Favorite Record Labels of 2014

Using my record label formula, here were my favorite labels of 2014

Here are some interesting stats on the list and year 2014

  • I bought music from 83 different labels and full LPs on 67 different labels.
  • I bought 2 or more LPs on 18 different label.   Bandcamp had the most with 9 LPs.   Count Your Lucky Stars had 7 LPs.
  • For labels with at least two LPs, Asian Man had the highest average song rating (4.24).
  • I bought EPs from 21 different labels.  Topshelf had the most with 4 EPs
  • I listened to Side One Dummy more than any other label.  I spent 33 hours listening to Side One Dummy records.
  • I listened to Topshelf songs on average the most times.   I listened to a Topshelf song 636 times.

Here is the list of favorites:

1. Triple Crown Records – 8.214 (3 artists, 2 LPs, 1 5-Star LP)

2. Side One Dummy – 7.583 (5 artists, 5 LPs, 2 4-Star LPs)

3. Sub Pop – 7.579 (2 artists, 2 LPs, 1 5-Star LP)

4. Topshelf – 7.513 (12 artists, 6 LPs. 2 4-Star LPs)

5. Count Your Lucky Stars – 7.472 (8 artists, 7 LPs, 3 4-Star LPs)

6. Bandcamp – 7.328 (19 artists, 9 LPs, 1 4-Star LP)

7. Tiny Engines – 7.278 (5 artists, 4 LPs, 2 4-Star LPs)

8. Epitaph – 7.246 (4 artists, 4 LPs, 3 4-Star LPs)

9. Self Released – 7.081 (4 artists, 3 LPs, 1 4-Star LP)

10. Asian Man – 6.985 (3 artists, 2 LPs, 2 4-Star LPs)

Favorite Songs of 2014

I followed my process from previous years for picking favorite songs.

  1. Song must have 5 stars (172 songs)
  2. Could not duplicate artist
  3. Pick the ones that stand out to me the most.

I really did my best to pair the list down (I cut 140 5-star songs), but still have 32 phenomenal songs.  The list of my favorite songs of 2014 is below in alphabetical order by artist.    All great songs, I hope you enjoy.   Let me know your thoughts on any standouts or omissions.

Antarctigo Vespucci’s I’m Giving Up On U2 from Soulmate Stuff (Quote Unquote)

Brave Bird’s T-Minus Grand Gesture from T-Minus Grand Gesture (County Your Lucky Stars)

The Bruce Lee Band’s The Constant from Everything Will be Alright, My Fiend (Asian Man)

Cayetana’s Black Hills from Nervous Like Me (Tiny Engines)

Collections of Colonies of Bee’s E (G) from Set (pVine)

Conor Oberst’s Double Life from Upside Down Mountain (Nonesuch)

Daniel Romano’s Strange Birds from When No One Was Looking (Bloodshot)

David Bazan’s Lost My Shape from Volume 1 (Self Released)

Frank Tuner’s The Corner from While No One Was Looking (Bloodshot)

Free Throw’s An Hour Pissed from Those Days Are Gone (Count Your Lucky Stars)

The Front Bottoms’ Lipstick Covered Magnet from Rose (Bar/None)

The Hotelier’s Housebroken from Home, Like Noplace is There (Tiny Engines)

J. Mascis’ Wide Awake from Tied To A Star (Sub Pop)

Joe Henry’s Lead Me On from Invisible Hour (Work Song)

Joie De Vivre’s Martin Park from Prawn/Joie De Vivre Split (Topshelf)

Kind of Like Spitting’s Tell Me That Isnt True from Professional Results (Artistic Integrity)

The Lawrence Arms’ The YMCA Down The Street From the Clinic from Metropole (Epitaph)

The Menzingers’ When You Died from Rented World (Epitaph)

Meridian’s Saints Paul and Ann from The Cathedral (Bandcamp)

Modern Baseball’s Rock Bottom from You’re Gonna Miss It All (Run For Cover)

Prawn’s Fracture from Prawn/Joie De Vivre Split (Topshelf)

