shows i go to best of 2014

Shows I Go To: Best Of 2014 | Best Albums, Best Songs, Best Shows, Best Local Picks, Best Surprises.

by • January 2, 2015

shows i go to best of 2014

Everything is moving in every which direction it can. I am floored. Humbled. Grateful. Determined. These fantastic souls that pour their passionate words out of their fingertips on a regular basis is what gives this website a loudly throbbing heartbeat. We’re a family. A team. A community. It makes me happy inside-and-out every single day. Thank you for reading our words. Thank you for viewing our photos. Thank you for entering our contests. Above all, thank you for all your support in 2014.

-Mitch Foster, Owner, Editor, Writer, Publisher, and Proud Dad at Shows I Go To. 🙂


mitch foster

Mitch Foster
Owner, Editor

Best Album of 2014:

Transgender Dysphoria Blues by Against Me!
The opening and title track of the album sets the tone for one of the most extreme emotional roller coasters you’ve ever ridden. Frontwomen, Laura Jane Grace (previously named Tom Gabel who publicly came out as transgender in 2012), touches into a land lyrically that has never been explored and does so in a blunt, beautiful, and unabashedly personal way. Her struggles are real. This vent she uses through songwriting has become one of the most important albums of the decade and is my favorite album of 2014.

You want them to notice
The ragged ends of your summer dress
You want them to see you
Like they see any other girl
They just see a faggot
They hold their breath not to catch the sick

Notable mentions:

Benji by Sun Kil Moon.
Frontman and songwriter, Mark Kozelek’s storytelling over song is unmatched. He’s inked himself a bold-font spot in the songwriters history book. This is album to listen to on a train ride or on a bus or smoking pot on your couch with your dear friend, Benji.

In A Perfect World by Kodaline.
This album was actually released in 2013 but I didn’t get my hands on it until 2014. I think the album is absolutely perfect. The music videos for “All I Want” and “High Hopes” are flawless. I learn to love this album more and more with each listen. It’s been tremendously criticized by mainstream magazines, some giving it 1 out of 5 stars because they claim the band, who are in their early-20s, are far too young to be singing such sad songs about heartbreak and depression. I love that they hate it. It makes me love it even more. I think this is going to be an album that continually resurfaces over the years as a great while this band grows and matures. 

Best songs of 2014:

“Trainwreck 1979” by Death From Above 1979.
This is a fucking rock song. Rock songs, good rock songs, are few and far between, and this one screams ROCK in every way. From the feeding back guitars pre-intro, to the sledge hammer drums in the chorus. It makes me want to break shit. I like that in a rock song.

“Just One Of The Guys” by Jenny Lewis
Lewis takes her knack for making words sting perpetually and presents an upbeat chiller. When you lift the tongue-in-cheek veil off this song, you truly see how personal this song can really be.
“No matter how hard I try to have an open mind,
there’s a little clock inside that keeps ticking […]
When I look at myself all I can see is
I’m just another lady without a baby.
And, this song certainly deserves the award for Best Music Video of 2014. It features actresses Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, Brie Larson, and drummer/actress, Tennessee Thomas. Martin caught her with Ray Lamontagne earlier this year (Review Here).

“Everything Is AWESOME!!!” by Tegan And Sara for the Lego Movie.
If you haven’t seen the Lego Movie, don’t worry, I was skeptical at first too. Then I got super high on pot and watched it, and it was so much more than I ever expected. But, don’t let me heighten your expectations, go watch that shit and click above to listen to the song.

Best Local Picks of 2014:

“Out Of My Head” by Jacie & The Knick-Knacks.
This quick song absolutely rules. That guitar hook, the building of drums, the subtle moans in between words from Jacie… It’s a fantastic tune. You fall in love, you’re going and going and getting into it, then, it’s over in a flash. Take 1 minute and 52 seconds to listen.

“Moving Forward” by Teen Agers.
I’ve seen this song performed live a handful of times this year. Every single one of those times hands get lifted to the air and feet come off the ground at the bridge and don’t stop until we spill the last “I Hate It!” from our lips.

“Celebrate & Die” by The Family Gang.
The Family Gang are a movement. I stand behind that statement wholeheartedly. Seeing them perform for the first time at an invite-only event was one of the most unique experiences I had all year. I had an amazing, eye-opening conversation with frontman Phraydoe Peans. I bought their CD and found the hidden track at the end (track #23) featuring Kaleigh Baker and hip-hop legend Scarface. Check it:

Best Shows of 2014:

Andrew McMahon playing “Konstatine” at The Beacham crowns the top of my list. There’s not a lot of ten minute songs that keep me tuned in the whole way through. “Konstatine” not only captures every bit of my attention for the entire song, but leaves me longing for more.

