From garage rock to “trash pop” to experimental hip-hop, emo, and synth-wave, too many great albums and EPs were released in the first half of 2014 to not make a playlist out of them. Here’s our favorite tracks of the year thus far.
50 Best Songs of 2014
1. Cloud Nothings - “I’m Not Part of Me”
2. Sylvan Esso - “Hey Mami”
3. Future Islands - “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
4. Jamie xx - “Girl”
5. Dub Thompson - “Dograces”
6. The Hotelier - “Your Deep Rest”
7. La Dispute - “Hudsonville, MI 1956”
8. Conor Oberst - “Time Forgot”
9. Skrillex - “All Is Fair In Love And Brostep”
10. St. Vincent - “Birth In Reverse”
11. Swans - “A Little God In My Hands”
12. clipping - “Body & Blood”
13. Saintseneca - “Blood Bath”
14. Modern Baseball - “Rock Bottom”
15. Joyce Manor - “Catalina Fight Song”
16. Eagulls - “Nerve Endings”
17. Lana Del Rey - “Brooklyn Baby”
18. Tweens - “Be Mean”
19. W.C. Lindsay - “Little Ghost”
20. Lily Allen - “Sheezus”
21. Only Real - “Cadillac Girl”
22. Fucked Up - “Sun Glass”
23. MØ - “Fire Rides”
24. The Hundred Acre Woods - “City Lights”
25. Perfect Pussy - “Interference Fits”
26. Speedy Ortiz - “American Horror”
27. Jack White - “Lazaretto”
28. Tycho - “Awake”
29. Mac Demarco - “Salad Days”
30. Nothing - “Dig”
31. You Blew It! - “House Address”
32. Weatherbox - “Bring Us The Head of Weatherbox”
33. The Orwells - “Who Needs You”
34. Tigers Jaw - “Hum”
35. Parquet Courts - “Sunbathing Animal”
36. Iggy Azalea feat Charli XCX - “Fancy”
37. The Menzingers - “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore”
38. Donovan Wolfington - “Sleeping”
39. Seahaven - “Silhouette (Latin Skin)”
40. PUP - “Dark Days”
41. Sorority Noise - “Rory Shield”
42. Tiny Moving Parts - “Swimming Lessons”
43. A Sunny Day In Glasgow - “Crushin’”
44. Frankie Cosmos - “School”
45. tUnE-yArDs - “Water Fountain”
46. Manchester Orchestra - “The Ocean”
47. Die Antwoord - “Happy Go Sucky Fucky”
48. Osoosooso - “Neighbors”
49. Cayetana - “Hot Dad Calendar”
50. OhBree - “Death by Broomstick”
MadKo Concerts Presents:
The Hundred Acre Woods
The Tin Angel
20 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Thursday May 29, 2014 – 8:00 pm
MadKo Concerts, the student-run concert promotion arm of the Music Industry Program at Drexel University, is proud to present The Hundred Acre Woods, Steady Hands, and Former Belle at The Tin Angel on Thursday May 29th. Listeners will be treated to the sounds of some Philadelphia’s best local talent at one of the city’s premiere listening room venues. Pulling elements from several genres including indie, punk, and folk, this collection of performers is a great representation of the music movement in the city of Philadelphia.
Tickets are available for $10. Show is 21+
THE HUNDRED ACRE WOODS: Formed in the latter half of 2009, Philadelphia-based The Hundred Acre Woods aims to convey a message that is both young and old – a blending of the honesty and sincerity of traditional folk music with the raw energy and drive of punk rock. (Check out our review of their latest EP here!)
STEADY HANDS: Steady Hands began as a solo project of Sean Huber in the Winter of 2012. In favor of the simplicity and rawness of a sole honest voice and acoustic guitar, he started thrashing his way through Philadelphia bars and basements, breaking a lot of strings in the process. That summer he released his first EP, “Not Many Of Us Left,” employing a strong group of talented friends to record. By the end of the year, Huber brought the gang back together, adding producer Brandon Bost to create “The Libertines,” released February 2013 via Lame-O Records. Steady Hands continues on thrashing through basements and clubs with intention, bringing honest punk music just as pretty as it is dirty.
FORMER BELLE: Former Belle was born in a suburban basement just outside of Philadelphia. During their 2011-2012 run of shows, Former Belle played alongside the likes of Owen, Fences, Colour Revolt, River City Extension, Allison Weiss, Illinois, Yarn and more. After a 6-month runaway retreat to Boston, they embarked on a five-week European tour spanning 7 different countries. In 2012, singer Bruno headed back into the studio with Chris Radwanski to finish tracking Former Belle’s debut full length, ‘Cathedral’ which was released last February. Former Belle is currently working on a B-sides EP that is aimed for a summer release date with more information coming soon.
