2014 Top 10 to 6: Elke’s Choice
10. Royal Blood – Royal Blood
Before the album officially came out in late August, there were at least two songs of this upcoming record being played in heavy rotation on streaming radio like Shazam or Spotify: Out Of The Black and Come on Over. Both are strong, high energy songs with a voice reminding of Jack White. In contrary to the White Stripes though, Royal Blood *is* using a bass, and that heavily. Mike Kerr (vocals, bass) and Ben Thatcher (drums) put a debut album out that effortlessly mixes heavy metal with hip-hop, rock and pop. The many accolades they’ve received throughout the year are proof that their music speaks to a lot of different people and can’t be pressed into one genre alone.
Favorite Song: Out Of The Black
9. Temples – Sun Structures
When I saw Temples on the Public Radio Rocks stage of this year’s SXSW then I didn’t quite know what to make of these four young men from Kettering, England. They certainly showed style, which admittedly, I usually like, and they played their gorgeous instruments well. Yet, that day it just didn’t trigger any enjoyment! When Sun Structures came out in February, I listened to the album but still, it didn’t ignite. Only when Rough Trade made it their Album of the Year, I reconsidered the debut record and finally fell in love with it. There’s just so much going on… It’s like feasting on a huge buffet, with tons of sweets and then some. Exotic rum punches with colorful little umbrellas come to mind. At times, Sun Structures can be almost overwhelmingly sweet and grande, with all the flutes, harps, violins, tambourines and even the occasional sitar. Yet the beautiful melodies and modern arrangements, hold it all together. Temples did their homework, and must have listened to The Beatles a lot, their later work, when it became trippy and psychedelic, yet this comparison only means that Temples’ music is more mature and interesting than what would think from a young band.
- Favorite Song: A Question Isn’t Answered
- Live Show: SXSW 2014 Public Radio Rocks daystage
8. Strange Talk – Cast Away
With my soft spot for Australian pop, it was only a matter of time, to discover Strange Talk and to fall in love with this kind of upbeat, catchy and beautiful synth-pop. Stephen Docker (vocals, keyboard) and Gerard Sidhu (bass) plus touring band members do not disappoint live either. I’ve seen them twice this year and each time was great fun. Cast Away is a great debut album and perfect for the grey(er) and colder days of the year!
7. Korallreven – Second Comin’
The second album by Korallreven, aptly named Second Comin’ is the perfect mix of club music and lush synth-pop. I liked it after the first listen and then it grew on me and I listened more. And more. Korallreven are a Swedish duo formed by Marcus Joons and Daniel Tjader.
- Favorite Song: The Highest State of Grace
- Album Review: Second Comin’
6. Close Talker – Flux
I came across this Canadian four piece in October and was immediately smitten by their debut album Flux – not counting the prior EPs. It was a no-brainer to head down to Spike Hill to see Close Talker live – who were live as good as recorded, not better, not worse just as amazing as on vinyl (or digital). This album grew on me immensely – it is poetic, charming, haunting at times with sweeping melodies and a certain sadness (the grey album cover doesn’t lie) but also some expansive positive and definitely catchy songs. It’s an album that unfolds the more you listen to it. And that I will continue to do…