Exclaim!'s Best Pop & Rock Albums of 2014

Exclaim!'s Best Pop & Rock Albums of 2014

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20. Perfect Pussy - Say Yes to Love

Perfect Pussy - Say Yes to Love
March 18, 2014
Critic Score
81
21 reviews

Though this isn't the grand mission statement listeners might have expected from one of 2014's most hotly-tipped debuts, it's nonetheless a thrilling document of the group's manic punk energy

19. Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
January 21, 2014
Critic Score
80
19 reviews

It's still a great, short, raw blast of a melodic punk album, one that may not be a classic but is sure a lot of cathartic fun to listen to today.

18. Spoon - They Want My Soul

Spoon - They Want My Soul
August 5, 2014
Critic Score
78
33 reviews

Following the longest between-album wait of their career, They Want My Soul is a bold and swaggering declaration that Spoon have undoubtedly still got it — in spades.

17. Real Estate - Atlas

Real Estate - Atlas
March 4, 2014
Critic Score
75
31 reviews

It's amiable, deceptively dense and, ultimately, rewarding.

16. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness

Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness
February 18, 2014
Critic Score
81
31 reviews

Whether through its most aching moments or the psych-styled Americana explored on "High & Wild" and "Lights Out," there's plenty of high-calibre hypnotism to take hold of you on Burn Your Fire For No Witness.

15. Beck - Morning Phase

Beck - Morning Phase
February 25, 2014
Critic Score
78
38 reviews

While the earlier LP was harrowing in its soul-searching melancholia, Morning Phase is warm and soothing, its tone coming across as beautifully bittersweet rather than overtly depressing.

14. How to Dress Well - What Is This Heart?

How to Dress Well - What Is This Heart?
June 24, 2014
Critic Score
74
29 reviews

It moves Krell closer to the mainstream without sacrificing the emotional complexity of his music, proving that Krell is a musical force not to be underestimated.

13. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else

Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else
April 1, 2014
Critic Score
81
27 reviews

Here and Nowhere Else is another heavy, catchy-as-hell Cloud Nothings record. 

12. Sun Kil Moon - Benji

Sun Kil Moon - Benji
February 11, 2014
Critic Score
84
24 reviews

It isn't easy listening, akin to catching up with an over-sharing friend going through troubled times, but the stories are sad, funny and surprising, and the rewards are plentiful.

11. Ought - More Than Any Other Day

Ought - More Than Any Other Day
April 29, 2014
Critic Score
80
11 reviews

With their mix of righteous but mischievous poetry and charging music and dramatic vocals, Ought have conjured one of the most refreshing and inspiring rock records of the year. 

10. Tanya Tagaq - Animism

Tanya Tagaq - Animism
May 27, 2014
Critic Score
73
7 reviews

9. Future Islands - Singles

Future Islands - Singles
March 25, 2014
Critic Score
81
32 reviews

Singles is an album of big, enriching pop anthems, all of equal rank. It's rare to find an album this coherent and firm in quality. 

8. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream
March 18, 2014
Critic Score
85
33 reviews

Singer Adam Granduciel piles his blue collar mystic lyricism atop a rush of eddying rhythms and tones that feature Robbie Bennett's keyboards more prominently than ever.

7. Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams

Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams
April 1, 2014
Critic Score
75
16 reviews

There's a widescreen Morricone-like quality to the sound, while a spooky sense of dread sometimes infers David Lynch.

6. White Lung - Deep Fantasy

White Lung - Deep Fantasy
June 17, 2014
Critic Score
77
20 reviews

Boasting a bigger sound with better songwriting, Deep Fantasy pulls no punches, yet still emerges as White Lung's boldest and most accessible album to date.

5. Swans - To Be Kind

Swans - To Be Kind
May 13, 2014
Critic Score
87
28 reviews

This time around, the band seem a bit more comfortable with using production to serve the songs on the record ... The effect is wholly satisfying, confusing and obliterating — everything a Swans record should be. 

4. Alvvays - Alvvays

Alvvays - Alvvays
July 22, 2014
Critic Score
79
24 reviews

Like all good summertime experiences, Alvvays' debut feels like a warm and fuzzy memory, forging a deeper sense of nostalgia with each repeat visit.

3. Owen Pallett - In Conflict

Owen Pallett - In Conflict
May 27, 2014
Critic Score
79
24 reviews

Though less immediate than previous efforts, repeat listens to the darker, subtler In Conflict reveal yet another fascinating entry in Pallett's excellent catalogue.

2. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

St. Vincent - St. Vincent
February 25, 2014
Critic Score
87
36 reviews

What's crucial to St. Vincent's excellence is the way Clark balances her sonic explorations with melodies and song structures that keep even her strangest compositions satisfyingly challenging and memorable without ever being either too easy or frustrating. 

1. Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

Mac DeMarco - Salad Days
April 1, 2014
Critic Score
79
23 reviews

Mac DeMarco might be the wild and crazy showman on stage, but Salad Days shows there's plenty of tenderness behind that shit-eating, gap-toothed grin.

Original Source: http://exclaim.ca/News/exclaims_best_of_2014-top_20_pop_rock_albums_part_two
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