Monsters Present…Monster Lists! Best of 2014: Top 5 Albums of the Year

[Disclamer: The list of albums below may contain some mature themes and language. Not all music is for all ages and we here at Monsters of Geek understand this. Even though we like to publish pieces with clean language, not everything we cover follows that same rule. We like to warn potential readers when we cover content that may have mature themes and language. Thank you and Enjoy!]
Aaron Blog Photo


’68 – In Humor and Sadness/No Sleep Records

It’s hard to describe the ’68, the new project of former Chariot frontman, and all around musical genius, Josh Scogin.

Joined on the drums by Michael McClellan, Scogin has brought forth a chaotic and beautiful two-piece rock n’ roll sound that we all need a bit more of in our lives. This isn’t the Chariot, but rather a hardcore/dirty rock n’ roll hybrid that sounds like an old southern dive bar mixed with CBGBs. Scogin still goes hard with crunching guitar riffs filled with tasty distortion like a musical donut hot and ready to be served, as his lyrics continue to be on point and the heart of any project Scogin is involved in.They are both poignant and thought provoking as Scogin fires them off like arrows from an aged bow: Fast and on-point.

Scogin and McClellan gave us an aggressive, heavy, and smart album with In Humor and Sadness that only left me with one complaint: I wish there was more.

Rose AveYou + MeRose Ave./RCA

Dallas Green (City and Colour) and Alecia Moore (Pink) are an unlikely duo on paper. Moore is a bonafide pop superstar that can actually sing (a rarity in the pop chart. And, yes, I’m that guy that hates mainstream radio) and Green who made his name with metal-core band Alexisonfire and turned into a folk-rock hero with solo project City and Colour. Both talented, but two people that you would have never thought would come together to work on a project

What can we thank for this collision of talent? Friendship. Like Super Friends, but with an acoustic guitar, harmonies, and cool hats.

Rose Ave. is an amazing album written by two very talented friends. Green and Moore’s voices are made to be heard together. The songwriting is great as it depicts love being both a destructive force when used wrong and a renewing spirit of hope when used right.

Friendship makes for some great music.

Yellowcard LIftYellowcardLift a Sail/Razor and Tie

My wonderful wife, girlfriend at that time, bought me tickets to see Yellowcard in Atlanta for Christmas. You can read about the concert here (Spoiler: It was pretty awesome), but while we were enjoying being in the presence of pop-punk royalty, the band announced they would be releasing a new album a bit later in 2014.

That album became Lift a Sail. And it quickly became one of my favorite albums of the year.

Lift a Sail showed how a band can mature their sound without losing their identity. Even though the album leaned more towards a pure rock album, it still had the pop-punk energy and catchy choruses that made the band a household name. But the album’s best quality is it’s uplifting nature. From the lyrics to the overall tone of the album tells of life’s struggles and the blessings that come from overcoming them. Tracks like “Transmission Home” and the title track give the listener a story of life, and how it’s worth more than enough to beat the trials it brings, so we can have the privilege to live it.

Photo: Rolling Stone

Young the GiantMind Over Matter/Fueled By Raman

You can read my full review of Mind Over Matter here (an early addition to the Monsters archives), but I’ll give you a quick synopsis: It’s pretty awesome.

Young the Giant’s sophomore album was a bit of a wait (three years to be precise), and it was worth every minute of it. With there trademark catchy choruses and smooth vocals of lead singer Sameer Gadhia are in full swing, Young the Giant occupied the spot they left three years ago as one of he most talented bands in music. Mind Over Matter is one of the most complete albums I’ve heard in a while, with everything from overall musicality to track placement lending to a near flawless album. Songs like “Anagram” and “In My House” gives us the energetic band that became one of my favorites with 2008’s self-titled debut album, while “Firelight” and “Waves” gives us a little more subdued tone that adds a new layer to the band’s sound.

I can’t gush about Mind Over Matter enough. The album was released in January and I’m still spinning it (or whatever the digital equivalent for the term) at the end making it nothing short of a spectacular effort.

