Here’s the second part of our round up of the best albums of 2014!
5. Mastodon, Once More ‘Round The Sun
Atlantan metal titans Mastodon may have dropped their trademark outlandish prog concepts on recent albums The Hunter and Once More ‘Round The Sun, but with the latter they scored their highest chart position to date having now honed their bludgeoning metal riffs into more mainstream rock hooks. Their raw power and blistering fretwork was a highlight of Sonisphere festival, thrilling older and newer fans alike.
4. Run The Jewels, Run The Jewels 2
Killer Mike and El-P returned in 2014 with their first Run The Jewels album for a major label. The beats are leaner, harder and faster than on their debut mixtape; the raps deliver a paranoid look into violent life in modern America. They’ve been a festival act from the beginning and this album will sound huge live – do not miss them at Leeds and Reading festival this summer!
3. Jack White, Lazaretto
Jack White is a one man compendium of guitar styles covering blues, funk, rock, ragtime and even gypsy jazz on his second solo album, Lazaretto, the biggest selling vinyl record of the last twenty years partly thanks to analog easter eggs including songs hidden under the labels, sides which play from inside to out and sections which play at multiple RPMs. White showcased this variety by jamming on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, with the riff to indie disco classic Seven Nation Army drawing a mass singalong from the crowd.
2. Ibibio Sound Machine, Ibibio Sound Machine
There are very few bands who can claim to have created a genuinely unique style of music; Ibibio Sound Machine are one of them. On their debut album they fused seventies afrobeat with modern electro-funk, Ghanian highlife with club beats, shimmering guitar with glitchy electronics and gorgeous gospel vocals with sub bass. Live, their music penetrates down to the prehistoric parts of the brain and instructs “dance!” It was a glorious sight watching the crowds at WOMAD and OnBlackHeath obey!
1. Royal Blood, Royal Blood
Some people claim that guitar music is dead. Royal Blood think not. Distilling rock history down to a drum kit and just four guitar strings, they make a phenomenal amount of noise for a two piece band. The day before their debut album landed they played a storming set on the NME Stage at Leeds Festival. If you managed to squeeze into that packed tent, you were lucky to witness one of the bona fide ”I was there” moments of the 2014 festival season. The album’s lean, bluesy garage rock channels the Black Keys and Queens Of The Stone Age rock, with Jack White’s production values. The sounds which Mike Kerr wrenches out of a bass strung with guitar strings are unbelievable, all underpinned by Ben Thatcher’s piston-like drumming. They’re a muscular, two man riff machine and the album is littered with hooks, notably the five note intro to Ten Tonne Skeleton and the opening riff to Out Of The Black. If you missed them this season don’t worry, they’ll be tearing up larger stages in 2015.