Our Top 25 Albums and Top 10 EPs of 2014

By Ben Tipple

2014 has proved interesting, musically. Whereas in previous years, across all genres, there has been a standout album of sorts – journalists and music fans alike have found it difficult to come to a consensus over what might be the best record of the year. While The War On Drugs and Run The Jewels run high throughout a cross-section of press, there are many records which have found themselves hailed by one and disregarded by the other.

With that in mind, this list is not designed to be a definitive list of the “best” albums of the year. In fact, there are definitely plenty of records which our team haven’t managed to get their ears around in the last twelve months. Instead, this list is one of our favourites – the albums that have seen the staff return to again and again. It was put together using a democratic vote system across all our staff and contributors. Ultimately, we ended up with a list of almost 200 albums and 100 EPs spanning a host of alternative genres.

These records found themselves released in the midst of another exciting year. Festival season saw us take our annual punk-rock pilgrimage to Belgium for the ever-excellent Groezrock. We also ventured to Download Festival, 2000 Trees, Slam Dunk and many more, topping it all off with the electric vibes at Reading Festival – with headliners blink-182 providing one of the most dance-fuelled moments of the year.

There were also plenty of shows to shout about. Against Me! returned to UK shores for both Download Festival and a tour in November, following Laura Jane Grace’s appearance at Banquet Records at the start of the year. Taking Back Sunday celebrated their return to form at both London’s KOKO in February and during their December tour. Seahaven demonstrated their new sound at an intimate show in Birthdays, returning for a tour alongside Balance and Composure in October… to name just a few.

You can also hear a seven and a half long playlist featuring some of our favourite tracks of 2014 using the Spotify player to the right, or by heading to the full article.

Without further ado though, here are our favourite 25 LPs and top 10 EPs of 2014.

Top 25 LPs


#01 Against Me! – ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’

Against MeReleased right back at the very start of the year, no record has managed to surpass the sheer quality and importance of Against Me!’s astounding ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’. Lyrically hard-hitting, musically exceptional, and all-round mesmerising, the record cemented the Gainesville punks as masters of their art. Now famously written as a concept album surrounding vocalist and guitarist Laura Jane Grace’s gender dysphoria, the record has proved itself a milestone in the band’s catalogue, not only for providing their best material to date but also in providing hope and support to a largely underrepresented community. With punk-rock being founded to give a voice to the unheard, there hasn’t been a record as punk, as honest, or as meaningful as ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ in 2014 – or indeed the last decade. [Ben Tipple]

#02 The Hotelier – ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’

HotelierThe Hotelier are the kind of band that have audiences singing each and every song back at them at the top of their lungs full of feeling. There’s something magical about a band who can put a live show on like that. The second album from the band carries on big feelings from start to finish and is deservedly a unanimous favourite in PT:HQ. From the perfect building start on ‘An Introduction To The Album’, which sets the tone perfectly, to the absolute belter of an ending with ‘Dendron’, this is an album with no dud track. Nine slices of complete gold. [Maryam Hassan]

#03 The Menzingers – ‘Rented World’

Menzingers‘Rented World’ continues The Menzingers ongoing tradition of successfully evolving their sound with every album. From the mosh inducing riff of the powerhouse ‘I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore’ to slower jams like ‘I Know Where Your Heartache Exists’, the Menzingers are at the top of their game and show no signs of slowing down. May and Barnett’s ability to craft lyrics that resonate to your core stand out stronger than ever as they proclaim, “I tried running, I tried hiding, I’ve tried everything but dying / Damn the days we took for granted / Never again will I let anyone close to me”, in ‘Rodent’. There is no doubt that ‘Rented World’ will further solidify The Menzingers as a staple in the scene for years to come. [Mat Stokes]

#04 PUP – ‘PUP’

PUPUndoubtedly the one album that has been stuck on repeat since we first watched the ‘Reservoir’ video – PUP has come out of nowhere and taken the punk scene by storm. Bridging the gap between punk and indie, ‘PUP’ is full of infectious, riotous anthems full of energy and angst. Stand out track ‘Dark Days’ perfectly conveys their style; pop melody with a punk edge. ‘Yukon’ gives us a brief respite from all the relentless energy; before ‘Factories’ rounds off the album with a perfect flurry of sing-alongs. If you missed this band first time round, make sure you catch them now; because this time next year they’ll have taken over the world. [Mark Gadong]

