2014 was a very good year for a lot of great music released by some killer bands and musicians. There was easily something for everyone covering all kinds of sounds and genres and scenes. If you didn’t find something that appealed to you in the slightest, then you’re still dwelling in the past and unwilling to check out something new. And exciting considering all the great albums we listened to and blew our collective minds.
Here’s what we completely dug and you should have too. In no particular order or preference of course.
Whirr – Sway
The newgaze punkers completely knocked it out of the park by not only surprising long-time fans with a revamped sound that pushed their style of noisy, fuzzed-out indie and doing away with the female vocals, this was proof that Whirr can do anything. And they make it awesome.
Nothing – Guilty of Everything
Partners in crime with Whirr, Nothing’s proper full-length debut record went above and beyond what anyone would have expected. A truer shoegaze noise sound that set them apart from anyone else in the current scene. They rule.
Beach Slang – Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken? and Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street EPs
A complete throwback to the sounds that The Replacements would have created if they were ingrained in today’s post-punk music scene. Two complete EPs for the end of summertime fun. Feeling miserable about the summer ending never felt so good.
Mamiffer – Statu Nascendi
Shinier production and veering away from their usually subdued sounds didn’t hurt Mamiffer one bit. The emotions that develop listening to their music is what makes them so great and personal. It’s the sound of having your soul stirred down to the core.
Candy Hearts – All The Ways You Let Me Down
Pop punk is fun again.
Taylor Swift – 1989
The once country music princess is now full-on pop queen. This is a fun record that will make even the most angst-ridden metalhead want to shake their booty. Or shake it off. And that’s me of course.
Code Orange – I Am King
Complete aggression in a sound so heavy that it may be mistaken for anything other than hardcore. It’s a new level of anger and portrayal of life’s letdowns as seen through the eyes of the new generation in heavy music.
Death Of Lovers – Buried Under A World Of Roses
What is better than Whirr and Nothing joining forces to create the ultimate in shoegaze noise. More ambient and layered than the individual bands’ sounds, this proves that when a group of musicians come together, great music can be made. And music that hits you in the heart.
Frontier(s) – White Lights
Veterans of the Louisville music scene return with their most solid and assured release to date. The band has found their groove and made what is their best music to date.
Kittyhawk – Hello, Again
Indie pop with traces of emo and even grunge. Lovely is the best way to describe not only the band but their music.
Whirr / Nothing – Split
The greatest split ever recorded by the two greatest bands in the newgaze scene. It’s a no-brainer that this would be a top release when first announced.
Youth Code – A Place To Stand
Industrial music for the jaded hardcore punk generation. With cleaner production, the duo’s pummeling style of EBM is even more hard-hitting and thought-provoking. Hard-edged music that you can jam to but also makes you think.
Triptykon – Melana Chasmata
Is it doom? Is it black metal? Is it…? Whatever style or genre music you may feel forced to tag this band and album with, one thing is very clear, this is metal that is emotionally saturated and heavy as fuck. And the atmospheric sounds created form an ambience of dread. That’s what metal and great music should do, stir you up.
Have A Nice Life – The Unnatural World
Another band whose music is hard to pin down. But at the end of the day, HANL create music that enthralls you and pulls you every which way in moving you and hitting you right between the eyes.
Old Man Gloom – The Ape Of God
Proving that they’re still pissed off and have plenty more to say in heaviness, OMG return with their most cohesive and angry record to date. Don’t let their tomfoolery fool you, when it comes to the music, these guys are dead serious.
Unrestrained – Forward Unto Death
Speaking of being pissed off. Ever wonder what happens when a bunch of jaded and pissed off HxC dudes get together and start a band? Yeah. That’s Unrestrained for you. This is the record that proved that hardcore and punk can still be angry and moving as the day that you picked up that Gorilla Biscuits LP when you were 16 years old. But today you’re older and not necessarily wiser but still angry at the world and with something to say. Hardcore perfection.
Ides of Gemini – Old World New Wave
Doom-ladden metal that creates an almost-mystical vibe the more and more you listen to them. If there were ever a soundtrack for the Salem witches, this would be it. The dark vibe and ethereal feel to their music, makes Ides of Gemini feel like something not of this dark world.
Black Monolith – Passenger
A lot is being made of black metal these days. Especially in the U.S with crossovers of styles. But Black Monolith keep it as it should be: straight-up and pissed off. No frills, no gimmicks. This is black metal as it should be.
Milky White – Milky White
This proof that a current band can pay plenty of homage to a music scene of long ago while still putting a new and unique spin of their own so as to stand out. Their take on indie pop is not only sugary sweet with some added and needed bitterness, but it’s the right amounts of memorable pop hooks and guitar fuzziness to make them stand out from the rest.
