It’s that time of year when a lot of music listeners reflect on the releases of the year, or in most cases, do a Google search for which albums they liked actually got released in 2014. By this time, all of our favorites have already sunk into permanent rotation within our cerebral cortexes and have lost their place in temporal history. But here at NerdGlow we’re up for the challenge of laying our neural tissue out flat before you. Not only did we limit ourselves to that arbitrary magic ’10’, to make things even more challenging, we attempted (for the most part) to describe these aural experiences within 10 words or less. This should save you the precious seconds it takes to CTRL-T your way to YouTube, only to end up listening to something you hate. You’ll thank us later.
Mimicking Birds – Eons: Ethereal sonic auras capable of inducing Stendhal Syndrome
Sleeping At Last – Atlas: There are thirty songs on this album. Thirty.
Mastodon - Once More Around the Sun: A veritable anthology of riffitude. Yes, riffitude.
Circa Survive – Descensus: Heavy subjects tackled with a voice steeped in teenage angst makes it all seem just a little easier.
Tides of Man - Young and Courageous: The liveliest of bass lines coupled with guitar tones dripping with more emotion than a tear from Mother Theresa herself.
PRyhme – PRhryme: Diction as sick as mothers with Münchhausen by proxy– or something.
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – IX: They’re just as good as they’ve always been, again.
Grieves – Winter and the Wolves: Everything that ever dwelled within you that needed to be said, but probably wasn’t. You’ll also be asking where your mitt is, cause this shit is catchy.
Mogwai -Rave Tapes: Ever wanted to feel like you were on drugs, without actually taking drugs?
Sage Francis - Copper Gone: A young Santa Claus rapped his way right out of asking what kids want for presents at your neighborhood mall for holiday seasons to come.
Tweens – Tweens: They just sound like they are having so much fun.
together PANGEA – Badillac: Badass, rough, and polished while being poppy- it’s for everyone.
TacocaT – NVM: Often hilarious- an entire song about surfin’ the ‘crimson wave’
Spoon – They Want My Soul: I love Spoon, and they most certainly love me back.
Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty: I dare you to try to understand the first listen.
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2: Everything you love about these two, turned up to 11.
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days: The mature record you definitely didn’t expect from this goofball.
King Tuff – Black Moon Spell: The most obvious and satisfying evolution with classic rock riffs.
Merchandise – After The End: The best lost record from the 80s on THE 4AD.
Alvvays – Alvvays: This record makes me feel things… All of the things.
Spoon – They Want My Soul: Breaking out of character: Spoon’s most punchy, direct and romantic.
Courtney Barnett – The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas: Aussie, Aussie, awesome slacker rock with painter’s eye for detail.
Alvvays – Alvvays: Refreshing indie album about marriage, party police and drowned boyfriends.
Ex Hex – Rips: Great power pop album that begs to be heard live.
Kevin Morby – Still Life: A ramblin’ and travelin’ rock album indebted to 1970’s Dylan.
Nikki Lane – All or Nothin’: The modern honky tonk queen, with production by Dan Auerbach.
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days: An unexpectedly mature album from indie rock’s biggest class clown.
The Number Ones – The Number Ones: Irish punk power pop band reminiscent of The Exploding Hearts.
The Memories – Touched by an Angel: The Memories album I’ve been wanting: less drugs, more romance.
Habibi – Habibi: Catchy girl group off Burger Records that shakes and strolls.
Swans - To Be Kind: Two hours of a painfully slow decline into lunacy
Nothing – Guilty of Everything: When a hardcore band has a Xanax dependency
..And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – IX: Not quite rock, not quite goth, surprisingly not British
Mogwai – Rave Tapes: Not enough vocoder, but plenty of ironic track titles
Antemasque – Antemasque: Non-hallucinatory Mars Volta songs. Pose in front of mirror? Sure
Diarrhea Planet – Aliens in the Outfield: If Weezer made pop-punk songs about masturbating and booty calls
Scott Walker and sunn o))) – Soused: I’ll let you know when I’ve figured this one out
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes: Thom Yorke being Thom Yorke. Only available on BitTorrent?
Wolves in the Throne Room – Celestite: A cross between Black metal with no percussion and the Cosmos (1980) soundtrack
Lantlos – Melting Sun: Manufactured Synesthesia. Prog metal with Duncan Sheik vocals
Black Monolith – Passenger: Crvsty as fvck. D-beat metal with better song structure
††† (Crosses) - †††: Everything Chino touches turns to gold. He must be stopped.
Invent, Animate – Everchanger: I was not at all prepared for what I was about to listen to when I first listened to Everchanger. This album has potential to become a metalcore classic.
Intervals – A Voice Within: I think adding a vocalist to their lineup was the best decision Intervals ever made. This album is so refreshing.
Forevermore – Telos: I was a bit worried when the band changed singers, but I clearly had no reason to fear. The new singer is great and the songs are even better than on previous albums.
Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together: I was completely blown away by this album. It’s non-stop heavy from beginning to end.
Red Seas Fire – Confrontation: I’ve been following this band since the beginning and they get better and better with every release. Red Seas Fire is a riff machine that can’t be stopped.
Affiance – Blackout: Affiance has come a long way from their first album. With a new matured sound, they may have finally found their footing in the industry.
Animals as Leaders – The Joy of Motion: No one in the industry plays guitar like Tosin Abasi. No one. Period.
Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun: Mastodon continues to deviate farther from their metal roots, but this album is a big improvement from their previous release, The Hunter.
Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails: I’ve never been a fan of death metal but there’s just something about this album that keeps me coming back.
PVRIS – White Noise: One of these things is not like the other. I can’t listen to metal all the time, I guess.
Swans – To Be Kind: Swans will make you masturbate with your own tears.
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2: Hip-hop that’s “iller than a nun in a cum shot.”
YOB - Clearing the Path to Ascend: Satan makes love to this exquisitely composed metal.
Future Islands – Singles: Brooding, earnest, soul filled synth-pop wearing mom jeans.
Death Grips – Government Plates: Aggro-rap that’ll dick slap you and you’ll like it.
Perfume Genius – Too Bright: Moody synth-pop slathered in glitter.
Andy Stott – Faith in Strangers: A creepy electro boner for the modern goth.
Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal: Noisy housecats perform chaotically articulate indie punk
Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron: Self-aware ego rap from a previously drug dealing southern Californian.
Pharmakon – Bestial Burden: Terrifyingly titillating trauma noise.
A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent: Genre-defying, complex songs; joyous jangle coupled with harmonies
Spoon – They Want My Soul: A fantastic band that just keeps improving with time
Alvvays – Alvvays: Hey Hey, marry me Molly Rankin if Archie doesn’t work
The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers: Catchy melodic power pop related masterfully by Canada’s best tunesmiths
Cymbals Eat Guitars – LOSE: The most coherent song structures yet from these New Jerseyans
D’Angelo – Black Messiah: For once, an unbelievably hyped record lives up to it
The War On Drugs – Lost in the Dream: Moments here among the most cathartic in 2014 music
Run The Jewels – Run the Jewels 2: Pristine production, slick beats, immaculate verses, charismatic MCs, ‘nuff said!
Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else: Nice to see an already great band solidifying their sound
Pujol – KUDGE: Life-affirming garage rock from a rising Nashville star