Real Friends’ Short Song From Maybe This Place Is the Same And We’re Just Changing (Fearless)

Restorations’ Misprint from LP3 (Side One Dummy)

The Smith Street Band’s The Arrogance of the Drunk Pedestrian from Throw Me In The River (Side One Dummy)

Somos’ Letters From An Absent Father From Somos/Sorority Noise Split (Bad Timing)

Spoonboy’s Great Mistake Maker from Spoonboy/Goodbye Party Split (Silver Sprocket Bicycles)

Sun Kil Moon’s Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes from Benji (Caldo Verde)

Tiny Moving Parts’ Boxcar from Pleasant Living (Triple Crown)

Two Knights’ Benji’s Cool Times Summer Jamz from Sundae Bloody Sunday (Topshelf)

Bonnie Prince Billy’s We are Unhappy from Singer’s Grave A Sea of Tongues (Drag City)

The World Is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die’s If and When I Die from Between Bodies (Broken World)

You Blew It’s Match and Tinder from Keep Doing What You’re Doing (Topshelf)

Granite and Tumble Compared To Other’s Tops in 2014

Out of curiosity, I compared my top 25 albums of 2014 with some of the other popular lists to see how much overlap there was.   The answer is not much.  There are a bit more overlaps than in years past, but still largely a distinct list.  So, if nothing else my list could be some new music for you.

  • No overlaps with the 50 from Pitchfork.
  • One overlap with the 50 from Spin (Joyce Manor #32 at Spin, #25 on GT)
  • No overlaps with the 50 from Paste
  • No overlaps with the 50 from NPR
  • One overlap with the 50 from Stereogum (You Blew It #45 at Gum, #10 on GT)
  • No overlaps with the 35 from GorillavsBear
  • Four overlaps with the 20 from Punknews (The Hotelier #16 at Punk, #7 on GT; Cayetana #14 at Punk, #12 on GT; Joyce Manor #13 at Punk, #25 on GT; Prawn #10 at Punk, #9 on GT)
  • No overlaps with the 25 from MetaCritic

Favorite Albums of 2014

I bought 113 albums in 2014.

I decided to list every album that had average song rating greater than 4, since they would all be worthy of mentioning and buying.   I have 25 albums that earned that distinction.

Using my album formula, here is the ranking of my favorite 25 albums in 2014:

