We continue our official stamping of everything that mattered in 2014. If it doesn’t end up on this list, you may as well toss it in a garbage fire. Moxipop dot com. We live for this.
BEST NEW ARTIST WE KNEW WOULD SELL-OUT AND RIGHTFULLY DID AWARD
Hozier – Hozier
If you haven’t heard “Take Me to Church” frequenting all sorts of radio stations by now, I don’t know what to tell you. Since Hozier’s debut album released in September, the Irish singer-songwriter has been claiming a spot in the top ten within the U.K., U.S., Canada, and even Denmark. His soulful sound are reminiscent of what you thought you heard within the church walls in childhood years, but you’re led astray with his sardonic choice of lyrics that paint a poignantly admirable image. There’s something monumentally mature with the gospel choir hums and rough guitar riffs that oddly complement one another with Hozier’s vocal blues blending in effortlessly. The debut album ties together songs from Hozier’s past EPs, but it’s clear the artist is here to stay for quite some time, especially if his performance on SNL has anything to say about it. – Ani Mikaelian
BEST FACE MELTER
White Lung – Deep Fantasy
The move from Vancouver to Los Angeles seems to have kicked White Lung into full gear. Deep Fantasy is a vicious album from a talented group that demands multiple listens. Every song is hard hitting and well put together, with everything anchored in the heavy guitar work of Kenneth William. Each member of the band is completely solid at this point, ripping through their tunes with precision, leaving you with twenty minutes of blissful trauma. – Ben Levine
BEST SOUNDCLOUD EP FOR PATIENT PEOPLE
Deep Sea Diver – Always Waiting EP
I’m not just being cutesy about the EP title – Deep Sea Diver is a band that we’ve been waiting to hear from for years. Singer Jessica Dobson seems to be lending her singing talent to backing up a lot of high profile names like Beck or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but her own creative pursuit is something that has the potential to be just as successful. I saw her open a concert in ’08, but there was little to no information to follow up on. “One By One” is among my favorite singles of the year and, hopefully, we’ll be getting more like that from Dobson in 2015. – Justin Pansacola
MOST SUCCESSFUL GENRE PIVOT
Wye Oak – Shriek
When you hear your favorite guitar band is putting out something a little more electronic and a little more pop, I don’t blame you if you groan. I have seen many bands try this and fail to stick their landing. Even some of our all time greats – Dylan, Young – have fallen or the allure of electronic sounds. That didn’t happen with Wye Oak, best known for their dusty and foreboding music that gets featured on Walking Dead commercials. Shriek is a revelation, like finding out a world-class chef is also a champion salsa dancer. A song like “Before” is breezy and shimmering, two words I wouldn’t previously have used to describe Wye Oak’s work. Just when you think you know a band. – Justin Pansacola
Hood Anthem Of The Year
OT Genasis — CoCo
2014 seems to be the year of internet sensationalism for strange and completely untalented rappers. Young Thug, I Love Makonnen, OT Genasis, Father, and OG Maco are all proof. It’s shocking that any of them have become successful considering how utterly bizarre their music is. Young Thug is unintelligible for over 50% of his lyrics, Makonnen’s out of key sing-song rapping still baffles me. That being said, for whatever reason, I love their music. It’s like something that’s painful to watch, but you just can’t look away. Kind of like this.
I’ve dubbed these songs “hood anthems” they’re intense and sound strange, but when you hear one you can’t help but shout along, even if you didn’t know the lyrics when it started. If you aren’t in love with the coco by now, you must be cookoo for cocoa puffs…yes I really just wrote that. Deal with it. But for real, this one has everyone raising their fists and shouting with glee about selling that powdery white substance we all know and love. This track has been blowing up in clubs everywhere, Riff Raff even released his own remix of it. In the past month, every event I’ve attended has had at least one DJ play this song. This is without a doubt the hood anthem of 2014.
Runner Up: OG Maco — U Guessed It
Why did I choose this OG Maco song for a runner up? It’s certainly not because I like his music, everything else I’ve ever heard from him is complete trash. If you answered, “because he made one of the most recognizable hood anthems of 2014 and perhaps even our generation”, well, BITCH YOU GUESSED IT!…and you is right… – Taylor Barnes
The So Weird OMG WTF Award
This could have easily been a simple “Best Label/Collective Of 2014” and I could’ve told you about any number of collectives that you’ve probably already heard of (Wedidit, Soulection, LuckyMe, Team Supreme, Athletixx, Shifty Rhythms etc.). If you don’t know any of the collectives between those parentheses, go educate yourself. It’s not my job to keep you informed. Wait…what?
Since my monthly column is called WTF Wednesday, I had to get weird with at least one of my picks, and PC Music releases some crazy stuff. It’s equal parts club music, sickeningly sweet bubblegum pop, and glitched out electronic chaos. This unusual blend of sounds almost seems to represent that thanks to the age that we live in, anything is possible in music, no matter how strange. Label head A.G. Cook has the best tracks of the group, and Life Sim’s remix of Tiga’s “Bugatti” is on point. Go forth and get weird. – Taylor Barnes