Adobe and Teardrops's third anniversary (on December 12) completely passed me by! Happy birthday to me!
Between my own blogger bubble and my kids' insistence on listening to the Drake channel on Pandora in class, I don't really get to hear what passes for top 40 rock these days. (Side note: we reached a detente on the last day of class. We switched between my Two Cow Garage channel and Drake. The first song on the TCG channel was Tim Barry's "thing of the past." I pointed out that since we both listen to songs about getting drunk and getting high, we're not so different. They pointed out that they hate country music.)
So when I went to the gym today (for the fist time in months) I was surprised to hear how many new bands there were that were clearly intended to be follow-ups to the Lumineers' (deserved) success. One band (American Authors) was even from Brooklyn. Even the melody to Katie Perry's "Roar" steals from "Hey Ho"'s melody. These bands (or their producers) took the whole hand-claps-chorus-real-drum-kit Brooklyn hipster sound and added a little autotune and a bit of distortion.
But if you're reading this, then you know that that stuff, while pleasant, is wishy washy at best. Here are the top 10 bands and musicians who weren't afraid to take a stand in 2014.
10. Uncle Leon and the Alibis -- Wild Ways
Brooklyn-based Uncle Leon gave us the year's party rock anthem, "Whisky and Weed and Big-Titted Women" as well as a bunch of fantastic boot-scuffing rockabilly tunes.
9. The Miners -- Miners' Rebellion
"Norton's Pond" still gets me every time. The Miners are part of a growing group of bands in Philly that stick a little more to their routes than the '90s alt-country they clearly draw inspiration from.
8. Sans Abri -- Shelter
I've already showered a lot of love on these guys, but here's some more. Sans Abri's lyrical acuity is something to behold. I get something new out of this album every time I listen to it.
7. Quiet Hollers -- I Am the Morning
This is an album about fighting for your humanity as a means of survival. "Road Song," without my realizing it until I gave the album a fresh listen, has been stuck in my head since June. Considering how much music I listened to this year, that should tell you something about its staying power.
6. Mount Moriah -- Miracle Temple
Look out for my full review next week. Suffice to say, Mount Moriah brings it with the passion and fury we should expect from all rock and roll bands.
5. Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman -- We Made it Home
The husband and wife duo bring joy, sorrow, grief, loneliness, and spirituality to life on their first album together. It's truly a triumph.
4. Ben Trickey -- Rising Waters
I am still fangirling so hard about this album right now I can't even. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.
3. Doc Feldman and the LD50 -- Sundowning at the Station
Doc Feldman's breakout album wowed many a blogger and fan alike. His world-weariness and determination to survive -- just to spite whoever's making his life tough -- is badass. So are his minimalist folk songs.
2. Two Cow Garage -- Death of the Self-Preservation Society
1. J Kutchma and the Five Fifths -- Pastorals
The full review will be up tomorrow. Yes, it stole first place in my heart from Two Cow. Yes, it's that good.