Brand New at House Of Blues Orlando.
Holy. Shit. First, the show sold out in 90 seconds. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to purchase a ticket in those short, stressful seconds. This show was the most intense, fan-driven, echoing show I attended all year. Brand New put the night together perfectly, threw us fresh cut flowers, and left up filled to the top with satisfaction. Best Brand New performance and one of the Best Shows of 2014.

Outkast at Big Guava Fest in Tampa.
I was front, center, about ten people back from the stage, right in the middle of the funnest dance party I’d ever attended. The visuals, the feels, the listens, the nostalgia, all running on max high. It was beautiful, in every little way.

Notable mentions (there’s a lot):

Seeing Coheed And Cambria perform In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 at House of Blues Orlando.
Seeing Senses Fail perform Let It Enfold You at the Beacham.
Seeing Jimmy Eat World perform Futures at The Orange Peel in Asheville and having sex on a mountain.
Seeing Taking Back Sunday & The Used at House Of Blues Orlando.
Seeing Jack White rule the Moran Theater in Jacksonville.
Having Thomas Wynn & The Believers “Shake My Soul” at West End Trading Co. in Sanford.
Being in close quarters with Kyle Cox at Downtown Credo in Orlando.
Lucero. Vomit. A Fight. A Proposal. Over two nights at the Social Orlando.
Valentines Day sex after Shovels & Rope performed w/ Shakey Graves at The Social.
Getting wine drunk and super high at The Airborne Toxic Event show at The Social in Orlando.
Seeing Perfect Pussy blur through Will’s Pub in Orlando.
Having six great minds work on a piece encompassing Questlove’s three night residency at The Social in Orlando.
When Bartender Brian brought me to tears at The Social before Chuck Ragan took the stage.

Best Surprise In A Show:

Hunter Valentine at RBARR in Orlando. I went to this show in hopes to catch Sick Of Sarah, an all-female indie/punk rock band. When I arrived, Sick of Sarah were already done and Hunter Valentine were setting up. Since I paid, I figured I’d stay for the set and have a couple beers. I’m graciously glad I did. Frontwoman, Kiyomi M blew me away with her innate displays of passion and stoicism. It was raw and gorgeous, just the way I like it. (And I was also really surprised when I fell down Dainon’s stairs. Drunk.)

trevor bosmans shows i go to staff writer

Trevor Bosmans
Staff Writer

Best Albums of 2014:

1. Jack White – Lazaretto  
From the moment I heard the title track on Jack White’s sophomore solo effort I knew it would be one of the best albums of the year. Jack White has never disappointed me and this album was no exception. It rocks my ass from start to finish and proves that Jack White is a rock n’ roll legend with or without Meg.  The vinyl version of this album contains two secret songs hidden underneath the label as well as a hologram that is etched into the record.  I was lucky enough to catch his show in Jacksonville in September which is one of my favorite shows of the year as well.

2. St. Vincent – S/T  
I was kind of late to the St. Vincent train. I knew some of her stuff but never really listened to a whole album. One of my friends who hasn’t liked a new artist since the 90’s told me that I should check out this album and I’m glad I did.  It’s a really fucking weird album but it’s so catchy.  These songs get stuck in my head for days.  I missed her show at The Beacham earlier this year but I was able to see her open for The Black Keys a few weeks ago. After seeing her with The Black Keys, I’m definitely regretting missing that headlining show.

3. Jenny Lewis – The Voyager
Jenny Lewis has always been one of my favorites.  On her third solo album she continues to evolve her sound but stays true to her roots.  Most of the songs on this album sound 70’s folk rock-ish with a touch of the 80’s.  I’m bummed that I missed her set opening for Ray Lamontagne at Bob Carr.

4. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
I never really listened to Against Me! before this album.  I’ll be honest I was just really curious how Laura Jane Grace would sound after her gender reassignment hormones started to take effect. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this album.  This is a true punk rock concept album.  I was able to catch their show at The Beacham not too long after the release of this album.  I can’t wait to catch them again when they come back next month.

