As usual, this year was packed with quality releases from underground and unsigned bands. Per usual, I will not include any major label releases, so albums I love from the likes of Mazzy Star, Justin Timberlake, Tegan and Sara, etc. will be left out. I will also not include any releases that my label, Solitary Records, has released.
I always think that this list is going to be easy, until I actually remember just how many records came out this year. So, again, this year was a tough choice. Let's get it started!
Before we start, Honorable mention must be giving to: Micheal Stag, Dog Bite Harris, Jayke Orvis and the Broken Band, Lonesome Wyatt and the Holy Spooks, Mikey Classic, and many others, for making insanely great albums! Check them all out!!!
Sans the Wayward Drifters, J.B. delivers a great solo release. Although the title may suggest, there are actually quite a bit of rockers on this album, though, I strongly prefer the slow numbers, such as "All the Little Devils" and "When I Can Make you Mine" This is an album that would've likely been higher on the list if I had a few more months to really let it sink in.
With the quirky and obnoxiously catchy lyrics and straight forward instrumentation, Aran Buzzas makes a strong impact on his debut album. Aran has been a work horse the past couple of years, and this is a fine representation of a friendly, talented, and funny guy. Read my Full Review.
The Tosspints should be mentioned in the same sentence as Dropkick Murphy's or Flogging Molly. Only thing is, they are much better. No novelty instrumentation, just bass, guitar, and vocals. Powerful, three piece punk rock with a small Irish twist. The songs are short, to the point, and memorable. Check them out if you haven't yet.
Davy Jay Sparrow is back in a new location and an entirely new band. And guess what? His sound did not change one bit at all! He is on top of his game here. You listen and it brings you back in time to the western swing sound of Bob Wills. An amazing record front to back. Also, do not fuck with this mans yodel!
These German fuckers pounded onto the US scene by shipping cd's to nearly everyone involved to get their name around, and they certainly made their efforts worth while. These fellas pick hard, fast, and mean, and they do it with passion. I can not wait to see them, live at Muddy Roots 2014. Are comparisons to .357 String Band a bad thing? Fuck no. Keep it going boys! Read a full review of the album HERE
A one trick pony with the banjo? Lonewolf OMB will make you eat your words after releasing his third full length, and first to feature mainly dobro and resonator. Bruno proves that he can work his way around any stringed instrument and keep the songs catchy and amazing. I love this crazy fucker, and I love this album. He lays it on THICK!
Konrad sucks you in with the first note of "Hurricane", and he doesn't let up. I never thought this man could make a follow up to "Feed the Family" that would even compare, but, he exceeded my expectations with this follow up. Although, I do prefer the solo recordings, it did not take me long to warm up to the full band arrangements. This album will make you cry, laugh, and dance. Konrad Wert is a genius.
How do you top Possessed by Paul James? It is not easy, but Kentucky's Fifth on the Floor proves that it may just be possible. This 12 song, hard hitting blazer will rip you from ear to ear. Southern Rock? Country? Who gives a fuck. Just great music all around. Unreal guitar solo's, bass fills, and vocals make this album an instant classic. Don't fuck with these boys. Read my Full review HERE
Fuck you Hotten Hallers! I had no idea that they even had a new album coming out, until I got an email from Andy sending me the "upcoming record". Well, I got this email just three weeks back, when, I pretty much had me top 11 figured out. This band kills. I never thought that "Greetings from Welp City" could be followed with any sort of concern. But what did these fellas do? Add a third member and absolutely destroy the studio as they did just over a year ago. I hate these guys for how good they are. Simply fantastic. Fuck, I can't even properly pronounce the title, but that is fine with me.
Call me a biased, and I will call you a dumb, ignorant motherfucker. Believe it or not, I have enjoyed Shooter's music before he and I became friends. And, above that, I don't need to kiss anyone's ass, ever. This is simply an incredible record. I have never been let down by a Shooter record, but this one is special. "Wild and Lonesome", "The Other Life", and "The Gunslinger" are easily three of the best songs this fucker has ever recorded. I base my top 11 list on what I listen to the most, and simply put, I steadily rely on this record to get me through the day. Read my full review HERE
From the moment that this woman graced my living room and gave me an advance copy of this album, I knew that I somehow walked into something special. She is graceful, wild, beautiful, and above all, an amazing singer and songwriter. This album simply floors me, and has had no contention for the #1 spot of this list for many months. She is underrated and under appreciated. Rachel Kate will fuck you up. If you do not own this album, you are just goofy. Read my full review HERE
Thanks for teaching me to hate, Rachel.