It’s that time of year again! Without further ado, here are staff writer Matt Simon’s best songs and albums of 2014.
Top 10 Songs of 2014
#10: John Mark McMillan “Love at the End”
There is no set category to place the music of McMillan. A man of deep faith, his music is made with a Gospel conviction yet he remains authentic and brilliantly creative on his latest effort that demands a few listens before judgment. He is unlike anything you will hear this year.
#9: Siskin River “If I Was a King”
A simple but profound track from a simple but profound duo of Australian sisters, it answers a question that we have all asked at one point. They sing with beautiful harmonies and arrangements that make any music lover fall for them quickly.
#8: St. Paul & the Broken Bones “Call Me”
Have you heard this song yet? Seriously, how great is it? Don’t waste your time reading my description. Simply click the button next to this and enjoy.
#7: Lydia Loveless “Head”
This has been the guilty pleasure song of 2014 for me. Amongst her usual provocative lyrics, “Head” is a song that sticks with you in the most primitive of ways. She sings with melancholy mischief that makes listeners playfully wish for an evening spent alongside her beautifully creative company.
#6: The Black Keys “Weight of Love”
I know this isn’t the most undiscovered of bands, yet damned if I keep this off my list because of some major commercial success. This may be some of the best work from the prolific Akron two-piece. The guitar solo alone makes me want to vault it to the top of my list.
#5: Strand of Oaks “Goshen ’97”
An overall great release from the brain of Tim Showalter, “Goshen ‘97” is a rock tune in the spirit of Dinosaur Jr. and Kurt Vile about growing up and looking back. Definitely worth listening to on repeat while you reminisce on the good old days.
#4: In The Valley Below “Peaches”
One of the more interesting releases of 2014, “The Belt” has stayed with me throughout the summer and fall with their blend of electric indie rock. A memorably sensual track, “Peaches” got significant radio play this year and even afforded an opportunity to perform on Letterman.
#3: Brown Shoe “Are You Up”
Brown Shoe were the first band I had the pleasure of writing about for Ear to the Ground and their short EP Lonely Beast, Part Two has stayed with me ever since. “Are You Up” echoes the thought of our age: “why give up when we could give in?”
#2: Greylag “Yours to Shake”
From the start of their self-titled release, the Portland, Oregon band channel some of the greats from Jeff Buckley to Led Zeppelin. This tune came to me fatefully one night at a local coffee house and I was blown away. Two days later I would then receive an email from their people. I take that as proof for its spot on this list.
#1: Conor Oberst “Zigzagging Toward the Light”
Oberst has come back mature and strangely optimistic. This is the best of what he is. Poetic, honest, and creative, the former Bright Eyes troubadour has made a song that makes you eager to experience the random absurdities of love that just might be “lit up by sun or moon, by bonfire, or by ambulance”. This song will have you agreeing with his many poetic assertions.