Rock Bottom Radio’s top albums of 2014

Tweens at the Barbary
Tweens at the Barbary in Philly

Rock Bottom Radio is Shannen Gaffney. She is WKDU’s PR director and will host two radio programs beginning January 2015.

15. Frankie Cosmos – Zentropy
If you’re a twee-head and you missed this album you were probably in a coma during 2014 :/ Get well soon. Frankie 4ever.

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14. Lily Allen – Sheezus
Say what you want about Lily, but this album was a huge comeback for her as she emerged from silence a super-hot mom with a bunch of catchy new songs under her belt including this one about pop stars wanting to kill each other.

13. Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss it All
I loved this album less for the hits, as good as they were, and more for the #sadjams like “Notes,” and “Potholes” which hark back to their Nameless Ranger roots. [youtube]
12. Cherry Glazerr – Had Ten Dollaz EP
I absolutely fell in love with CG this year. One of the best live bands I saw in 2014, they also put out two awesome songs that, OK, do not fully make up an album, but were so good I had to put them on here anyway. [spotify id=”spotify:album:4ryYM4aFvHHFus44Mg6n2X” width=”400″ height=”120″ /]
11. clipping – CLPPNG
Abstract hip-hop is not at all my forte, but their latest album on Sub Pop caught my attention this year for its brash sound and sex account-filled lyrics. Check out our session with them if you haven’t!

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10. Ariana Grande – My Everything
Ok, I know, Ariana Grande can be really annoying. While her singing voice is extremely strong and wide-ranging, her childish speaking voice is painfully piercing to say the least. Yet My Everything had a bunch of hits and featured Childish Gambino, Big Sean, and A$AP Ferg and Cashmere Cat (who released a favorable alternative version of “Be My Baby”) among others. Grande may be annoying but she really took over the pop world in every way this year. Good 4 u, bb!

9. Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
Domestic violence, unrequited love, and coke problems alike are ironically glamorized on Lana’s third full-length. She may behave a little dramatically ditzy in the media sometimes but Ultraviolence was this year’s sad masterpiece.

8. Sexy Girls – Satan’s Hands
This surfish-shoegaze band out of Amherst, MA released their second full-length this summer, and it was catchy as hell, riding on some Panda Bear-ish vibes. They sound like they could be younger brothers of Mac Demarco, and Satan’s Hands was just as good if not better than Salad Days.[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=2372140389 size=small bgcol=ffffff linkcol=7137dc]
7. Die Antwoord – Donker Mag
This album has two lullabies! Not what we normally expect from these guys. Of course it isn’t short of lyrics like “Girl, I want to eat you!” and static beats from DJ Hi-Tek. Yo-Lani ViSSer is hot stuff.

6. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard– I’m In Your Mind Fuzz
The best band I saw live this year, Australian seven-piece King Gizzard have two drummers, a bunch of guitars, a flutist and one guy who plays some really aggressive harmonica. Their psych rock adventure is best experienced in the live format, but you can watch their video for “Cellophane” below (Does the 3D actually work?? I don’t have glasses!)

5. Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again
LA’s Joyce Manor called out many a crowd-surfer this year, trying to make their show atmosphere safer for all involved. People understandably go nuts for these guys, but let’s try not to give anyone a concussion, ok?

4. Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso
“Hey Mami” was the most important song of the year in my book, a dancy jam about the trials and tribulations of cat-calling. Plus this video of the band performing it live on a rooftop really showcases their *superb* songwriting and talent. (Yeah, superb!)

3. Mumblr – Full of Snakes
Local Philly band Mumblr is four dudes playing basement rock in rock basements and singing lines like “I think I’m post-race,” and “I feel so old when I get sober.” The whole album is very 2014, very critically American, and super fun. My favorite is this song about the city of Brotherly Love that’s “trash but it’s ours.”
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2. Amanda X – Amnesia
Philly trio Amanda X have played about 1,000 Philly dates this year at house shows, batting cages, and proper venues alike. This dreamy offering from Siltbreeze oozes shoegazey punk goodness on every song.

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1. Tweens – Tweens
Glitter-trash-PBR-pop at its finest, Cincinnati’s TWEENS blew me away this year; I saw them live probably five or six times and was real glad I went to each show. Catch our session with them and buy the album – it’s v worth real money!!!!!

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~Honorable Mentions~

  • Azealia BanksHeavy Metal and Reflective (I would have made Azealia my #1, but some of her tweets this year were way too offensive towards all the wrong people.)
  • Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
  • CryingGet Olde/Second Wind
  • BeyonceBeyonce Platinum (“Ring Off!” Wow!)
  • MitskiBury Me at Makeout Creek <3
  • Jenny LewisThe Voyager
  • Lauryn HillThe Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (because it was really all I listened to this year if I’m being honest.)