Louder Than War Albums of the Year 2014 Part One: 200 – 101

I think most people we speak to seem to agree this has been one hell of a year for music – and we like to think our complete albums of the year list backs that up. We’ll save much in the way of deep analysis till the whole list’s been published, but a quick word about how this list was compiled.

For the first time in our history this isn’t just an editors’ list. We’ve enlisted the help of as many of our writers as were up for it and the following list includes at least the two favourite albums of almost forty of them. Those albums have been bolstered by picks from the four editors; John Robb, Phil Newall, Sarah Lay and Guy Manchester.

So that’s one reason why the list is 200 long! Which we accept is quite a lot. The other is that we try to keep our list as cross-genre as possible. They may not all of them be the the albums we’ve played the most this year, but we think this is the only place you can find the best folk album released this year next to the best black metal album, say, or the best drone album next to the best rap album, the best reggae album next to the best indie-pop album, the best jazz album of the year next to the best punk album and… well, we could carry on but you’ll have gotten the picture by now.

If you want to skip ahead you can find the second part of the list, albums 100 – 51, here and the final countdown from 50 – 1 here. Feel free to shout at us if you think we’ve called something wrong and let us know what you would have included! You can do that either in the comment section below, or on our social media channels: Facebook and twitter: @louderthanwar. Use of the hashtag #LTWAOTY is optional.

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200. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Wanderlust

199. Dereconstructed – Lee BainsIII and the Glory Fires

198. AJ Davila y Terror Amor – Beibi

197. Risaikuru – Longstone

196. Stiff Little Fingers – No Going Back

195. Robert Plant – Lullaby….and The Ceaseless Roar

194. Gogo Penguin – v2.0

193. Tobacco – Ultima II Massage

192. Mark Chadwick – Moment

Solo album from the Levellers front-man which brings his distinctive vocal to a compelling set of tracks.

 

191. Tim Wheeler – Lost Domain

At times a difficult listen this highly personal solo album from Ash frontman Tim Wheeler is a glorious but incredibly personal and honest retrospection on his father’s dementia and the last times they spent together. There are the big chorus’ you’d expect from Wheeler but also lush arrangements.

 

190. The Third Round – The Third Round

The debut album from one of the band’s we tipped to watch this year and we weren’t disappointed by this taut indie album. In her review Sarah Lay said:

“As we get down to the bottom of the album things start to get really interesting. Penultimate track This Is Not Where We Fell In Love remains languid in delivery, the bright tones still present melodically but in every other way this is an angry young man’s song. Lyrically this is their Elizabeth, My Dear with apathy rather than anger toward the monarchy and seething disillusionment with current culture, cynicism about anything other than a broken future. Yes, it’s rather pleasing to find that what could easily be passed off on first listen as standard fare is in fact a downcry of modern life.”

 

 

189. Cerebral Ballzy – Jaded and Faded

188. Greys – If Anything

187. Colorama – Temari

186. Luke Haines  – New York in the 70’s

185. Run the Jewels – RTJ2

184. Blank Realm – Grassed Inn

Second album from Brisbane band Blank Realm was packed with wonderfully weird pop tracks. In her review Sarah Lay said: “This is the experimental end of the wonky pop spectrum but by god it sounds great. You get a real sense on this record that this is a band that asks ‘what noise can we make with that?’ more often than not. The answer, of course, being ‘a bloody great one’.”

 

183. Dean Wareham – Dean Wareham

The debut solo album from Galaxie 500 and Luna man Dean Wareham came out on the wonderful Sonic Cathedral back in March. It was exactly the sort of twinkling indiepop you’d expect from the veteran but that’s not to say it was predictable.

 

182. Peggy Sue – Choir of Echoes

A mix of indiepop, folk and choral harmonies Peggy Sue’s latest album was a sumptuous foot-tapper. In her review Sarah Lay said: “Choir of Echoes is an album of love, sweetly sung and mixing the best melodies of folk, indie and choral pop. An album to shine a summer’s light into the depths of winter; a gorgeous lush offering from a band growing better by the album.”

 