Best Songs of 2014:

1. Foo Fighters- “The Feast and the Famine”
This is the second track from Foo Fighters’ newest record Sonic Highways. On this album the band recorded each song in a different city featuring guest musicians that represented each city.  This track features vocals from Pete Stahl and Skeeter Thompson from classic punk band Scream.  This song definitely has that classic Foo Fighter feel.

2. Jack White- “Three Women”
This song is the amazing opening track of Jack White’s Lazaretto.  There couldn’t be a better start off this album.  This song features some killer work on the keyboards by the late Ikey Owens.

3. The New Pornographers- “Brill Bruisers”
This is title track of The New Pornographers’ most recent effort.  This album was a runner up for my top albums of the year.  There is just something about this band that makes me feel happy inside every time I listen to them.

4. The War on Drugs- “Red Eyes”
This song is from the album Lost in the Dream which is also a runner of for one of the best albums of the year.  When I first heard this song on a late night talk show, I knew I had to own this album.  If you dig this song, I definitely recommend checking out the whole album.

Best Shows of 2014:

1. Riot Fest, Chicago IL
I really couldn’t afford to go to this festival but the lineup was so fucking amazing that I couldn’t resist. This year was the tenth anniversary of the festival so ten bands agreed to play one of their classic albums from start to finish. NOFX played Punk in DrublicThe Get Up Kids played Something to Write Home About, The Descendants played Milo Goes to College and to top it all off, The Cure headlined the last night. This show definitely worth going into debt to go to.

2. Hangout Fest, Gulf Shores, AL
The one out of state festival that I had planned on going to was Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The best thing about this festival is it takes places right on the beach.  I was able to get a condo within walking distance of the festival. I saw a ton of amazing bands that weekend like Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips and Queens of the Stone Age.  As much as I loved all those sets, the one band that blew everyone away was Outkast.  I never got a chance to see them back in the day so I was so glad I finally got my chance. Their Sunday night set was a great end to the weekend.

3. Bruce Springstein and the E Street Band, Tampa, FL
I have never been a huge Bruce Springstein fan but I had always heard that he puts on the best live show. At the last minute I entered a radio contest and ended up winning tickets the day of the show. The coolest thing about this show is that Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine was filling in for Steven Van Zandt on guitar.  It was so surreal to see Tom Morello play “The Ghost of Tom Joad” with Bruce Springstein. The E Street Band is one of the tightest bands I have ever seen.  Bruce Springstein would go out into the crowd and find signs with song requests on them.  He would then hold the sign up and within seconds the band was able to play songs they hadn’t played together in years.  They played for over three hours with no break.  I also saw some old guy get puked on by some drunk girl.  It was pretty gross.

4. Rx Bandits at The Social, Orlando FL
I have seen Rx Bandits live twenty-eight times and every time they just keep getting better.  In 2011, the band went on hiatus from touring.  They returned to The Beacham in 2013 for the anniversary of their album “The Resignation” and surprised us all earlier this year with the announcement of a new album and tour.  Their new album “Gemini, Her Majesty” is their best to date.  They are the one band that I want to play new songs when I see them live.  These guys are only going to get better so I would definitely make it a point to see them live if you haven’t yet. Watch them perform “Ruby Cumulous” here.

Best Surprises of 2014:

1. Porter Robinson “Worlds Tour” at House of Blues Orlando
I fucking hate electronic music.  That is why my biggest surprise of the year was how much I enjoyed Porter Robinson’s “Worlds Tour”.  This guy actually performs on stage and doesn’t just “push buttons”.  He had three different keyboards and an electric drum kit on stage and he also sings.  This set was light years away from his DJ set I saw at Electric Daisy Carnival last year.  This guy is going to reinvent the genre and force others to “up their game”.

2. Questlove DJ Set at The Social “Michael Jackson Night”
I stumbled upon Questlove’s second night of his three night residency at The Social.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as I walked through the doors. The guy working the door told me that the rumor was he was going to mix Michael Jackson on this night. I have always been a fan of Questlove’s work with The Roots but wasn’t too familiar with his DJ career.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as I walked through the doors. This ended up being the most fun that I have ever had at a DJ set, probably because it was the only DJ set I have been to where I knew all the songs.

