Staff Top 25 Albums of 2014

The War On Drugs - Courtesy of Rubato Photo

The folks at have a quite a diversity in their music tastes. Obviously we have to, in order to fairly cover the variety of music that hits our city on a daily basis. Some of us have favorite genres while others of us are all over the map of musical likes. 

Who were our favorites of 2014? Check out the list!


1) Beck - Morning Phase

2) The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream (View photos from April of 2014)

3) Kishi Bashi - Lighght (Watch the video Kishi Bashi made for us at Bunbury)

4) Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams (View photos from November of 2014)

5) St. Vincent - St. Vincent (View photos from April of 2014)

6) Spoon - They Want My Soul

7) The Wytches- Annabel Dream Reader

8) Julian Casablancas- Tyranny

9) Old Crow Medicine Show - Remedy (View photos from Buckle Up)

10) Alt-J - This Is All Yours

11) St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Half The City (View photos from MPMF)

12) Sharon Van Etten - Are We There (View photos at The Taft Theatre)

13) First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

14) Saintseneca - Dark Arc (View photos from MPMF)

15) Sturgill Simpson - Metamoderns Sounds In Country Music (Enter to win tickets to see him on 1/31)

16) Strand Of Oaks - HEAL (Check out our interview in August)

17) Jenny Lewis - The Voyager

18) elbow - the take off and landing of everything

19) tUnE-yArDs - Nikki Nack

20) Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound - Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound (View the video they made for us at Buckle Up)

21) Twin Forks- Twin Forks (View photos from April)

22) Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues 

23) Justin Townes Earle - Single Mothers (Enter to win tickets to see him on 3/10)

24) Prawn - Kingfisher (Check out our interview in July)

25) Morrissey- World Peace is none of your business

Go check out the top 25 of 2014 on Spotify HERE!


The War On Drugs, Lost in The Dream...
By: Nat Tracey-Miller  

Philadelphia outfit The War On Drugs finally realized their full potential on this year's, Lost in the Dream, the gigantic, sweeping statement of purpose they've been gunning for since their 2008 debut. Everything is as hazy and saturated as the picture of leader Adam Granduciel on the cover, colors bleeding together at the edges. It's a record of majestic, cascading analog synthesizer washes and close-miked intimacy (the hard "k" of "spark" near the end of the title track gives me goosebumps every time).

It's a record where devastating lyrics are buried under piles of warm tube amplifiers. It feels at once hospitably familiar and desolately lonely, the sound of "a burning man trying to keep the ship/From turning over/Again."

Go check out Nat's top 10 of 2014 HERE


Top Ten List of 2014, The Struggle is Real
By: Jared Bowers 

2014 proved to be a tough year to come up with just 10 releases that I absolutely adored, let alone a single album that would truly top that list. It’s a 3- or 4-way tie, and even that’s difficult to do.

Gates’ Bloom & Breathe is the best full-length debut of a band that I’ve heard in a long, long time. It’s an album that was years in the making, and every track is a testament to not just what this band is capable of now, but what they’ve yet to accomplish. It’s a big, beautiful, emotive as hell record that I’ve listened to more times than I can count.

My love for Prawn’s Kingfisher should come as no surprise to anyone, but man, it’s just an album that keeps getting better. With the release of two incredible b-sides from the same recording session, and their reintroduction into the tracklist, the album has come to life in a whole new way, and that couldn’t be more exciting. Just an absolutely jaw-droppingly good album.

Pianos Become The Teeth was always going to be the wildcard, but I’ll be the first to admit that even as I lamented their drastic change in sound, I’ve been so enthralled with Keep You that it almost hurts to go back to their previous albums. It’s a melancholy exercise in grief and acceptance, but it’s also one of the most wonderfully realized albums to come out in the past decade.

Check out Jared's Top Ten of 2014 on Spotify HERE


Spoon’s They Want My Soul Tops the List for 2014
By: Chris Reebie

Spoon has crafted some of the most undeniably ear-friendly pop songs of the 21st century. Certifiable toe-tappers too numerous to name. They make tracks that serve as the indie rock equivalent of an oxymoron - radio-friendly tunes that most likely won’t end up on the radio.

