NOW's editor/publisher picks his favourites from 2014
Four albums in, Texas tornado Annie Clark hits new peaks with her excellent guitar playing and twisted, synth-and-strings-drenched vision. Her shows at SXSW and NXNE were highlights of both festivals this year.
Truth in advertising, true soul power. This overlooked 2014 masterpiece screams soul sensation and gives retro rewards, with equal parts Shuggie Otis and Sly Stone. Money-back guarantee of greatness.
2014 Forest Hills Drive
Emerging hip-hop star delivers on early promise with an insightful, sometimes beautiful, sometimes angry effort.
Bubbling below the surface for years, the sweet soul sounds of L.A.’s Aiko finally get a major label release with this excellent, sort-of-debut album.
Mysterious groovester D’Angelo returns from a decade-plus hiatus with a magnificent album of frothy, funk-fuelled musical mayhem.
Hooky pop riffs on an album as delightfully earnest as the 80s synth sounds they draw so heavily from powered Future Islands, a baritone-voiced eight-year-old-band, into an overnight sensation.
Bahamas Is Afie
Brooding brilliance from Toronto star in the making.
Canadian Caribou’s (Dan Snaith) heartbreaking divorce helped spawn a magnificent dance album, as poignant and personal as any singer/songwriter offering.
Beat-drenched jazzy, sometimes jaundiced ethereal album from 21st-century Kate Bush.
Hip-hop’s dynamic duo never seemed more relevant, out-there and essential.