Michael Hollett’s top 10 albums

NOW's editor/publisher picks his favourites from 2014


1. St. Vincent

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.

Curtis Harding

2. Curtis Harding

Soul Power

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.

J. Cole

3. J. Cole

2014 Forest Hills Drive

Emerging hip-hop star delivers on early promise with an insightful, sometimes beautiful, sometimes angry effort.

Jhene Aiko

4. Jhené Aiko

Souled Out

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. 

D'Angelo and the Vanguard

5. D’Angelo and the Vanguard

Black Messiah

Mysterious groovester D’Angelo returns from a decade-plus hiatus with a magnificent album of frothy, funk-fuelled musical mayhem.

Future Islands

6. Future Islands

Singles

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

7. Bahamas

Bahamas Is Afie

Brooding brilliance from Toronto star in the making.

Caribou

8. Caribou

Our Love

Canadian Caribou’s (Dan Snaith) heartbreaking divorce helped spawn a magnificent dance album, as poignant and personal as any singer/songwriter offering. 

FKA Twigs

9. FKA Twigs

LP1

Beat-drenched jazzy, sometimes jaundiced ethereal album from 21st-century Kate Bush.

Run The Jewels

10. Run the Jewels

RTJ2 

Hip-hop’s dynamic duo never seemed more relevant, out-there and essential.

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