Feature image from Joseph Lawn.
This year as you may have noticed we here at B.G.M. decided to get together and collectively put together a site-wide Best of List. It was a lot of fun and a really great way for us to further build a sense of community amongst all of our writers. To give a little insight, we asked everyone to submit their top 10 albums for the year. These submissions were also assigned a point value to determine it’s rank with the list, and lastly they were voted on to determine their final spot. The list really proved how great it is to have such a diverse tastes amongst our staff. Initially, the list included almost 300 hundred albums that were than narrowed down to just over 100. While we feel that our list does encompass the overall tastes and vibes that we are proud to be a part of, Jon and I just wanted to mention a few other albums that we loved, but didn’t think would make the site wide list. – Isaac
While I am very proud of our site wide list, I ultimately decided not to submit some of my personal favorite albums. I knew that because of the point system these albums would eventually get cut from the list and because I enjoyed these albums so much I secretly did not want to subject them to being cut or being ranked. For me all the albums listed here are too special to be ranked and should be valued and appreciated on an individual basis. – Jon
In no particular order here are a few additional albums that we recommend checking out if you haven’t already.
Isaac and Jon’s Favorite Albums of 2014:
He Whose Ox Is Gored – Rumors
It seems like I waited a decade for new material from the Seattle based He Whose Ox Is Gored (it was only like three years) and Rumors was totally worth the wait. Although it is only three tracks, each one of them absolutely owns. This time around keyboardist Lisa Mungo handles vocals duties throughout the entirety of the EP. These female vocals add the perfect splash of beauty to the bands brand of geometrical astral shred. He Whose Ox Is Gored also has a full length album entitled The Camel The Lion The Child completed and ready to go, it just needs a label to step up and release it. I really hope someone gets on this soon, because I have heard the LP and it is so mind numbingly good and I want the rest of the world to realize its greatness too. – Jon
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Helms Alee – Sleepwalking Sailors
Helms Alee rule and their drummer Hozoji Matheson-margullis is captivating live with her crazy drumming style. Really great and heavy noise rock. – Jon
Sleepwalking Sailors is probably my favorite heavy album of the year. Helms Alee continue to make some insanely unique music that just puts my into instant headbang mode! We had the chance to see them at this year’s Crucialfest in Salt Lake City and they absolutely blew me away! – Isaac
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Whirr – Sway, Whirr/Nothing 12″ Split
Between the release of Whirr’s latest LP, Sway and the two songs on the split with sister-band Nothing. These collections of songs surprised me the most out of all the things I listened to this year. That’s not to say that I didn’t think it would be good. But rather that I was surprised I loved it so much. Their sound is based heavily in the 90’s shoegaze realm (to which they have been criticized as being just mediocre, I disagree!) and they are not apologetic for it. Whirr has definitely claimed their affection for the genre. It is apparent as I listen to these releases, I hear a band in their element, doing what they love. – Isaac
Whirr are the masters of making new school shoegaze stuff. What makes this band so special is their ability to make such dreamy and whispy music that still has incredible drive and heaviness. I love how loud and big Whirr’s drums are and when the band extends their compositions out like on Sway’s stand out track “Clear,” that’s when the band produces some real magic. – Jon
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Dust Moth – Dragon Mouth
Dust Moth is a super group, but one that is actually legit. First of all there is super producer engineer Matt Bayles on keys (Minus the Bear), then Ryan Frederiksen on guitar (These Arms Are Snakes / Narrows), and lastly the star of the six song EP Irene Barber on vocals (XVIII Eyes). I’d be willing to bet that the other three dudes in this band have also had their hand in some other amazing bands as well, I’ll have to do some research on that eventually. Anyway, this is some of the best post-punk-hardcore-metal heavy-gaze of all time. I heard track two from Dragon Mouth, “Selector” towards the end of 2013 and patiently waited for the EP to drop. Well, the other five tracks totally lived up to the hype. Here’s hoping that all the individual members don’t get too busy with their other bands and spend some more time concentrating on new Dust Moth material. – Jon
Josh’s review of Dragon Mouth is here.