#05 Twin Atlantic – ‘Great Divide’

Twin AtlanticRed Bull gives you wings, but I doubt Twin Atlantic could have foreseen just how high they’d soar when they signed to the caffeinated beverage giant’s nascent record label in 2011. In the time many acts would take for a single album cycle, the anorak-bothering Scotsmen have put out three records of increasingly anthemic, melodic rock. Whether it’s the glam-influenced riffage of ‘Heart & Soul’ or the outright power balladry of ‘Brothers And Sisters’, Twin Atlantic demonstrate a maturity belying their relatively young ages. Closing off the year with a well-received headline tour taking in some of the country’s larger venues, you can expect to see their taurine-saturated footprints all over 2015. [Rob Barbour]

#06 Marmozets – ‘The Weird and Wonderful…’

MarmozetsMarmozets have been threatening to break big in the past few years. Following on from ‘Passive Aggresive’ & ‘Vexed’ (two storming EPs), ‘The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets’ takes the band onto the cusp of stardom. Very akin to an early Biffy Clyro album, whilst being something else entirely their own, the Yorkshire kids have a massive future ahead of them. With a diverse range of songs, like ‘Born Young & Free’ ‘Back To You’ and ‘Love You Good’, they’re only going to expand their fanbase & become one of the UK’s top rock acts. One of 2014’s ones to watch, become one of the focal points for 2015 off the back of this incredible debut. Superb. [Adam Rosario]

#07 Moose Blood – ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time’

Moose BloodThe Kent based four-piece have been rising through the ranks since last year’s release of ‘Moving Home’. Their eagerly anticipated debut full-length did not disappoint, spearheading their move towards the upper tier in the emo revival movement. Focussing on their own love of music, and providing more than the occasional nod to their influences, ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time’ ultimately presents itself as a record for music lovers. The often melancholic compositions and accompanying lyrics ensure the record remains interesting from the opening moments of the unashamedly exposed ‘Cherry’ to the spitting ‘I Hope You’re Miserable’. As a debut album, this acts as one hell of a statement. [Ben Tipple]

#08 Restorations – ‘LP3’

RestorationsPhiladelphia band Restorations are difficult to pigeon-hole, and have put out one of the most unique punk records of 2014. It is a record both simple and complex, dreamy, alluring, and intense. ‘LP3’ is an ambitious undertaking, pooling from a diverse range of influences and styles with undertones of grungy punk to hints of weird, psychedelic inspired moments that meld together seamlessly, and at times gives way to more playful elements than the band has done in the past. Restorations just keep getting better and evolve with each record. Above all else, ‘LP3’ is beautiful, comforting, uplifting and damn near flawless. [Nicole Carter]

#09 Lower Than Atlantis – ‘Lower Than Atlantis’

LTAThe fourth studio album from Lower Than Atlantis has really seen the band cement themselves into the mainstream consciousness after being one of the stand out artists from the underground scene in previous years. Although gaining popularity, the band haven’t fully departed from their heavier roots. ‘Here We Go’ is a prime example of where LTA have furthered their brand of distorted riffs designed to get a room moving. The album seems to be full of tracks like ‘Emily’; ‘Words Don’t Come So Easily’ and ‘English Kids In America’ that are so catchy, you’ll never get them out of your head. Pink album covers all the way! [David Burd]

#10 Gnarwolves – ‘Gnarwolves

GnarwolvesIn 2014, three years on from starting out, the three guys who have now become the UK’s best melodic punk band, Gnarwolves, released their debut full length and as predicted it delivered 100%. Here you can find their songwriting pushing towards more conventional pop-hooks to create the type of bangers that place them up there with the likes of The Wonder Years and The Story So Far whilst suiting the bigger sized stages you might see them on now. ‘Bottle To Bottle’ and ‘Smoking Kills’ are examples not to be missed with relateable lyrics whether you’re listening at 16 or 66. [James Fox]

