Pompeii – Loom

Red Transit, 2014

Let me introduce you to the best album of 2014 (so far). Following a 5-year recording hiatus, Austin’s Pompeii regroup with atmospheric post-rock that builds, swirls and soars in the most important ways, from agile indie-rock to ambient keys, and with a mesmerising mix of blurry melody and driving, fuzzed out rock. If you aren’t fully immersed by track 3, I can only conclude you don’t like music.

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Sunken Monkey – Party Scars

Bumface, 2014

Gruff, extremely melodic pop-punk from England that tips its hat to the best days of Fat Wreck Chords as well injecting old school punk flavor, Sunken Monkey might have penned the party album of the year. Chocked full of memorable riffs, universally relatable lyrics and the high energy this genre is known for, if outfits like Rise Against, Face To Face, or The Menzingers are your cup of tea, you’ll be able to sip on Party Scars adoringly. The acoustic closer is a great deviation, too.

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Rush Midnight – Rush Midnight

Last Gang, 2014

Also known as the bassist for Twin Shadow, Russ Manning (Rush Midnight) restyles his experience with electro-pop into a rugged exploration of R&B, neo-funk and New Wave synth rock. Focusing on strong beats and striking guitar work, Manning offers a more gritty and sometimes forceful look at post-disco influenced indie-rock from a more lush angle. The deluxe version of this new album includes a Lykke Li cover and a Tokyo Police Club remix, both of which warrant picking it up.

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Alt-J – This Is All Yours

Warner, 2014

You have to hand it to Alt-J; the world is their oyster after a debut that made them a household name, and instead of turning in a radio-friendly, platinum seller, they go the opposite route into the unconventional. Flutes, french horns, unexpected texturing and the utilisation of pop star samples all ensure it’s a listen that requires careful attention, while solidifying them as a band who are much more than a memorable hook, though there’s plenty of those here, too.

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Making Movies – A La Deriva

United Interests, 2014

Bridging the gap between Afro-Latino sounds and adventurous psyche-rock, Making Movies’ second album is a bi-lingual affair that tells the story of an immigrant family struggling in the US and repercussions on the subsequent generations. Diversity proves to be their strong point, as the band display wailing guitar solos, Latin percussion and jagged time signatures, showing an affinity for New Wave and classic rock.

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yMusic – Balance Problems

New Amsterdam, 2014

Classical pop from some of NYC’s finest, this second album meshes many acoustic instruments into a whirling sound that often seems like more than six players and veers into textures that seem very plugged in. From abstract to minimalist to intimate, compositions by Sufjan Stevens and Jeremy Turner are reworked in a baroque, chamber and indie-classical vein that few, if anyone, could replicate.

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