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2014 | Ryan’s Top Albums of the Year

Well folks it’s that time of year again whether you like it or not. Some people dread the annual top lists of things but I really dig ’em. Mostly because it provides a chance to be introduced to something you may have missed that year, or be reminded that you should have listened to everyone saying how awesome that album is and how you need to hear it. There was so much great music in 2014 and it made it very hard to keep to my list of ten best albums for the year, but I persevered and sorted out my favorites.

In this day and age of Spotifys and Pandoras it can be hard to focus on the entirety of a full-length album, but I promise that when you stop for a moment and listen to a musician’s work from start to finish you will more than likely be pleasantly surprised. I have listened to these 10 albums listed below from front to back (and back again) many times. They may be in order for the sake of the almighty list…but I love them all equally. I do hope you enjoy.


10. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

This is what true country music sounds like. The Kentucky born singer-songwriter’s star was ablaze this year, hitting all the late night talk shows and performing for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. Give this album to a friend and they will know how much you love them.


9. We Were Promised Jetpacks – Unravelling

Unravelling is intense and raw and will leave you in a glass case of emotion. The Scottish band’s third album is a slow-burner and you won’t notice that the songs have you trapped until it’s too late, and you’ll be fine with that.


8. BLXPLTN- Black Cop Down

No other album in 2014 captures the year more perfectly than BLXPLTN’s debut, Black Cop Down. The Austin, TX trio shine a screamingly bright, electro-punk light on the social injustice happening all around us. Their music is a true reminder why the punk-rock genre exists. Put this on loud …rage…rock…repeat!


7. Shakey Graves – And the War Came

Well…Alejandro Rose-Garcia is a man on a mission. That mission is to make sure the world knows about his alter-ego Shakey Graves. With the release of And the War Came, and a non-stop tour schedule, everyone is catching on.


6. Greyhounds– Accumulator

You need a soulful and funky kick in the pants? If the answer is yes (and why wouldn’t it be) then the Greyhounds, Austin’s purveyors of soul-funk pants kicking, have just what you need. The Texas duo create music that makes New Englanders feel like they are from the South.



The six members of  Wisconsin’s PHOX all grew up together and were friends long before being in a band crossed their minds. You know how you talk about forming a band with your friends? They actually did it, and their fantastic debut album has taken them from show openers to headliners in less than a year.


4. Shovels & Rope – Swimmin’ Time

The South Carolina husband and wife duo are the hardest working band on the road, and Michael and Cary Ann’s sophomore album is a reflection of that hard work. Both joyful and mournful, Swimmin’ Time takes you to dark places but makes sure you are comforted along the way.


3. Nikki Lane- All or Nothin’

Outlaw-country rebel Nikki Lane joined forces with Dan Auerbach to help create her sophomore album, which was released in May, and the partnership paid off big time. All or Nothin’ is what Bonnie and Clyde would have listened to while speeding away from the scene of the crime.


2. Royal Blood – Royal Blood

Listen to that sound! That kick your teeth in and turn you upside-down sound is created by just two people! The UK duo have just been hailed as Dave Grohl’s favorite new band and they are hitting the road together next year. That’s how good these guys are people. Their debut album rules.


1. Jack White – Lazzaretto

I simply can’t stop listening to this album. Jack White is rock n’ roll.


  1. Shakey Graves is a really great one man band. I love it. Greyhounds are vintage all the way perfect recording. Shovels and Rope sing so well together. These are my picks from this list…Of course most everything Jack puts out is far above the bar as well.

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