3. Garth Brooks at Jacksonville Veterans Arena
I was raised on Garth Brooks and never got a chance to see him before he went on hiatus. When I heard he was coming to Jacksonville, I immediately bought tickets for my mom and my wife. I knew this was going to be a great show but what surprised me was how much fun I had at this show. I drank Budweiser like a true redneck and sang along with every song. If he comes back around I’ll definitely go see him again.

martin cardenas sigtMartin Cardenas
Staff Writer

Best Album of 2014:

El Pintor by Interpol.
Although it was considered a bit of a late release–September 9–I found that this album never really left my car stereo. Every time I turned the engine over on my big gold Buick, the ghost like bravado of Paul Banks’ voice welcomed me for a ride. I would seep into my seat and smoothly ride off to my destination. I imagined myself in the super stylistic world the video for All The Rage Back Home created.

Best Song of 2014:

“Intro” by J. Cole.
I consider myself a rocker through and through but certain hip-hop songs touch a chord with my heart. When J. Cole initially came onto the scene he created a style we have all seen before, money, cars, women, and all the other cliché ingredients that have become incorporated with this genre. “Intro” offers a new path for us to walk down with Cole, a path of more certainty and maturity. The song/video tells of a man who has grown from the relentless barrage of materialistic crap and the life of excess into an artist that creates something out of pure passion. Cole is using his craft to mature as a man and show the disenfranchised moment in hip-hop these MCs are given. The song is carried through a soft piano improv, jazz influences, and the repetition of Cole asking, “Do you want to be happy?” All of this leads into a swell were Cole unleashes his emotions into our ears. I felt more from this 2-minute song than any hip-hop radio song this year.

Best Show of 2014:

I still think about this show constantly. Having been a fan for a number of years, getting to finally see them live was mind blowing–thanks a million Mitch–it was a show I will never forget.

Best Surprise of 2014:

The biggest surprise for me this year was Benjamin Booker.
I didn’t know jack shit about him but now I’m hooked. A fellow Virginian, he has a smoky voice with a grunge tinge and punk speed. His dirty guitars skills seem to electrify ever atom in your body. The Shows I Go To team was out that night and whatever pre-gaming Mitch, Dainon and myself did it couldn’t compete with Benjamin Booker’s mayhem. Booker’s mad energy and rebel stage presence made for one hell of show. He threw beer cans, smoked stranger’s cigarettes, jumped around the Social, and wailed on the microphone whenever the fuck he wanted to. Afterwards in his haze of post show high he sat around with us, took pictures, and drank beers. Booker is the last of a dying breed and he is certainly the kind of character I would love to see again and again. (Watch the video for “Have You Seen My Son?” Here.)

soorya arsala shows i go to staff writerSoorya Arsala
Staff Writer

Best Album of 2014:

RVIVR – Bicker and Breathe
RVIVR is so punk they don’t have a Facebook page or put their records on Spotify but it’s all good because their songs have too much energy to be conformed with how we’re use to consuming music. You can see them live on January 2nd at the Social opening for Propogandhi.

Best Song of 2014:

“Something May Catch Fire” by Chuck Ragan
Hot Water Music and Chuck Ragan will forever be my all time favorite band and dude. This year, Chuck released his fourth solo EP Till Midnight and it’s first single off it even got a debut on CMT. I hope Chuck continues to win all the hearts so I will have more people to hug at his concerts.

Best Show of 2014:

You Blew It! / The World Is a Beautiful Place and I’m No Longer Afraid to Die / A Great Big Pile of Leaves / Into It. Over it. at Backbooth (February 14th)
It’s only appropriate that the starting line-up of emo’s best played in town on Valentine’s Day.

Best Surprises of 2014:

The Story So Far at Southeast Beast Festival (April 15)
There were a lot of stage dives and at one point the singer jumped in the pit to break up a fight but the kid was being kicked out for swinging at a security guard. Or at least that’s what I remember eight months later.

tyler holland sigtTyler Holland
Staff Writer

Best Album of 2014:

The Menzingers Rented World
My favorite album of 2014 is the flawless Rented World from The Menzingers. It is the perfect complement to their previous effort 2012’s On The Impossible Past. Both will go down as the best punk albums of this era. Do you ever feel like an album was made for you? This album helped me grow and get through things I had held onto. Because that is the theme of this album. Being your own worst enemy. “Rodent” is somewhat an anthem for me. The album kickstarts with “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore,” which tackles that moment in life when you realize you can’t move forward because you spend to much time apologizing for yourself. “Where Your Heartache Exists” is about watching someone move on and realizing that they might just be better off without you. Backed up by other songs on this album is the idea of accepting that doing what you want and doing what is right are often two very different things. Clearly evident in my favorite track “Hearts Unknown.” Not only is this album solid and has a flawless flow it hits for me on so many personal levels. That is why it is my favorite album of 2014.

