My Favorite Albums of 2014

2014 has been a heck of a year. My daughter was born, I left an agency job, I freelanced for seven months and ended up joining a killer startup. Through it all, I listened to a ton of music. Here are my favorite records of 2014, in no particular order.

Manchester Orchestra - Cope/Hope

COPE is driving, loud, and tons of fun. The best rock record that came out this year in my opinion. HOPE was a pleasant surprise as a companion album, and offers a different take on the same songs. I even ended up liking a few of the mellow versions more than the COPE versions.

Real Estate - Atlas

Surfy, summery, dreamy tunes. I love this record and the way it makes me feel like I'm skateboarding down a quiet street on a July morning, drinking a cold brew and wearing cutoffs (great mental picture, no?).

Damien Jurado - Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

Whatever Jurado and Swift are doing down at National Freedom studio, they need to keep it up. This spacy, psychodelic twist on Jurado's music has resulted in one of his best albums yet. Powerful stuff, and "Silver Joy" is one of my favorite ballads of the year.

Mimicking Birds - EONS

Fellow Portlanders release a super moody and dark album that was quickly one of my favorites this year. Memorabilia is a strong opening track that sets the tone for the rest of the songs, and it holds together so well.

Kye Kye - Fantasize

Another fun band from the Pacific Northwest, Kye Kye brings some ambient, electronic pop into the mix. Honest Affection is one of my favorite pop songs of this year.

Copeland - Ixora

I've been a long time Copeland fan, and was covering songs like "I'll Take Care of You" and "Coffee" back when I was 18 and learning how to croon to impress the ladies. This new album picks up where You Are My Sunshine left off, and does it incredibly well.

The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream

This album is epic. The guitar tones are perfect, the drums just keep driving, and the songs are some new classics. It's an incredible release, and I can't wait to see these guys play through it live. Just, wow.

Phox - Phox

Chamber pop at it's best from Baraboo, Wisconsin. I've been a fan of them long before this debut release, and I'm super excited they've found a home on Partisan. Monica Martin's voice is tremendous, and the songs are incredibly inventive.

Son Lux - Original Music From and Inspired By: The Disappearnance of Eleanor Rigby

This album is quiet, moving, and perfectly accompanies the film it was written for. Just like the film, it'll bring tears to your eyes.

Tweedy - Sukierae

I love Jeff Tweedy, so this was a no brainer. Spencer is a terrific drummer, and the songwriting and production on this album is perfect. It doesn't feel as long as it is, which is probably the best thing about it. And yes, it sounds damn good on 180 gram vinyl.

Zach Winters - Monarch

Really wonderful record from Winters, with beautiful falsetto and delicate instrumentation. If you're in the mood for some music that'll take you away to a different place, this is your album.

First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

The Söderberg sisters are a dynamic duo, from songwriting to their harmonies (which are perfect, btw). This album feels like a classic already, and they've tightened up everything they do with this release.