Newmoon – Invitation To Hold
A band experimenting with swirling guitars and dreamy vocals to create an ambience perfectly made for today’s newgaze scene. The sound has been compared to the likes of 90′s heroes Slowdive and current bands like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and it couldn’t be more right and accurate. But there’s more to Newmoon than this. And this EP is their very strong first outing.
2014 definitely proved to be a year on great music. Some released by new bands that gained a lot of fans and a few gems by long-standing groups and artists that further showed by they’re at the top of their creative game. Surely, there’s plenty more records we didn’t cover or reference. That doesn’t mean they didn’t warrant any merit. It just means it’s a chance for us and you to delve further into all the great music that is out there.
Next year is already looking promising with new records from Blacklisted, Harm’s Way, Bandit, SUMAC, Mutoid Man, and MTHR, just to name a few. And we’re very much excited and looking forward to these and plenty more that may surprise us down the road.
We hope you had a great 2014. We wish you a very happy holiday season. And here’s to 2015 being even better all around.
Your friends through music.
Taylor Swift whose new album 1989 just released and not only veers deep into a new and unique pop sounds for the former country pop singer, and is looking to have the highest first week sales by any female artist ever, has announced tour dates for a world tour in support of the new album. Onsale dates should be this week and the tour looks to be hitting major cities in large-sized arenas.
May 20, 2015 – Bossier City, LA – CenturyLink Center
May 22, 2015 – Baton Rouge, LA – LSU Tiger Stadium
May 30, 2015 – Detroit, MI – Ford Field
June 2, 2015 – Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center
June 3, 2015 – Cleveland, OH – Quicken Loans Arena
June 6, 2015 – Pittsburgh, PA – Heinz Field
June 8, 2015 – Charlotte, NC – Time Warner Cable Arena
June 9, 2015 – Raleigh, NC – PNC Arena
June 13, 2015 – Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field
June 20, 2015 – Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia Germany – Lanxess Arena
June 21, 2015 – Amsterdam, North Holland Netherlands – Ziggo Dome
June 23, 2015 – Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom – SSE Hydro
June 24, 2015 – Manchester, NW England United Kingdom – Arena
June 27, 2015 – London, England United Kingdom – British Summertime Hyde Park July 6, 2015 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian Tire Centre
Tuesday has come and gone and with it, Taylor Swift announced in a live webcast of the release of a new album, 1989, on October 29th. Alongside that announcement, the first single and video was unleashed unto the world. “Shake It Off” finds Swift shedding off completely any glimmers of country music she may have had left on her previous album, RED, and headed forward in full-force into a sound that’s a complete throwback to late 80’s pop music. It’s a jarring shift for many surely, but every artist deserves the chance and right to evolve and grow whichever way in the music they make. “Shake It Off” will surely be one of those songs that will get stuck in your head for days and months to come. The beats and melodies are infectious and will force you to bounce around the room.
The accompanying video is just as bubblegum addicting with a very fun and self-deprecating angle courtesy of Ms. Swift. She has never been afraid to poke fun at herself and the video is evident in this in showing Swift attempting to emulate different dance styles across different genres and failing miserable. And still managing to have a good time throughout.
Tuesday night saw the airing of the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion show. Part of the show included performances by Fall Out Boy and Taylor Swift. In the show’s opening FOB performed “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” on which they were joined by Swift taking on a few of the song’s verses. The performance felt natural and one would hope that a future collaboration could happen. Maybe?
In what is a not-so-odd pairing, Jimmy Eat World covered Taylor Swift‘s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” last night at their show at the House Of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio. The emo-centric band turned the pop song into an unabashed and even more emo song in their own style. It’s a pleasant surprise for both JEW and Swift fans.
The video was shot by AltPress’ Scott Heisel. Thanks for capturing this great take on the song, dude!
Oscar Wilde wrote that to be a critic is to offer an interpretation of someone else’s art, which is itself someone else’s interpretation of whatever it was that inspired them. He went on to say that in being a critic one is incapable of being objective, as they will base their critique on their own interpretation of the work and no two people will have the same reaction to a work of art. In the years I have spent writing album reviews, I have to say that I’ve seen all of this to be true.
The simple truth is that there is no reason my opinion is any more valid than someone else’s, unless it’s that someone else lets me put it on the internet where, just maybe, someone else reads it. I’ve been playing and listening to music for a long time, but I’m no expert. I base my reviews on how things sound to me, what they make me feel, and what they remind me of. I will never be so bold as to say an album is good, or that an album is bad; that’s not my call. I do my best when reviewing to portray what I’m hearing and why I find it interesting, or beautiful, or atrocious, as the case may be. Perhaps I’ll write that I love an album because it’s gritty, fast, and aggressive, and you’ll think of how awful that sounds to you and avoid it like the plague. Maybe I’ll tell you how I think harpsichord sounds awesome with some autotuned vocals and dubstep beats on top, and you’ll agree that it sounds neat and check it out. Who knows.
