AllMusic 2014 Year In Review

Favorite Indie Pop and Indie Rock Albums -

There was plenty of outstanding indie rock and pop to go around this year, including the debut full-length by FKA Twigs, excellent new albums from St. Vincent and Spoon, and the latest dreamy record from the War on Drugs.
Gist Is

Adult Jazz

Gist Is

The ambitious debut by this Leeds quartet displays expertly crafted, experimental indie pop, created from a sprawling labyrinth of styles.

Alvvays

Alvvays

Alvvays

Fantastic debut from dreamy-eyed and undeniably catchy Canadian indie pop quintet.

So Long, See You Tomorrow

Bombay Bicycle Club

So Long, See You Tomorrow

A hypnotic mix of '80s synth pop and world music from Europe and India.

Boy

Carla Bozulich

Boy

The inspired musician delivers her "pop" album, which makes recognizable genres bleed into one of her own sublime creations.

Here and Nowhere Else

Cloud Nothings

Here and Nowhere Else

Equally fiery and committed, Cloud Nothings' fourth album is sustainable punk.

The Future's Void

EMA / Billy Sandness / Leif Shackelford

The Future's Void

EMA's ambitious second album explores the relationship between identity and the Internet in dazzling, often affecting vignettes.

Rips

Ex Hex

Rips

Mary Timony's power trio shakes up rock conventions on its life-affirming debut.

Loom

Fear of Men

Loom

Incredibly catchy and dark proper debut by this U.K. indie pop group builds on their brilliantly raw singles collection.

LP1

FKA twigs

LP1

The ethereally sensual artist's first full-length is some of her most accessible, varied and sexiest music yet.

Glass Boys

Fucked Up

Glass Boys

The Canadian hardcore band continues to reinvent punk rock on its revelatory fourth album.

Singles

Future Islands

Singles

The group's fourth album finds them streamlining their synth pop-influenced sound into something danceable and emotionally cutting.

Ruins

Grouper

Ruins

Recorded in Portugal, this is some of the ambient artist's most vulnerable and beautiful music.

Overjoyed

Half Japanese

Overjoyed

Jad and David Fair celebrate the joys of life in the modern world, with some help from John Dieterich of Deerhoof.

Tecuciztecatl

His Name Is Alive

Tecuciztecatl

The Michigan group returns to its experimental roots, delivering a dazzling, bittersweet set inspired by prog rock and Hammer horror.

Never Hungover Again

Joyce Manor

Never Hungover Again

Raw, exceedingly emotional, and melodic neo-emo-punk that stands proudly next to the classic albums of the '90s emo wave.

Mess

Liars

Mess

Following the introspective WIXIW, Liars deliver some of their most spontaneous and wickedly gleeful songs in years.

Nabuma Rubberband

Little Dragon

Nabuma Rubberband

The Swedish group's fourth, mostly self-produced album is highlighted by a handful of stormy ballads.

International

Lust for Youth

International

The band's first album as a trio strips away the noise, revealing them as first-rate purveyors of swooning synth pop.

I Never Learn

Lykke Li

I Never Learn

The Swedish singer/songwriter delivers a beautifully glacial set of break-up ballads on her strong third release.

Salad Days

Mac DeMarco

Salad Days

Second full-length from Canadian songwriter offers a more mature reading on his cracked ideas of pop music.

Mr. Twin Sister

Mr. Twin Sister

Mr. Twin Sister

The Brooklyn-based band uses hardship to completely transform themselves and their music, delivering mysterious, celebratory electro-pop.

Blank Project

Neneh Cherry

Blank Project

Riveting, often bleak work from Cherry -- only her fourth proper solo album but as collaborative as anything from her deep, undervalued discography.

Guilty of Everything

Nothing

Guilty of Everything

Impressively dark and dramatic shoegaze/noise rock debut that takes the tropes of those styles and totally owns them.

In Conflict

Owen Pallett

In Conflict

Pallett's fourth long-player exists somewhere in between the sugary opulence of Kishi Bashi and the chilly refinement of Homogenic-era Björk.

