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X96 Staff’s Top Ten Albums of 2014

Collection of retro audio tapes

Corey O’Brien’s Top Ten of 2014

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This is the most mainstream top ten I have put together…kind of. There are some obvious favorites like Jack White, which even I am surprised wasn’t my automatic number one considering my unhealthy obsession with ol’ Jacky. There was only one album & band that could give the neo-Detroit Rock City rocker a run for 2014’s top spot. Death From Above 1979 put out THE album of 2014. They also played the best show in Salt Lake of 2014. You know you are in the right place when people are threatened with getting “knocked out” for filming the show…and not by a bouncer, but by other fans.

All of these albums offer songs you could easily hear while purchasing your weekly produce and Wheat Thins at your local grocer or while dining at the new, hip eatery – expect “The Physical World.”  We also saw the return of Beck this year, which I was more excited about before than after I heard the album. Maybe I was hoping for the funk. As much as I loved “Sea Change” I don’t know if it needed a sequel – perfection is perfection. Spoon put the two best tracks they have ever made at the end of their album. Notice it’s the only album on my list with two key tracks. Cold War Kids were kindly enough to bring some piano back. St. Vincent was the most punk of 2014…in 2014’s way.

The odd thing about this year’s list is that only contains one freshman artist and that’s New York’s Skaters. I listened to “Manhattan” to the point I am sick of it. If you have any love for The Clash or The Strokes this is an album you need to own.

  1. Death From Above 1979 “The Physical World”
    Key track: “Always On”
  2. Jack White “Lazaretto”
    Key track: “That Black Bat Licorice”
  3. Skaters “Mahattan”
    Key track: “Fear of the Knife”
  4. Spoon “They Want My Soul”
    Key tracks: “Let Me Be Mine” & “New York Kiss”
  5. Alt-J “This Is All Yours”
    Key track: “Every Other Freckle”
  6. Cold War Kids “Hold My Home”
    Key track: “Hot Coals”
  7. The Black Keys “Turn Blue”
    Key track: “Turn Blue”
  8. Sleeper Agent “About Last Night”
    Key Track: “Waves” (Holy Hell, I love this song. Should have been a huge hit!”
  9. Beck “Morning Phase”
    Key track “Don’t Let It Go”
  10. St.Vincent “St. Vincent”
    Key track: “Psychopath”

Todd Nuke’em’s Top Ten of 2014

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  1. Bleachers – Strange Desire
  2. Rise Against – The Black Market
  3. Linkin Park – The Hunting Party
  4. KONGOS – Lunatic
  5. Neon Trees – Pop Psychology
  6. Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
  7. Erasure – The Violet Flame
  8. Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In The End
  9. The Smashing Pumpkins – Monuments To An Elegy
  10. Peter Murphy – Lion

Jon Smith’s Top Ten of 2014

  1. No surprise, but I went with The Black Keys – Turn Blue.  I’m a huge fan and the album totally holds up to my super fan expectations.
  2. Rancid – Honor Is All We Know + Great to hear some new Rancid!
  3. Robert Delong – Long Way Down = Have you ever seen this guy?  He’s not the bass player from Stone Temple Pilots if that’s what you’re thinking.  He’s an amazing performer who actually uses Nintendo and Xbox controllers to make music when he plays live.  Go look him up on the internets and thank me later
  4. Linkin Park – Hunting Party = Great return to the rocky rock sound of Hybrid Theory era LP.  Now if they’ll just come to Utah on tour.  COME BACK LINKIN PARK!  WE MISS YOU.
  5. Joywave – How Do You Feel – Seriously one of the nicest bands in the world.  Tongues is an awesome track!
  6. Pennywise – Yesterdays – Jim is back!  Enough said.
  7. Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways – The TV series was great, the album is even better.
  8. Dirty Heads – Sound Of Change + They got me with nostalgia here because they wrote a song about The Goonies.  Also, it’s perfect to combat “The January Blues” which is a real thing.
  9. Madden Brothers – Greetings From California = OK I’ll be honest here, I only have heard 2 songs off the album, but I LOVED them both.  The album did not do so well.  I think people figured out that they were the guys from Good Charlotte and stayed away.  They missed out!
  10. Phantogram – Voices = GREAT CD.  I was bummed I did not get a chance to meet them at the Big Ass Show this year, but I did get to SEE them perform.  Amazing album.


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