Top 50 albums of 2014

It’s far too early to tell whether 2014 will turn out to be a vintage year for music. The 50 albums below were not chosen because they were likely to be future classics. They’re here because they helped cut out the noise of daily tedium. They made me shiver and they made me smile.

There’s a great listing website,, with the motto: “End-of-year lists are fingerprints; aggregate statistics are smudges. Therefore, no tallies.”

So, the real reason why these albums (listed: artist, title and broad genre) are here is because they have my fingerprints all over them. – Charles Leonard

50. Shabazz Palaces ­– Lese Majesty (hip-hop)

49. Addis Pablo ­– In My Father’s House (roots reggae)

48. Pink Mountaintops – Get Back (alt-rock)

47. Tinariwen – Emmaar (desert blues)

46. Laetitia Sadier – Something Shines (alt-rock)

45. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Give the People What They Want (soul)

44. Sharon van Etten – Are We There (alt-folk)

43. Hieroglyphic Being & The Configurative Or Modular Me Trio

– The Seer of Cosmic Visions (noise)

42. St Vincent – St Vincent (alt-rock)

41. Yarn Wire – David Brynjar Franzson: The Negotiation of Context (modern classical)

40. oh! dark arrow – Godspeed Thundercat (electro)

39. Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté – Toumani & Sidiki (desert blues)

38. The Bug – Angels & Devils (dub/bass)

37. FKA twigs – LP1 (alt-R&B)

36. Carla Bozulich – Boy (alt-rock)

35. Oren Ambarchi – Quixotism (electro)

34. Goat – Commune (alt-rock)

33. Ben Frost – A U R O R A (noise)

32. Dean Blunt – Black Metal (alt-rock)

31. Nat Birchall – Live in Larissa (jazz)

30. Aphex Twin – Syro (electro)

29. Hookworms – The Hum (alt-rock)

28. Fatima Al Qadiri – Asiatisch (alt-R&B)

27. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (jazz)

26. Temples – Sun Structures (alt-rock)

25. Kyle Shepherd – Dream State (jazz)

24. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream (alt-rock)

23. Cooly G – Wait ’Til Night (alt-R&B)

22. Natural Numbers – Natural Numbers in Dub (dub)

21. Noura Mint Seymali – Tzenni (desert blues)

20. Nduduzo Makhathini – Mother Tongue (jazz)

19. Andy Stott – Faith in Strangers (electro)

18. Gappy Ranks – Gappy Ranks Meets Dub Club (dub/reggae)

17. Steve Gunn – Way Out Weather (alt-folk)

16. Sleaford Mods – Divide and Exit (post-punk)

15. Kasai Allstars – Beware the Fetish (African drone)

14. Tuff Scout All Stars – Inna London Dub (dub)

13. Moodymann – Moodymann (electro-funk)

12. Franklin Kiermyer – Further (jazz)

11. Bitchin Bajas – Bitchin Bajas (drone)

10. Fatima – Yellow Memories (alt-R&B)

9. Richard Dawson – Nothing Important (alt-folk)

8. Scott Walker + Sunn O))) – Soused (experimental rock)

7. Taylor McFerrin – Early Riser (alt-R&B)

6. Congo Ashanti Roy & Pura Vida – Step By Step (roots reggae)

5. Zammuto – Anchor (alt-rock)

4. Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems (rock)

3. D’Angelo & The Vanguard – Black Messiah (funk)

2. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels2 (hip-hop)

1. Tumi Mogorosi – Project ELO (jazz)


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