Alex’s Top Albums of 2014

Posted: by Alex

1) The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There

I’ve never heard anything as emotionally gripping as this album. Right from the beginning you can tell it’s going to be a powerhouse. The album touches on heavy topics such as depression, suicide, misogyny, and gender dysphoria in a way that’s so simple and easy to relate to your own experiences.

Standout Track: Dendron

2) Frameworks – Loom

The looming purple clouds and the title of the record give off the overall vibe of the album early on. For a screamo record, it starts soft, with a soothing intro, before belting into the rough title track. Loom is characterized by harsh, screamed vocals and drums yet guitar sounds that are almost calming. Almost.

Standout Track: Agreeable Thoughts

3) Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Laura Jane Grace is the most talked about woman in punk. The outpouring of support she received for coming out almost rivals the support she received for creating this stunningly personal, yet eerily understandable album.

Standout Track: Transgender Dysphoria Blues

4) Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again

Screw defending pop punk. This album doesn’t associate itself with that niche of pop punk bands, but blows all of them away. Fun, summery hooks are abound here, complemented by just as silly, sometimes semi-serious lyrics.

Standout Track: In the Army Now

5) Cayetana – Nervous Like Me

A band consisting of three women from Philly who didn’t know how to play their instruments when they started, this is the album I never knew I needed. The catchy vocals and groovy basslines immediately hook you in and keep you captivated.

Standout Track: Dirty Laundry

6) Free Throw – Those Days Are Gone

If you grew out of pop-punk but miss finger-pointing, this album is perfect for you. A quintessential “emo revival” album, the lyrical content on this album is filled with relationship drama that anyone can understand.

Standout Track: What Day Is It, October?

7) Pianos Become the Teeth – Keep You

I have nothing to say here. This album is just too sad to put into words. The band’s complete departure from screamed vocals, while a huge risk, paid off, as this is clearly the band’s most stunning release, coupled with songs that carry an emotional weight much greater than typical “emo” bands, focusing almost entirely on death and moving on from it.

Standout Track: Repine

8) Hostage Calm – Die on Stage

This album is the real Punk Goes 80’s. The catchy, punk vibes from the band’s first two albums are here, coupled with a beautifully poppy 70s/80s atmosphere that the vocals capture extraordinarily well. RIP.

Standout Track: 12/31

9) The Menzingers – Rented World

Once you stop comparing this to the band’s previous two efforts, this album is phenomenal. The record contains some of the Menzingers finest tracks and some of their worst, but overall proves yet again that the band is one of the best in punk around.

Standout Track: Rodent

10) Braid – No Coast

For a band that spent 15 years away, my first instinct is to say it feels like no time has passed. No Coast takes everything that the members of Braid learned in those years away and rolled it up into one, stellar “return to form” (god I hate that phrase).

Standout Track: Bang!

Honorable Mentions:
Prawn – Kingfisher
Somos – Temple of Plenty
Muscle & Bone – Peace & Light
The Jazz June – After the Earthquake
Pup – S/T