The Philly dance-punk trio W.C. Lindsay recently released their first full-length album Easy Victim, Charitable Deceptions through Big Footprints Records, and we gotta say it’s a cause for celebration. W.C. Lindsay brings the party as they explore their youth in retrospect and evaluate the present.They are not a group that can be pigeon holed into a single genre, for example the album ranges from ecstatic pop to intricate electro jams to sincere rock ballads and everything in between. What’s even more impressive than their ability to conquer almost every genre under the sun is their ability to do it while still sounding like the same band. While most bands would lose their sound doing what W.C. Lindsay has done, they’ve found a way to stay sonically diverse and consistent all at once.
“Into the Night” opens with epic militant drums as a call to arms for their fellow party troopers to rally. The bands’ indie-electro-pop influences are clearly showcased with upbeat synths and layers of vocal tracks being grounded by anthemic drums. The next track “Kids These Days” is an ode to the youths that has been declared THE song of the summer (by us, right now). Its infectious melody paired with the moombahton inspired beat will be stuck in your head for eternity, in the best way possible.
The album then takes some twists and turns into nostalgia. If you didn’t know that electro-pop-folk-rock was a thing, “Slowly, So Sweet” has proven that it is. We are then transported to the 80s with the track “Kelsey”. It’s about simpler times, driving around in cars with friends “under the age and under the influence”. The nostalgia continues with the acoustic number “Oregon,” a sincere, stripped down song that sounds like Chris Martin could have written it.
The second half of the album begins to explore a slightly darker side of the band. As Lindsay stated in an interview with Red Bull, “The ‘Easy Victim’ half is the more upbeat portion that deals with how it feels to be restless, and young, and to long so intensely for the responsibilities and freedoms that age will afford. The ‘Charitable Deceptions’ half is the darker portion of the record that examines what it means to reach that age that was once so desired, and to find that you only wish to go back to the age of naiveté.” “Hard Youth, Hardly You” might sound like the album’s most uplifting track, but don’t let the music fool you. Lyrically it’s a kind of tongue in cheek criticism of the youth culture. It’s like looking at a picture of yourself when you were a teen wearing an All American Rejects T-shirt and smoking a cigarette because you thought it was edgy. Now that you’re older you can criticize yourself, but you would also give anything to go back to that moment as you were just starting to discover what decent music and alcohol was. The song explodes at the bridge as Richie “Ghost Note” Straub absolutely nails the drums and Lindsay strains,“Let’s get sold, Take my heart but not my soul, I’ll sell when I get old,” the gang vocals responding with a resounding “WHOA”.
The smooth female vocals on the next track “Little Ghost” matched with the contrasting strictly punctuated drums create a head-swaying jam. Some seriously clever lyrics rapped by Lindsay (“I looked to the sky and called on God for guidance, left a voicemail and learned about self-reliance.”) deliver clarity on issues concerning love, broken homes, and teenage mistakes alongside swelling synths and a hip-hop swagger. The final tracks that make up Easy Victim, Charitable Deceptions rely on more straight rock influences than the rest of the album, such as “Finally Learning the Language” and “Hum and Roar” with their distinctive catchy guitar riffs and established drums. “Tree” is also grounded by its rock roots and enhanced with subtle synths. A fantastic mesh of every previous song “Ungrow”, closes out the album with pounding drums, resounding guitars and synths that seem to ebb and flow together to eternity.
You can get the album at the link below! And you should definitely do so because:
a) It’s fantastic.
b) $1 from every album purchased will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
LCM Rating: 8.5/10
With Death By Broomstick the Philly gypsy-punks, OhBree, will swing and sway you into their avant-garde imagination with their dramatic instrumentation ie bright and sassy horns. The album is appropriately titled as it sums up its dark yet fun-loving attitude. The songs on Death By Broomstick are a mix of circus-pop with a punk attitude and a touch of burlesque mysticism that evoke a carefully carefree vibe as the band explores different parts of the gypsy-punk spectrum.
There are appealingly eerie tracks such as “Carefulness” and “Death By Broomstick,” then there are sweeter, more heartfelt jams like “Sweater,” where Andrew Scott declares, “I can make you better than a sweater on a cold and rainy day could ever make you.”
"When I Become a Stranger" is a pleasantly simple acoustic song that allows a break from the mass instrumentation on the rest of the tracks, and allows Scott’s anguished voice to shine through before it begins to warp and echo towards the end, blending into one of our favorite tracks, the harmony rich “Salt”. The layers of synths and vocals supported by the consistently vivacious drums make it an instantly addicting song.
OhBree is a band to watch out for - they put a modern and fun spin on gypsy punk music comparable to legends of the genre such as Motherhead Bug or Golem, mixed with vocal influences from bands like Grizzly Bear and the Front Bottoms. Get the album here!
LCM Score: 7/10