Albums of 2014: And the runners-up were...

You've read about our top ten favourite albums of the year – but who was floating under the radar?

Feature by Music Team | 05 Dec 2014

So that was our albums of the year and, while we doff our collective cap to those up top, the joy of such lists is always about making new discoveries, even as we re-visit the already critically-adorned. Allow us, if you will, to share a few of our own. 

Two very different American rock bands, bonded by a fiercely DIY streak, released irresistibly energetic firecrackers of six-string joy. Baltimore trio Dope Body further refined their post-hardcore maelstrom on the breath-snatching Lifer (#20); Ex Hex's Rips (#43), meanwhile, mixed a familiar DC hardcore urgency – they hail from historical punk hotbed Washington – with an uncanny knack for writing effortlessly infectious choruses.

Different sides of the synth-pop coin saw Fire Records' Virginia Wing explore themes of anxiety and self-medication on Measures Of Joy’s (#30) mesmerising Broadcast-flecked mutations; while TR/ST’s booming soundscapes offered a crisp update on 80s revivalism, Joyland (#21) a more nuanced, dancefloor-leaning alternative for those who found Future Islands’ ubiquitous breakthrough (#35) a little overwrought.      

German producer Glitterbug’s brooding hauntology Dust (#47) was inspired by Gold Panda’s Half Of Where You Live's celebration of ‘man-made urbanity’, instead re-imagining cities as layers of past memories – manifesting itself in murmuring deconstructed techno. Sharing a penchant for drone, though hoisting their textural washes to the forefront, A Winged Victory For The Sullen’s Atmos (#13) resonant piano and plaintive stringwork moved mountains even while giving the impression of barely shuffling an inch.

What of the regions The Skinny calls home? From Glasgow's Randolph’s Leap and Highlands-born Bronto Skylift came two vital additions to the narrative of Scotland’s music scene in 2014. The former came good with second LP Clumsy Knot (#49), an endearing slice of quick-witted, warmly-executed chamber-folk. The latter's Date With A Ghoul (#50) – featuring Phantom Band stickman Iain Stewart – bludgeoned listeners into submission with the panache of a DFA1979 from a decade ago.

Down in Manchester, Gizeh Records’ Shield Patterns cut a shadowy silhouette, but the pair’s minimalistic electronica on Contour Lines (#27) maintained a sense of intimacy amidst the space around them; and in Liverpool, Ninetails fleetingly burned brightly with their otherworldly collage of R’n’B beats, field recording patchworks and after-dark pop on Quiet Confidence (#44). Questions of 2014 being a vintage year for music invariably come down to the individual – but you won't find us decrying a lack of musical nutrition over the past 12 months.

Click each artwork for the original revew.

The Skinny's albums of the Year

1. Warpaint – Warpaint [Rough Trade]


• Read our recent interview with Stella Mozgawa and January cover story

2. The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave [Fat Cat]


• Read our recent interview and early studio report with James Graham

3. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream [Secretly Canadian]


• Read our reappraisal and 2014 interview with Adam Granduciel

4. St. Vincent – St. Vincent [Caroline]


• Read our reappraisal and 2014 interview with Annie Clark  

5. Angel Olsen –  Burn Your Fire For No Witness [Jagjaguwar]


• Read our recent interview with Angel Olsen

6. Mogwai – Rave Tapes [Rock Action]


• Read our recent interview with Stuart Braithwaite

7. FKA Twigs – LP1 [Young Turks]


• Read our reappraisal

8. The Afghan Whigs – Do to the Beast [Sub Pop]


• Read our recent interview with Greg Dulli and his track-by-track guide 

9. The Phantom Band – Strange Friend [Chemikal Underground]


• Read our recent interview with Duncan Marquiss and Rick Anthony

10. Young Fathers – DEAD [Big Dada / Anticon]


• Read our recent interview with Alloysious Massaquoi

11. Swans – To Be Kind [Mute]


• Read our 2012 interview with Michael Gira

12. Run the Jewels – Run The Jewels 2 [Fool's Gold]


• Read our 2013 interview with Killer Mike and El-P

13. A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Atomos [Erased Tapes]


14. Flying Lotus – You're Dead [Warp]


15. Sun Kil Moon – Benji [Calo Verde]


16. The Bug – Angels & Devils [Ninja Tune]


• Read our 2014 interview with Kevin Martin

17. Caribou – Our Love [City Slang]


18. Aphex Twin – Syro [Warp]


19. Hookworms – The Hum [Weird World]


• Read our recent interview with MJ

20. Dope Body – Lifer [Drag City]


• Read our recent interview with Andrew Laumann and David Jacober 

21. TRUST – Joyland [Ats & Crafts]


22. Wild Beasts – Present Tense [Domino]


• Read our 2014 interview with Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming

23. Goat – Commune [Sub Pop]


24. East India Youth – Total Strife Forever [Stolen]


• Read our 2014 interview with William Doyle

25. Thom Yorke – Tomorrow's Modern Boxes [Self-release]


26. Neneh Cherry – Blank Project [Smalltown Supersound]


27. Shield Patterns – Contour Lines [Gizeh]


• Watch Shield Patterns in session with ''WeYouMe'

28. Actress – Ghettoville [Ninja Tune]


29. Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything [Constellation]


• Read our 2014 interview with Efrim Menuck

30. Virginia Wing – Measures of Joy [Fire]


31. Mastodon – Once More 'Round the Sun [Reprise]


• Read our recent Under the Influence interview with Brann Dailor 

32. Interpol – El Pintor [Matador]


• Read our 2014 interview with Daniel Kessler

33. Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita [Polyvinyl]


• Read our 2014 interview with Greg Saunier

34. Melvins – Hold It In [Ipecac]


• Read Mark Arm's 2013 interview with Buzz Osborne

35. Future Islands – Singles [4AD]


• Read our 2014 interview with Samuel T Herring

36. PAWS – Youth Culture Forever [Fat Cat]


37. RATKING – So It Goes [XL Recordings]


38. The Wytches – Annabel Dream Reader [Partisan]


• Read our recent interview with Kristian Bell

39. Adult Jazz – Gist Is [Spare Thought]


• Read our 2014 interview with Harry Burgess

40. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There [Jagjaguwar]


41. Honeyblood – Honeyblood [Fat Cat]


• Read our 2014 studio report with Stina Tweeddale and Shona McVicar 

42. Sleaford Mods – Divide and Exit [Harbinger Sound]


• Read our recent interview with Jason Williamson

43. Ex Hex – Rips [Merge]


• Read our 2014 interview with Mary Timony

44. Ninetails – Quiet Confidence [Pond Life]


• Read our 2014 interview with Ninetails

45. Withered Hand – New Gods [Fortuna Pop]


46. Vessel – Punish, Honey [Tri-Angle]


47. Remember Remember – Forgetting the Present [Rock Action]


• Read our 2014 interview with Graeme Ronald and Tommy Stuart

48. Glitterbug – Dust [Notown]


• Read our 2014 interview with Till Rohmann

49. Randolph's Leap – Clumsy Knot [Lost Map]


• Read our 2012 interview with Adam Ross

50. Bronto Skylift – Date with a Ghoul [Self-release]