Best Song of 2014:

“Hearts Unknown” by The Menzingers.

Best Show of 2014:

Against Me!, Jimmy Eat World, and The Gaslight Anthem at PNC Bank Arts Center on September 13 in New Jersey.

Best Surprise of 2014:

Seahaven and Balance And Composure (surprised because I knew it was going to be good, but did not realize it would be that incredible).

sean dorsett shows i go toSean Dorsett
Staff Writer

Best Albums of 2014:

1. Neveroddoreven – Dopapod

2. You’re Dead! – Flying Lotus

3. Night & Day – Papadosio

4. Collisions – TAUK

5. Pushing Through the Pavement – The Polish Ambassador

Best Songs of 2014:

1. “The Elephant I Presume” – Papadosio

2. “Present Ghosts” – Dopapod

3. “Let the Rhythm Just ft. Mr. Lif & Ayla Nereo” – The Polish Ambassador

4. “Rise (BZNZ Remix)” – Wildlight

5. “Phine” – Earphunk

Best Shows of 2014:

1. The Polish Ambassador at Gratifly Music and Art Festival (South Carolina)

2. Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band and Trae Pierce at Om Bar (New Smyrna Beach)

3. Nahko and Medicine for the People at Suwannee Hulaween (Florida festival)

4. Emancipator Live Band at Purple Hatters Ball (Florida festival)

5. Zach Deputy at the West End Trading Company (Sanford)

Best Surprises of 2014:

1. The Funky Nuggets at Earthdance Florida (festival)
It was maybe sprinkling a little bit of rain when they started their set and it was no big deal. But holy shit, awhile into it and the rain started pouring really hard and it was going nonstop, but they were slamming the funk rock down so hard we all collectively agreed on the mindset of “Fuck it! Let’s do this!” These Nuggets kept charging onward with their music like valiant warriors, though they had to keep moving their equipment back as the stage began to leak and flood. I am sure that we amped that moment up so gloriously it had to have amused the festival gods. This was easily one of the most epic performances of my year.

2. Come Back Alice at the Great Outdoors Jam (festival)
I’m a huge Game of Thrones nerd and these guys threw down the sickest rocked out cover of that theme song. I almost died from foaming at the mouth with excitement. Way too fucking awesome. The set as a whole was killer. This performance pretty much solidified them as my favorite Florida band.

3. Applebutter Express at the Great Outdoors Jam
About the end of their set, they invited a group of friends on stage to stand behind them, and they announced that it was the “Fuck Yeah Choir.” What happened afterward was just about worthy of inciting a flash mob parade. We all knew what to do, especially in the front of the crowd. Lots of fuck yeah’s, fist pumping, and epically silly jig dancing of all kinds ensued. Goddamn I wish someone captured that one. I think it might have been a Team America cover(?) but I’m pretty sure they performed the best rendition of it that there will ever be. Ever.

4. Earphunk at Bear Creek Music and Art Festival
This set was a hair away from needing a fire extinguisher. Some of the most fiery solos I’ve ever seen happened here. I was just drinking a beer, but I felt like I was tripping out at one point because the band was blazing so hard and fast. I got sucked into that precise moment of creation and was in a trance of pure feeling. It felt like I was contributing all my soul energy into it and becoming the process. Total fucking braingasm. My head finally blew like a volcano when they finished their set with a massively destructive cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name.” I lost my voice for the rest of the weekend.

5. The Floozies at Purple Hatters Ball
Not entirely unexpected, but the “sexiest set of the whole festival” title was stolen by the Floozies. It was so righteous that people started shedding clothes. There were tons of liberated boobs all around; it was very gratifying on many levels. Damn, that bass was PHAT! Ugh.. Oh yeah, and they threw us an encore, which is almost unheard of at festivals. They played the most spectacular remix of the Space Jam theme song EVER! Many delightfully melted faces fell to the dirt.

Adam Fricke Staff Photographer Shows I Go To

Adam Fricke
Staff Photographer

Best Album of 2014:

Everything Will Be Alright in the End – Weezer.
Weezer really brought their A-game with their latest album, ‘EWBAITE’ (released Sept. 20, 2014). They blended their famed, simple style seen in their early work with different, more intricate guitar-work to create something totally new, yet familiar sounding all in one record. See what I mean by listening here.

