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Dylan Peterson writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2014: Dylan Peterson

CHIRP Radio Best of 2014

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2014. Our first list for this year is from Features Director Dylan Peterson.

Another emotional year. It couldn't have been just me, right?

#1DSU by Alex G (Orchid Tapes)
Alex G DSUBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

It took months for this one to click, but once it did… boy. I'm tempted to call this the post-emo-revival album I was waiting for, but a quick trip to Alex G's bandcamp reveals that he's been making music like this for a few years now. DSU takes the melancholy of Elliott Smith, blatant honesty of the Kinsellas, sonic weirdness of Ryan Hemsworth, and without a scratch of irony comes up with the most warmly unfamiliar collection of songs I've heard this year.

#2Sea When Absent by A Sunny Day in Glasgow (Lefse)
A Sunny Day in Glasgow Sea When AbsentBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

Sea When Absent was my go-to all year any time I asked myself, "ehh what should I listen to." It never let me down. The production on this album doesn't even make sense, and this is precisely why it's such an invigorating listen. It's a dream pop album for all-time--how a band accomplished that 30 years after My Bloody Valentine is as bafflingly awesome as the music itself.

#3Lost in the Dream by The War On Drugs (Secretly Canadian)
The War On Drugs Lost in the DreamBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

It was the first AOTY contender this year, and we all knew it. And, sure enough, it's hung around (maybe thanks to goofiness of Mark Kozelek). Tom Petty, Dire Straits, Bob Dylan, and all the comparative obviousness is part of the reason this album takes so well, but its real strength is how it finds space to breathe. It's one we can enjoy on the porch with a beer and a dog. It's not asking too much of us, but we sure as hell don't want to skip a single song or turn it off.

#4Alvvays by Alvvays (Polyvinyl)
Alvvays AlvvaysBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

Rookies of the year right here. Don't be bothered by the 'double v' in the name, just listen to the songs and marvel at the brilliant, gorgeous songwriting. There's a bright, youthful sadness inherent in Alvvays, akin to Belle & Sebastian or The Smiths. Also, Chad VanGaalen produced it.

#5Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels (Mass Appeal)
Run the Jewels Run the Jewels 2BUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

Best hip-hop release two years running now. El-P and Killer Mike know it too. When I interviewed Run the Jewels for CHIRP, Mike boasted "Now I know how the Dallas Cowboys feel--back to fuckin' back, baby!" Zack de la Rocha and Travis Barker bring it for their feature tracks, but nothing goes quite as hard as Gangsta Boo's verse on "Love Again." I suggested to my wife that it become 'our song' (no dice there unfortunately).

#6The God Complex by GoldLink (self-released)
GoldLink The God ComplexBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

Future bounce is here. Goldlink is very young, and very good. Rappers like this don't come along too often, so just get on it now so you don't miss the ride up. It's gonna be fun.

#7Doss EP by Doss (Acephale)
Doss Doss EPBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

A perfect EP for an artist to debut a new aesthetic. When I shared Doss with a co-worker she quickly remarked, "Oh, it's like Alice DeeJay." After a short pause, I shouted, "Yes!" Somewhere between that, PC Music, and everything dance music ever needs to be--it's Doss.

#8Still Life by Dawn Golden (Mad Decent)
Dawn Golden Still LifeBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

I guess this is my local pick? Dawn Golden is in LA with everybody else now, but he is definitely a Chicagoan. And you can hear it here. Now that winter has arrived, the saddest/coldest album I've heard all year will dominate my headphones for 6 months of misery. That this was released on Mad Decent is ridiculous and wonderful.

#9Atlas by Real Estate (Domino)
Real Estate AtlasBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

Oh yeah, my favorite band released an album this year! It doesn't quite have the hooks of Days or their self-titled, but Atlas is the Real Estate we all know and love. Can't beat this when I'm feeling chill. I'm always feeling chill.

#10Days of Abandon by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Yebo)
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Days of AbandonBUY: Reckless / Permanent / iTunes / Insound / Amazon

Might as well throw one more guitar album in here. There's just something unspeakable that happens inside of me when Kip sings, "Eurydice, I'll never stop losing you. Losing you." (sigh.)

Honorable Mentions:

Best mix: Ryan Hemsworth's "Cool DJ Mix"

Best reissue: American Football

Best song: The Growlers "Going Gets Tuff"

Best video: Chet Faker "Gold"

Best remix: Wet - Don't Wanna Be Your Girl (Branchez Remix)


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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2014

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