#11 PVRIS – ‘White Noise’
#12 Joyce Manor – ‘Never Hungover Again’
#13 Seahaven – ‘Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only’
#14 The Gaslight Anthem – ‘Get Hurt’
#15 Mallory Knox – ‘Asymmetry’
#16 Fireworks – ‘Oh Common Life’
#17 Nothing – ‘Guilty of Everything’
#18 Manchester Orchestra – ‘Cope’
#19 Cloud Nothings – ‘Here and Nowhere Else’
#20 You Blew It! – ‘Keep Doing What You’re Doing’
#21 The Lawrence Arms – ‘Metropole’
#22 New Found Glory – ‘Ressurection’
#23 The Smith Street Band – ‘Throw Me In The River’
#24 Pacer – ‘Mechanical’
#25 Cayetana – ‘Nervous Like Me’


Top 10 EPs


#01 Creeper – ‘Creeper’

CreeperCreeper may have formed from the ashes of a host of south coast based alternative bands, but on their debut self-titled EP they immediately render this fact redundant. From the opening moments of ‘We Had A Pact’ their heritage is irrelevant. The debut explodes with punk-rock attitude – one which sounds distinctively fresh. Each track, including the downbeat ‘Novena’, is instantly catchy – driving the record forward through the undeniable quality of the song-writing. It’s simply brimming with punk-rock harmonies, melodies, and attitude. [Ben Tipple]

#02 Beach Slang – ‘Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?

Beach SlangBeach Slang created the perfect summer soundtrack with ‘Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?’. This energetic EP brings to mind a wonderful combination of Jawbreaker and Dinosaur Jr indie-punk, and delivers in every way possible with Beach Slang’s tales of heartache, living life, and getting high. If you felt you were doing life wrong, then you will surely fall in love with these four tracks of fuzzy guitars and power-pop melodies to remind yourself why you should never grow up, just like we did this year. Beach Slang are your new favourite band. [Glen Bushell]

#03 The Front Bottoms – ‘Rose’

The Front BottomsThis is all technically old songs, but they’ve never been released before so we can count this as new right? Named after Mat Uychich’s grandmother, Rosemary, this is The Front Bottoms at their best. Their catchy tunes, clever lyrics are both danceable and infectious. The EP features crowd favourites ‘Flying Model Rockets’ and the brilliant ‘Twelve Feet Deep’ which has us all screaming “WE ARE SO COOL WE ARE SOOOOOOO PUNK” at every single show because at the end of the isn’t that what we all want to be? [Maryam Hassan]

#04 Apologies, I Have None – ‘Black Everything’

ApologiesOn ‘Black Everything’, London’s Apologies, I Have None are not happy. In fact, they are downright miserable. Throughout the four tracks they sing of despair and disgust, and everything in between. It’s dark and ominous, yet it’s beautiful. Taking the downtrodden undertones of their excellent debut ‘London’, this EP amps up the atmospherics – with opener ‘Raging through the Thick and Heavy Darkness of a Bloodlust’ moving from the morose to the explosive throughout its epic five minutes. It fuses together their punk sensibilities with the likes of Radiohead’s bleak landscapes, and the result is truly stunning. ‘Black Everything’ remains one of the angriest releases of the year. [Ben Tipple]

#05 RVIVR – ‘Bicker and Breathe’

RVIVR‘Bicker and Breathe’ is one of RVIVR’s strongest releases to date. There is something about them that is just so satisfying, that compels you to crank up the volume and sing along as loud as possible. This EP is no different, but everything just feels bigger and better. The guitars are even more melodic and super fun. The vocals are top notch with Erica Freas and Mattie Jo Canino harmonizing better than ever. Erica nails it especially on ‘Goodbyes’ and ‘The Sound.’ Best of all, the band still continues to have such an amazing and important message which makes this release even more powerful. This is definitely a must-listen and the only downside is that it is so short. It will be exciting to see what RVIVR has in store for a full length. [Nicole Carter]

#06 Beach Slang – ‘Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street’
#07 Two Houses – ‘Dissapointer’
#08 Sundials – ‘Kick’
#09 Whirr / Nothing – ‘Split’
#10 Four Year Strong – ‘Go Down In History’

And there you have it! We’ll be revealing our ‘Ones To Watch in 2015’ shortly before New Year.