Tiny Engines co-founders Will & Chuck, Cayetana, Frontier(s) and Runaway Brother list their favorite LPs of 2014
intro by Andrew Sacher
There were a lot of great labels in 2014, but one label I think had an exceptionally good year is Tiny Engines. Between the second Beach Slang EP of the year, the Places to Hide EP, Cayetana's debut album, the latest EP from Frontier(s) (ex-Elliott, Mouthpiece), Somos' debut album, The Hotelier's breakthrough album and still others, TE was one of the most consistently great homes for indie rock, punk and emo in 2014. (If you haven't heard any of those releases, strongly recommended!)
Now that the year's coming to a close, Tiny Engines co-founders Will Miller and Chuck Daley (who also both run Beartrap PR) told us about their favorite albums of the year, as did TE bands Cayetana, Runaway Brother (debut LP and BV-presented NYC show coming in 2015), and Matt from Frontier(s)/Mouthpiece.
Find out who made their lists (and read the entertaining intro Chuck wrote for his) below...
Chuck Daley - Beartrap PR / Tiny Engines
In the midst of struggling to compose this list of my favorite albums from 2014, it became painfully apparent that I didn't listen to much in the way of new music this year. Of course, it's one thing to make an assertion like that, but I lived with Will Miller for 13 months and if homeboy isn't sleeping, he's literally spinning records 90 percent of the time. I have direct, quantifiable evidence of that. Also, I was forced to delete six records from said list because they had been released in 2013. My shame is growing exponentially as I type this.
Excuses? I'd say that I have a life outside of music but that would be a giant lie. However, I am a stay-at-home dad with stay-at-home dad responsibilities, so that's something. I also spend an inordinate amount of time with records from Tiny Engines and Beartrap ... and demos. So many bad demos (damn you, emo revival). Additionally, I have a affinity for unearthing and rediscovering albums from my glory days in the '90s, whether it's bands I initially missed out on or simply haven't listened to in years. Subsequently, it's worth pointing out that there were some pretty great vinyl reissues in 2014 from Silkworm, Life Without Buildings and Unwound.
End-of-year lists can be so random and esoteric anyway. And c'mon - some of you are totally bragging, at least a little. I enjoy browsing them nonetheless. Tidy collections of (subjectively) noteworthy albums are the perfect excuse to spend hours of headphone time exploring all the gems (and stinkers) I ignored during the course of the year. December has traditionally been the month when I consume copious amounts of new music. It's like the universe is allowing me to atone for being so damn lazy for the past 11 months.
So if you're anything like me and you've pissed off the gods of new music, here's some really great stuff for you to chew on and digest in your spare time.
Casket Girls - True Love Kills The Fairy Tale
Psyche pop, I guess? True Love Kills The Fairy Tale is super catchy and digs a giant, hypnotic groove through the middle of your brain. Is it weird that this is one of my top five go-to records to listen to at the gym? Another one is Haim's Days Are Gone, which is unquestionably weird.
Copyrights - Report
Every year I leave an open spot on my Best Of list for either The Copyrights or Iron Chic. Pretty much the only two bands in pop punk that anyone should care about.
Creepoid - S/T
I'm sure that you have a favorite live band. Creepoid is probably 27 times better than that band. Its records are pretty killer, too.
Hard Girls - A Thousand Surfaces
If I had any musical ability whatsoever, there's a 90% chance that my band would sound like Hard Girls.
Helms Alee - Sleepwalking Sailors
Torche didn't release a record this year so Helms Alee gets the nod as my obligatory metal entry. That doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, but this album is terrific.
Restorations - LP3
Damn near unclassifiable unless you're willing to use a stupid amount of adjectives. These guys are simply the best when it comes to writing nuanced yet undeniably exhilarating and powerful rock songs.
Sugar Stems - Only Come Out At Night
I'm a sucker for infectious ear-worm melodies and sublime harmonies. The addition of an organ gives this record a beefier feel than previous material (a good thing) but Sugar Stems' biggest strength is how propulsive and fun its songs are. Temper that with just the right amount of bite in the lyrical department and you've got a strong contender for best power pop record of the year.
Three Man Cannon - Pretty Many People
Dreamy, meandering slacker rock for lazy days, which isn't to say that Three Man Cannon doesn't have a rough-around-the-edges quality that endears the band to the punk crowd as well. Tiny Engines should have probably released this when we had the chance. We're idiots.
Sharon Van Etten - Are We There
This record is absolutely seething with raw, real, unfiltered emotion. I'd like to think that Sharon Van Etten wakes up every morning and laughs at the the fact that the emo revival was actually a thing for like, 15 minutes this year.
White Lung - Deep Fantasy
On wax this is the best-sounding record I purchased in 2014. It will whip you into a frenzy for literally anything. I would happily dig a ditch while listening to Deep Fantasy.
Other notable records
Late Bloomer - Things Change
Prawn - Kingfisher
S - Cool Choices
Mean Creek - Local Losers
Brain F≠ - Empty Set
Will Miller - Beartrap PR / Tiny Engines
Ryan Adams - Self-Titled & 1984
Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Bleeding Rainbow - Interrupt
Blonde Redhead - Barragán'
Ex Hex - Rips
Fear Of Men - Loom
Fireworks - Oh, Common Life
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Wig Out at Jagbags
Bob Mould - Beauty & Rain
Pianos Become The Teeth - Keep You
The Proper Ornaments - Wooden Head
Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Right
S - Cool Choices
The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream
White Lung - Deep Fantasy
Favorite Label: Kanine Records - Loved the Fear Of Men, Bleeding Rainbow, Flowers and Eternal Summers records!
Kite Party, Come on Wandering
Hard Girls, A Thousand Surfaces
Future Islands, Singles
Even Hand, Even Hand
Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Three Man Cannon, Pretty Many People
Saintseneca, Dark Arc
Frontier(s) (Matt Wieder)
Cloud Nothings- Here and Nowhere Else
The Lees of Memory- Sisyphus Says
Bob Mould- Beauty & Ruin
Nothing- Guilty of Everything
Xerxes- Collision Blonde
Old Firm Casuals- This Means War
Praise- Lights Went Out
Tony Molina- Dissed and Dismissed
If the two Beach Slang Eps were one album they would be included on this list
Longmont Potion Castle - 11
Heart Attack Man - Acid Rain
David Bazan - Bazan Monthly, Volume 1
Saintseneca Dark Arc
Weatherbox - Flies in All Directions
The Hotelier - Home Like Noplace Is There
Jack White - Lazaretto
Beck - Morning Phase
Counting Crows - Somewhere Under Wonderland
Justin Townes Earle - Single Mothers
Somos - Temple of Plenty