but there’s so much more that makes White’s sophomore solo album so special. As a casual fan of The White Stripes and having only heard a couple of songs from White’s first solo record, I had enjoyed Jack White’s music in the past, but had never found myself terribly invested in his work before. I confess that it was the allure of the unusual vinyl release that caught my attention in the first place, but I am so, so glad that it did! High-energy (and perhaps a little over-the-top… in the best way possible!), this album is full of raw and gritty,  bluesy tracks that are a joy to listen to again and again.

Royal Blood, Royal Blood (August 22nd)

Though I am doing this list in chronological order, I think if I could only pick ONE 2014 album as my favorite, Royal Blood would be it. The duo first caught my attention thanks to one of my favorite bands (Can you guess who?), and I’ve been hooked ever since I first listened to their singles. When the full album was finally released, it exceeded all of my expectations — the catchy riffs, complex drum rhythms, and the insane amounts of energy and talent coming from just two individuals were all so impressive that I fell in love immediately. I still have yet to see these guys onstage (though that situation will be rectified when I see them open for Foo Fighters this summer!), and this album has me itching to finally experience them live!

Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways (November 10th)Foo_Fighters_8LP_Sonic_Highways

Perhaps my most highly-anticipated album release of 2014, Sonic Highways was far from a perfect record, but still earns a spot on my end-of-the-year list. I’ve always been an avid fan of Foo Fighters, and had been waiting rather impatiently during their three-year hiatus to hear something new from these guys. When the new album finally dropped last month, I was not disappointed, though part of me wished that the band had strayed outside of their usual comfort zone, as Sonic Highways is an album with a very similar sound to the bands other recent releases. Still, what helps make this album so special as the unique way it was recorded (travelling around the US to visit some of the greatest music cities in the country), and the accompanying documentary series (which was truly wonderful). Knowing the story behind it and seeing the documentary for myself has helped me to appreciate this record even more, and I am very anxious to hear some of these new tracks live in 2015!