(in 140 Characters or Less)
How many albums came out in 2014? Hell if we know. Eleventy-billion? It was a lot, let’s just leave it at that. You probably didn’t have time to listen to all of them, that’s why we picked out our 30 favorites from local and national/international bands to share with you. Now, now…we know what you’re saying. “But Submerge, now that the holidays are over and we’re all back to work and stuff, how do you expect us to read another long-ass ‘best-of’ list?” Hey, you know we gotchoo. We waxed eloquently about these 30 albums in Twitter-friendly blurbs. Now, who’s your best bro? We thought so…
You’d think this homegrown MC was in Alcatraz from all the bars on his second album. But J.Sirus clearly breaks out here and is on the run.
Sun Kil Moon
Caldo Verde Records
Heavy lyrics (assisted suicide) and the mundane (trips to Panera Bread) are equally vital. It’s folk, but it’s so much more.
Velvety voiced melodies woven into a dark bassy web. The two elements could stand alone as quality songs but together they’re beyond catchy.
For his seventh studio album, the prolific fuzz-rocker charted deeper waters for a cathartic, trippy, Kinks-like psych romp over 17 tracks.
Been tough taking Donald Glover seriously as a full-fledged rapper. But now that he’s crooning like MJ we have no choice but to respect him.
For their sophomore release, Ex Corps stripped down their sound, dropped a string section (mostly), to bring a driving, soulful rock album.
There are at least three punks in Louisville. Together they’re called White Reaper and none of them can legally drink, so buy ‘em a 12er.
Everything Is Beautiful
Blue Swan Records
Travis ditches the post-hardcore he’s known for and delivers an impressive full-length pop album with lush melodies and clean production.
Buyer beware. A lyrically sparse EP wading in the deep end of ominous soundwaves, so that the electronica must emote the mood.
Dark metal oozing with evil. The song “Soldier” alone has enough firepower to win the war on terror, but probably for the wrong side.
That mood with a playlist of Piper @ Gates of Dawn, VU-Loaded, Pet Sounds, Cowboy Junkies? Add this album to that list. Sac dreampop heroes.
Hurray for the Riff Raff
Small Town Heroes
Puerto Rican from the Bronx grows up on doo-wop & Motown, then dips into riot grrrl punk before settling on the sweetest of country styles.
Top Dawg Entertainment
Emotive, raspy & powerful R&B voice delivers intelligent, poetic lyrics atop constructed soundscapes w/ unique time changes, spoken word.
Michael RJ Saalman
On Lxus Shaq, Michael RJ Saalman constructs a world of experimental pop tunes that spark sonic hallucinations through osculating synths.
My Krazy Life
A sly tribute to G-funk packed with synths, 808s and scary-ass gangster shit. It’s everything Republicans hate about rap.
Crude Studs 7-inch
Aggravated verses meet sporadic, chaotic change-ups. From start to finish, the EP lasts 15 minutes. But, sometimes, that’s all she wrote.
Heartfelt, moving folk songs that don’t forget to rock from Northern California’s sageliest songwriter. Ragan just gets better with age.
FKA Twigs’ debut is a shuddering, sumptuous dose of futuristic chamber-soul perfect for carrying us into the chilly months of early 2015.
Primitive and Deadly
Carlson’s riffs combine with Lanegan’s vox to make molten metal magic. #stonerboner
Sounds like killing a sunny afternoon w/ nothing to do in a low-lying, wood-paneled den w/ beaded curtains, but it’s a good thing, really.
Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
High Top Mountain
Refreshing ‘70s Outlaw Country throwback vibe w/ plenty of slick licks & proper twang. No phony caricatures. Old school troubadours proud.
Cosmic Dial Tone
Cosmic Dial Tone stylistically and instrumentally takes us back to the basics while keeping it quirky & eclectic, modern groovy done right.
The synth-fueled, sexier side of hip-hop for those in search of that golden-era feel layered with endless soundscapes & head-bobbin’ beats.
The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream
What has 10 legs, smokes a lot of weed & sounds like mid-’80s Don Henley? The War On Drugs’ Lost in the Dream. We still hate the Eagles, tho.
Dreamy synthpop embellished with the howls of Samuel Herring. This is Future Islands. If you haven’t been introduced, please do so now.
Epic and absolutely addicting synth-driven instrumental album that’s ambient, groovy, melodic and psychedelic. Road trip to this!
Sol Life Music
Roots run deep in hip-hop, soul and intellect. The voice of the streets, a disenfranchised people and universally Sacramento all the same.
Mt. St. Mtn.
Staccato beats, quirky vocals & airy guitar riffs comprise the plucky quartet’s sophomore effort. Reinvention, done.
With their first new album in five years, Sacto hardcore legends Hoods are back and as brutal as ever. Gato Negro is a mean pussycat!
In a Desert of Plenty
Sunmonks seduces w/ clattering beats, enchanting harmonies & horns to make ur heart sing. You’ll dream of celebration under the desert sun.