I could spend the rest of this calendar year holed up with old Monk and Mingus records—not listening to a single new release—and still have a tremendous set of records to recommend to you come year-end list season. With half of the year now completed, I can say without hesitation that 2014 has been one of the most significant years for new releases in recent memory, with several stone classics; plenty of others that come damn close.
Everything else I might say about the following list, I suspect, goes without saying: These are ten records I like an awful lot. It’s my halftime list, as it were, and will very likely change between now and December, maybe even between now and next week. That said, the top selection is 100 percent guaranteed to still be my favorite new record come the end of the year—is the heaviest new release in some years now, actually—and the next two albums on the list feel quite close to being mortal locks, as well.
I have found no small level of revelation and realignment in these albums; will keep returning to them for just that reason—and, because they are wildly entertaining, to boot.
- Joe Henry, Invisible Hour
- Miranda Lambert, Platinum
- Jolie Holland, Wine Dark Sea
- Amy LaVere, Runaway’s Diary
- The Roots, … And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
- Wilko Johnson/Roger Daltrey, Going Back Home
- Rodney Crowell, Tarpaper Sky
- Royksopp & Robyn, Do It Again
- Stanton Moore, Conversations
- Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
… and can you believe I wasn’t able to find room among those ten for Beck, Morning Phase; Rosanne Cash, The River and the Thread; St. Vincent, St. Vincent; Luther Dickinson, Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues; Kelis, Food; tUnE-yArds, Nikki Nack; Jack White, Lazaretto; Ray LaMontagne, Supernova; The Black Keys, Turn Blue; and Neil Young, A Letter Home?