1. Tiny Moving Parts’ Pleasant Living (Triple Crown) – 9.720

2.  David Bazan and Passenger String Quartet’s Volume 1 (Self Released) – 9.657

3.  Antarctigo Vespucci’s Soulmate Stuff (Quote Unquote) – 9.503

4. The Smith Street Band’s Throw Me In The River (Side One Dummy) – 9.489

5. The Bruce Lee Band’s Everything Will Be Alright, My Friend (Asian Man) – 9.408

6. J. Mascis’ Tied to a Star (Sub Pop) – 9.392

7.  The Hotelier’s Home, Like Noplace is There (Tiny Engines) – 9.387

8. Candy Hearts’ All The Ways You Let Me Down (Bridge Nine) – 9.363

9.  Prawn’s Kingfisher (Topshelf) – 9.263

10. You Blew It’s You Keep Doing What You’re Doing (Topshelf) – 9.238

11.  Collections of Colonies of Bees’ Set (pVine) – 9.150

12.  Cayetana’s Nervous Like Me (Tiny Engines) – 9.127

13.  Real Friends’ Maybe This Place Is The Same We’re Just Changing (Fearless) – 9.101

14. Cheap Girls’ Famous Graves (Xtra Mile) – 9.001

15.  Owen’s Other People’s Songs (Polyvinyl) – 8.839

16.  Empire! Empire! (I was a Lonely Estate)’s You Will Eventually Be Forgotten (Count Your Lucky Stars) – 8.807

17.  The World Is a Beautiful Place & I am No longer Afraid To Die’s Between Bodies (Broken World) – 8.767

18. Spraynard’s The Mark Tom and Patrick Show (Asian Man) – 8.751

19. Free Throw’s Those Days Are Gone (Count Your Lucky Stars) – 8.708

20. Tim Barry’s Lost & Rootless (Chunksaah) – 8.680

21. Modern Baseball’s You’re Gonna Miss It All (Run For Cover) – 8.678

22. Brave Bird’s T-Minus Grand Gesture (Count Your Lucky Stars) – 8.594

23. Sledding with Tigers’ A Necessary Bummer (Antquere) – 8.360

24. Chuck Ragan’s Till Midnight (Side One Dummy) – 8.320

25. Joyce Manor’s Never Hungover Again (Epitaph) – 7.627

Favorite EPs of 2014

The EPs of 2014 were a spectacular list.   I bought 48 EPs released in 2014 and narrowing it down to my favorites proved to be an enjoyable challenge.   I decided to set the bar at an average song rating greater than 4.  This left off 8 other notable EPs that had average song rating of 4.   In a shorter format, I felt the higher average necessary otherwise a single great song could catapult an EP into this distinguishable class.

The list below is the top 10 (using my album formula for ranking), all worth buying…

1. The Front Bottoms Rose (Bar/None) – 9.755

2. Prawn/Joi De Vivre Split EP (Topshelf) – 9.684

3.  Antarctigo Vespucci’s I’m So Tethered (Asian Man) – 9.269

4. Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)/Joi De Vivre Split EP (Count Your Lucky Stars) – 9.237

5. Bonnie Prince Billy’s Barely Regal EP (Drag City) – 9.073

6.  Little Fires’s Seft Titled (Bandcamp) – 9.007

7.  I Kill Giants’ No One Will Ever Leave You (Broken World) – 8.858

8.  Nana Grizol’s Nightlights (Bandcamp) – 8.735

9. Sundowner’s Little Elephant Sessions (Fat Wreck Chords) – 8.678

10. Annabel / Dowsing Split EP (Count Your Lucky Stars) – 8.447

2012 Favorite Record Labels

Using my record label formula, here were my favorite labels of 2012

Here are some interesting stats on the list and year 2012

  • I bought a full length LP from 76 different labels
  • I bought 2 or more LPs on 16 different labels in 2012.   XL had the most with 4 LPs
  • For labels with at least two LPs, Count Your Lucky Stars had the highest average song rating (4.28).
  • For labels with at least two LPs, Count Your Lucky Stars had the highest average album rating (4.28) – weird coincidence with above
  • I bought EPs from 22 different labels.  Topshelf had the most with 3 EPs
  • I listened to Topshelf records more than any other label in 2012.  I spent 33 hours listening to Topshelf records.
  • I listened to Rumbletowne songs on average the most times.   Each song i had on Rumbletowne i listened to on average 42 times.

Here are my top 10 labels of 2012:

1.  Count Your Lucky Stars – 9.511 (4 artists, 3 LPs, 1 5-Star LP, 1 4-Star LP)

count-lucky

2.  Bandcamp – 7.846 (29 artists, 10 LPs, 4 4-Star LP)

bandcamp

3. Topshelf – 7.675 (8 artists, 3 LPs, 1 4-Star LP)

topshelf

4.  Tiny Engines – 7.457 (5 artists, 3 LPs, 1 4-Star LPs)

tinyengines-v2

5.  Asian Man – 7.352 (4 artists, 2 LPs, 2 4-Star LPs)

asian-man

6.  Quote Unquote – 7.313 (3 artists, 2 LPs, 2 4-Star LP)

quote-unquote

7.  Self Released – 7.081 (25 artists, 5 LPs)

DIY-No Label

8.  Epitaph – 6.733 (4 artists, 1 LP, 1 4-Star LP)

epitaph

9.  Thrill Jockey – 6.606 (2 artists, 2 LPs, 1 4-Star LPs)

thrilljockey

10.  Say 10 – 6.572 (6 artists, 1 LPs, 1 4-Star LP)

say10

Favorite Songs of 2012

I followed my process from last year for picking favorite songs.   While most frequent listens is a good barometer of my favorite songs, it is clearly not the only measure (particularly with high counts coming to songs my wife or kids love).

