2014 was one hell of a year for me musically. For this first time since I became the unofficial voice for the independent artist, I made it an entire year without a single purchase of a "mainstream" artist's material. You read that correctly. Not one single mainstream record label got a single penny of my hard earned money in 2014. Every single cent that I spent last year on Bandcamp, iTunes, cdBaby, Reverbnation, Amazon, every pledge made on PledgeMusic and Indiegogo, went to hard working independent artists. And I spent A LOT of money!
Now, I've intentionally held on to this post for a reason. Towards the end of each year, we get inundated with lists from all over the music spectrum. I wanted to give you all some time to be able to enjoy each of those lists, as well as to give myself time to make sure what I was giving you truly was the best of what was given to us last year. Some of the albums/EPs on this list you've heard of from previous posts, others may be new to you but are already near and dear to my indie music loving soul. So without further ado, I give to you, my faithful readers and lovers of all things indie, MY Indie Music Blog's list of the top indie albums/EPs of 2014!
Little Donkey - Real Woman www.littledonkeymusic.com
The Well Reds - Volume www.thewellreds.com
Collette Andrea - Steady Sun www.colletteandrea.com
Simpleton & Cityfolk - Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken www.simpletonandcityfolk.bandcamp.com
Ghost of Paul Revere - Believe www.ghostofpaulrevere.com
Rikaan Ray - Inaugurated www.rikaanray.bandcamp.com
Forever Still - Scars www.foreverstill.dk
Sleeperstar - Lost Machines www.sleeperstar.com
Lori Henriques - How Great Can This Day Be www.lorihenriques.com
D. Edward - Love Is www.dedwardmusic.com
Olivia Millerschin - Over the Weather www.oliviamillerschin.com
Nicki Kris - Dream Big www.nickikris.com
Codie Prevost - All Kinds of Crazy www.codieprevost.com
Ben Harvey - #Two www.soundcloud.com/BenHarveyMusic
Gunther Brown - Good Nights for Daydreams www.guntherbrown.com
Alexander McKay - Brings Us Together www.alexandermckaymusic.com
Mad Anthony - Sank for Days www.madanthony.bandcamp.com
3PM - Slow Me Down www.3pm-music.com
Step Echo - Songs for the Broken www.stepecho.com
Haster - Let It Go www.haster.us
Friends of Emmet - State of Mind www.friendsofemmet.com
Josh Damigo - I Will Be There www.joshdamigo.com
And, now let's have a listen to the MY Indie Music Blog Top 10 (or so) indie albums/EPs for 2014!
10. Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy - Picture Day at Night School
Toronto, Ontario all-core rockers Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy were so far ahead of their own game with Night School that I have a hard time keeping the volume turned down much below blow-my-fucking-eardrums-out every and anytime I listen! For those of you who think rock n roll is dead, Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy would like to have a talk with you!
9. Aloud - It's Got to Be Now
The biggest compliment I can give to this Boston, Massachusetts quartet is simply this: They are one of the best live acts that I have EVER seen. Period. This was one of the many successful crowd funded campaigns that I supported this year (at the recommendation of Sasha Alcott from When Particles Collide), and It's Got to Be Now is a rockers delight from start to finish.
8. The Porter Draw - The Porter Draw
The Porter Draw is one finely polished album that flawlessly blends roots rock with alt-country and Americana. If there
were ever a call for a revival of today's mainstream country music, I would put
my first call in to the this band. I mean, how many people have balls
big enough to track a cover of a Bruce Springsteen tune and do it better than the Boss ever did?
7. Broken Romeo - Side 1 (2014)
Tuscon, Arizona alt-rockers Broken Romeo did things their own way in 2014 by piecing together what turned out to be an epic follow-up to the smash hit album Desperation Daze. The band recorded and released the first five songs off of the EP one epic rock anthem at a time, one after another... and the EP isn't even finished yet! I can say with certainty that the completed product is already on my list for 2015!!!
(Tie) 6. Project Dirty - Blue Fire
Los Angeles, California electronic pop/rock duo Project Dirty is currently exploding on the pop scene. They represent the best chance indie music has of crushing the misconception that the major record labels dictate to us what we hear. SiriusXM satellite radio has become the stomping grounds for song after song by Project Dirty, and Blue Fire took off like a rocket in 2014!