Up until the release of 2010’s Transference, they’d either been in the process of recording or in the midst of touring for the better part of the last decade. Post-Transference, they decided to take a break from the band to focus on their own, individual interests. And damned if they didn’t do just that.

Front man and main creative force Britt Daniel formed an entirely new offering called Divine Fits with Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs-fame. They released a critically-acclaimed album, toured a bit, did the late-night circuit. Bassist Rob Pope released an album with his other band The Get Up Kids, got married, had a little Get Up Kid of his own (a.k.a. a baby), and opened a bar in Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood. Drummer Jim Eno focused on producing, working on records for Heartless Bastards, Turbo Fruits and Tennis to name a few. Keyboardist, guitarist and percussionist Eric Harvey went the solo route, releasing his own album titled Lake Disappointment in 2012 recorded partially in Jim Eno’s Austin-based Public Hi Fi studio. All in all, it was a productive break.

Lucky for us though, they reconvened after the hiatus and released their eighth full-length album - They Want My Soul - in August 2014.

It’s an album that feels fast, nimble and calculated. Well rested, if you will. A sleek offering - probably their most accessible to date - with a pervasive, driving beat throughout. They Want My Soul is chock full of the type of stick-to-your-ribs riffs that have become Spoon’s trademark. Songs like “Rent I Pay”, “Do You”, “They Want My Soul”, and “Let Me Be Mine” have been rattling around between people’s eardrums for some time now. More sophisticated tracks like “Inside Out” and “New York Kiss” serve as the songs that tend to sink in a bit later. The ones that demand repeat listens, eventually becoming standouts.

If there is one negative, it might be the lack of that one true heart-shredding song the last few albums have worn on their sleeves. On Transference, it was “Out Go the Lights”. On Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, it was “Black Like Me”. Gimme Fiction had “I Summon You”. And so on, and so on. Amidst a sea of Britt Daniel’s howl-filled, beat-driven tracks, these were the songs that served as the anchors on previous offerings. But on They Want My Soul, it seems the focus has shifted more from what they want from others, to what others want from them.

And remember, this is the band who prophetically stated on their last album: 

I grew up in a supermarket, it was there they told me

If they can't find me they won't leave without me, now or ever

Good advice for a band to give prior to a hiatus. Britt Daniel and company couldn’t be found for a while, but if They Want My Soul is what it sounds like when they finally resurface, there’s no reason anyone should ever assume they’re not worth a little bit of a wait.

Check out Chris's top 10 picks of 2014 on Spotify HERE


Ryan Adams as My #1 of 2014
By: Natalya Daoud

Ryan Adams’ latest LP, Ryan Adams, is a mixture of the two different sides of Adams. That is the mellow and more intimate side and then there is the electric guitar strumming, 80s rock ballad Adams. Compared to his previous albums like, 1984, Cardinology, Ashes and Fire, etc., he really illustrates his range of musical ability. Lyrics such as, “Lying in the bed at night/ Feeling like I’m somebody else...”

My thoughts inside my head get lost inside the haunted house, really sucks a person into his remarkable songwriting skills. His outstanding songwriting skills and his amazing musical ability really puts this album as one of the best albums of 2014.

Check out Natalya's Top Ten of 2014 on Spotify HERE


Strand of Oaks at MOTR Tonight 

Strand of Oaks' - aka Tim Showalter's - Dead Oceans debut HEAL has been hailed as "moving [and] emotionally harrowing" by Pitchfork as well as praised by NPR as the "perfect windows-down song" and one of their 50 Favorite Songs of 2014 (So Far). Strand of Oaks are touring with a full band...

Gardens Open for Prawn at Rohs Street Cafe 

On July 25th, at Rohs Street Café, 5 bands are set to take the stage for what promises to be a supremely fun night of some of the best post-rock, emo, rock, and pop-punk to hit the town in quite some time.  While New Jersey’s Prawn will be headlining, Chicago’s Gardens are set to open the...