Sunbathing Animal

Parquet Courts

Sunbathing Animal

Their second album is streamlined, angry, full of undimmed passion and fire, and also quite catchy and fun, just like the group's debut.

Carnival of Souls

Pere Ubu

Carnival of Souls

The second installment of the band's trilogy of albums inspired by classic movies offers a thrilling riff on vintage low-budget horror.

Too Bright

Perfume Genius

Too Bright

Mike Hadreas' bold, terrifying, and heartbreaking third album features Portishead's Adrian Utley and PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish.

Under Color of Official Right

Protomartyr

Under Color of Official Right

Second album from Detroit post-punkers expands on their furious beginnings with more nuanced moods and production.

Are We There

Sharon Van Etten

Are We There

Inventive arrangements and daring leaps of style make this indie singer/songwriter's fourth album a triumph.

Let's Dance Raw

Shintaro Sakamoto

Let's Dance Raw

The former Yura Yura Teikoku founder's post-apocalyptic lounge is thought-provoking, musically dazzling, and sometimes bewildering.

Divide and Exit

Sleaford Mods

Divide and Exit

The Nottingham duo's brilliantly crude breakthrough proves they're one of the most truly punk acts of the 2010s.

They Want My Soul

Spoon

They Want My Soul

The band's first album in four years is a concise return that's too complex to be considered back-to-basics.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent

St. Vincent

A fascinating mix of directness and artifice, St. Vincent's fourth album is her most satisfying yet.

Wig Out at Jagbags

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks

Wig Out at Jagbags

The Jicks get mellow, sunny, and mischievous on this, their first album since Malkmus reunited Pavement.

Soused

Sunn O))) / Scott Walker

Soused

The pairing of artists renowned for experimentation yields a strangely melodic, often thunderous offering equal to the sum of its parts.

To Be Kind

Swans

To Be Kind

Another epic-scale salvo from these noise-rock pioneers, slightly less dark than their best-known work but no less intense.

The  Way and Color

TEEN

The Way and Color

Inspired by '90s R&B, TEEN focus their experimental leanings into a set of exciting, ambitious, and womanly songs.

Sun Structures

Temples

Sun Structures

Temples' debut is a thrilling introduction to their brand of backward-looking, forward-sounding psych pop.

In a Dream

The Juan MacLean

In a Dream

The band's third album adds some obvious '80s elements, and further synthesizes and improves their unique brand of dance-pop.

Wooden Head

The Proper Ornaments

Wooden Head

The band's debut album is a low-key psych pop delight that casts a calmly enchanting spell that's hard to break, even after the album ends.

Lost in the Dream

The War on Drugs

Lost in the Dream

Third album of dreamy, understated rock stands as this Philly group's finest hour so far.

Lunchbox Loves You

Tim Brown / Lunchbox / Donna McKean

Lunchbox Loves You

Fuzzy, hooky, blown-out indie pop that sounds like the best thing Elephant 6 never released.

Picture You Staring

TOPS

Picture You Staring

Second album from Montreal quartet merges sophisticated '80s pop and blurry home-recorded production.

Joyland

TR/ST

Joyland

Trust's second album is bold, vulnerable, dark, exuberant, and surprisingly danceable.

Nikki Nack

tUnE-yArDs

Nikki Nack

tUnE-yArDs' third album thrives on contradictions, delivering some of the duo's most challenging yet accessible music.

Sukierae

Tweedy

Sukierae

Jeff Tweedy teams up with his son Spencer for a set of personal, intimate songs informed by love and family crises.

Manipulator

Ty Segall

Manipulator

Noisy guitars and simple but sweet melodies cheerfully coexist on this offering from the West Coast indie hero.

The Innocents

Weyes Blood

The Innocents

Fantastic second album from this formerly noisy folk project steps up in terms of clarity and emotional weight.

Rhythm

Wildbirds & Peacedrums

Rhythm

Honed by consistent touring, the duo focuses on powerful vocals and percussion with stunning results.

Attica!

Wussy

Attica!

Fifth album from Ohio cult heroes is a grim but oddly beautiful celebration of the messy details of life after age 30.