Folk Alley’s Best of 2014 – Matt Reilly’s Top Picks of the Year


Top 10 Picks of 2014 by Matt Reilly

You’d think by now I wouldn’t get freaked out by having to make end-of-year lists. How do I whittle it down? Am I sure I REALLY like this whole record? What will the neighbors say? So after much wailing, moaning and gnashing of teeth (sort of), here is my list.

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Beck – ‘Morning Phase’

Sad Beck works for me. Lots of space in these songs to zone out and great for long drives.

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First Aid Kit – ‘Stay Gold’

On first listen, seems pretty straightforward: Swedish sisters with great harmonies. On repeated listens, there’s a whole Nordic underworld full of ice and mystery and refracted sunlight. Or am I just weird?

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Israel Nash – ‘Rain Plans’
(Thirty Tigers)

If you’re a fan of Neil Young and Crazy Horse you’ll dig the new arrival to Central Texas. Sometimes you need a long jahm, mahn.

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Ryan Adams – ‘Ryan Adams’

Who writes better songs than Ryan Adams? No, Bryan Adams does not.

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Shakey Graves – ‘And The War Came’

This is a guy we’ve known about for a long time in Austin. It’s great to see him finally breaking out nationally. Great songs and totally relatable.


Spoon – ‘They Want My Soul’
(Loma Vista)

The best indie rock band going. They never lose that jittery, jagged pop sensibility.

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St. Vincent – ‘St. Vincent’

An acolyte of David Byrne, she’s making accessible art rock for the 21st century. And she absolutely shreds on guitar.


Sturgill Simpson – ‘Metamodern Sounds in Country Music’
(High Top Mountain/Loose Music)

He’s like Waylon Jennings tripping out. A great melding of straight ahead country and psychedelia.


Tweedy – ‘Sukierae’
(dBpm Records)

I’ve always liked Wilco, but they can get irritating. Jeff teaming up with his son Spencer makes for an infinitely listenable record that can be taken anywhere.


The War on Drugs ‘Lost In The Dream’
(Secretly Canadian)

Expansive psych rock from these Philly boys that – weirdly – reminds me of Jackson Browne sometimes.

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