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Chromeo – White Women
Chromeo have been working on their sound for some time now and with every release I find myself getting so irritated by the duo Dave 1 and P-Thugg. I want to just full on love these dudes, but they are never quite there. Each successive release finds Chromeo realizing their potential for pure electornic/funk revivalist gold. I can’t say that I loved near enough of their newest LP, White Women, for it to truly be one of my over-all favorites of 2014, but it did have a handful of tracks that absolutely blew my socks off. A couple of those included “Fall Back 2 U,” “Lost On The Way Home,” featuring a great performance from Solange, and the track I dubbed my 2014 summer-jam, “Old 45’s.” – Isaac
Check out David’s review of White Women here.
Antwon – Heavy Hearted In Dolddrums
I freaking love Antwon! He is easily my favorite up and coming rapper and he has been for at least the past three years. All of his albums and mixtapes are great. His rhymes are all about sexing it up, he has legit presence, and his taste for beats is impeccable. Heavy Hearted In Doldrums the follow up to last year’s excellent In Dark Denim (this albums made our Best of 2013 List) shows Antwon getting a little emo throughout the first half of the album, like he is reflecting on his drug riddled sexual escapades, but then on the second half of the album the hangover wears off and Antwon is back to creating his perverted party jams. All 12 tracks on Heavy Hearted In Doldrums rule, especially “Mr. Intercontinental.” Antwon you my dude! – Jon
Agreed!!! Antwon sounds like Biggie, is dirty as all hell, and has got the skills and beats to back up all his swag! He is by and far the best in the new school rap/hip-hop game. – Isaac
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Wild Beasts – Present Tense
Here it is, plain and simple. Present Tense is my absolute favorite album of 2014. This year was kind of a weird one for me on so many levels, a ton of change all at once. I spent a number of months in a state of shock. I had a really hard time finding myself in a situation where any music would really resonate at all. This record found it’s way to me when I needed a slap in the face and to feel something. From the opening track “Wanderlust,” to closer “Palace,” Present Tense had me hooked between the immaculate and haunting dual vocals of Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming, and the minimalist brooding song structures. This is not the “feel good” album of the year, but it is easily the album that moved me the most. – Isaac
Track five of off Present Tense, “Daughters” is so good! – Jon
Homeshake – In the Shower
Over the summer I became obsessed with Mac DeMarco and basically wore out his albums Salad Days and 2. I got so into this relaxed slacker stuff that I had to have more. This is how I discovered Homeshake, which sounds somewhat similar to DeMarco but better. These guys are so chill and jammy. It’s like the easiest most laid back funk you will ever stumble across. In the Shower is the bands second full length and it’s musical Xanax from start to finish. Get to know them. – Jon
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Baths – Ocean Death EP
Bath’s Will Wiesenfeld’s latest release, Ocean Death is leaps and bounds better than his last release Obsidian. Taking his signature IDM sound that was forged with Baths’ debut LP, Cerulean, the dark tone of Obsidian, and mixing in other elements such as techno and trip-hop Wiesendfeld has made an incredibly solid EP. I was surprised when I went back through my music and realized how often I had played this record. – Isaac
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Withershins – Mt Fuji In Blue
Withershins were one of my new band discoveries of 2014. The band has released three full lengths since 2009 with their latest being this years Mt Fuji In Blue. This album is filled with some of the most creative and original sounding guitar driven music I heard all year and frontman Isaac Arm’s vocals have that special quality of being full of emotion while not overpowering the music. Mt Fuji In Blue is packed with great musicianship throughout; it’s hazy, powerful, and captivating all at the same time. – Jon
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Foxing – The Albatross (Re-master/Re-release)
Okay, so this may be cheating.. Technically this album was originally released in November of 2013 and I discovered The Albatross while compiling my picks for last year’s Best-Of list. I was instantly enamored with it’s beauty and incredible dynamic. A perfect combination of emotionally driven post-rock, math-y guitars, and subtle jazz flourishes. With The Albatross‘ success, 2014 saw Foxing sign to Triple Crown Records who re-released a remastered version of the album to promote the band’s signing. This album has easily and by far been my go to for the last year. I cannot say enough great things about this album and am excited to hear what the dudes in Foxing are able to come up with next.- Isaac
Check out my interview with Foxing here.
