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The 10 Essential Albums of 2014

December 29 2014, 1:36 PM EST By AltPress Cassie Whitt Jason Pettigrew Matt Crane Scott Heisel


We listen to a lot of new music at the AP bungalow. A lot of it is good; some of it is bad; and a very small amount is so transcendently awesome, we must continually shower praise upon its creators before the next calendar year arrives. With that said, please enjoy the 10 Essential albums of 2014, a collaborative list voted on by AP's in-house editorial staff.

This article originally ran in AP issue 318.

10. LOSTALONE - Shapes Of Screams

It’s a tragedy this underrated U.K. trio who put out one of the best albums of 2014 will meet a grudging end following their impending winter tour. With a rare gift for constantly four-upping their previous work, LostAlone gave fans and critics alike hope for the future withShapes Of Screams, a multi-layered, gigantic-sounding album that plays more like a movie epic than your everyday CD. —Cassie Whitt
GO DOWNLOAD: “Doooooooooomageddon (Global Thermonuclear Metafictional Warfare)”
 

9. THIS WILD LIFE - Clouded

We scouted This Wild Life off YouTube for AP&R and have had the refreshing experience of watching them blossom and eventually blow up this year with their debut. Though their music is acoustic, it stands up and somehow even fits in a world where heavy reigns. Perhaps this duo’s soft sincerity is the surfacing gasp the scene has needed. —Cassie Whitt
GO DOWNLOAD: “Roots And Branches (Meant To Be Alone)”
 

8. AT THE GATES - At War With Reality

Does the long-awaited follow-up to 1995’s Slaughter Of The Soul change the face of metal in the way its predecessor did? Certainly not, but it’s easily the best death-metal album of the last decade. On At War With Reality, At The Gates deliver the finest guitar work you’ll hear all year—epic rhythm, evil leads—and vocalist Tomas Lindberg once more becomes the fire-spitting dragon of Gothenburg. —Matt Crane
GO DOWNLOAD: “The Book Of Sand (The Abomination)”
 

7. WEEZER - Everything Will Be Alright In The End

This is truly the album Weezer fans have been waiting for since the late ’90s, and for the Negative Nancies who have continued to dog the band’s post-Pinkerton efforts, this album is excellent enough to get you to (hopefully) shut up and listen. Eulogy for a rock band? No need: Weezer just caught their second wind. ­—Scott Heisel
GO DOWNLOAD: “Go Away”
 

6. FRNKIERO ANDTHE CELLABRATION - Stomachaches

Former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero did nothing to change anyone’s opinion that he’d rather be playing in a 500-capacity club with sweating walls and gross restrooms than arenas. Playing nearly all the instruments himself, Iero imbued mosh pit soundtracks and some reverb-laden sensitivity, sometimes both in the same song. Perhaps it’s called Stomachaches because it hits you in the gut. –Jason Pettigrew
GO DOWNLOAD: “All I Want Is Nothing”
 

5. MARMOZETS - The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets

Leave it to British rock engineering to develop a hybrid of heavy music and delectable melodies. On their debut full-length, Marmozets offer riffage that’s both high-tech and gloriously propulsive, as vocalist Becca Macintyre alternately peels paint and hits notes that 90 percent of the world’s singers haven’t yet. These Brits have the talent, vision and manic, unbridled energy to rule your scene if you’djust let them… —Jason Pettigrew
GO DOWNLOAD: “Move, Shake, Hide”
 

4. ISSUES - Issues

Hip-hop, soul, pop and EDM are all carefully packaged into this metalcore banger. On their debut LP, Issues mix the smooth sass of Tyler “Tough guy dies a little inside” Carter with the ferocity of Michael Bohn (“Talk shit! You mean nothing!”) to achieve the perfect pop-metalcore album. Glistening with all the right effects, the production is out of this world, and the grooves are catchy as hell. —Matt Crane
GO DOWNLOAD: “Stingray Affliction”
 

3. BEARTOOTH - Disgusting

Attack Attack! were never the most popular band in the AP office, but we approached ex-AA! singer Caleb Shomo’s new band, Beartooth, with open ears—and were we blown away with the results. Shomo single-handedly (and impressively) wrote and recorded all of Disgusting, and the result is a ’roided-up hardcore ripper that belongs in weight rooms across America. Do you even lift, Sho? —Scott Heisel
GO DOWNLOAD: “Body Bag”
 

2. LA DISPUTE - Rooms Of The House

La Dispute are functioning on such a higher plane than most bands in AP’s universe that it’s almost unfair to hold anyone else up in comparison. Rooms Of The House is a tense, uncomfortable listen that’s worth every hour spent listening to it in 2014. How they’ll top this is anyone’s guess, but I’m excited to see them try. —Scott Heisel
GO DOWNLOAD: “Woman (In Mirror)”
 

1. GERARD WAY - Hesitant Alien

The former My Chemical Romance frontman battled depression, ennui and other assorted malaise to make a record devoid of overarching concepts and teeming with plenty of guitar and pedal abuse. What makes Hesitant Alien so intriguing is how Way and his backing band, the Hormones, are so malleable, offering driving rock, anthemic glam-pop and heartfelt balladry for an album that’s more sincere than showy. —Jason Pettigrew

GO DOWNLOAD: “Juarez”

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