So, I adjusted the process.   I had two rules when assembling the list:

  1. Song must have 5 stars (152 songs)
  2. Could not duplicate artist

Then I listed to the songs and picked the ones that stuck with me the most.    I really did my best to pair the list down (I did cut 121 5-star songs), but still have 31 phenomenal songs.    This list of my favorite songs of 2012 is below in alphabetical order by artist.    All great songs, I hope you enjoy.   Let me know your thoughts on any standouts or omissions.

Annabel’s Anti-Decisions from Youth in Youth (Count Your Lucky Stars)

Cheap Girls’ Cored to Empty from Giant Orange (Rise)

Coping’s Love Tigress from Nope (Bandcamp)

Defiance, Ohio’s I’m Against the Government from the Calling (Self Released)

Downtown Struts’ Postcards from Victoria (Pirates Press)

Dowsing’s Terminals’ from It’s Still Pretty Terrible (Count Your Lucky Stars)

Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate)’s Turbo Stasis from Arrow/Empire Split (Count Your Lucky Stars)

Eric Ayotte’s Big Bully from Causality (Bandcamp)

Listen here

Erica Freas’ Demon from Belly (Rumbletowne)

Listen here

Hard Girls’ Hot for the Halo from Isn’t It Worse (Quote Unquote)

Hop Along’s Kids on the Boardwalk from Get Disowned (Bandcamp)

Jeff Rosenstock’s Snow Changes from I Look Like Shit (Quote Unquote)

Joi De Vivre’s At Least I Tried from We Are Better Than This (Count Your Lucky Stars)

Joyce Manor’s See How Tame I Can Be from Of All Things I will Soon Grow Tired (Asian Man)

Luke Roberts’ His Song from The Iron Gates at Throop and Newport (Thrill Jockey)

Marietta’s Yeah Yeah Yeah from Couples Therapy (Bandcamp)

The Men’s Candy from Open Your Heart (Sacred Bones)

The Menzingers’ Good Things from On The Impossible Past (Epitaph)

Meridian’s The Catalyst from Aging Truths (Bandcamp)

Modern Baseball’s Its Cold Out Here from Couples Therapy (Bandcamp)

Our Sunday Affairs’ Hate Parade from City of Dogs (Bandcamp)

Paws’ Catherine 1956 from Cokefloat (Fat Cat)

Prawn’s Spring River from Ships (Topshelf)

Red Collar’s American Me from Welcome Home (Tiny Engines)

Spraynard’s Can I Borrow A Feeling from Exton Square (Asian Man)

Sun Kil Moon’s Sunshine in Chicago from Among the Leaves (Caldo Verde)

Swearin’s Hundred and Thousands from Self Titled (Salinas)

Tim Barry’s Fine Foods Market from 40 Miler (Chunksaah)

Tony Clark’s Cat Crawl from As Dark As a Moonless Night (Bandcamp)

Why the Wires’ Another Lung from All These Dead Astronauts (Rorschah)

You Blew It’s Medal of Honor from Grow Up, Dude (Topshelf)

Granite & Tumble Versus Others Top in 2012

Out of curiosity, I compared my top 17 albums of 2012 with some of the other popular lists to see how much overlap there was.   The answer is not much.   For the second year in a row, there was only one overlap and both times it was the number one album from punk news.    So, if nothing else my list could be some new music for you.

  • No overlaps with the 50 from Pitchfork.
  • No overlaps with the 50 from Spin
  • No overlaps with the 50 from Paste
  • No overlaps with the 50 from NPR
  • No overlaps with the 50 from Stereogum
  • No overlaps with the 50 from GorillavsBear
  • One overlap with the 20 from Punknews (Menzingers is #1 at Punk and #5 on GT)
  • No overlaps with the 25 from MetaCritic

Favorite Albums of 2012

I bought 109 albums in 2012.

