2014 ended up being one of my favorite years for music in a long while. It just seemed like every few weeks there was a new album to dive into and experience. There were times where it felt overwhelming, as if there was so much to listen to I felt ashamed I couldn’t give each album the time it deserved. But, here we are at the end of the year, and here we are tasked with trying to put numbers to the madness. I’ve done my best to put my favorite albums of the year in some kind of order … I hope you find as much to enjoy here as I have.
On December 26th, 2014, Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties played their first ever full-band show at The Paradise in Boston, MA. You can watch the entire set – 36 minutes of songs about getting used to being alone – after the jump.
Frontman Nathan Willett talks about getting loose and chaotic again on Cold War Kids latest record Hold My Home, not overthinking during the writing process, what’s he’s learned from side project French Style Furs, and how a high work ethic has kept the band going strong for 10 years.
Andrew Hozier-Byrne talks about his No. 2 charting debut album, performing on Saturday Night Live, his Irish background, and reflecting on the human experience as honestly as possible.
“Has it really been 10 years?”
That’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot this fall, because the autumn of 2004 was one of the most important seasons of my life. It was my most paramount musically formative stage. I’d always loved music, even leading up to that season: listening to the radio, making cassette tape copies of my brother’s CDs, playing the piano, jamming the few albums I owned repeatedly in the afternoons after school, downloading tracks off Limewire and making mix CDs. But I never fully understood the impact a song or album could have on my life until the fall of 2004. Until Futures.
Lead singer Jordan Pundik discusses New Found Glory’s transition to becoming a four-piece, the cathartic nature of latest album Resurrection, and what still excites him about making music after 17 years.
Andrew McMahon explains why his new Wilderness project is the most focused thing he’s done in years, touches on the themes of storytelling and fatherhood, and unpacks his lifelong obsessions with dreams and the sky.
My relationship with Yellowcard begins over a decade ago and the musical connection and ensuing friendship now runs deeper and longer than many of my “in real life” relationships. On October 7th, 2014 the band will be releasing their most ambitious album to date, Lift a Sail. I had the chance to sit down and talk with lead singer Ryan Key about everything that went into crafting this album, the stories and inspiration behind the musical direction, and so much more.
Frontman Mike Kerr talks about the natural origins of Royal Blood, how not having a guitarist is similar to making a pizza, and what the band’s first time in the studio was like recording their debut.
I still remember the first time I heard American Idiot in full. It was my 14th birthday, and I’d been waiting for the better part of two months to finally give the album a spin. The record dropped on September 21, but as was the norm when I was young, broke, and trying to cut back on downloading, I often had to wait awhile to buy CDs or ask for them as gifts. Such was the case with Green Day’s first full-length album in four years, which I scrawled on my birthday list between other 2004 albums like Keane’s Hopes and Fears and Sister Hazel’s Lift.
Jean-Philip Grobler chats about his lifelong musical journey, from a boys choir in South Africa to commercial writing in New York City to then starting St. Lucia, as well as the tension of his ‘80s influences and what his version of perfection sounds like.
Kimbra discusses the unusual influences behind her second record The Golden Echo, why songwriting is like making a tapestry, and the importance of balancing the technical with the creative.
Guitarist Randy Strohmeyer talks about reuniting for Finch’s first album in over nine years, why he doesn’t like What It Is to Burn being referred to as nostalgic, and how the band always tries to keep things mysterious and tongue in cheek.
Frontman Adam Duritz shares how Counting Crows were reenergized on the new album Somewhere Under Wonderland, why it’s important to play cover songs, how he finally made peace with his mental illness, and the reason the band has lasted so long.
Jack Antonoff discusses starting Bleachers, the lyrical and musical ides behind debut album Strange Desire, writing with others, and why it’s hard for some people to accept a person being in two bands at the same time.
Frontman Christo Bowman talks about the process behind Bad Suns’ debut album Language & Perspective, not following trends by making your own path, and why chemistry is the most valuable thing to have in a band.
Guitarist Christian McAlhaney compares his experiences in Anberlin and Acceptance, remembers first joining the band and fitting in right away, recalls working on Dark Is the Way and Vital, and clarifies why being a touring musician can be simultaneously joyous and difficult.
Lead singer Stephen Christian discusses Anberlin’s final album Lowborn, the excitement of the first two records, how being in the band taught him not to be scared to fail, and why leaving behind a legacy of responsibility is important.
Drummer Nate Young explains why 2014 will be Anberlin’s last year, sheds light on those weird album covers, reflects upon Cities and New Surrender, and talks about how starting in the band at the age of 15 molded him into the man he is today.
Frontman Bear Rinehart explains the personal struggles behind Needtobreathe’s fifth effort Rivers in the Wasteland, why this is their most vulnerable album yet, and the irony in seeing the music industry come to embrace the folk-rock Southern sound.