Casting politics and genre labels that come with such lists on more mainstream outlets aside, I remind myself that I started Bucket Full of Nails as a forum to discuss music I like, artists I admire and further discussion and discovery of the growing independent community of new music. While I am thankful for having been afforded a larger platform (see: PopMatters) to discuss a sweeping range of music this year, here is where I can best cater to the underserved musicians who often operate without the help of a label, play shows anywhere and everywhere for exposure and rely on e-mail blasts to people like me, hoping for any bit of attention. At its root, that’s what this little Internet outpost is all about and through this venue I have been introduced to some truly amazing talent.
As with most years, 2014 was not lacking for great music. Artists large and small, veterans and upstarts alike, helped shape my musical landscape. Some of the albums I’ve lived with for large periods of time include Sturgill Simpson (Metamodern Sounds in Country Music), Afghan Whigs (Do to the Beast), Field Report (Marigolden), Perfume Genius (Too Bright) and Restorations (LP3). As I reviewed many of these elsewhere, I abstain from including them here as they have each reached a wider audience and, frankly, haven’t moved me in the same way as the music I have discovered and discussed through Bucket Full of Nails. This is not to say I didn’t promote albums and artists elsewhere that were first covered here, but given the ability to do so I might as well take advantage of such power.
No list published by any outlet can definitively be called “The Best” but for my purposes here, the following five albums warrant that title for 2014. These are the albums I listened to the most throughout the year, talked about and shared with friends, family and strangers alike, and will continue to do so for years to come.