SullivanSullivanHeavy is the Head/Spartan Records

Two of my favorite albums of all-time belong to Sullivan: Hey, I’m a Ghost and Cover Your Eyes. Both albums were unique (and still are) and brought a different type of energy that I’ve never heard from an alternative rock band before. When the band went on hiatus after Cover Your Eyes, I was more than a little bummed. I never felt the band reached it’s full potential, leaving their bright future, at least in my opinion, on the table.

Then they announced a new album to be released later this year. It became the most anticipated albums of the year for this music geek as soon as I read the announcement. So, I crossed my fingers as I pressed play on Spotify to see if all the excitement was going to lead to earfuls of joy or a big heaping plate of disappointment.

It was released Tuesday, and it’s on the this list. In short, it’s everything I hope it would be and more.

Sullivan picked up right where they left off with an aggressive sound and soaring choruses that had me stomping my feet and throwing my hands up in appreciation. From the opening song, “You Don’t Mean It”, I was hooked, and as the album progressed towards it’s end I was waving the Sullivan flag once again. “Profile” maybe one of the best songs I’ve heard all year and it highlights an album full of standout tracks.

Welcome back, Sullivan. It’s been a long time and it’s great to have you back. Take off your coat and stay a while.

Honorable Mentions:
AnberlinLowborn/Tooth and Nail
Matty MullinsSelf Titled/Rise 
NEEDTOBREATHERivers in the Wasteland/Atlantic
Demon HunterExtremist/Solid State

Joe CollierBlogpic

Jack White LazarettoJack White Lazaretto/Third Man Records

Growing up we heard that Elvis was King. What can be said, Jack White is this generations Elvis. Whether it’s the White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather or just as himself, he never puts out a bad album.

Lazaretto proves that Jack sits on top of the throne.

Jack puts together a strong album from start to finish. His signature wailing guitar, heavy drum beats, and an awesome backing band, Lazaretto is one heck of an album. It’s good to be king!  Hail to the king baby! God Bless Jack White!

Spoon They WantSpoonThey Want My Soul/Loma Vista

Spoon has been tickling our ears for 20 years. They are still one of the best Indie-rock bands to this day and they played a huge roll in my musical taste since Kill the Moonlight came out in 2002.

The year is 2014, and Spoon still has one of the freshest sounds in the music scene. They Want My Soul, it’s hard to say if it’s their best album, but it’s close. Spoon has my top song of 2014 on it, New York Kiss. If you haven’t listened to They Want My Soul you need to.

Sturgill SimpsonSturgill SimpsonMetamodern Sounds in Country Music/Loose

I have almost given up on country music. There is too much Bro crap getting air time, and how people can say this is the greatest age of county baffles me.

Enter Sturgill Simpson, who may have put out the best country album in years. He’s blown up, playing late night shows to big venues. He’s done it all with no help of radio play, or actually being called a country artist. He’s up for two Grammys in Americana. I tell myself that’s what they call real country these days. With a sound like the old outlaws with a trippy twist, he has taken the scene by storm. Look out for this guy in 2015, cause he blew up in 2014.

Photo: Wikipedia

Ryan Adams Ryan Adams/Pax AM

I have too say, that while I did listen to Ryan Adams and I enjoyed his music, I had to be in a certain mood to listen to it. But from the get go, Ryan Adams grabs you and makes you set down and pay attention. You look around and ask: Is this Ryan Adams? Is this the same Ryan Adams? No it’s not.

I think he finally grew up and made this best album to date. While the old Adams is still on this album, his musical tone allows you to feel more emotion. It sounds like an album “The Boss” would have came out with. I applaud you sir!

Dead Man's TownDead Man’s TownVarious Artists

I usually don’t put tribute albums on my top lists, but when I heard this tribute to one of the best performers ever I couldn’t stop listening to it. It opens up with a haunting version of “Born in the USA” by Jason Isbell, and is followed by songs and performances  that are even better. If you have not listened to this album yet you need to. It will make you respect Bruce a little more, it did me, and introduce you to a lot of great artist.

Honorable Mentions
Temples Sun Structures
The War on Drugs Lost in the Dream
Chumped Teenage Retirement
Run The Jewels Run the Jewels 2

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