They probably aren't the most wonderfully mastered, and definitely aren't the most critically acclaimed, but these are the new albums that I found myself playing and enjoying again and again in 2014. What are yours? I'd love to know.
10. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, I'm In Your Mind Fuzz
Fuzz and drums and hooks from start to finish, this is a good-time of an album, and I've listened to it over and over.
09. Karen O, Crush Songs
Karen O was one of my heroes as a teenager, but I lost interest in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs as their urgency faded and the performances seemed too staged. Crush Songs was recorded in 2006 and 2007 and still holds the delicate violence that attracted me to Karen O in the first place. Day Go By is just so lovely.
08. Kelis, Food
Kelis returns with grounding, maturity, and an ability to finally explore and synthesise her own identity as an artist. And just try and listen to Jerk Ribs without tapping your toes.
07. Nikki Lane, All or Nothin'
All or Nothin' is 100% guitars, wordplay, catch hooks, and bad ass ladies - and I for one couldn't be happier about it. Nikki Lane is a breath of impeccably dressed air, and each song on this album will get stuck in your head for days while you willingly hum along.
06. Tiny Ruins, Bright Painted One
Me At The Museum, You At The Wintergarden is possibly my favourite song of the year, such is its magnetically warm melody. Reminiscent of Laura Marling or Joni Mitchell, Holly's voice is a treat to listen along to.
05. Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams
How is there not already a Ryan Adams song called My Wrecking Ball? Either way, I am happy it exists now. After scrapping an entire album because it was just too sad (I can't imagine as all Adams albums are tearjerkers) this self-titled record has something his other's don't - a semblance of hope.
04. Hurray for the Riff-Raff, Small Town Heroes
A beautiful album, and a much-needed strong feminist voice within the folk music scene. The entire album is wonderfully written and arranged - but my favourite tracks would have to be The Body Electric, Small Town Heroes, and The New SF Bay Blues.
03. J Mascis, Tied To A Star
I happened upon a J Mascis show (as you can in Nashville) just after this album was released and fell swiftly in love. The beat-down lyrics, dreamy falsetto, and masterful guitar just work so well together - so much so that I've probably played this album more than any other this year.
02. Jack White, Lazaretto
If you knew me even an inch, you'd be able to guess this would feature on my list. Lazaretto is almost then anti-thesis of The White Stripes - filled with piano, guitars, pan steel and everything in between, but the result strong, dense and full. Lazaretto, High Ball Stepper, and Temporary Ground are all star tracks, but the lusciously indulgent spaghetti-western of a rock ballad Would You Fight For My Love? is the one I find myself putting on repeat the most.
01. Sun Kil Moon, Benji
Wading through the unbelievably painful events Mark Kozelek's life track by track, Benji is one of the saddest records I've heard. The silver lining however, is that this sadness has allowed his powerful storytelling and songwriting abilities to truly shine on what is a heartbreakingly beautiful record.