Top Tracks: Part 2 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 11 – 20.
 

Röyksopp & Robyn – Do It Again

Longtime collaborators, Röyksopp and Robyn, got together once again to create a gloriously dynamic mini album. Their title track, “Do It Again,” plays closer to Robyn’s vocal stylings with an aggressive dance beat for us to jump and dance-punch to. Played out on massive speakers is a wholly consuming experience with its punchy kick drums and giant house synths. Also, gay clubs love it and I love them for playing it out. – Written by Rupa Jogani

 

Elliphant – One More (feat. MØ)

It’s no mystery that the Swedes can do pop music really fucking well. So well, in fact, the US pop industry is headed by Max Martin who’s graced us with nearly all of our Top 40s hits. This time around, we have Diplo-backed Elliphant teaming up with MØ on their collaboration, “One More.” Produced by Joel Little (the same dude who did Lorde’s “Royals”), Elliphant and MØ harmonize with each other on staying up all night, indulging in drunken debauchery, tacos, and skipping work. The song features a relatively simple hip-hop beat and melodic line, letting the two singers shine on the instrumental (he even takes each basic vocal and creates two additional sounds with them, a la Nakata Yasutaka). The video itself is dark, hedonistic, and features one of them eventually peeing on the street. Thanks for that image. -Written by Rupa Jogani

 

Baths – Ocean Death

Baths is having a sonically fantastic two years, from his viscerally dark sophomore LP Obsidian in 2013 to this year’s equally poignant EP, Ocean Death. His title track explores the mind, both malevolent and introspective using the distant sounds of waves as the force behind the track. It uses themes of death and chaos in his lyricism, distorted vocals, gratingly heavy bass synths, and a pulsing drum beat akin to a racing heart. Will Wiesenfeld is on a production high and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the table in 2015. – Written by Rupa Jogani

 

Kaytranada – Leave Me Alone (feat. Shay Lia)

Montreal’s own Kaytranada did a killing this year on sultry dance music giving us perpetual sex eyes. Dreaming of hazy dancefloors and sensual strip teases, his smooth collaboration with Shay Lia will make you get down. Driven by funky bass lines, airy sultry vocals, clean piano melodies, and dirty vibes it’s by far the sexiest song of the year. Tastemakers across the board dig his style, with even Skrillex having Kaytranada open for his gig in Chicago (maybe not the smartest move), BUT it goes to show that this dude is here to make waves. – Written by Rupa Jogani

 

Rustie – Attak (feat. Danny Brown)

Rustie is often cited as one of electronic music’s major influencers and he hasn’t stopped churning out bangers all year – even his A.G. Cook edit of “Beautiful” is face-melting. On his massive collaboration with Danny Brown, we see Brown seamlessly interchange between his old and new rap styles on Rustie’s grime-influenced track. I never thought of the two working together but this number makes my hair stand on-end with gloriousness. “Attak” does exactly that and will blow your speakers out. – Written by Rupa Jogani

 Isaiah Rashad – Heavenly Father

Buried 11 songs deep on Isaiah Rashad’s Cilvia Demo, ‘Heavenly Father’ is one of the most soulful and reflective tracks on the album. Rashad rips through line after line  on ‘Heavenly Father’ contemplating mental health issues, substance abuse problems , and the presence of god before calling out for the title character on the hook. “I love smoking weed, I have advice,” Rashad admits before blasting the “wise men from a long line of bitch-made and brides-men,” he refuses to listen to. But make no mistake, despite the truth and realism that can be found on ‘Heavenly Father’ there’s nothing trill about it. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Deeper

While we at LYFSTYL have been tough on Freddie Gibbs in the past, his 2014 collaboration with Madlib was a pleasant surprise. Pinata is combination of Freddie Gibbs’ brand of street rap and Madlib’s smooth production, providing slick samples for Gibbs to rap over. The result is one of the more fun and adventurous rap albums of the year, which is a nice departure from the predictable ESGN. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra – Fuck Off Get Free (For The Island Of Montreal)

You probably didn’t hear ‘Fuck Off Get Free (For The Island Of Montreal) played on any local radio stations this year, but the lead track from Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything is classic post-rock from this Godspeed You Black Emperor offshoot. “We live on the island on Montreal, and we make a lot of noise, because we love each other.” What more is there to say? These guys make beautiful noise. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

 Alt-J – Left Hand Free

‘Left Hand Free’ sticks out like a sore thumb on Alt-J’s sophomore release ‘This Is All Yours’ but it’s still one damn fine single. While the surrounding tracks are lengthy adventures through lush soundscapes, ‘Left Hand Free’ lives on the opposite side of the musical spectrum. And ultimately it doesn’t matter if you believe Alt-J wrote the song to appease their label, or if you believe it was the product of a spontaneous jam session – ‘Left Hand Free’ is the catchy, up-beat single ‘This Is All Yours’ was missing, and for that reason alone it makes the list. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

“Most freedom is deceiving, is such a thing exists, when I was young I knew but didn’t care.” Andrew Savage is brutally aware of his limitations on ‘Sunbathing Animal’, but that doesn’t mean he is free from them. Pondering the game theory of returning to an ex-lover, Savage brutally reflects on his desire for his ex while also recognizing the evil cycle he risks running through again. ‘Sunbathing Animal’ is fast, ferocious, and intelligent – a nearly perfect punk rock track. And how could you go wrong featuring a cat in a music video? – Written by Kevin Vanstone

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