Top Tracks: Part 6 of the Best of 2014

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 51-60.

How To Dress Well – Repeat Pleasure

How To Dress Well’s emotive album, What Is This Heart? topped most album year end lists in unanimous fashion. It’s the most pop-forward album for Chicago native Tom Krell, showcasing his artful lyricism riddled with romantic fortitude and the smart, philosophical mindset we’ve come to expect from Krell’s music. While he himself is humble and unassuming (I’ve run into him on Chicago street corners before), his music puts that humility into digestible and relatable form. ‘Repeat Pleasure’ is his biggest single from the LP and sports a truly touching music video, part one of a three part series, and hits you on a visceral level. – Written by Rupa Jogani

Lusine – Arterial

The Ghostly native, Lusine, released his beautifully layered EP, Arterial, late summer 2014. It’s dark, riddled with organic samplings, and is rich with flavorful sounds. Though low on many people’s radars, ‘Arterial’ stuck with me through my year end list writing for it’s subtle composition which is so tastefully done it’s easy to overlook. Time and time again when I revisit the track, I always find a new synth, drum beat, crackle, or time signature I missed before that brings me back. – Written by Rupa Jogani

Rival Consoles – Helios

I always open about twenty XLR8R pages when they drop new tracks from emerging artists whom I should keep on my radar. The Rival Consoles number, ‘Helios,’ is slow to build which I at first ignored while playing it and simultaneously scrolling through Twitter. When his huge buildup comes up towards the later half of the track before dropping into a huge, floor-wiping synth heaven, my jaw dropped. It seems basic in the first two minutes but trust me – when that drop hits you too will wanna drift off and slam your head into a wall. – Written by Rupa Jogani

Tinashe – 2 On ft. Schoolboy Q

Ryan Hemsworth was one of the first producers to see Tinashe’s talent before the R&B singer took off. Her voices drips with sensuous energy, reminiscent of Aaliyah, and her popular single ‘2 On’ showcases all of her best assets in the greatest manner possible. Her dancing mesmerizes me on ALMOST Ciara’s level (sorry, she’ll be my number one forever) and her vocals are so on point that every producer can’t wait to snag their hands on samples for dope remixes (hello Sango!). Schoolboy Q’s feature works remarkably well on the song which ups the ante even further. – Written by Rupa Jogani

Azealia Banks – Miss Camaraderie

We waited three years for Broke With Expensive Taste after Azealia Banks’ banger of a debut song, ‘212.’ Facing contracts and management who didn’t understand her style and wouldn’t support her music, Banks eventually managed to escape contract and released BWET on Twitter. A huge, grateful cry arose from fans here and there and everywhere with an enigmatic album finally gracing our playlists. She has fantastic taste in producers and worked with many of my personal favorites on her album, from Pearson Sound to Lone, who produced her closing number ‘Miss Camaraderie.’ Banks grandly announced she’d play ‘Miss Camaraderie’ on her death bed because it’s the greatest song she could ever make. Damn. – Written by Rupa Jogani

D’Angelo & The Vanguard – Ain’t That Easy

“D’Angelo is going to break everyone’s lists,” she said. And Rupa was right – D’Angelo did break everyone’s end of the year lists, or at least all those that published well before the year was over. But we’re too laid back to rush things here at LYFSTYL, and that’s why we waited oh-so-patiently for Black Messiah to drop, allowing our end-of-the-year lists to fully reflect the year’s music. With a bevvy of late track submissions made just under the wire, D’Angelo made it difficult for us, but it’s clear he has earned at least a couple slots in 2014’s Top-100. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

Modest Mouse – Lampshades On Fire

Modest Mouse made a late submission to 2015 with the lead track from their upcoming album Strangers To Ourselves. The danceable single is a classic Mouse Mouse track, featuring Isaac Brock riffing on the destruction of the planet with a style that manages to shelter the dark sentiment from listeners – if only just a little. – Written by Kevin Vanstone


Jack White – Three Women

My favourite track from Jack White’s 2014 release Lazaretto, ‘Three Women’ is a modern blues interpretation with a Jack White spin. Building from Blind Willie McTell’s ‘Three Women Blues,’ White echoes the legendary bluesmen while scattering in tidbits from his own life. While I have imagined many scenarios involving myself and three women, I have never imagined it being as difficult as these bluesmen makes it sound. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

Flying Lotus – Never Catch Me ft. Kendrick Lamar

Despite the overall merit of You’re Dead, one of its biggest problems was song length. For the most part, the album consists of tracks that are just snippets of the greater work, the album. ‘Never Catch Me’ escapes this critique, providing listeners with a real banger to sink their teeth into. The fantastic music video to accompany the track is also worth big bonus points. Those are some talented kids. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

tUnE-yArDs – Water Fountain

To attempt to unpack Merril Garbus’ lyrics would be an extensive exercise. tUnE-yArDs’ music has always been a cacophonous clash of complex lyrical themes and even more complex musical elements, and as ‘Water Fountain’ demonstrates the meeting of the two can result in a wonderful jamboree of sound, completed only by Garbus’ powerful voice. – Written by Kevin Vanstone