Best Song of 2014:

“All The Time” – Bahamas
Canadian singer/songwriter Afie Jurvanen (better known as “Bahamas”) put out his latest album, “Bahamas Is Afie.” Packed with eclectic acoustic songs as well as groovy electric sounds, Afie’s new record is top notch. Check out his unique use of harmonies in my favorite song of 2014, “All The Time.”

Best Show of 2014:

My favorite show I attended this year would have to be Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness. I’ve seen Andrew once before on tour with Jack’s Mannequin so I expected his solo project to be a bit more toned down but boy was I wrong. He came to The Beacham with the same fire he brings to every show. He spilt his guts with heart-breaking intensity and shared a few heart-warming stories about being a new father as well. I believe he is one of the most truly genuine musicians on tour. If you can make it out to one of his shows, you wouldn’t regret it. Check out SIGT’s review of the show, as well as my photos of that night, by clicking here.

Best Surprise of 2014:

'68 Live Concert Photo Orlando
Did you know about Josh Scogin’s (ex-vocalist of The Chariot/founder of Norma Jean) new band, ’68? I didn’t, but now I do. It’s just Josh and the drummer, Michael McClellan, and they make a lot of noise for just two people. A LOT of noise. A purposeful ruckus one could argue… Anyways, I was lucky enough to stumble upon them as they opened for Anberlin’s final show at House of Blues in Orlando. As a photographer, I usually use the opening band as a time to get my settings in check for the headliner but this wasn’t the case with them. I took almost as many shots of their set as I did Anberlin’s! These dudes know how to put on a show. If you see ’68 coming to a town near you, you should go to that town too.

dena davis shows i go toDena Davis
Staff Writer

Best Albums of 2014:

Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music 
Driving through the Carolinas is a good time to discover new, classic country-sounding tunes from a Kentucky native who sounds like Waylon Jennings but croons about cosmic existentialism. That’s what happened when I first heard this album on a Labor-day road-trip to Asheville. When my brain registered the words that were oozing from the speakers during “Turtles On the Way Down,” I giggled out loud and started singing along. “There’s a gateway in our mind that leads somewhere out there beyond this plane / Where reptile aliens made of light cut you open and pull out all your pain.” With this, his second LP, Simpson shines from the first track to the last, a priceless rough and rowdy gem who shines like the outlaw music of Willie and the boys from yesteryear, but different — and better.First Aid Kit, Stay Gold 
“What if to love and be loved’s not enough? / What if I fall and can’t bear to get up? / Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold / We could stay gold,”  Sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, the heavenly harmonizing ladies from Sweden who harken back to 60’s and 70’s American folk music, wonder in their title song “Stay Gold” off their 3rd album — a nostalgic, weary yet glistening record, which became a favorite summer soundtrack for me — and subsequently a favorite winter soundtrack after their stellar performance at the Beacham in early November. In this perfect bittersweet serande follow-up to their beautifully haunting 2012 Lion’s Roar, the pair continues to tell rich stories — this time about heartache, loneliness, restlessness and trepidation on the road of success. All while providing catchy hooks, irresistible melodies and lovely arrangements with a 13-piece orchestra replete with rolling drums, acoustic guitars, lap steel, pianos and woodwinds. How they eloquently pull off lyrics like “I always thought that you’d be here/ But shit gets fucked up/ And people just disappear” as they do in their second track “Master Pretender,” demonstrates these gals are indeed getting stronger, wiser and better with age. And at twenty-one and twenty-three years of age, that’s pretty impressive.

Best Songs of 2014:

“Three Women” – Jack White 
It is likely unnecessary, redundant and even ridiculous, to tell you how stupendous Jack White’s latest album Lazaretto is. (I would’ve included it above, but I didn’t want to insult you. It was the top-selling vinyl album of 2014, with some 86,000 copies sold in the U.S. and worldwide sales of more than 150,000.) And this opening track is. just. so. ferocious. (But you already knew that.) Grab the LP, turn up the speakers in your house and blast this song. Loud. “Lawdy lawdy lawd” loud. Rinse and repeat.“Dearly Departed” – Shakey Graves featuring Esme Patterson 

My obsession with this tune began in August while driving around New York City fiddling with hypemachine radio when “Dearly Departed” started in with it’s infectious “Oooooohs” and clapping. I looked at my friend who was manning the wheel and I smiled, eyes wild and wide. THIS. What is this delicious ditty? It was Shakey Graves (Austin singer-songwriter Alejandro Rose-Garcia, the star of the one-man band) and the former singer from Denver folk-band “Paper Bird” Esme Patterson’s harmonizing voices making sweet, ooey-gooey honey love in a song. This track off of Shakey Graves’ sophomore album And the War Came, quickly made it’s way into my iTunes Top 25 most-played songs … of all time.  I dare you not to become obsessed.