I decided to list every album that had average song rating greater than 4, since they would all be worthy of mentioning and buying.   I have 17 albums that earned that distinction.

Using my album formula, here is the ranking of my favorite 17 albums in 2012:

1.  Erica Freas’ Belly (Rumbletown) – 9.722

freas-belly

2.  You Blew It’s Grow Up Dude (Topshelf) – 9.652

youblewit-growup

3.  Ghost Mice’s All We Got Is Each Other (Plan It X) – 9.591

ghostmice-allwegot

4.  Joie De Vivre’s We’re All Better Than This (Count Your Lukcy Stars) – 9.571

joidevivre-betterthanthis

5.  The Menzingers’ On the Impossible Past (Epitaph) – 9.537

menzingers-impossiblepast

6.  Cheap Girls’ Giant Orange (Rise) – 9.458

cheapgirls-giantorange

7.  Downtown Struts’ Victoria (Pirates Press) – 9.447

downtownstrugs-victoria

8.  Why the Wires’ All These Dead Astronauts (Rorschach) – 9.335

why-the-wires

9.  Meridian’s Aging Truths (Bandcamp) – 9.297

meridian-agingtruths

10.  Hard Girls’ Isn’t It Worse (Quote Unquote) – 9.220

hardgirls-worse

11.  Luke Roberts’ The Iron Gates at Throop and Newport (Thrill Jockey) – 9.214

roberts-gates

12.  Coping’s Nope (Bandcamp) – 9.189

Coping_Nope_Cover_HiRes

13.  Joi De Vivre’s Breaking Up (Bandcamp) – 9.109

breakingup-joidevivre

14.  Dowsing’s It’s Still Pretty Terrible (Count Your Lucky Stars) – 9.089

dowsing-terible

15.  The Smith Street Band’s Sunshine and Technology (Poison City) – 8.931

smithstreet-sunshine

16.  Dads’ American Radass (Broken World Media) – 8.858

dads-american

17.  Pedals on our Pirate Ships’ A Place to Stay (Say 10) – 8.785

poops-placetostay

Favorite EPs of 2012

The EPs of 2012 were a spectacular list.   I bought 46 EPs released in 2012 and narrowing it down to my favorites proved to be an enjoyable challenge.   I decided to set the bar at an average song rating greater than 4.  This left off 8 other notable EPs that had average song rating of 4.   In a shorter format, I felt the higher average necessary otherwise a single great song could catapult an EP into this distinguishable class.

The other interesting thing about this list is the domination of bandcamp records.  I have never seen this level of domination before with 8 of the top 11 coming from a single group.   Bandcamp is not really a label and more of a store for self released albums.   So, i guess it makes sense that bandcamp is more popular for the the shorter format.

The list below is the top 11 (using my album formula for ranking), all worth buying…

1.  Marietta & Modern Baseball’s Couples Therapy (Bandcamp) – 9.773

Couples Therapy

2.  Prawn’s Ships (Topshelf) – 9.761

prawn-ships

3.  Tony Clark’s As Dark As A Moonless Night (Bandcamp) – 9.758

clark-moonless

4.  Big Awesome’s Birdfeeder (Bandcamp) – 9.708

bigawesome-birdfeeder

5.  Our Sunday Affairs’ City of Dogs (Bandcamp) – 9.242

sunaryaffairs-cityofdogs

6.  Eric Ayotte’s Causality (Bandcamp) – 9.241

ayotte-causality

7.  Defiance, Ohio’s The Calling (Bandcamp) – 9.137

defianceohio-calling

8.  Marietta’s Demos (Bandcamp) – 8.767

marietta-demo

9.  Options’ Come Down (Bandcamp) – 8.617

options-comedown

10.  Empire, Empire (I Was A Lonely Estate) / Mountain For Clouds / Two Knights / Driving on City Sidewalks Split (Count Your Lucky Stars) – 8.293

empire-mountains-knights-split

11.  Spraynard’s Exton Square (Asian Man) – 7.990

spraynard-exton