This post originally appeared over at the Lefty Pop. Lefty Pop is the pop culture and politics site I contribute to twice weekly. Go check it out. Lots of funny, talented writers call it home.
New music, is there anything better? Okay, perhaps there are a few things that rank higher in life, but not many. I seldom sit in silence. My life has a constant (well made) soundtrack provided by my iPod, Spotify, or the humming of whatever ear-worm that has worked its way into my cranium. We’re over halfway to the finish line of 2014, and so far, this year’s audio offerings have been rather pleasings. Here are 14 of my favorites in no particular order.
Best Songs of 2014 (14)- Midge Ure: Are We Connected?
Remember Ultravox? They were responsible for that melodramatic 80s new wave hit Dancing With Tears in My Eyes. Midge Ure was the vocalist/guitarist. Since 1985, he’s been riding solo, but he is still bringing all the new wave exaggerated emotions this girl loves.
Best Songs of 2014 (13)- Leisure Cruise: Believer
Dave Hodge (of 90s Bran Van 3000 roots) and Leah Siegel (a local NY songstress) formed Leisure Cruise as a soundtrack to their imagined story about final time on earth prior to colonizing a new planet. It’s been said to, “Imagine the music of a John Hughes film if it had been written by Bowie, remixed by Johnny Jewel, and fronted by a female Prince, and you’ll start to get the idea.”
Best Songs of 2014 (12)- Speedy Ortiz: American Horror
Remember how amazing Liz Phair was back in the 90s before she got all poppy and over produced? Yeah, that’s Speedy Ortiz. Raw, feedback laden guitar and deadpan, angsty female vocals have earned this band constant rotation in my playlist.
Best Songs of 2014 (11)- Future Islands: Seasons (Waiting on You)
Imagine if a guy with spastic moves, death-metalesque vocals (toned down), and vaguely Joaquin Phoenix looks fronted an indie-electropop band. Future Islands is what you’d get. They earned a place in indie hearts after their performance on Letterman wowed Dave. Go check it out and enjoy the Cookie Monster vocals. I’d rather share the official video which is even more bizarre. Sympathetic nod to the right?
Best Songs of 2014 (10)- Phantogram: The Day You Died
The electronic rock duo eased their way into my faves a few years ago with Don’t Move and When I’m Small. Their 2014 album followed up with multiple highlights.
Best Songs of 2014 (9)- Beck: Unforgiven
This may be my favorite Beck. I listened to his new album Morning Phase in its entirety at least 25 times. Mellow, dreamy, and beautiful. If heaven had a soundtrack, this would be a strong contender.
Best Songs of 2014 (8)- 311: First Dimension
You’re really surprised 311 made this list aren’t you? Like I’m not going to offer up a track from my favorite band. Check out my review of their latest album, Stereolithic. My favorite song on the album changes weekly.
Best Songs of 2014 (7)- Mastodon: The Motherload
Mastodon’s new album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, was just released. Fans have eagerly been anticipating it following the much loved 2011 album from the Atlanta rockers, The Hunter. It was worth the wait. Solid. Yes, I have Mastodon on the same playlist as Phantogram. Variety people, it’s the spice of life.
Best Songs of 2014 (6)- Jack White: Would You Fight for My Love?
I’m kind of digging what living in Nashville is doing to Jack White. His latest offerings chase the ripping guitar with a bit of twang. The result is rather pleasing.
Best Songs of 2014 (5)- Kongos: Come With Me Now
Super catchy. Who doesn’t love a bearded accordion player?
Best Songs of 2014 (4)- The Pretty Reckless- House on the Hill
Apparently the lead singer was on Gossip Girl. Regardless, I love what they’re offering up so far.
Best Songs of 2014 (3)- Temples: A Questioned Isn’t Answered
Anywhere a band is creating psychedelic rock that would easily be at home on a commune, I’ll be there to listen with a smile. Why does this music make me so happy?
Best Songs of 2014 (2)– Cloud Cult: Chemicals Collide
Strings may be my ultimate weakness. Throw a violin or cello into a track and I’m all in. Besides what part of “experimental, environmentally conscious band formed in the 90s” doesn’t sound like it was made for me?
Best Songs of 2014 (1)- Tokyo Police Club: Tunnel Vision
A fitting indie rock track to end the list.