“Love Don’t Go” – The Family Crest 

It was the Family Crest’s Liam McCormick’s voice that grabbed me immediately, sat me down – breathless – and made me shut everything else off but the song. This dude is Jeff Buckley reincarnate, I thought. Watching Family Crest’s performance on NPR’s wonderful Tiny Desk Concert, I was mesmerized by the San-Francisco classically-trained 7-piece band (with an extended “family” of 300 members!) performance of “Beneath the Brine” from their 2014 album with the same name. I delved further, purchased the entire LP and “Love Don’t Go” made it’s way into my heart and set up semi-permanent residence there.

Best Show of 2014:

I saw amazing bands in amazing places this year: Arcade Fire in Brooklyn, the Head and the Heart at Red Rocks and Band of Horses in Burlington, VT. Yet the best show I attended in 2014 was Langhorne Slim just a few miles from my house. If you’re into jangly, raucous shows from evangelical, bluesy folk-rockers who get your knees knocking and hips swinging and have yet to experience some Slim in your life, then you’re doing a great disservice to your knees, hips and music-loving heart. Sure, it didn’t hurt to have the irresistible Deertick jamming afterwards that warm early summer night in May, while Slim’s lead-singer Sean Scolnick hung out with the crowd and, at one point, yelled to me that he loved my relentless, unabashed dancing. But what made that evening (and every Langhorne Slim show I’ve attended) so dang special was the raw energy and passion Scolnick gave with each lyric belted out in his ragged soulful voice, every boot-clad leap off his drummer’s drum set, and every single strum on his guitar as he slinged his Martin’s neck high, vertical and neck-high like a floating stand-up bass. When Slim is in front of you with his larger-than-life, life-loving, old-soul personality, it’s all you could possibly want — and even what you never knew you wanted — in a concert.

Best Surprises of 2014: 

Benjamin Booker at the Social 

I was not ready for the musical hurricane that ripped through the venue that night, but as soon as I realized it was best – and most fun, really fun — to just stay in the eye of the Benjamin Booker storm, I was hooked and happy, and feeling the tremors. This young, brash, bad-ass bluesy rock’n’roller from New Orleans by way of Tampa, who was Chuck Berry on stage one minute and Jimi Hendrix the next, shredded his guitars, howled and growled into the microphone, and collapsed to his knees over and over while whipping the crowd into a frenzy with fierce (and aptly-named) songs like “Violent Shiver.” His primal, organic, refreshingly beautiful messy performance was one I cannot wait to experience again.

Eef Barzaley in a random person’s living room 

As my friend Dainon perfectly penned, Eef is the sound your heart makes.” Dainon and I were two of just a handful of lucky attendees at a private concert in a house in Winter Park, Fl where this frontman for the band “Clem Snide,” plucked his guitar and ukele earnestly, endearingly singing smart ballads and interjecting witty musings as he stood between a Christmas tree and a bookcase four feet away from my feet. Afterward, he chatted with us a good bit and I decided I’d most definitely want to be best friends with him someday. It was the most pleasant of concert surprises and easily one of my favorite Saturday nights of the year.


Jeff Roach, Staff Photographer | Shows I Go ToJeff Roach
Staff Photographer

Best Albums of 2014:

The 1975-Self Titled, PVRIS-White Noise, Childish Gambino-Because the Internet, Emarosa-Versus, Echosmith-Talking Dreams, and State Champs-The Acoustic Things

Best Songs of 2014:

“If I’m Lucky” – State Champs, “Sex” – The 1975, “Smoke” – PVRIS

Best Shows of 2014:

Paramore -Tampa, Childish Gambino -Atlanta, Waka Flocka Flame -Orlando, The 1975 – Orlando.

Hayley Williams Paramore Live Photo | Jeff Roach Photos

Best Surprise of 2014:

Best surprise show this year is a mix between Lindsey Stirling at Hard Rock Live and Circa Survive at House of Blues, both were artists I’ve never listened to before covering them that I have become fans of now.

Again, thank you for your support in 2014. We’re stoked about 2015!



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