It’s officially 2015, and all the 2014 lists are in. I honestly enjoy them, but how many times do you need to read about Run the Jewels and War on Drugs? We get it, they’re good. Locally, everyone loved Cocktails, Sun Kil Moon, and tUnE-YaRdS, but what did just about every list miss? THE ANSWER IS BELOW:

OdawasReflection of a Pink Laser: A triumphant comeback for the Indiana natives. The expansive instrumentals on the 19-minute “What If Our World is Their Heaven” leading into “Flow My Tears” makes for the best moment on any album I’ve heard for a long time.

Toby OlerTappscott Sings Toby: Featuring Michael James Tappscott of the previously mentioned Odawas, the aptly named Tappscott Sings Toby is unlike anything else I heard this year. I don’t know where else you can find banjo combined with 808-esque kicks and have it sound so natural. Throw in some fun stories and more talented guests and you have a winner that more people should hear.

Meanest Man ContestEverything Worth Mentioning: OK, so this album was actually released in 2013. Who cares? I didn’t hear it until 2014 and it’s amazing so it goes on my Best of 2014 list.

Summer PeaksSaturday: The Brentwood trio released a gem of an indie-pop songs that both completely changes moods across its 8 tracks while remaining so damn catchy! These kids have potential and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

DaVinci & Sweet Valley – Ghetto Cuisine: Off-kilter beats from Sweet Valley join forces with DaVinci’s ATTITUDE and magic happens. This project also led to one of my favorite videos of the year with “I Got that Line”.

Lil B – “Fuck KD”: Basegod’s “No Black Person is Ugly” rode the wave of an inclusion on Pitchfork’s Best Tracks list to make it on quite a few Best of 2014 lists, but I was partial to his Kevin Durant diss track. For so many reasons.

Doug Hream Blunt – “Gentle Persuasion”: Not sure how I came across this track, but it was recorded in San Francisco in 1999 or 2000 and it’s AMAZING. There’s still vinyl copies of it floating around if you look for it.


The Range of Light Wilderness – S/T: OK, so Bill Baird wrote about this album as one of his favorites of 2014. But this album is just SO PERFECT and I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere else, so I had to mention it again. Their show this summer at the Berkeley Redwood Grove was also perfect.