So today I'm kicking it off with 2014 favorites from Tom, who's taste is as good as his band. Hopefully, you've already caught on to Bedford Falls, either through this site or elsewhere. They've been at it for awhile and are far far too under-appreciated. I feel completely assured in saying that if you visit this site or listen to the playlists you will absolutely become a fan. It honestly feels silly that this may be people's way of introduction.
As self described, Bedford Falls are a rock band from South Wales who've been ploughing their particular furrow for almost a decade now. Playing music that owes much to that sweet spot in the 90s when Punk-Rock and Indie-Rock were pretty much two names for the same thing. They ally noise to melody and melancholy in a manner consistent with bands like; Hüsker Dü, Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr., The Posies and Superchunk.
Very apt description, and if you are into Cheap Girls, Failures' Union (see split), or any one of the wave of 90's revival type bands, they are totally in your wheelhouse.
Listen for yourself here
Savings & Loan is my favorite release of their's and one of the best albums out that year, but it's all well worth your attention.
So on to the point, here's Tom's list:
Tom Willecome’s Top Albums of 2014
Wye Oak – Shriek
Dreamy, ethereal pop from Baltimore, Maryland. Like Stevie Nicks singing for the Sugarcubes.
The Notwist – Close To The Glass
The band that Radiohead think they are. Cutting edge rock music, blending elements of Indie-Rock, Kraut Rock and Electronica but with tunes and a fragile beauty.
Bob Mould – Beauty and Ruin
A classic slice of amped up noise pop. Another shining example of the former Husker Du/Sugar frontman’s massive return to form.
New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
The Canadian supergroup returns with another infectious, hook-laden opus full of loud guitars, pumping synths and sweet harmonies.
Solids – Blame Confusion
Punishing, high energy Indie-Rock from this French-Canadian two-piece. Taking all the things you liked about Shoegaze, adding it to all the things you like about punk and attempting to reach terminal velocity.
The Reigning Sound – Shattered
Memphis Garage-Rock veterans take things a little slower. Combining their love of Country and Soul with the stompers that they built their reputation on for an album that feels like a lesson in the subtle art of writing pop music.
Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
Taut, angular, energetic yet teeming with melody. The album you hoped the Pixies were going to make but didn’t.
Hiss Golden Messenger – Lateness of Dancers
You know how when you watch footage of Southern California in the 70s there’s this magical, dreamlike quality to the sunlight? That’s what this swooningly gorgeous Folk-Rock record sounds like.
Ex Hex – Rips
It really does. Three ladies playing a New-Wave/Punk hybrid that owes as much to The Cars as it does The Ramones.
Nina Persson – Animal Heart
Cardigans front lady takes all the stuff that was great about that band and adds even more Disco. Because Disco rules.
J. Mascis – Tied to a Star
Dinosaur Jr. main-man again proves himself just as adept with an acoustic guitar as he is with an electric. Combining delicate arrangements and a sunny pop sensibility with his cracked vocal whine and searing guitar solos.
The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams
More seedy tales and brusque, blue-collar, barroom rock on this return to form from the boys from Brooklyn.
Centro-Matic – Take Pride in Your Long Odds
A fitting swansong for the best ever Indie-Rock band out of Denton. The usual display of lush arrangements, pop hooks and off-kilter lyrics. They’ll be missed.
Cheap Girls – Famous Graves
Rawkus guitars, sing-along choruses and “that” voice combine to make this probably the strongest set of songs yet from these Michigan natives.
The Both – s/t
Ted Leo and Aimee Mann combine to answer the age old question of; “What would it sound like if Ted Leo and Aimee Mann started a band together?”
The answer, my friend, is; smart, energetic and awesome.
Split Single – Fragmented World
Bob Mould/Superchunk/Telekinesis sideman, Jason Narducy returns to centre-stage for the first time in about a decade to provide us with an album of accomplished, intelligent Pop-Rock.
Give – Electric Flower Circus
Washington DC Hardcore Punk upstarts dig into their parents’ old 80s alternative rock records for this jolt of positive energy and emotion. Loud guitars. Big choruses.
Cheatahs – s/t
Huge waves of distorted guitars and a profound love of the pre-Brit Pop Creation Records roster. Pop on your Doc Martens and shake your fringe to this.
Spider Bags – Frozen Letter
A mercurial blend of Garage Punk, Country and Psych Rock. Mixing wistful melancholy ditties, stomping rockers and off-the-wall freak-outs to great effect.
Hospitality – Trouble
If Belle & Sebastian came from New York and had grown up watching Wes Anderson films they probably wouldn’t sound this energetic. Sparkling, witty, off-kilter pop with an unmistakable air of ennui.
Young Conservatives – s/t
Not young. Not conservative. This band hates you and you probably deserve it. Vicious, venomous fits of outraged political Hardcore.
The No Marks – Light of One
Twenty five years ago they’d have called this UK Punk supergroup’s slab of buzzsaw guitars, impassioned vocals and sweet melodies “Melodic Hardcore”. In 2014 I just call it; ace.
Crow Bait – Sliding Through The Halls Of Fate
An odd, yet enticing, mix of Gruff Punk, Indie Rock and Laurel Canyon style Folk Pop.
Ryan Adams – 1984
Ryan Adams likes mid-80s punk rock so much that he went out and made his best record since Heartbreaker in an attempt to replicate it. A genuine thrill.
Ryan Adams – s/t
A love letter to the mid-80s AOR/MOR that he grew up listening to coupled with some of his strongest songwriting in years.