If you’ve already enjoyed Margaret’s favourite music from this past year, then you’ll certainly enjoy Matt’s selections from 2014 just as much.
Part two of this list features even more talent, primarily from Canada.
At the end of this list, you can find our 8-tracks playlist that features all of the music from both written parts of our year in review, as well as a ton of music that just barely fell short of our top five lists. Enjoy reading our last update from 2014! We all hope that you have a safe and very happy New Year.
Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
A review on this album has already been written, so there’s no need to talk about it at an exhaustive length. This album however is very different from anything else on the list. While most of the songs on here are upbeat or ballads, Death From Above 1979 adds some variety with their driving riffs and headbanging melodies, managing to accomplish this in a tasteful way somehow.
The Physical World has no filler material on it at all. More often than not, it seems that LP releases have several filler tracks, especially with sophomore releases. This album was a long time coming though, and the anticipation levels were extremely high. Thankfully it came through, and easily captures the title as my favourite album of 2014.
Favourite Songs of 2014
1) Aukland – Counting On You
We had the pleasure of having Aukland coming to play at this year’s Vault Backyard Festival where they put on a great performance. While also being great musicians, these guys are some of the most personable people you’d ever meet
It wasn’t easy ordering the best five songs of 2014, but Counting on You comes in at my personal number one spot. The song, like many other songs before it, is about a girl. While not being anything groundbreaking lyrically, this song is a lot of fun and extremely catchy. There were many great songs that were released over the course of the summer, but Counting on you was the one that I had on repeat.
Aukland is based in Mississauga and still very active. They’ve been playing shows all year and just released a new single as well. Follow them on all of the various social media websites to keep updated on where they play shows. You won’t regret it.
2) Busty and The Bass – Tryna Find Myself
Busty and The Bass was one of the best surprises throughout all of 2014. Seemingly out of nowhere, these guys exploded onto the Canadian music scene. Based out of Montreal, these guys bring their fusion of rock, jazz, soul, funk, and even hip-hop at times to the table. It’s incredibly refreshing to hear such quality within these genres come from a Canadian band.
These guys sound just as good, if not better live. It’s mind-blowing, especially considering how many pieces are in this band. It’s understandable how tight they are when you hear their raw talent coming from each individual part of the band throughout every single song of theirs. The fact that they’re all music students at McGill likely helps as well. Busty and The Bass easily earns the number two spot on this list with their explosive track, “Tryna Find Myself.”
3) Vulfpeck – Sky Mall
Bouncing along into the number three spot is the wolf pack from Vulfpeck. Any one of these five songs easily could have been the number one favourite song of this year, and it breaks my heart that I had to order them, especially when a song like this is sitting at number three. Vulfpeck has become one of my favourite bands after discovering them this year, and “Sky Mall” has made me appreciate them even more. Not to mention, this is some of the most ridiculous bass playing I’ve ever heard.
4) Tennis – Bad Girls
Tennis’ Ritual In Repeat was a strong contender for my personal album of the year. It just barely fell short due to the strong competition, but “Bad Girls” still makes it onto my top five of 2014 with ease.
Touting some amazing vocal work and catchy hooks, Ritual In Repeat has a plethora of songs, many of which easily could have made it into this article. “Timothy,” “Never Work For Free” and “Night Vision” are just a few songs that I think of off the top of my head. “Bad Girls” just so happens to be their best effort from this album, coming in at number four.
5) Arkells – Cynical Bastards
The only of the bands that was able to make both Margaret’s and my own personal top five songs of the year, the boys from Hamilton managed to impress us both. Several songs off of High Noon will fester their way deep into your brain just after a few listens.
“Cynical Bastards” is all about the negative view that most people living outside of Hamilton have of the Arkells’ hometown. I’ve always been a lover of Hamilton with family and friends hailing from Toronto’s sister town, and I certainly agree with the song’s centiment: “all you cynical bastards get out of town.”
Favourite Shows of 2014
I know it’s a bit biased, but I honestly would put all of The Vault shows on the list from over the course of this year if I didn’t feel a little guilty about “tootin’ our own horn.” They all went off without a hitch and I had an absolute blast at every single one of them. With that said, here’s the list of non-Vault shows from over the year. For every one of these shows, I was absolutely floored by the musicianship and left awestruck.
1) Busty and the Bass, Ivory Hours, and Will Hunter Band @ The Brooklyn
2) Zeus and Lost Cousins @ The Grad Club
3) Jane’s Party @ Clark Hall Pub
4) Young Rival, Stella Ella Olla, and Lost Cousins @ Clark Hall Pub
5) Harlan Pepper @ Wolf Island Music Festival
A giant thank you goes out to all of our families and friends, as well as out readers and supporters; all of those titles not being mutually exclusive in the slightest. Lastly, but absolutely not least, a HUGE thank you to all the musicians that played at all of our events this year. You made 2014 a very special year for every one of us here and we wish you all the best of luck for the future. Peace and love everyone. Let’s make 2015 just as great as this past year.