Been messing around with these for a while now. And I’m definitely posting later than most, I get that. But hey, better late than never, right. And plus, I’ve been doing this since 2010. I wasn’t about to miss a year now. So here we go.
#10 Kalle Mattson – Someday the Moon Will Be Gold
One of only two Canadians act in my top ten list this year, Mattson, born in Sault Ste. Marie, put out one of the best examples of a folk rock this album that anyone could ever hope for. No, honestly. If you’re in a band that considers itself in the folk rock genre, “Someday the Moon Will Be Gold” is the epitome of what you should be aiming for. Go listen to it now. I’ll wait.
#09 Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere Else
One of two bands in my year-end list that I actually got to see live during the year. Man, that never happens. Mostly because my year-end list usually includes a lot of bands that would never come up this way at this point in their career. And in this case (and the other), they didn’t, I just happened to luck into seeing them whilst in Houston for my day job. God bless my day job.
#08 Alpine Decline – Go Big Shadow City
This experimental rock duo is currently based out of Beijing, which is where this album was recorded. Their sound is like a frightful whirlpool in the middle of the ocean, a weird, quixotic mixture of buzzed-out psych, folk, and indie rock. Almost ‘sludge folk’, really.
#07 Nap Eyes – Whine Of the Mystic
The other Cancon band in the list, featuring Halifax’s Nigel Chapman as frontman, along with Johs Salter, Seamus Dalton, and Brad Lougheed. The resulting foursome take Nigel Chapman’s incredible songwriting skills, usually slanted more towards the folk genres, and twist and twist and twist it, until what pops out is, well, track four’s title probably sums it up best, a “delirium and persecution paranoia”.
#06 Quilt – Held In Splendor
Quilt is a psych band out of Boston I discovered via a split-EP they did with MMOSS in 2013 called “New Hampshire Freaks”. A three-tracker that resolved into the two bands joining together on the last track for an epic, fifteen-minute jam. Quilt released their very own full-length in January of 2014, the sophomore “Held In Splendor”, and the psych-freakout continued. Anna Fox Rochinski’s voice is the perfect foil for the tweaked-out fuzzed-out rampage of guitars.
#05 Amen Dunes – Love
Damon McMahon is a bit of an enigma. Releases have included spoken word, “harsh folk”, Ethiopian cover tracks, but this album took over a year and a half to record, mix, and master, and feels so much bigger thanks to a variety of musicians that took part in the recording (previous efforts were almost all Damon). The main recording sessions were in Montreal, with Dave Bryant and Efrim Menuck of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I only mention that because it actually had, I believe, a significant influence on the ending ‘vibe’ of the album, a tumultuous, cascading assault of sound, made whole by McMahon’s incredible songwriting skills, and the incredible talent of the musician cast he assembled.
#04 Thee Oh Sees – Drop
Every time I hear this album I just want to grab a guitar and break it over a set of drums. In a good way, of course. TOS has done it again, John Dwyer is a musical genius. Every single damned album they put out, every single damned song, you just want to hug them for what they’ve done for the lo-fi/garage scene.
#03 Warpaint – s/t
I glommed onto Warpaint early in the year, saw them live in Houston where they blew my mind, and I was pretty sure this album would be at or near the top in my year end list. I wasn’t wrong.
#02 War On Drugs – Lost In the Dream
Those opening notes of “Under the Pressure” grab you and pull you in, and then you’re in for a hell of a ride, not just through the opening track, an unusually epic piece at almost nine minutes, but the remainder of the album. Every time Adam strums his guitar, you just want one exactly like it. Heather thinks this album is a little too mainstream for me, but it’s an amazing freaking album from its very beginnings, through its very conclusion.
#01 Ty Segall – Manipulator
My top three of the year actually kept moving a lot, even through these last couple of weeks. Truth is, they’re all pretty close, but upon a final listen, Ty Segall’s “Manipulator” just edges out the other two. Yet another garage-psych effort, it’s actually his seventh studio album. Only the last two have charted, though, seems like more and more people are becoming aware of his incredible talents.