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Top 10 Albums of 2014 (by Matt Dillon)

This year brought a lot of changes to Turntable Kitchen. In addition to the launch of the new website and the release of new products in the shop, 2014 also marked the first year we’ve had regular contributors on the site. Those contributors are a huge part of why this year’s also been the best year yet for Turntable Kitchen. For that reason, it only made sense that we ask them to contribute some of their favorites from the year.

Below you’ll find contributor Matt Dillon’s “Top 10 Albums of 2014.” You can see Matt’s Author Page here and read many of the great posts he’s shared with us this year. Stay tuned for Turntable Kitchen’s Top 20 albums of 2014 which is coming soon. 

10 – Broken Bells – After the Disco

In my opinion it couldn’t be a top albums of the year list with out some kind of Dangermouse production stuffed in there somewhere, Brian Burton’s hands were in a lot of albums this year. I’m also a huge fan of The Shins and one of the defining attributes of their music is James Mercer’s voice, so of course I choose Broken Bells. There is no surprises with this album, it’s exactly what you expect and want it to be; nothing ground breaking or experimental, no whistles and bells, just Broken Bells. The only thing I would say After The Disco is lacking for me is……..disappointment.

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9 – Miner – Into the Morning

This one has been a long time waiting for me. I’ve been a fan of these guys for a REAL long time. I saw them play to a crowd of 10 people like the Black Keys play to a crowd of thousands, this folk group is highly energetic and full of pure raw talent, both instrumentally and melodically.

Stand out tracks: Hey Love, Golden Ocean, Coal Mine, Carousel

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8 – MØ – No Mythologies to Follow

If you’ve followed Turntable Kitchen for any length of time you probably know that TK’s founder, Matthew Hickey, is a pretty big fan of this Danish pop singer. Back in March he did a review of her album and in all honesty, my thoughts on No Mythologies echoed his pretty closely, so I’m gonna be a giant lazy ass and recommend you click this link right here and read what Mr Hickey had to say, and while you are at it, grab some of that Kimchi cabbage he recommended, it’s real good for your stomach.

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7 – Warpaint – Warpaint

I had honestly never heard of or listened to Warpaint until this album was released and I’m stoked I took the advice of a friend and gave it a listen. If this record happened to hit the shelves during the mid to late 90’s, the skateboard riding, long haired-hipper-younger me would have locked myself in my poster clad room with the lights out and doodled on some shit till my eyes were red all while spinning this compact disc late into the night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all lumping it into a teenage stoner rock category, but rather embracing the fact that it’s an artistic and inspiring piece of work, best enjoyed in solitude, doing creative things, rather than inappropriately adrift at a noisy party. Eerie, haunting vocals, thick bass lines, intricate keys and an excellent balance of  mood and motivation are the features that stand out the most to me. It’s the perfect album to shut out the lights and get lost.

Stand out tracks: Love is to Die, Disco/Very, Keep it Healthy, Hi

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6 – Young Summer – Siren

I’ve professed my love for this album on TK once already which you can read here so I won’t drone on too much more about Siren. But seriously, this is 12 tracks of magic, beautifully composed, a must listen.

Stand out tracks: All of them

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5 – The Preatures – Blue Planet Eyes
I put a lot of weight on what I think about an artist based on their live performances, I see a lot of shows so stage presence means a lot to me. These guys dominate the stage, they absolutely pour themselves out to their fans and after seeing that show I listened to their album even more than I already did or thought possible. It’s loaded with energy, you will dance wherever you are while listening to it, weather you like it or not.

Stand out tracks:Cruel, Ordinary, Somebody’s Talking, Is This How You Feel?

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4 – Angus & Julia Stone – Angus & Julia Stone
I absolutely adore these two, and at some point I’ve totally over listened to every album this brother and sister duo have ever created (solo or together); based on the general consensus of my friends however, I seem to be alone in my infatuation. Regardless this is my top 10 list and this album is their best one to date so it made the ranks. As a duet the Stones are romantic, fragile and poetic, they write songs separately then work together on the harmonies. When they split off for a go at the solo life however, the strengths and weaknesses in both of their styles became very apparent. This record is the first one they’ve actually written together and result is undiluted, intimate and fantastic.

Stand out tracks: My Word For it, Heart Beats Slow, Death Defying Acts, Get Home, Do Without, A Heartbreak

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3 – Future Islands – Singles
Unromantic romance; Singles is a power album of love and heartbreak. This album compares to nothing I’ve heard before, it is intensely driven by Samuel Herring’s dramatic growling voice and attention grabbing synths and even though the lyrics could be written by a foreign freshman English major when sang by Herring, it clearly becomes the leather jacketed bad-ass that you would hate to see your ex with at the bar kind of panty dropping music…….if that makes sense at all.

Stand out tracks: Seasons, A Song for our Grandfathers, Back in the Tall Grass, Sun in the Morning

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2 – The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream
This is definitely my most played album of the year even though it was probably one that I least expected to fall in love with…….in fact I think it was out for a good month before I actually took a solid listen to it. I’ve been a fan of TWD since their sophomore album,Slave Ambient, and even though I liked and appreciated those songs, I believe that Lost in the Dream is their most refined piece of work to date. Thought provoking, deep with most songs hitting well past the 5 minute mark, it’s the perfect road trip album fueling you for the long haul.

Stand out tracks: Red Eyes, Lost in the Dream, Suffering & An Ocean Between the Waves

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1 – Hozier – Hozier
If you haven’t at least heard of Hozier by now you are most definitely stuck under a rock somewhere. This guy, Andrew Hozier-Byrne, has absolutely blown up over the last 6 months, similar in the way that Alt-J did back in 2012. His supernova like expansion into the world was mostly attributed, by Andrew himself, to actor/comedian Stephen Fry’s tweet to his 8 million followers with a link to his video for “Take me to Church.”

I thoroughly enjoyed both of his EP’s, but I never expected his debut to be so damn good. His voice seems to beam from the heavens and resonate off the pews of a church and offer our ears salvation, but ironically contrast with some very dark and menacing lyrics about, drugs, sexuality, death and rapture, all wrapped into a bluesey, soulful earthbound melody.

His video and embracement from the gay community may be getting Hozier airplay on radio stations where he doesn’t really belong, but musically speaking he has the staying power necessary to see a very successful music career and not fade away as that guy who had that one controversial music video. His album is proof of that in my opinion.

Stand out songs: Jackie & Wilson, Sedated, Someone New, From Eden, Take Me to Church

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