Every year when I’m asked to make my “Best Of” list, I’m made sharply aware of just how much music is in the world, and how little of it I’ve had the chance to hear. There just aren’t enough hours in the day, or dollars in my wallet, to give everything that comes out the solid listen that it deserves. I hear that the new Hostage Calm album is awesome, but I haven’t had a chance to grab a copy. A friend of mine has told me repeatedly that Foxy Shazam is the best thing on the planet, but it’s yet to find its way to my ears. These are just a couple examples of how things fall through the cracks. There could quite literally be hundreds of albums from the past 12 months that I would love, and I sincerely hope that one day I’ll find them. In the meantime, however, I present, in no particular order, ten albums from 2012 that I fell in love with.
If you have listened to Taylor Swift‘s newest album, Red, a few times then you know that the young pop-country princess has experimented with a few new styles and sounds not her usual norm. In the video for the dubstep-inflicted “I Knew You Were Trouble”, Swift takes part in a more story-based approach in which girls falls for the bad boy and gets caught in his whirlwind of mayhem. All the while surely seducing her and then eventually breaking her heart. And at some point, the ill-gotten couple go to a metal show. Yes. The video has a few quick scenes featuring the metal band The Great Commission. Worlds truly colliding? May be so, but it still makes for a fun and varied video.
Taylor Swift is of course in the midst of a promotional worldwide tour for hew newest album, Red. This of course means making appearances in TV talk shows, radio stations, events, and all with the expected musical performances.
At a recent stop in Australia, Swift and band members Paul Sidoti and Grant Mickelson performed an acoustic rendition of “I Knew You Were Trouble” on the Fifi and Jules radio show. While the original track is more bombastic and toeing the edge of dubstep, the acoustic version sheds a new light on it bringing a new dynamic to the song.
It’s no secret that on Taylor Swift‘s newest album, Red, the young singer-songwriter has veered away from her country pop sound and toed the line with other genres such as indie and more pop. And on the track “I Knew You Were Trouble” there are some sick bass drops that hint at some dubstep. You know, the music of preference of the likes of Skrillex.
At Sunday night’s American Music Awards, Swift performed a very theatrical version of the song and it sounds even more dubstep-y than the album cut. Needless to say it’s an interesting new approach and style for Swift. And somehow it doesn’t sound half bad.
Last night, tour dates for Taylor Swift‘s 2013 U.S. tour in support of her new album, Red, were announced. No venues as of yet but cities and dates announced. It is expected that some dates will be at stadiums while others will be in arena-sized venues. Ed Sheeran, who Swift collaborated with, will be opening.
March 13 & 14 Omaha, Nebraska
March 18 & 19 St. Louis, Missouri
March 22 Charlotte, North Carolina
March 23 Columbia, South Carolina
March 27 & 28 & 29 Newark, New Jersey
April 10 Miami, Florida
April 11 & 12 Orlando, Florida
April 18 & 19 Atlanta, Georgia
April 20 Tampa, Florida
April 25 Cleveland, Ohio
April 26 Indianapolis, Indiana
April 27 Lexington, Kentucky
May 4 Detroit, Michigan
May 7 Louisville, Kentucky
May 8 Columbus, Ohio
May 11 & 12 Washington, DC
May 16 Houston, Texas
May 21 Austin, Texas
May 22 San Antonio, Texas
May 25 Dallas, Texas
May 28 & 29 Glendale, Arizona
June 1 Salt Lake City, Utah
June 2 Denver, Colorado
June 15 Toronto, Ontario
June 22 Winnipeg, Manitoba
June 29 Vancouver, British Columbia
July 6 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
July 20 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
July 27 Foxborough, Massachusetts
August 1 Des Moines, Iowa
August 2 & 3 Kansas City, Missouri
August 6 Wichita, Kansas
August 7 Tulsa, Oklahoma
August 10 Chicago, Illinois
August 15 San Diego, California
August 19 & 20 Los Angeles, California
August 27 Sacramento, California
August 30 Portland, Oregon
August 31 Tacoma, Washington
September 6 Fargo, North Dakota
September 7 & 8 St. Paul, Minnesota
September 12 Greensboro, North Carolina
September 13 Raleigh, North Carolina
September 14 Charlottesville, Virginia
September 19, 20 & 21 Nashville, Tennessee