The final batch of favorites. I’ve made the total a baker’s dozen, because (like Barenaked Ladies) I’m all about value. No big names here. Just musicians doing it for the love of the game. And if they happen to go big somewhere down the line, well, that’s alright, too. Support them. Heart them. Spread the word. For the last time in 2014, let’s round ’em up.
If George Michael fronted The Power Station back in the mid-80s with the bedroom-Mozart sonic experiments of Stevie Wonder and Todd Rundgren and a confessional lyrical style to lend a personal touch. And you can dance to it!
Apparently their style is known as “Nu-Hula.” I don’t know what that is, but I want more. An album full of catchy pop exotica and groovy jams, brah — for the beach, the street, or your living room.
Formerly an indie-rock favorite, Owens takes a sharp and unexpected left turn by making a country-gospel album with occasional Lennonesque touches. This has been a really fantastic year for non-mainstream country. And you can two-step to it!
A UK ex-pat singing songs about life in New York. She draws comparisons to Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones, but I hear the laidback, jazzy side of Lyle Lovett in her delivery. Any which way, it’s a fantastic, heartfelt album.
Honorable mentions to Jenny Lewis, Mother Mother, Ryan Adams, Sam Roberts Band, Trigger Hippy, New Pornographers, Jack White, Sam Smith, TV On The Radio, and St. Vincent, all of whom released excellent albums this year.
I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with more musictainment to inflame your brain and kickstart your heart. Happy holidays to you and yours, and I’ll see you on the flip side in 2015.