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Cakes Da Killa – Hunger Pangs
Like our writer Dan Vesper said, Cakes Da Killa is “ferocious.” I don’t know if the reason for Cakes not being one of the biggest rappers out right now is because he is so upfront about his homosexuality, but I feel like his music is vastly under appreciated for an MC that has such an insane flow and awesome beats to go along with it. On Hunger Pangs Cakes Da Killa continues on his fast paced rampage that began on last year’s The Eulogy and listening to all 10 tracks is like going on one of the most exciting roller coasters of all time. Most of the new hip hop that has come out lately seems to lack any aggression and life. Well Cakes is the exception, he’s got energy for days. – Jon
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Visitors – Blueshift EP
Salt Lake City is breeding a multitude of really great, motivated bands, Visitors being one of the elite amongst them. If you are like me, and have always wished that you could take the intensity and dynamic of Anthony Green era Saosin and the creative, spacey guitar work from early Circa survive. You would get the ultimate prog/post-rock band out there. Visitors has achieved that sound with the Blueshift EP. It is wicked. – Isaac
Check out Ricky’s review of Blueshift here.
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Dustbloom – Keeping The Black Dog At Bay
Dustbloom shares a a couple of members with Visitors and I promise that we are not playing favorites by including both bands on our list, but both bands / releases were really that good. We are not friends with either band so our love for both Vistors and Dustbloom is not biased. Of the two Dustbloom is easily the most aggressive. I wrote in my interview with the band earlier this year that Dustbloom’s sound is like Every Time I Die, Portishead, and Deftones all took mushrooms and amphetamines then wondered around the streets of Russia. One of the most creative and heavy bands I heard all year and from the updates on their Facebook page it looks like Dustbloom is recording again, so they might make this list next year as well. – Jon
Here’s my interview with Dustbloom.
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Silver Snakes – Year Of The Snake
Year Of The Snake, was is in my very humble opinion, the best rock record of the year. It is straight forward rock music, balancing blues and 90’s alternative/grunge overtones. The L.A. based band Silver Snakes are an incredible band who we came across when they were opening a killer show at SLC’s The Shred Shed. I used to recommend Year Of The Snake to anyone who was complaining that Thrice were no longer together. Now that Thrice has announced plans to re-unite, you can bet I will still sure as hell be recommending these guys! I have a feeling that Silver Snakes will be doing some great things in the next year. – Isaac
These dudes straight up rock! – Jon
Check out Ben’s interview with Silver Snakes here.
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Liars – Mess
I have no idea why Liars’ latest album was so slept on this year. Too be honest I almost forgot about it after initially loving it when it was first released back in March of 2014. While I am not a huge fan of the band overall (never see them live) Mess was an album that grabbed me and held on until I was spent. Maybe that’s why I forgot about the album until a couple months ago because all 11 tracks are just straight up enthralling to the point where it is almost exhausting. But upon rediscovering it a couple months ago (thanks Mickey), I can’t stop myself from going back to it again and again. Liars went full on dance electronic this time around and the sound is dark, dirty, and pulsatingly solid. – Jon
Wye Oak – Shriek
I am not quite sure why, but I feel that Wye Oak’s Shriek has gone largely underrated as far as year end-lists are concerned. Even as we gathered entries and votes for Bearded Gentlemen Music’s site-wide year-end list, I was kind of just bummed that there wasn’t more support behind this outstanding album and band. Wye Oak took a huge risk and changed up their writing dynamic, instrumentation, and sound and it ended up paying off with what I feel is one of the best albums this year. – Isaac
Jenn Wasner’s vocals on Shriek are the only vocals this year that really made feel emotional. This album is special. – Jon
B.G.M. writer Kevin Krein, wrote a very awesome and personal review of Shriek. Check out it out here.
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Solarein – Reveries
The mastermind behind Solarein, Vru Patel makes really smart and ethereal electronic music. It’s like aural bliss and mystery all mixed up into one. Countered with these intelligent electronic compositions are some Chino Moreno inspired vocals and you all should know by now that I have me some serious #ChinoFever! I am really looking forward to what Solarein comes up with in the future. – Jon
My interview with Solarein here.
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I had nothing to offer anyone but my own confusion.