181. The Both (Aimee Mann & Ted Leo) – The Both

180. Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty

179. Oozing Wound – Earth Suck

178. Lorelle Meets the Obsolete – Chambers

177. Band of Holy Joy – Easy Listening

176. Hanggai – Baifang

175. True Neutral Crew – #POPPUNK

174. Like Swimming – Structures

173. Hollie Cook – Twice

172. Martha – Courting Strong

171. Real Estate – Atlas

170. Goat – Commune

169. Gazelle Twin – Anti Body

168. Minus the Bear – Lost Loves

167. Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes

166. Thurston Moore – The Best Day

165. Pixies – Indie Cindy

164. Brian Jonestown Massacre – Revelation

163. Patterns – Waking Lines

162. A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Atomos

161. Backtrack – Lost In Life

160. Drive By Truckers – English Oceans

159. Linda Perhacs – The Soul Of All Natural Things

158. The Vacant Lots – Departures

157. Hauschka – Abandoned City

156. LostAlone – Shape of Screams

155. Joseph Coward – The World Famous Joseph Coward

154. J. Mascis – Tied to a Star

153. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else

152. First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

151. Pariso / Svalbard – Pariso / Svalbard Split

150. Matt Watson – Grounded

149. The Both (Aimee Mann & Ted Leo) – The Both

148. Sunn O))) & Ulver – Terrestrials

147. Glass Animals – Zaba

146. Lee Perry – Back on the Controls

145. Robert Wyatt – Different Every Time

144. Vic Godard – 1979 NOW!

143. Naram – March of Gremlins

142. Roy Moller – One Domino

141. Lisa Gerrard – Twilight Kingdom

140. Dirtmusic – Lion City

139. Vessel – Punish Honey

138. James – La Petite Mort

137. Full Of Hell & Merzbow – Full Of Hell & Merzbow

136. Superfood – Don’t Say That

135. Big Ups – Eighteen Hours of Static

134. White Fence – For The Recently Found Innocent

133. Biscuit Mouth – Doing It Right and Doing It Well

The second album from Derby duo Biscuit Mouth deserves a wider audience and more than earns its place on our end of year list. When they released Roll Into the Dancer ahead of the album Sarah Lay wrote: “It’s sub-three-minute primal screeching of irregular beats; lyrics projectile howled over sparse melody.Over a kick-to-the-ribs riff the vocal manages to sound both feral and jubilant in one holler.”

 

132. Polar Bear – In Each And Every One

131. Women’s Hour – Conversations

130. Lana Del Ray – Ultraviolence

129. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

128. Vashti Bunyan – Heartleap

127. Arca – Xen

126. Martin Carr – The Breaks

125. Luke Saxton – Sunny Sadness

124. You Blew It! – Keep Doing What You’re Doing

Not only did we get this album of sweet melodic hardcore (anyone else notice that genre making a resurgence of late?) but we also got their EP of Weezer Blue Album covers. Good work in 2014 from the Florida band.

 

123. Charli XCX – Sucker

We’ve been a bit naughty including Charli XCX as Sucker isn’t officially released in the UK until January but we love her electro-pop so much we broke our own rules, and took it from the US drop which happens in December.

 

122. Hatcham Social – Cutting Up the Present Leaks Out the Past

The third long player from Hatcham Social is arguably their best as the band mature their sound and become confident in the delivery. Reviewing Sarah Lay said: “These songs have been haunting the edges of my mind since I first heard them at Kendal Calling last summer. Stood in front of the stage that day was one of those unexpected moments of revelation where a band goes from good to great in the passage of one album.”

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121. Toumani & Sidiki Diabate – Toumani & Sidiki Diabate

120. Hospitality  – Trouble

The second album from Brooklyn band Hospitality was one which worked its way deep into our brains and didn’t let go.  In her album review Sarah Lay said: “I’ve been waking up with a phrase cutting through my sleep-fuzzed mind: ‘Valentino, I don’t need you. Leave a message. Leave it out to dry.’ It goes round and round as I move through the motions of my morning routine. This line, like the rest of Trouble, has worked it’s way into my mind and is soothingly mischievous as the synapses snap.”

 

119. Nisennenmondai – N

118. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams

117. Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey – Going Back Home

116. Ed Harcourt – Time of Dust

A mini-album from Ed released early in the year and full of the gothic pop we’ve come to love from the man. We said: “Time of Dust is mature songwriting of the very best – a skilful structure of light and dark, melodic and lyrical surprises to confound and delight. It’s filled with his trademark dusky melancholia and the wonderfully building orchestration just adds to the potency of his take on pop. But there is also the simplicity of lyric, the human condition laid bare; an articulation of love and life gleaming and breathtakingly sharp.”

 

115. clipping. – CLPPNG

114. My Psychoanalyst – Choreomania

113. Jamie T – Carry on the grudge

112. Gwenno – Y Dydd Olaf

111. Odonis Odonis – Hard Boiled, Soft boiled

110. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots

109. Flamingods – Hyperborea

108. Jack White – Lazaretto

107. Dead Fader – Blood Forest / Scorched

106. McBusted – McBusted

Yeah, we know this will annoy a load of you and there is a chance it is just six blokes making an album of them playing Guitar Hero but on the face of it this is a ridiculously fun album of punk-pop. Sarah Lay wrote: “This is most definitely on the pop side of the punk-pop tracks but it’s a set of songs so absurdly catchy, and lyrics so brazen in their referencing of popular culture that it leaves a big goofy grin on the face. Music can (and should be) fun sometimes – McBusted are showing us all exactly how that’s done with an album that may start as a one night stand and end up being a collection of songs you unwittingly, but wonderfully, fall into a light-hearted relationship with.”

105. Martin Duffy – Assorted Promenades

104. The Rentals – Lost in Alphaville

103. Bass Clef — ‘Acid Tracts

102. Knifeworld – The Unravelling

101. The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads

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Part two of this list, albums 100 – 51, can be found here. Alternatively just skip straight to our top 50 albums of 2014.

Feel free to shout at us if you think we’ve called something wrong and let us know what you would have included! You can do that either in the comment section below, or on our social media channels: Facebook and twitter: @louderthanwar. Use of the hashtag #LTWAOTY is optional.

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