I’ve been doing these lists since our first year, 2006, always including 31 great records – 30 excellent records I heard, and one clear winner of Aaron’s Best! Well, OK, 2007 was a tie, but still…*
This year, I did not buy even close to 31 new releases. What I did get from the 2014 releases were all so damned good that I’ve had one helluva time picking a clear winner. I’m not saying this in a little league, everyone gets a trophy sort of way. I mean, honestly, that these are all great records with their own excellent traits!
Still, I feel that I must try to maintain tradition, and so this year (despite wanting to have it be about a ten-way tie), I’m gonna practice what I preach and GIVE ‘ER!…
Hands-Down Best Albums Of 2014:
Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems / Sloan – Commonwealth
Yep, for the first time since 2007, we have a tie. Folks, any year in which Leonard and Sloan release a record (and records this damn GREAT) is a year in which it’s impossible for me to choose one over the other. Admittedly, I have huge bias towards both artists, but even at that…
The Leonard record is just gorgeous. This late-life resurgence of his finds him in an incredible groove, and every song just felt so damn good. And the Sloan is brilliant in concept and execution. It’s just so SO good!
Leonard and Sloan. Yep, my gut instinct is correct. This is the way it has to be.
Also Of Note: This tie marks the second entry for Sloan in my Best Of The Year round-ups thus far. More impressively, it marks Leonard Cohen’s record-setting THIRD entry to the winner’s circle in only eight years.
17 Other 2014 Ass-Kickers (in no particular order):
Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun
Jack White – Lazaretto
Guided By Voices – Cool Planet
Guided By Voices – Motivational Jumpsuit
Roots – And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
OFF! – Wasted Years
Teenage Guitar – More Lies From The Gooseberry Bush
Neil Young – A Letter Home
Mounties – Thrash Rock Legacy
Sebastian Bach – Give ‘Em Hell
Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls
Gord Downie, The Sadies And The Conquering Sun
Circus Devils – Escape
Slipknot – .5 The Grey Chapter
Blue Rodeo – A Merrie Christmas To You
Neil Young – Storytone (2CD Deluxe)
Slash f. Myles Kennedy – World On Fire
Past Years’ Winners:
2013 Black Sabbath – 13
2012 Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
2011 Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton – Play The Blues: Live From Jazz At The Lincoln Center
2010 Jack Johnson – To The Sea
2009 Leonard Cohen – Live In London
2008 Metallica – Death Magnetic
2007 Carolyn Mark – Nothing Is Free / Immaculate Machine – Fables (tie)
2006 Sloan – Never Hear The End Of It
Best Reissues Of 2014:
Led Zeppelin’s reissues of I, II, III, IV and Houses Of The Holy were, by far and away (it wasn’t even close), the coolest sets I’ve heard this year. The deluxe vinyl sets are gorgeous! Especially LZ 1. I love that live stuff!
Missing ‘Cos I Don’t Have Them Yet (But I Will, Oh Yes!):
Doug Gillard – Parade On
Death Of Samantha – If Memory Serves Us Well
Gary Clark, Jr. – Live
Tweedy – Sukierae
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
Black Keys – Turn Blue
Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes (special edition)
Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!
Behemoth – The Satanist
Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams – 1984
Ought – More Than Any Other Day
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Give The People What They Want
New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
David Bowie – Nothing Has Changed
Tinariwen – Emmaar
Uke Hunt – Uke Hunt
Wilco – What’s Your 20?
Wilco – Alpha Mike Foxtrot box set
Jonny Greenwood/Bryce Dessner – St. Carolyn By The Sea/Suite From
Mark Lanegan – Has God Seen My Shadow? An Anthology 1989-2011
Mark Lanegan Band – Phantom Radio
Johnny Cash – Out Among The Stars
Robert Plant – Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar
Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks – Wig Out At Jagbags
Rancid – Honor Is All We Know
Wu-Tang Clan – A Better Tomorrow
Pink Floyd – The Endless River
Opeth – Pale Communion
Tragically Hip – Fully Completely Deluxe
Bryan Adams – Reckless Deluxe
AC/DC – Rock Or Bust
Killer Be Killed – Killer Be Killed
ONWARD TO 2015!!
* previous years’ posts can be found in the Best Of link at the top of our main page, beside the sweet photie of the spinning record. Have a blast reading ’em all!