Top Tracks: Part 1 of 2014’s Best

As 2014 comes to a close the LYFSTYL Music Blog will be counting down our top tracks of the year. Follow along every day as we release ten more of our favourites building towards our top-100. In no particular order, here’s what we at LYFSTYL were listening to this year with numbers 1 – 10.

 

Luka – Lowdown

The elusive 23-year-old, Luka Seifert, made his debut this year by premiering his textural masterpiece “Lowdown” on XLR8R, with his The Nest EP quickly following thereafter. Featuring suffocating synths and sweeping, melancholic lines, “Lowdown” is a track that elicits tears. Built on understated kick drums and airy vocals, the track traverses on the precipice of blissful dreams and crushing reality. – Written by Rupa Jogani

 

Slow Magic – Girls

The man behind the lit-up mask, Slow Magic, released his 2014 synthetic dream of an album aptly titled How To Run Away encouraging us all to drive into the sunset. “Girls” was a clear stand-out on his sophomore record as climactic gem, with strong kicks, layered synths that subtly build until tapering off at the end before he throws it back at us. It was created for crowds to lose themselves to and we were no exception. – Written by Rupa Jogani

 

Glass Animals – Pools

Maybe I have a soft spot for colorful, borderline grotesque claymation videos, but Glass Animals’ stunning song, “Pools” grabbed my heart in every glorious way possible. With hypnotic nautical-forest-death-decaying-love-creepiness, the UK band knows how to engage audiences and put out solid tunes. Their lead vocalist has an androgynous quality to his croons and with thumping bass lines, shakers, and xylophones they put out a true summer album. They completed multiple world tours with their debut album Zaba with numerous sold out gigs, so WATCH OUT – they’re going to have serious mainstream radio play in 2015. Thanks, Glass Animals, for reminding me how fun rock can be. – Written by Rupa Jogani

 

Thrupence – Diamond Drips

Jack Vanzet, the Melbourne-based producer and visual artist, put out his Lessons mixtape as his first release on Future Classic. After impatiently waiting for two years since his brilliant Voyages EP, the blissful, jazz-inspired “Diamond Drips” is gripping and sonically uplifting. With trills, a driving drum beat, and colorful piano lines, “Diamond Drips” brings a smile on even the dreariest of days. – Written by Rupa Jogani

 

Jungle – The Heat

https://soundcloud.com/jungle-8/jungle-the-heat

The London-based funk duo, Jungle, released their self-titled debut album making all of us get our groove on hard. While the first half of Jungle is incredibly catchy and engaging, they lost me on the second half breaking my heart for what shoulda been a much better album. Their opening song, “The Heat,” is perfect mid-tempo 1970s inspired soul, and intoxicating on every playlist I’ve made this year. Sampling old school cruisers fit with smooth synths and their near-grating vocal stylings, “The Heat,” is the epitome of cool nostalgia. – Written by Rupa Jogani

 

Ought – Today More Than Any Other Day

Don’t let the slow build fool you. Ought hold nothing back on More Than Any Other Day’s pseudo-title track, barreling through what is ultimately a scorching single hidden behind a dark introduction. “We’re sinking deeper” singer Tim Beeler whispers as the band holds a steadying beat behind him. By the time Ought are in full swing, their chorus of punk-rock optimism is shrouded by cymbals and guitars. By the time the track is over both the listener and the main across from them on the train should know everything is going to be OK. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

 

Sun Kil Moon – Richard Ramirez Died Of Natural Causes

Richard Ramirez was a bad man, and so is Mark Kozelek. The guitar player and vocalist of Sun Kil Moon has a dark knack for extracting emotion from life’s tender moments, and ‘Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes’ is another haunting example of his craft. The song builds as Kozelek picks his guitar, layering vocals over one another to build an eerie undertone that clenches at listeners throughout. Line by line Kozelek tells the tale of the Night Stalker and the day he died to haunting effect.  – Written by Kevin Vanstone

 

The Growlers – Going Gets Tough

One gets the sense listening to ‘Going Gets Tough’ that there’s little in the world that can hold The Growlers down. Despite troubles innumerable, singer Brooks Nielsen croons of optimism and perseverance after drinking up the courage to do so. Despite the struggle, there’s little for the listener to worry about by the time the track is through. Next time I’m drowning my sorrows at the bar, I want The Growlers playing as I sink another round. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

 

Run The Jewels – Oh My Darling Don’t Cry

Killer Mike and El-P are back with a ferocious sequel to their debut, self-titled release. ‘Oh My Darling Don’t Cry’ is the perfect embodiment of Run The Jewels’ ferocious style. Complete with overblown rap braggadocio, comedic insults, and El-P’s meticulous production, the second single on RTJII is one of the many high points of another fantastic rap record.  – Written by Kevin Vanstone

 

ODESZA – Koto

Like many of the tracks on Odesza’s latest release In Return, ‘Koto’ incorporates a myriad of instruments and vocal samples to create a wonderful soundscape. The heavy beat on ‘Koto’ drives the track, while lush interludes and chopped samples fill in the spaces in between. While there is no official vocalist listed on ‘Koto’, the different cuts stitched into the song a unique property very difficult to ignore. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

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