Some Stuff Worthy of Checking Out From 2014 (SSWoCOF, 2014 edition)

Dave Anians - December 31, 2014

Well, everyone’s making lists and Phil, and Steveo, and I are doing our year-end bracket extravaganza soon, and I’m learning how to have fun with this stuff instead of being all serious and artsy fartsy about it. So, to continue the fun, here’s some stuff you may have missed this year that you should check out! I’m definitely missing things, so just go ahead and read this and then listen to everything created this year and you’ll catch whatever it is this list is leaving out.

Ryan Adams- 1984 EP (80s alternative/college/punk rock)

Alongside a really really well done album put out a few months ago, Ryan Adams released this 15 minute gem. For fans of bands like The Replacements or Hüsker Dü, 1984 doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a complete homage to such an inspiring era. The energy is high, the songs are short as hell (there’s 11!), and this is hands down one of my favorite releases of the year. Best listened to as loud as possible.

Bedroom Sons- Wastin’ All My Time (Indie/Alternative/Pop/Soul/R&B/Damnit Chris)

Chris Dertz is good at writing songs. When he showed me these songs for the first time, we discussed how his music never really sticks to one style or genre, but somehow Bedroom Sons always ends up sounding like Bedroom Sons and it’s really cool. These songs are super fun and if you are stoked by oldies tunes, Elvis Costello, or sweet soul music, you’ll really dig the inspiration, power, musicianship, and modern twists on these three tracks.

Also check out the interview I did with Chris here!

RVIVR- Bicker and Breathe EP (Punk Rock/Pop Punk)

RVIVR is one of the coolest bands out there and they keep making quality songs. This new batch is no exception. If you like good, fast, catchy, introspective music, you’d be doing yourself a favor by checking this out.

High Dive- EP (Pop Punk/Powerpop/Queer-positive/Good music)

Maybe my most listened to release for 2014, this is a really good EP and it really shows the songwriting power that High Dive possesses. These songs manage to be sweet and powerful at the same time, which is a wonderful combination. With a less straight-forward punk approach, these songs each have an original sound that’s hard to put your finger on. The lyrics are also beautiful. Just listen to it, why I am typing about things you’re supposed to listen to? Come hang out, I’ll point at the speakers when I think things are cool and hopefully you’ll nod your head and agree.

Spoonboy- Three different splits! (Indie Rock/Punk/Pop)

With a total of 9 new Spoonboy songs, these three splits were all released on the same day (a day before my birthday, wowwww). It had been awhile since a release, and these songs definitely make up for the wait. It feels like the songs on each split have kind of a different style to them, which might just be a cognitive result from breaking them into different releases. They do have some things in common, though: catchiness, poppy-ness, really damn good lyrics-ness. My favorite is the one with Colour Me Wednesday, which has the most songs. I kind of forgot that this existed until I started making this list, and I’m getting really pumped now. This stuff is so good.

Kyle Hall and Human Petting Zoo Split (Singer-songwriter/Folk Punk/Indie/Pop)

This is an awesome release showcasing two wonderful artists making honest, sweet, sincere, sad, and positive songs. Folk punk is a really weird genre because it includes so many varied styles and ideas, but it often brings acts like this together and we all benefit from it.

Crying- Second Wind (Pop/Powerpop/Chiptune/Electropop)

So this is funny. While writing this piece, I went to see if the album I knew from this band was released in 2014 or not. Turns out it wasn’t, but they released 6 new songs last month and I had no idea(!). Thanks list! Crying is the kind of band that I would never have expected to love as much as I do. Super poppy songs with chill vocals and gameboy sounds all over the place. This is the first band I’ve heard that uses predominately chiptune stuff. I really know nothing about the genre or how it’s really made, but I’m digging the way Crying mixes complex melodies with a full band. After finding their last album, Get Olde, I spent a lot of time listening to it just to see if I liked it. I didn’t understand what was drawing me in. Next thing you know, I fucking love it. Second Wind shows us, in my opinion, a way more confident and matured batch of songs from a band mastering a really cool style of music.

Pat the Bunny- Probably Nothing, Possibly Everything (Singer-songwriter/Folk punk)

If you know Pat the Bunny, you know how damn much his music means to a lot of people. His songs have always seemed to connect very deeply, both personally and politically, with all kinds of folks. This came out just a week ago and it’s real good. Pat continues to deliver strong, biting, quotable lyrics and one-liners that I’ve already seen as multiple peoples’ facebook and tumblr statuses. With personal songs that incorporate political and radical thoughts, opinions, doubts, and beliefs, this album forces listeners to critique and admire the ways that many punks try to fight the system and live more freely and ethically. It also speaks to the ways that many people look up to this person and put him in a position that isn’t very comfortable. I won’t pretend to know the facts, but many of these songs seem to be a response to the way that people have seemed to idolize Pat’s music and bands (which I’d say are pretty against the idea of idolizing anything). Regardless of any negative lines or songs in this album, though, the overall message is one of hope. The way we try to create a better world and survive might be totally pointless and never change anything, but there’s always a chance that we’re completely wrong about that and we won’t know for sure until we try.

Thanks for reading! I look forward to reading more year-end lists and summaries from you all. I also hope you check out our year-end “best” album tournament and either praise us or kill us for it.