Looking Back: Our Favorite Albums of 2014

As we ring in the new year, the Daily Slice staff remembers some of our favorite releases of 2014. It’s a daunting task to pick one favorite album for the entire year, but a handful of us managed to do it. Check out some of the staff’s favorite releases and why you should listen to all of them below!

Foxes – Glorious

This record shattered my expectations and proved to be one of the most interesting, thought provoking pieces of music I’ve heard in recent memory. As a whole, it’s an acquired taste; but one that is most definitely worth acquiring. The only place I had heard Foxes before was on Fall Out Boy’s “Just One Yesterday”, and from then on I was hooked. The melodies and beats are infectious, innovative, and original enough to keep the listener coming back for eons to come. There’s an insane amount of depth to the lyrics–a level that is not often displayed in this type of music. The result is a brilliantly dreamy, 80s inspired pop record that’s just as catchy as it is introspective. ~Nick Sisti 

Fireworks – Oh, Common Life

Every once in a while, a truly special album comes along that just seems to resonate so much with your life that you wonder if the songwriter behind it read your private journal before writing it. Sure, a lot of albums have vague, relatable lyrics, but Oh, Common Life strikes so many specific nerves in just over thirty-five minutes that at one point or another, it will hit you, and it will hit you hard. I’ve danced to this album alone in my room and bawled to it during the long drives back and forth to college (which is probably unsafe). The sheer honesty and vulnerability of the lyrics on this album is its number one selling point, although the vocals, instrumentation, and production complement the lyrics very well. Overall, if I had to recommend one album this year, it would be this one. Go for a walk with this album, drown everything out, and reflect on your own common life. ~Michael Silva

Mongol Horde – S/T

Mongol Horde self titledThe UK took a hard blow in 2005 with the split of Frank Turner fronted hardcore band Million Dead. We instead received a slew of folk punk albums from Frank’s solo efforts which were more than welcomed though are still yet to be fully appreciated overseas. However 2012 gave the first glimpse at Mongol Horde and this past year the highly anticipated full length LP surfaced. Showing the world Frank still has his hardcore vocals and energy, drummer ex-Million Dead drummer Ben Dawson has those deep heavy grooves and Sleeping Souls keyboardist Matt Nasir knows his way around a baritone guitar. The Mongol Horde self-titled is the one stop shop for songs about Genghis Khan, Natalie Portman’s tapeworm and how Christmas was ruined by Communism.  ~Ryan McGonagle

PVRIS – White Noise

White Noise by Pvris is my personal favorite album this year. Lyndsey’s power house vocals absolutely blow me way. Had I not seen them live, I probably wouldn’t have even given them a chance, but I’d bet on them. Pvris deserves every ounce of credit that anyone could ever give. Not only did most of the crowd know all the words to all their songs when I saw them, but they sold out all their holiday shows out east. Not only selling out shows, but in June they announced they were signing with Rise Records, making them the first female fronted band to be signed to Rise. If you haven’t listened to them yet, check out “Smoke”, or “My House.” 2014 was Pvris’s year. ~Samantha Shaw

Knuckle Puck – While I Stay Secluded

knuckle-puck-ep12014 was a busy year packed with touring and recording for the Chicago pop punk band, Knuckle Puck. Coming hot off their tour split with Neck Deep and a 7” Flexi release of “Oak Street” and “Home Alone” they released a 5-song EP, While I Stay Secluded. On top of that they have signed to Rise Records and are currently working on their debut full-length album to be released in 2015. While I Stay Secluded is a culmination of the efforts of the previous two EP’s and demos and showcases their classic pop punk style. Lead singer, Joe Taylor’s belting vocals paired with Nick Casasanto’s backing vocals creates a dynamic sound that is nothing less than what you’d expect. My favorite track on this album being “Bedford Falls” is a perfect way to end this EP and really sums up what Knuckle Puck is all about. I can’t wait to see what this upcoming band has in store for 2015. ~Asa Reed

A Will Away / Head North – Split EP

It’s been really cool to watch these two bands grow into the musicians they are today. All throughout high school, I saw A Will Away perform at nearly every local venue in the area. They were my favorite locals to see live, and they were one of the first bands to let me interview them when I first started up. I met Head North when a show on their tour got cancelled, and they asked if they could hop on my birthday show that I had booked at a local venue in my town. They crashed at my house and wound up staying with me and my family again for later tours. Now, the band is signed to Bad Timing Records with plans to record an album this coming year. It was funny to watch these two bands that I had previously worked with separately come together to put together such an awesome set of tracks for this split. Both bands’ sounds have evolved so much since we first met, swaying between more classic pop-punk roots toward a more distinct alternative sound. There’s not a doubt in my mind that these two bands have big things in store for 2015.  ~Tori Bilcik

Taylor Swift – 1989

1989 was an album I didn’t expect to like as much as I do. As someone who listens to a lot of pop, but tends to steer away from Taylor Swift with the exception of a few songs, I found myself completely lost in this album. It flows well, every song has a unique beat that I didn’t expect from Taylor, and I didn’t think this album would be much better than Red. Even if you’re not a fan of Taylor, I highly suggest listening to “All You Had To Do Was Stay” and “Wonderland” – that is, if you can find them anywhere without buying the album (which wouldn’t be a bad choice.) ~Alex Liscio

Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2

2014 was a year filled with unique releases across every genre. Some of my personal favorite bands came out with refreshing and solid material, and I couldn’t have been happier. My pick for favorite album of the year is none other than “Run The Jewels 2” by hip-hop duo ‘Run the Jewels.’ The group is comprised of Atlanta-based southern rapper Killer Mike and Brooklyn native producer/rapper El-P. Their debut release as Run the Jewels was an instant hit in the hip-hop scene, and the sophomore effort is just as vicious, if not more. Angry, fast, relentless, tight, ludicrous. These are all words that could accurately describe the album to a certain extent, but it just takes one listen and you’ll be hooked. I had the pleasure of seeing RTJ at the Paradise Rock Club on Black Friday this November, and I can confirm they bring just as much energy to the stage as they do to the studio. Be sure to keep Run the Jewels on your radar in 2015 as these guys take the project to a new level in the new year. ~Jack Ganley

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