Continuing the list of top songs for the year, here are my 11-20 songs. Again, not really a countdown, but simply songs that I absolutely loved this year. Some of these artists are working on new material at the moment, but by no means all of them. Whether it’s totally new artists or favorites that I’ve come to know, 2014 is looking to be just as good a year musically as the quickly closing 2013.
20. Alpenglow– Solitude EP: Solitude
Solitude has playing as bright as a a new copper penny, and goes round and round in circles like a spinning coin that won’t fall down. As Alpenglow adds in additional instruments throughout the course of the song, you can almost see loose change tumbling into a wishing well. Wish for as bright a new year of music as we just had, and I bet your dream will come true.
19. Lorde– The Love Club EP/Pure Heroine: Royals
Ha! Originally released as part of The Love Club EP (where we covered it on Ear To The Ground), and remixed and re-released on Pure Heroine, Royals is the class-conscious power-ballad of New Zealander Lorde.
18. Shotgun Tori– Be Brave: Zombie Song
Catchy and fun, Zombie Song is the perfect song for a year that saw Walking Dead come into its own. Shotgun Tori’s epic vocal acrobatics along with phenomenal guitar work make this tune something to remember, and crank up (how often can you do that with folk and get away with it?).
17. Bicycle Thief– Fields: The Witness Saw It All
Continuing the up-beat happy sounds to end the year is Bicycle Thief’s The Witness Saw it All. I love the slight accents in this song, and the lilt of a Spanish speaker’s voice. The bright brass and quick fingers make one extraordinary package.
16. Alan Brooks– A.liB.i: Mending
Alan Brooks plays a mean guitar here, and sets up some velvety soft lyrics over the pleasantly distorted riffs. The play on words and the poetic punctuation make sure that this stands out from other songs, and have helped it stay in my mind since this past spring.
15. Brown Bird– Fits of Reason: Iblis
The variations and themes in Iblis keep the song sounding fresh while telling a story without words, and instead relying on emotive instruments and playing. Skilled hands bring out a plethora of
14. Andrew Brien– Closed Pages: Drifting Apart
Andrew Brien’s deft hands work their way across the piano perfectly, to weave an auditory spell over the listener in this soulful lament.
13. Houndmouth– From the Hills Below the City: Casino (Bad Things)
The video for Casino (Bad Things) is comical, the lyrics are familiar to nearly anyone who’s done something none too intelligent in their life, and the musical ability is apparent, in spite of the first two attributes I mentioned. Remember- stay safe on New Year’s Eve, and don’t do anything that might end up worthy of a music video.
12. Brother Sun– Some Part of the Truth: These Hands
While it’s a cover and not their original work, These Hands is a gorgeous song made even better by Brother Sun’s interpretation of a soulful and contemplative tune that’s perfect for this reflective time of year.
11. The Naked Sun– Space, Place, and Time: Fatigue
Fatigue is a solid piece with good lyrics and technical excellence. Plus, The Naked Sun is just plain fun.