2014 Top 5 to 1: Oliver’s Choice
5. Banks – Goddess
Banks did everything right with this album: she took very personal and intmate songs, which she reportedly wrote in her bedroom on a toy keyboard and enlisted help to wrap them into gorgeous tracks that fit perfectly into the musical trends of 2014. While this is not a particularly hip backstory, the music speaks for itself and the 18 tracks of the deluxe album feel like a greatest hits compilation without a single letdown.
Favorite Song: It’s still Waiting Game, but I had that already for 2013, so I choose Brain.
Live shows: Haven (SXSW), Irving Plaza, Rough Trade NYC
4. Lowell – We Loved Her Dearly
Lowell is bold and loud and unapologetic. Like Grimes, she gives pop music a certain spin that makes it stand out from the Billboard Top 200 crowd. We Loved Her Dearly is an album that is just a lot of fun to listen to without being meaningless.
Favorite Song: Cloud 96
Live shows: SXSW, Mercury Lounge
3. FKA twigs – LP1
LP1 was probably my most anticipated album of the year and it didn’t disappoint. She continues her unique vison where she started with EP2. Like Banks she combines personal songs with futuristic beats, but she pushes the envelope even further. LP1 is not an easy album, but one that reveals itself a little more with every listen.
Favorite Song: LP1 is best savored in its entirety, but I really like Lights On.
Live shows: The Westway, Webster Hall
2. Warpaint – Warpaint
I really didn’t know what to expect from Warpaint after the debut album The Fool, which was my top pick in 2010. That record and the preceeding EP Exquitise Corps was the result of four years of jams – so how would Warpaint sound when they actually have to write enough songs to fill an album in a few months? Turns out, not much different, in a good way. They moved into the right direction by making their sound bigger and more diverse, but Warpaint still conveys the dreamy, melancholic and sometimes dark sentiment that I love to hear from them.
Favorite Song: Drive – Emily’s voice just makes me melt away in this song.
Live shows: Maggie Mae’s (SXSW), The Spotify House (SXSW), Webster Hall, Prospect Park Bandshell, Webster Hall
1. Gazelle Twin – Unflesh
Gazelle Twin’s second album was the one that impressed me most this year. Like with Warpaint, I didn’t know what to expect and I wasn’t so sure what to make out of the tracks she released earlier in the year. But then, when the album came out, all made sense and I find it still hard to put it away.
Gazelle Twin’s music has always drawn much of its energy from the personality of the artist behind it and much has been made out of how unsettling and terrifying it is (just look at the recod cover), but it’s also a brilliant piece of electronic music in its own right. I can’t wait for what’s she’s up to next.
Favorite Song: It’s too hard to select a specific song.
Live shows: Rough Trade NYC