Art Official Age
So thankful for Prince and his chameleon ways. Art Official Age is probably his most transcendental record, seriously. Evidence: Lianne La Havas therapeutically relaxing your brain on "affirmation I, II & III" . Exhibit B: that cover.
Here and Nowhere Else
I regret not seeing this band live in 2014... great music that could be labeled "mainstream punk", but so much more (or less?)
Julian Casablancas + the Voidz
A much-needed continuation of Casablancas' 2009 debut album's sensibility. Tyranny is an old word, but has new definition with the music's powerful rhythms, angry harmonies, and strange pop noises. The grimy (awful) album cover of Tyranny probably scared potential fans away, but the true believers maintained the righteous path and reaped the benefit.
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
A most satisfying and consistent album, full of new avenues to deliver the same rock song. Instrumentals are there, long epics, and short singles. They let their drummer sing one, even.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
TV on the Radio
Even with the loss of a band member, TVOTR seems to maintain their funky-joyous momentum. Seeds contains instant classics like the calming "Ride" and the punk-nostalgic "Lazerray". And, the title track is just glorious and perfect. Lay down your lantern, coat of arms, broken drums, and dance with me.