(Tie) 6. Ruth Willow - Heart Requiem
Making her debut on MY Indie Music Blog is Liverpool, United Kingdom's Ruth Willow. I've been trying to find a way to get her on this blog since I first listened to Heart Requiem but my biggest fear is that my words will not do her music justice. So much emotion comes out in her songs that I get lost in her voice and find myself continuously hitting repeat just to hear more. Ruth Willow is a prime example of an indie artist that should be outshining every single mainstream artist on a global stage.
(Tie) 5. Katie Cole - Lay It All Down
Los Angeles, California based Aussie native Katie Cole is back on MY Indie Music Blog with something special that's missing from today's mainstream radio, Lay It All Down. With
one of the strongest voices in music today, Katie's songs instantly have
a familiar feeling. There's a charm to her that reminds you of some of
music's classic folk/rock artists with a fresh update for today.
(Tie) 5. When Particles Collide - Photoelectric
Bangor, Maine husband/wife duo When Particles Collide had one helluva coming out party in 2014. Already an established favorite in the Northeast, Chris and Sasha managed to cut Photoelectric, embarked on their first cross-country tour, and still found the time to fit in the beginnings of yet another album! Classic rock, modern rock, punk rock, call Photoelectric what you want as long as you call it a raucous, ass-kicking, rocking good time! When it comes to the DIY indie artist, there aren't many better or more on top of their game as WPC!
4. David Gielan - The Golden Record
Los Angeles, California based David Gielan is the ultimate indie artist. Singer/songwriter, producer, engineer, composer... these are just a few of the hats that he wears. Whether it's producing hit indie record after record for some of the best in the industry at his studio, Melody Maker Productions, or constantly redefining himself as a singer/songwriter, David does it all. The Golden Record was a late entry in 2014 and well worth the wait. Venturing into the electronic genre, this is not at all what we've come to expect from our favorite indie artist, but damn, what an impressive 3 song EP this is.
3. Euphoria Audio - Euphoria Audio
grown to love Wakefield, United Kingdom based Euphoria Audio more and more over the last two years, their
sound becomes more and more familiar to me. So much so that I often
forget that I'm not listening to them on a local radio station. Prior to
the release of Euphoria Audio, we've become familiar with Gravity, 3 Seconds, Speechless and Our Yesterdays
to name a few. But put this entire album together in one cohesive
package and Euphoria Audio comes off more like a greatest hits album
than a debut. Chock full of huge stadium pounding guitar riffs and
soaring vocals, it's easy to see why Aerosmith (yes, THAT Aerosmith)
asked the guys to open for them at their first ever show in Singapore
last summer. This band is that good and this band is ready for the world
to discover what the EUAUArmy already knows!
2. Spaceship Days - Saving the Universe
The evolution of indie music in 2014 was never more evident than with Durham, North Carolina alt-rockers Spaceship Days and their album Saving the Universe. Song after song, verse after verse, Universe gives back to fans of real music what has been taken from them over the years. As soon as I hit play when I was first checking out this band, I knew this band was a bona fide superstar in the making. Spaceship Days is taking the helm as one of the best bands around, and in doing so, they are bringing the most original modern rock sound there is in any medium today.
1. Ryan Star - ANGELS + ANIMALS
It's almost unheard of in today's mainstream music that an artist on the verge of having one of their biggest "commercially" successful years would just walk away from a major label recording contract. In 2014, New York native Ryan Star did just that. After achieving success with his major label debut, 11:59, 2014 looked like it was chalking up to be the year of Ryan Star. Switching record labels after a hugely successful self-funded single (Stay Awhile) became a viral YouTube sensation, the realization that his creative freedom was going to be severely hindered, Ryan decided to return to his indie roots and record his music on his terms with his vision. It says
more about the artist and what's important to him than what we may have
ever given him credit for. Sure, we all knew the passion was there in
his previous recordings. Now we get a taste of his character. A N G E L S + A N I M A L S
is what you get when an artist is unwilling to compromise his craft to
conform to some standard set by someone that just doesn't get it. Ryan Star, I would like to personally thank you for setting a standard that every other artist will have to strive for for the rest of their careers. Others may say they give their fans what they want. Very few ever deliver. You sir delivered and then some. Here's looking forward to 2015 and After the Elephant.
Support unsigned artists... give indie music a chance.