Laura’s Top Albums of 2014

Guest Post By: Laura

Laura’s Top 25 Albums of 2014:

25. Mary Lambert: Heart on My Sleeve

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Mary Lambert Official Site

24. The Gaslight Anthem: Get Hurt

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The Gaslight Anthem Official Site

23. Jamie T: Carry On the Grudge

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22. Ed Sheeran: X

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Ed Sheeran Official Site

21. John Newman: Tribute

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20. Against Me!: Transgender Dysphoria Blues

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19. Shakey Graves: And the War Came

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18. July Talk: Guns & Ammunition

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17. James Bay: Let It Go

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16. You + Me: Rose Avenue

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You + Me Official Site

15. Spoon: They Want My Soul

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Spoon Official Site

14. FKA Twigs: LP1

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13. Johnny Marr: Playland

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12. Cold Specks: Neuroplasticity

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Cold Specks Official Site

11. St. Vincent: St. Vincent

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St. Vincent Official Site

10. Neon Trees: Pop Psychology

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Neon Trees Official Site

9. Banks: Goddess

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Banks Official Site

8. Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways

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Foo Fighters Official Site

7. Counting Crows: Somewhere Under Neverland

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Counting Crows Official Site

6. First Aid Kit: Stay Gold

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5. Damien Rice: My Favourite Faded Fantasy

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Damien Rice Official Site

4. Hozier: Hozier

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3. Jack White: Lazaretto

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Jack White Official Site

2. Jenny Lewis: The Voyager

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Jenny Lewis Official Site

1. Ryan Adams: Ryan Adams

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Ryan Adams Official Site

Read more of Laura’s reviews at her music blog Lyrique Discorde

*all mp3s, streams & videos uploaded by & posted w/ permission of artists, labels and/or their PR reps

Mary J. Blige: The London Sessions

Yes, it’s as good as everyone says it is. Mary J. Blige is one of the few true singers and her new album, The London Sessions, showcases her extraordinary voice in a variety of ways with a guest roster that includes Sam Smith and Disclosure.

There are plenty of slower, soulful songs like “Whole Damn Year” that put the spotlight directively on Mary’s gorgeous pipes and call to mind her classic hits “Not Gonna Cry” and “I’m Goin’ Down.” But there are also uptempo (and downtempo) tracks that experiment with electro-pop and a wide range of other genres – my favorites being the first single “Therapy” and Disclosure’s collaboration “Follow.” You can hear the whole album and watch videos below…

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Mary J. Blige Official Site

Screaming Headless Torsos: Code Red

The new album by Screaming Headless Torsos (a.k.a. the Torsos or SHT), Code Red, is a very unique blend of funk, soul, pop and rock.

The standout tracks are the catchy “Brooce Swayne” and “Wizard of Woo,” which sounds like Black Sabbath and Living Colour jamming on a cover of the Shaft theme.

There’s a surprising hint of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” in the melody of “Field of Light,” but plenty of blues-funk guitar to shake it up.

I’m not sure this is an album I’d listen to repeatedly as a whole, but the aforementioned tracks are certainly noteworthy.

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Screaming Headless Torsos Official Site

Lucette: Black is the Color

Lucette’s debut album, Black Is the Color, is a dark, haunting Southern Gothic masterpiece.

The standout tracks are Lucette’s trippy cover of the traditional folk ballad “Black is the Color,” the moody original “Muddy Water,” the “Jolene”-esque “Able Mae” and the album’s sultry first single, “Bobby Reid.” The latter features singer-songwriters Sturgill Simpson and JD Wilkes.

The first half of the album is especially mesmeric and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite releases of the year.

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Lucette Official Site

Fiona Bevan: Talk to Strangers

Fiona Bevan’s debut album, Talk to Strangers, more than lives up to the promise of its first single. The British singer-songwriter’s quirky soul-pop style falls somewhere between Sheila Nicholls, Joanna Newsom and Corinne Bailey Rae, but these are tenuous reference points at best. Fiona is really carving a niche of her own here.

Fiona’s rich lilt and jaunty instrumentation are particularly charming on “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Slo Mo Tiger Glo” and the lovely “Us and the Darkness.”

The standout track “The Machine” dives into murkier, funkier waters.

Other highlights are Fiona’s exquisite, multi-faceted vocal on “Monsoon Sundance,” the enchanting, buoyant “Pirates and Diamonds” and the simpler beauty of “Forwards.”

I expect Fiona Bevan’s Talk to Strangers to make it on my best of the year list for 2014.

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Fiona Bevan Official Site