You’re Dead! – Flying Lotus (2014)

You’re Dead! - Flying Lotus (2014)

I’ve already covered how Flying Lotus is the grand nephew of jazz greats John and Alice Coltrane, so when I say that this album is a jazz album, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. You’re Dead! is primarily about death, which usually comes with connotations of darkness and heaviness. This album isn’t really dark or heavy though. Sure, this album can get a little slower at times, but I would never say it’s depressing like a lot of music about death is. This album is jazzy, full of life, and experimentation. Kind of an interesting paradox really.

Choice Cut: Dead Man’s Tetris

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Singles – Future Islands (2014)

Singles - Future Islands (2014)

Singles is an appropriate name for this album, because that’s what this album sounds like: a collection of singles. Singles kind of acts like a greatest hits album for songs that were never released by Future Islands, and because of that there isn’t a bad song on this album. Not only does this album not have a bad song, the vocals from Samuel T. Herring are pretty amazing. If I had to make a list of strongest singers of 2014, Samuel T. Herring would be the entire top five because of the set of vocal chords that guy has.

Choice Cut: Seasons (Waiting On You)

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III – BADBADNOTGOOD (2014)

III - BADBADNOTGOOD (2014)

III is the first BADBADNOTGOOD album that is all original work. As much I love  jazz covers of alternative hip-hop songs, hearing BADBADNOTGOOD branch off into their own compositions is far more interesting as a listener. III obviously stays more on the jazz sides of instrumental jazz hip-hop, but there’s still plenty of hip-hop inspired moments to be heard on this album. Although III lacks the energy of its predecessors, it’s nothing to be brushed aside. BADBADNOTGOOD takes this album to explore more of the trio’s talents, and the result are extended jams and jazzy beats that do not disappoint.

Choice Cut: Since You Asked Kindly

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The Unnatural World – Have A Nice Life (2014)

The Unnatural World - Have A Nice Life (2014)

Vocal styling of a shoegaze group, instrumentals of an industrial band, and repetition of a drone act, The Unnatural World has it all in terms of underground rock genres. There’s also a nice post-punk flavor to the guitars too in case you needed some more crossing of genres. I guess the easiest way to describe this is if Swans, My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, and whatever post-punk band you like all got together to make an album. That might not sound appealing to some, but The Unnatural World manages to sound really appealing despite my weak attempts to describe it.

Choice Cut: Guggenheim Wax Museum
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Lazzarato – Jack White (2014)

Lazzarato - Jack White (2014)

Jack White is an eclectic person with an eclectic taste in music. Lazaretto is probably his most eclectic album. There’s a lot of songs in here that have an interesting juxtaposition of country rock and alternative rock. I don’t mean alternative country either. Jack White just kind of decided he wanted to make some songs with country rock and alternative rock influences and it worked. Jack White also keeps his Detroit blues-garage rock roots in his guitar playing. I don’t know how he manages to do all these things, but I guess when you’re Jack White, you just do it.

Choice Cut: High Ball Stepper
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Benjamin Booker – Benjamin Booker (2014)

Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker (2014)

Benjamin Booker’s debut album is a wonderful mix of blues rock and garage rock, which have become so closely intertwined recently. Booker is a lot like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. No, he shouldn’t rename his act to ‘Piano’ but that wouldn’t be an inaccurate statement. Booker has that rawness that The White Stripes held on their early stuff, and the complexity that The Black Keys brought to their later stuff. It’s hard for Booker to pull off rawness and complexity at the same time, and while Booker’s efforts aren’t exactly perfect, they’re far from mediocre.

Choice Cut: Violent Shiver
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Run The Jewels 2 – Run The Jewels (2014)

Run The Jewels 2 - Run The Jewels (2014)

“You know your favorite rapper ain’t shit and me, I might be, The closest representation of God you might see” is in Killer Mike‘s first verse of Run The Jewels 2. This is probably the most accurate statement in rap music today. This album is hard. Let me say that again. This album is hard Run The Jewels has managed to rise to the top with the last two albums, and they plan on staying there. Kendrick Lamar might have claimed that he is the king of New York, but Run The Jewels are the kings of the Earth.

Choice Cut: Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)
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