DS Staff Picks – Top 10 Albums of 2014 (ben.king)

Hey all! I’m Ben and I write features, review things, and help out with the Dying Scene Podcast. I think this is the year I finally turned in my punk card and just jammed out to good shit. Below is my top 10.

10. Against Me! – “Transgender Dysphoria Blues”

Against Me’s latest has some fantastic tracks on it, and I love the renewed enthusiasm and vigor in Against Me’s live shows.

9. Allison Weiss – “Remember When”

This EP makes me feel feelings. I love it.

8. Lee Corey Oswald – “Regrets”

Lee Corey Oswald are the best band to come out of Portland since the Taxpayers. They deserve more love than they’ve gotten.

7. Andrew Jackson Jihad – “Christmas Island”

I have to admit that prior to Christmas Island, I was becoming bored with Andrew Jackson Jihad. Their sound had started to stagnate. But Christmas Island blew all of their old material out of the water, and it seemed like the band was intent on reinventing themselves. “Linda Ronstadt,” “I Wanna Rock Out in My Dreams,” and “Coffin Dance” are incredible tracks.

6. Chumped – “Teenage Retirement”

Teenage Retirement is a blast. It is truly a joy.

5. Antarctigo Vespucci – “I’m So Tethered”

“She asked me once again if I’m losing my interest/I think perhaps that question is for you my dear/Cuz I love you more than I ever have and I don’t want to believe/that one of us is drifting and this time it isn’t me.”

4. Restorations – “LP3”

“Separate Songs” is one of my favorite songs of 2014. The rest of the album is fantastic. This band is everything they need to be without being all the things that take power and energy from a rock band with punk influences.

3. Beach Slang – “Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?” & “Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street”

In the leadup to the release of Beach Slang‘s second EP of 2014, Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street, I fell awash in the hype surrounding this band. Everyday I would see stories from Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan and NPR Music about how Beach Slang was THE next big band. I almost became jaded, and then I gave Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street a serious listen. This is more than just 90s-era emo/pop-punk music. Beach Slang has made an incredible collection of songs across these two EPs.


2. RVIVR – “Bicker & Breathe”

RVIVR. Something of a controversial group, especially if you believe what you read online about their shows, etc. But as much as I’m afraid that I would get chased out of one of their shows, I fucking love their music. Bicker and Breathe is a fantastic EP that follows the band into slightly new territory, but also features the band’s defining track to date (in my opinion), “Goodbyes.” That song, it gets me excited to be alive every time I hear it. These are five songs you should not miss.

1. Antarctigo Vespucci – “Soulmate Stuff”

I hate to admit that I’m something of a Jeff Rosenstock/Chris Farren fanboy. My interview with Chris for the Dying Scene Podcast earlier this year was gawky and awkward, but it’s not just that the people who comprise my two favorite bands, Bomb the Music Industry! and Fake Problems, have come together to build a supergroup. It’s that Soulmate Stuff really is incredible. I recently moved from my favorite city on earth, where I lived for my entire adult life, back to the town I grew up, a place I promised myself I would never spend more than a Thanksgiving break, and the music on Soulmate Stuff spoke to me. “Don’t Die in Yr Hometown” resonated with me a lot, but the line “I know there’s more to come if I can just hold on” from “Guest List Spots” has gotten me through so many afternoons devoid of hope, wallowing in my dead-end job, biding my time and waiting to leave.

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