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:
Arms and Sleepers
Rich Gang” No audio link
The War on Drugs
Cold War Kids
Schoolboy Q No commentary
Run the Jewels No commentary
The Orwells No commentary
Kate Tempest – Everybody Down
Heavily-accented South London poetess releases a rap concept album about some kids named Becky, Harry and Pete
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.
Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso
Lead singer of Mountain Man + DJ = rad vocals and catchy beats. Complex use of elementary school style-rounds. Cool/unique/raw sound.
Rubblebucket – Survival Sounds
Indie-pop dance jam band from Brooklyn complete with badass female lead and horn section. Sometimes swishy, sometimes dancy, always good.
Arms and Sleepers – Swim 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.
Owen Pallett – In 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.
Xiu Xiu – Angel 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.
St. Vincent – St. 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.
Aphex Twin – Syro
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.
The Hotelier – Home, 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.
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 – It’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.
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.
Dean Blunt – Black 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.
Mac Demarco – Salad 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.
Cold War Kids – Hold 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.
Andy Stott – Faith 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.
Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2
The Orwells – Disgraceland
Isaiah Rashad – Cilvia 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.
Future Islands – Singles
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.