The Big Countdown: Top 20 Albums Of The Year 20 -11

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With only a few weeks left in 2014, we continue to take a look back at all the year has had to offer. Today we’ll be rounding up Twistedsoul’s 20 best albums of 2014, with entries 20-11. Obviously, some gems will not make the list, and we aren’t going to please everybody. We’ve already selected our ” Artists To Watch,” and we’ll be following albums with mixtapes and our 20 best tracks next week. If you think we’ve missed a particularly strong album, then let us know in the comments section. Dig in and enjoy our 20 favourite albums of the year. 

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20. Mac Demarco – Salad Days

‘Salad Days’, is the follow-up to 2012’s lauded ‘Mac DeMarco 2’ which saw the Edmonton local propelled into the limelight. Written and recorded around a relentless tour schedule (which picked up all over again as soon as the LP was done), ‘Salad Days’ gives the listener a very personal insight into what it’s all about to be Mac amidst the craziness of a rising career in a very public format.

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19. DonChristian – Renzo Piano

Harlem-based rapper DonChristian’s debut mixtape The Wayfarer was one of our favourite’s from last year. He returned with a new mixtape( stop groaning, I know it’s not an album per se) entitled Renzo Piano. The album takes its cue from lothario R&B exploring the emotional strain the music uses as a way to romance and lust. In addition to the alluring feel that the mixtape embodies, DonChristian regularly lets his delivery hang behind the beat or drops the music to a bare minimum, creating space like an architect. This project perfectly meshes moody, mellow, sultry and soulful, this is what R&B sounds like when it’s made by a suave, smooth-ass architect.

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18. Scott Walker and Sunn 0))) -Soused

When Sunn O))) first approached Scott Walker about appearing on their 2009 album ‘Monoliths and Dimensions’, little did they know what it would actually lead to. Four years on, Scott was back with something even more enticing, collaborating on ‘Soused’, a body of work he was writing with them in mind. The result is the most compelling Scott Walker album since Tilt.

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17. Beck – Morning Phase

Beck returned with his first album of new material since 2008′s critically-acclaimed ‘Modern Guilt’. ‘Morning Phase’ is a companion piece to 2002′s ‘Sea Change’. ‘Morning Phase’ features many of the same collaborators who worked on ‘Sea Change’ and recalls the emotional resonance of Beck’s acclaimed 2002 LP.

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16. Rochelle Jordan -1021

Rochelle Jordan’s 1021 was everything I hoped it would be. When she released her impressive debut LP, Pressure in 2012 the first thing I thought was, how can this be free? It was that strong. Following up an LP as good as Pressure is no mean feat, but Rochelle along with long-time producer KLSH dropped one of the strongest R&B releases of the year.

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15. Young Fathers – DEAD

Tantalising debut album from the experimental Scotland-based trio. Following on from the acclaimed EPs TAPE ONE and TAPE TWO, the latter of which was award-winner. DEAD comes as an intimate epic, thirty-six minutes chock full of soul, indie-pop, hip hop and electronics. Definitely deserving the Mercury Music Prize they won in October. Get up and have a party!

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14. Freddie Gibbs and  Madlib – Pinata

Madlib and Freddie Gibbs’ ‘Piñata’ album dropped heavy earlier this year, crammed full with guest spots from Raekwon, Danny Brown, Earl Sweatshirt, Scarface and more. It’s easily Freddie Gibbs best work to date, and Mablib is on sparkling Beat Konducta form. Following three stellar EP releases over a two and a half year period, the Madlib and Gibbs collaboration came with the bold claim “featuring every mother fucker in the rap game worth fucking with.” They were right, this album is a stone cold banger.

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13. We Are Shinning – KARA

We’re big fans of London duo We Are Shining. Having dropped their DEVILEYES mixtape from earlier this year, the pair made good on their early promise with KARA. While the album may not be commercial, We Are Shining are establishing their own lane in the musical landscape that is allowing them to introduce a new tone to rock music, one that is all-encompassing. They are also one of my tips for 2015.

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12. Arca – Xen

One of the producers on FKA twigs’ debut (more on her tomorrow), Venezuelan artist Arca has also worked with Kanye West (producing four tracks on Yeezus) and is serving as producer on Bjork’s upcoming 2015 album. Xen is his own full-length debut as an artist (following last year’s mixtape EP &&&&&), and it finds him exploring a more experimental electronic (and wholly instrumental) sound. Killer album, can’t wait to hear what Bjork and Arca come up with.

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11. Warpaint – Warpaint

LA’s Warpaint followed up their acclaimed debut album ‘The Fool’ with this stripped down and haunted sophomore effort produced and mixed by Flood (PJ Harvey, Sigur Ros, New Order) and Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Atoms For Peace). It’s a groove heavy return with standouts like ‘Keep it Healthy’ that has a touch of Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’, ‘Love to Die’ which is a spooky bass led cut and ‘Disco//very’ which is prime ESG. This has been on heavy rotation since  its release in January.

CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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