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Lady Amelia writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2014: Amelia Hruby

CHIRP Radio Best of 2014

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2014. Our next list is from DJ (6-9am Thursdays) Amelia Hruby.

Sitting down to make this year's list wasn't so tough. Looking back through my library and 2014 playlists, I found that I had marked a number of stand-out albums that jumped onto the list without a second thought. You may notice that 7/10 are female soloist or female-fronted groups. That wasn't particularly on purpose, women just seemed to run the rock world this year. You go girls!

Burn Your Fire For No Witness by Angel Olsen (Jagjaguwar)
Angel Olsen Burn Your Fire For No WitnessBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

Angel Olsen is a true gem. I waited for this album with bated breath, and it exceeded expectations. Olsen goes up-tempo and electronic (guitar, that is) for the first time with aplomb. It was a hit -- with the indie-crowd as least -- and she's already re-releasing the album with bonus tracks. I suggest "May As Well," those lyrics kill me everytime!

Are We There by Sharon Van Etten (Jagjaguwar)
Sharon Van Etten Are We ThereBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

Another beautiful lady on Jagjaguwar. Sharon Van Etten also expanded into a larger sound on this album, but I love tracks like "I Know," where she solos on piano.

Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels (Mass Appeal)
Run the Jewels Run the Jewels 2BUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

Admittedly, I don't know a ton about hip-hop. But I LOVE Run the Jewels. This album is fantastic, and I'm not sure I've heard a sexier, more consensual track than "Love Again (Akinyele Back)." Get it Gangsta Boo!

LP1 by FKA Twigs (Young Turks)
FKA Twigs LP1BUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

It's subtle, it's sexy, and it's fresh. Amazing post-r&b, post-glitch-electric album with an ethereal voice to kill. I can't stop playing this at parties to get everyone in the mood.

Singles by Future Islands (4AD)
Future Islands SinglesBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

I cannot say how thrilled I was to see Future Islands break through this year. While it means I probably won't be seeing them play the tiny basement club in Raleigh, NC where I spent my college years anymore, they deserve a wider audience. This album is a knockout from start to finish. Great job, Sam!

St. Vincent by St. Vincent (Loma Vista / Republic)
St. Vincent St. VincentBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

This Annie Clark album is hot! I love her stranger, earlier solo work, but this album is danceable and decadent. So much so that when she devoted her Pitchfork performance to all the "freaks" out there, the crop-topped, blonde girl in front of me in the crowd turned to her boyfriend and said, "I don't think she's that weird." Stay weird, Annie Clark! And keep showing off!

Love by Amen Dunes (Sacred Bones)
Amen Dunes LoveBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

This album is going to slide under the radar of most top 10 lists, but when I scroll through my iTunes most-played this year, I found this squarely near the top. Love is a beautiful album: simple melodies and a sound of soul-searching. I still find myself turning to it, when I can't choose anything else to play. That must say something.

Sylvan Esso by Sylvan Esso (Partisan)
Sylvan Esso Sylvan EssoBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

If I were capable of such things as picking ONE favorite album of the year, it would probably be this one. Sylvan Esso is fantastic. Amelia's voice and Nick's production are spot-on. It's danceable, it's soulful and it's beautiful. If you missed this one, buy it now! It's all you'll listen to for the rest of this year (and next).

Way Down Deep by Angela James (self-released)
Angela James Way Down DeepBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

This album as a late-comer to my list. Not in-your-face remarkable at first, it's sparse, beautiful and a tad twangy. The sound reminds me of my roots in the South, but a few tracks were recorded live at the Comfort Station in Logan Square, and Angela is local to the area. I wasn't convinced it was transcendent until I saw her perform live at the November album release at The Constellation. The occasion may or may not have inspired me to tell my partner I loved him for the first time. Just saying -- this album moves you!

Say Yes to Love by Perfect Pussy (Captured Tracks)
Perfect Pussy Say Yes to LoveBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

Meredith Graves is just too-damn perfect. 'Nuff said.

Honorable Mentions:

Grouper, Burial.

Ex Hex, Rips.

Ty Segall, Manipulator.

Thee Oh Sees, Drop.

Looking forward to in 2015:

Sleater Kinney, No Cities to Love.

Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear.

Kendrick Lamar, ???.


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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2014

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