To a lot of folks watching new music in 2014, especially in the Triangle but all over the country and the world too, this was the year of Sylvan Esso, and I would include myself in that group. After first seeing the duo at the Hopscotch Music Festival in 2013 it was easy to tell that the group was special.
In 2014 their debut album hit shelves and it did not disappoint, blending the electronic grooves of Nick Sanborn with the amazing melodies and vocals of Amelia Meath. Not only did I pick their self-titled album as my favorite album of the year but their song "Coffee" made my top songs list as well.
Tons of great music was released in 2014 including some amazing pop albums from Sam Smith and Taylor Swift (yes, I picked the Taylor Swift album). Aimee Mann and Ted Leo's first album as The Both is killer, Bob Mould released one of his best albums ever, Shovels and Rope continued their reinvention of southern folk rock, and St. Vincent, Wye Oak, Spoon and T0w3rs made some of the best indie rock of the year.
It was difficult whittling down 2014's immense collection of great releases into these lists and many others almost made the cut.
The Merge 25 Festival was easily the live music highlight of the year on my calendar, especially as this was the first year I wasn't able to make it to the Hopscotch Music Festival. Destroyer, The Rock*A*Teens and Teenage Fanclub were just a few standouts for me of a killer lineup overall. Electropop Scottish rockers proved to be a stunning live act when they played The Ritz and Haim brought back a little old school rock and roll swagger to pop music at the Cradle.
Here's hoping 2015 continues to bring great acts from all over the world to the Triangle and continued growth of the local music scene whose reach and influence continues to grow wider which each passing day.
1. Syvlan Esso by Sylvan Esso
2. In the Lonely Hour by Sam Smith
3. The Both by The Both
4. Beauty & Ruin by Bob Mould
5. St. Vincent by St. Vincent
6. Swimmin' Time by Shovels & Rope
7. Shriek by Wye Oak
8. They Want My Soul by Spoon
9. 1989 by Taylor Swift
10. Tl;Dr by T0w3rs
1. "Seasons (Waiting on You)" by Future Islands
2. "Hot and Cold" by Ex Hex
3. "To the Top" by Twin Shadow
4. "Rockets and Jet" by Hospitality
5. "i" by Kendrick Lamar
6. "Coffee" by Sylvan Esso
7. "I'm Not the Only One" by Sam Smith
8. "Love Me Harder" by Ariana Grande feat. The Weeknd
9. "Queen" by Perfume Genius
10. "Reflections" by MisterWives
1. (What's the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis
2. Bloomed by Richard Buckner
3. Sweet Bird of Youth by The Rock*A*Teens
1. Chvrches @ The Ritz, 4/28/14
2. Destroyer @ Cat's Cradle, Merge 25, 7/25/14
3. Haim @ Cat's Cradle, 5/6/14
4. Teenage Fanclub @ Cat's Cradle, Merge 25, 7/26/14
5. The Rock*A*Teens @ Cat's Cradle, Merge 25, 7/24/14