It was an odd year for ‘album listening’ for me, but as always a group of albums stood out as ones I went back to again and again. As always, these are what I consider my favorite albums released in 2014–not necessarily the ‘best’ albums of the year, whatever that means.
Lee Fields & The Expressions – Emma Jean: Great music transports the listener to another place; these tunes take you on a retro blast from start to finish. There’s not a modern sound that can touch Lee Fields, nor should there be.
Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music: Truth in packaging; or the only reason country music didn’t totally suck this year.
Alt-J, This is all Yours: clubby anthems that don’t club you over the head.
Ed Sheeran, X: the rare occasion when my preteen and I agree on what’s a great album.
Leonard Cohen, Popular Problems: 80 years old and still as lyrically and stylistically agile as ever.
Matthew Shipp – I’ve Been to Many Places: And he takes us along with him to most of them here with just ten fingers and a piano.
Eagulls – Eagulls: post-industrial age rock that soars, swoops, and scavenges the best of its predecessors.
Bob Mould – Beauty & Ruin: Still abrasively sweet after all these years.
Hiss Golden Messenger – Lateness of Dancers: A comfortably heartworn slice of heartland Americana.
Chromeo – White Women: disco-funky-sexy-fun-lunacy.