2014— the year of the famous Oscar selfie, when Kim K became Kim Kardashian-West, the year “How I Met Your Mother” finally (and disappointingly) came to an end, and when Shia LaBeouf declared himself “Not Famous Anymore.” What a year. It was also an impressive time for indie music.
Several now well-known artists debuted their very first projects. Peter Sagar broke away from Mac Demarco to create his own music under the moniker Homeshake. Homeshake’s In the Shower came out in October. He creatively utilizes both high and low vocal pitches and a variety of guitar distortions leaving listeners guessing what they might hear next. The album opens with a deep voice saying, “Just, try to relax” over a saturated reverb guitar. This same sequence appears in the middle of the album opening up “Cash is Money,” but instead the voice says, “Oh no, no more, make it stop.” This was an excellent project to set him apart from his past work, while still appealing to fans of Demarco.
Speaking of Mac Demarco, the prince of indie rock released his third LP Salad Days in 2014 that’s one of his most well-liked projects to date. The jangly guitars throughout the album and chilled out vocals make this album relaxing to listen to. Young the Giant released their sophomore album, Mind Over Matter, that was more upbeat and rock driven than their 2011 breakout album. While Young the Giant’s career was just taking off in 2014, Bombay Bicycle Club’s long stint in music was winding down. They released So Long, See You Tomorrow in 2014 and then announced that they were going their separate ways. However, the group excited fans this year with the news that they’re back together!
The release of Sylvan Esso’s first album changed my perspective electronic pop. Sylvan Esso layers upbeat bass sequences, traditional club beats, and soft, yet powerful vocals. The songs mix both stripped-down and complex elements. To say this project was well-produced and well-thought out would be an understatement. Its influence on alt-pop can still be heard and felt in so many ways. Glass Animals’ moody and sensual, Zaba, and Shakey Graves’ fresh take on Americana, And the War Came, were also game changers.
Both new and well-established indie artists came out with singles that fans still sing along to. The most notable track from Alvvay’s first self-titled album has to be “Adult Diversion”. Lead singer, Molly Rankin, croons in the chorus while both surfy and psychedelic guitars dance together for the duration of the song. Spoon’s “Inside Out” proved that the classic indie band still had it. Its ethereal feel layered over a steady drum beat always draws me back to this track.