WTJX’s Year End Best-of List

The crew at WTJX has come together and collectively compiled a list of some of their favorite songs from 2014 along with their commentary.

The list (by Artist) is in no particular order:

Kate Tempest
Goat
Sylvan Esso
Rubblebucket
Arms and Sleepers
Owen Pallett
Xiu Xiu
St. Vincent
Aphex Twin
The Hotelier”
Rich Gang” No audio link
Todd Terje
The War on Drugs
Dean Blunt
Mac Demarco
Cold War Kids
Andy Stott
Schoolboy Q No commentary
Run the Jewels No commentary
The Orwells No commentary
Isaiah Rashad
Future Islands


Kate Tempest
Kate TempestEverybody Down
Heavily-accented South London poetess releases a rap concept album about some kids named Becky, Harry and Pete
Youtube link

Goat Commune
Goat Commune
Swedish masked psychedelic rock band: fuzz guitar meets African tribal music and B-52ish vocals. Dance to this with your cowbell in a basement lit with candles.
Youtube link

SYLVAN_ESSO-self_titled-900x900
Sylvan EssoSylvan Esso
Lead singer of Mountain Man + DJ = rad vocals and catchy beats. Complex use of elementary school style-rounds. Cool/unique/raw sound.
Youtube link

Rubblebucket
RubblebucketSurvival Sounds
Indie-pop dance jam band from Brooklyn complete with badass female lead and horn section. Sometimes swishy, sometimes dancy, always good.
Youtube link

Arms and Sleepers
Arms and SleepersSwim Team
The new album from the New England-based ambient/trip-hop duo. A mixture of relaxing, R&B-influenced vibrations and jumpy electronic “blorps” and beats. A chilled tidal wave worth listening to from start to end.
Youtube link

owen-pallett-1400181452
Owen PallettIn Conflict
Canadian indie/chamber-pop singer-songwriter. Stirring violin arrangements and some very personal, very poetic lyrics by Owen. Good for when you feel like dousing yourself in glitter, being sad, but dancing like hell anyways.
Youtube link

Xiu Xiu
Xiu XiuAngel Guts: Red Classroom
American experimental artrock band headed by Jamie Stewart. Xiu Xiu’s return to their really dissonant and noisy origins mixed in with the pop-ish music they’ve been making recently. Essential 2014 listen for anyone that enjoys noise rock or experimental music.
Youtube link

St_Vincent_artwork
St. VincentSt. Vincent
Call me a populist Pitchfork bandwagoning poseur if you must (actually please don’t, though, because that’s mean). An expert blend of electronic sampling with shredding guitars and Annie Clark’s distinctive, consistently stunning vocals. Ranging from 8-bit studded electro-freakouts to perfectly crafted rock-ballads, “St. Vincent” is simply triumphant.
Youtube link

Aphex_twin_syro
Aphex TwinSyro
Although he might be a bit cultish, the incredible drum programming and acid techno appeal of Syro makes it one of Richard James’ best albums to date. If you get a chance to see the gear list that James used on this, it’s absolutely insane. No normal person would be able to make this kind of music, and fortunately, Richard D. James is not normal.
Soundcloud link

The Hotelier
The HotelierHome, Like Noplace There Is
An eclectic blend of post-hardcore, emo, and punk with all your favorite DIY sensibilities. This album came out of nowhere earlier this year and delivered a melodic and emotional journey through everything you hate.
Youtube link

Rich_Gang_Young_Thug_Birdman_Rich_Homie_Quan-front-large
Rich Gang (Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, and Birdman)Tha Tour Pt. 1
“She just want me to keep them lies all to myself,
and she gon help me like she Santa elves” – Thug

Todd Terje
Todd TerjeIt’s Album Time
With groovy, vibrant sounds, and ongoing space vibes, It’s Album Time is a sophisticated dance of the Neo-Disco style. A wonderful debut album of an already veteran producer.
Youtube link

Lost in the Dream
The War on Drugs – Lost in The Dream
Such an obvious choice, it almost seems cliché. This dreamy record seems so familiar, yet so distinct. The influence are apparent but The War on Drugs are able to include wondrous layers of sound that continue surprise me with each listen.
Youtube link

deanblunt2-1_1415211032
Dean BluntBlack Metal
Probably Blunt’s most accessible album to date, Black Metal combines hazy guitar melodies with Blunt’s serenading voice, made all the better in contrast to the breathy female vocals of Inga Copeland and Joanne Robertson. Don’t get too lost in the sounds to miss lyrics like “Ridin’ through these streets, strapped up with my Nina,” (Track 6, “Molly & Aquafina”). What you’d want it to sound like if you and your boo made an album together.
Last.FM link

Mac Demarco
Mac DemarcoSalad Days
Talk about summer anthem. Don’t think anyone could resist Demarco’s simple yet reflective lyrics and catchy guitar tunes. Kiki (if they’re still dating?) is a lucky girl.
Youtube link

coldwarhomelp
Cold War KidsHold My Home
The slightly-angry “indie rock” soundtrack to some sort of apocalypse. Will play in the back of my mind when post-apocalyptic me becomes a looter and lives in solitude.
Youtube link

Andy Stott
Andy StottFaith in Strangers
Creepily beautiful, this is one of my personal favorites that I’ve played over and over again the past few months. It’s almost like doing drugs, except without the drugs part.
Soundcloud link

Schoolboy-q-oxymoron-deluxecover
Schoolboy QOxymoron
Youtube link

RunTheJewelsRTJ2
Run the JewelsRun the Jewels 2
Soundcloud link

The Orwells
The OrwellsDisgraceland
Youtube link

Isaiah Rashad
Isaiah RashadCilvia Demo
Forget Kendrick or Ab-soul (well, don’t forget them they still rock), Isaiah Rashad has stolen my heart with this project. Putting Chattanooga on the map, Cilvia Demo does love, shoutouts Outkast, and has the best hook of 2014.
Youtube link

Future Islands
Future IslandsSingles
After releasing the excellent Singles, Future Islands rescheduled their show at The Southern here in Charlottesville to perform on Letterman – and what a performance it was! Frontman Samuel T. Herring’s enthusiasm and passion blew away David Letterman and just about everyone watching, and ultimately helped propel a great but somewhat underrecognized band into the limelight.

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