A Musical Journey Through The Year 2014

Ryan Kappy Picture

2014. What a whirlwind of a year it has been. My life was changing in both my professional and personal life so quickly it was at the point where my physical body couldn’t keep up (I may have gained a few pounds along the way). And now the year has come to a close. Along this roller coaster year, there were album releases that I already expected to be great and others I learned to adore. Then there were others that were somewhat disappointing that I held on such high regard. But in the end, I did appreciate every piece of music I listened to, whether it was pop-punk, metalcore, indie, hip-hop, etc., because I embrace having the opportunity to fill my music library with new discoveries every day.

Below are the albums that beat my eardrums the most this past year on my commutes or leisure listening at home. I may have missed some releases and I wish I could make this list much longer but a line must be drawn at some point. They are in no particular order because I personally don’t like to rank albums for the sole fact that they are their own entity and contribution to the ever-growing music world. So without further ado, here are my albums that got me moving both mentally and physically – and hey, maybe they will get you moving to listen as well.



My Top Albums of 2014

 

PUPPUP

The first time I ran into this Canadian quartet, I saw them open up for The Menzingers on their spring tour this past year, and at first I thought they were just another noisy band that I wouldn’t care about after their set. But I came out of that show intrigued and decided to pick up the record. And behold, I was brought into a world of happy-go-lucky punk and fun lyrics that I can never help but belt out no matter where I am at the time. This release will definitely resonate with me and SideOneDummy are lucky to have such a great caliber of a band on their roster.

Listen: “Resevoir”


Against Me!Transgender Dysphoria Blues

I have always been a nonchalant fan of Against Me! yet they never stood out to me too much in the past. Then frontwoman Laura Jane Grace’s transgender story came out and I was intrigued to listen to what the band had in store. A concept album about another man’s transgender story, the album as a whole has an urgency that it must be listened to by not only a music fan, but by everyone to experience the divide that our world is still in regarding the LGBTQ community.

Listen: “FuckMyLife666”


Joyce ManorNever Hungover Again

19:01. That’s all it takes to get hooked on an album that screams teen angst, gives stringy raw guitars, and a sound that resonates with an indie rock vibe. The whole record is a pop-punk journey in a weird way; it’s not your staple pop-punk sound but more of a The Clash influence. This record for me is such an easy listen from front to back, and maybe in the end I will get a heart tattoo to commemorate a treasure of an album.

Listen: “Schley”


Every Time I DieFrom Parts Unknown

This album legitimately slapped me in the face the first time I pressed play. Unbelievable guitar hooks, static screams, ambitious drumming all packed into this soul-sucking masterpiece that got me right back into heavy music again. Every Time I Die never cease to amaze me in that they keep making records that sound more powerful than the one that came before it yet still keep their signature sound. At this point, they are nurturing their sound and a rebirth of the band has been begun.

Listen: “El Dorado”


Run The JewelsRun The Jewels 2

Even though I was very late to this record, I learned that I should have given this hip-hop duo a lot more attention. The first thing I noticed about the album is the stunning production of renowned producer El-P with the plethora of different samples I have never heard before. Let’s not forget about Killer Mike as well as he chimes in at different measures to further discuss certain issues our world faces through fabled metaphors. Other emcees better watch out because RTJ are truly here to take over the game.

Listen: “Blockbuster Night Pt. 1”


Pianos Become The TeethKeep You

Sometimes you need a stylistic change to further explore and prove that you can be versatile with both your music and lyrics. Pianos Become the Teeth did just that, successfully with their latest LP. Absent of screaming duties, the record is filled with subtle vocal delivery but even louder guitar structures that show a barrier-breaking staple for the post-hardcore genre. A powerful release like this one can really demonstrate a band’s stature towards a bright future and Pianos Become The Teeth are on their way to that status.

Listen: “Lesions”


La DisputeRooms of the House

Right when I bought this album the day it came out, I couldn’t help but really study it and find different textures unbeknownst to me. This release has the flow of past LD records but is transformed into a mixture of both soft and loud rock that can’t go unnoticed. Vocalist Jordan Dreyer’s ever-striking vocal delivery has taken a turn as well in that he uses more spoken word tactics to fully get the storied account of two lovers out in the most transparent way. The album as a whole has a distinctive tone to it that tells me that I will be listening to this release for years to come.

Listen: “Woman (reading)”


Manchester OrchestraCOPE

I’ve always been a big fan of Manchester Orchestra so it was no surprise that this explosion of a record would be a part of my top list. Filled with fuzzy & grunge-type licks, the album is a very easy listen and can be praised for the straightforwardness of its hard rock sound. The band released a subtle rendition of the album called HOPE that slowed things down very drastically but in a safe sense that the re-imagination was pulled off. I still have an endearment for HOPE but it won’t amount to the love I have for the eruption that is COPE.

Listen: “Every Stone”


The MenzingersRented World

After the praise of 2012’s impressive album that is On The Impossible Past, I was already convinced that the Scranton, PA quartet would not disappoint on their latest release. The album is either filled with loud punk progressions or quiet melodies that gracefully hit the ears with full intention of catching your attention right away. Personally, this record has heart in all aspects and the band worked diligently to really outdo themselves and leave nothing behind.

Listen: “In Remission”


Code OrangeI Am King

There isn’t a time in my memory bank of actually being afraid to listen to an album. This came to an end in Code Orange’s latest where at first it scared the living crap out of me. The dropping of the “Kids” from the young Pittsburgh hardcore outfit’s name already showed me that the band matured and had a vision of an excruciating sound. The sludge metal riffs, growls and screams, and overall haunting vibe all contribute to this ripper of a release. Beware of your eardrums before turning up this album.

Listen: “My World”



Honorable Mentions

 

Trash TalkNo Peace

The pure definition of ‘80s hardcore punk filled with aggression. Trash Talk are relentless in every release and this one is no different with a raw punk sound reminiscent of Suicidal Tendencies.

Listen: “The Great Escape”


Puig DestroyerPuig Destroyer

Two of my favorite aspects of life in one album: grindcore and baseball. Different topics of baseball whether it’s about certain players, baseball slang, or your fantasy team are presented in the most brutal way possible. If Yasiel Puig approves of the sound, it shows that this album can be embraced whether you’re a baseball or not.

Listen: “Mike Trout”

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New Found GloryResurrection

The pop-punk legends in New Found Glory are back it again and turning it up a notch, especially since they recently became a quartet. Catchy choruses, lick-filled verses, and massive gang vocals show that NFG are continuing to defend pop-punk and take over the world yet again.

Listen: “Stubborn”


’68In Humor and Sadness

After the demise of the beloved The Chariot (Long Live!), frontman Josh Scogin decided to pick up a guitar and bring in drummer Michael McClellan and create a grunge-punk duo of outright noise rock. With sloppy progressions and feedback-filled tracks, the album is a great listen and can help bring you back to the glorious Nirvana days of the ’90s.

Listen: “Track Two: e”


Such GoldThe New Sidewalk

Melodic hardcore laced with indie pop-punk elements throughout this release shows these Rochester, NY rockers in Such Gold that the sky is not the limit. With producer Bill Stevenson stating that “these kids shred balls,” that’s a sign the band are only going to expand on their newfound sound.

Listen: “No Cab Fare”

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