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


John Doe: A Year In The Wilderness

John Doe was a founding member of the punk band X. On his solo effort A Year In The Wilderness, his sound occasionally strays into bland folk and country territory. But there are a couple of rockers on there, as well as a brief nod to the blues, and always that underlying darkness that is Doe’s trademark.

The disc opens with the twenty second piano and organ instrumental “The Wilderness” before launching into “Hotel Ghost”, which features the revving guitar of former X member Dave Alvin. It and the crunching “There’s A Hole” – with guitar by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys – are the stand out rock tracks. Auerbach also plays steel on the bluesy “Big Moon”.

“The Golden State”, “A Little More Time”, and “Lean Out Yr Window” feature the twangy vocals of Kathleen Edwards. Jill Sobule pops up on the ballad “Darling Underdog”, though you can barely hear her for most of the song. And Aimee Mann guests on “Unforgiven”, which again simmers the guitars.

Doe’s best vocals on the album are probably on the Cash-lite track “The Meanest Man In The World” and the finale “Grain Of Salt”.

John Doe Official Site
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Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles: Diamonds In The Dark

Diamonds In The Dark was released on June 12th by Sugar Hill Records. The music on the disc could be branded with many labels, but I’ll call it pop-rockabilly. There are catchy pop melodies mixed with country twang and be-bop, but the vocals and electric guitar provided by Sarah Borges are pure rock. Think Sun Records era Elvis. Not surprising for a girl whose list of influences includes The Clash, X, Leonard Cohen, Joan Jett, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, and Johnny Cash.

Borges is backed by The Broken Singles, which are Binky on vocals and bass, Rob Dulaney on drums, and Mike Castellana on electric guitar, vox organ and pedal steel.

The album bursts open with the foot tappin’ firecracker “The Day We Met”, followed by a swaying countrified rendering of X’s “Come Back To Me” (the lyrics of which give the disc its title). “Stop And Think It Over” drops the twang in favor of a retro pop-rock sound with a heavier drum beat.

The humorously woebegone “False Eyelashes” has a more traditional country sound and is perhaps Sarah’s best vocal performance on the album. But “Open Up Your Back Door” is the real kicker, with bluesy piano and pedal steel snaking through the rock guitar vibrations and call-and-response chorus.

Sarah trades her electric guitar for an electric sitar on the mellotroned “Around 9”, then tries her multi-instrumental hand on an organ for the grinding “Lonely Town Of Love”. The wailing vocals and shrieking guitars of “Diablito” are as devilishly scintillating as the title suggests. And the disc closes with a soft, omnichorded cover of Tom Waits’ “Blind Love”.

Sarah Borges Official Site
Sarah on MySpace

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