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GutterBubbles Top 100 Songs of 2014 (part 2)

Wow, it’s pretty hard to follow up the first day of the Top 100 Songs of 2014, but we’re gonna try. We’ve got some picks straight out of left field (Coldplay), a couple of two-timers (Drowners and FKA twigs), brutally heavy robot rock (Godflesh and Cyanotic) and everything in between! If you like music that keeps you on your toes and always guessing what is gonna come next, you came to the right place! Enjoy day 2 of the Top 100 Songs of 2014 and get ready for day 3, cause it’s just as good!


Coldplay “Ink” from Ghost Stories

It’s become pretty easy to dismiss Coldplay over the years. Since their stellar debut album almost fifteen years ago, the band has taken a step backward with each successive release. That’s not to say that there haven’t been some good tracks along the way, but they’ve definitely regressed since their breakout. Combined with singer Chris Martin’s…unique persona, it’s become harder and harder to justify giving them a chance. But even the brashest of critics would have a difficult time dismissing the gorgeous simplicity of “Ink” which sees Martin mourn love lost while the band channels Wish-era Cure for a stunning pop-rock masterpiece. -Ryan Brun


Crosses “The Epilogue” from ✝✝✝

Chino Moreno is easily one of the most diverse (and exciting) musicians of the last twenty years. Unlike his heavier work with the Deftones or the pseudo-shoegaze of Team Sleep, Crosses walks a genre bending line that’s difficult to classify and even more difficult not to enjoy. Case in point is the sublime track “The Epilogue” which showcases Moreno’s provocative crooning over an atmospheric electo-rock maelstrom complete with a groovy bassline that wouldn’t be out of place on an early INXS release. It’s sexy, mysterious and exciting at every turn. –RB


Cyanotic – “Disconnect Me” from Worst Case Scenario vol. 1

Worst Case Scenario vol.1, the latest LP from Chicago’s Cyanotic saw the band take a huge step forward with their sound. While still maintaining the heavy industrial leanings of their previous efforts, the band added numerous stylistic elements that took their unique brand of robot rock to the next level. On “Disconnect Me,” a drum and bass breakbeat anchors razor-sharp guitars and surgically precise programming which leads you to question whether Cyanotic are actually musicians or some sort of robotic overlords sent to save industrial rock from its own demise. Paging Sarah Connor. –RB


Daisy Victoria “Tree” from Heart Full of Beef

Like the other four songs on her debut EP Heart Full of Beef, “Tree” features lush instrumentation and Daisy’s soaring vocals that would challenge even the heartiest of singers. But what really sets this song apart from her others is the beautiful arrangement, with a buildup about two thirds of the way through that will test your hearts capacity. It truly is a “lightning strikes” type of moment and one that will make you believe in the power of music all over again. –RB


David Bowie “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)” from Nothing Has Changed

After last year’s largely forgettable The Next Day, it became evident that maybe…just maybe, the Thin White Duke’s best days were behind him. Really though, how could anyone fault Bowie, an artist whose career has been longer than some lifespans? But one “meh” record wasn’t gonna keep Bowie down for long. Instead, he and his band channeled free-form jazz not too dissimilar from a long lost Ornette Coleman track and came roaring back with a herculean homage to the avant-garde. –RB


Drowners “Unzip Your Harrington” from Drowners

The track clocks in around just two and a half minutes, but that’s more than enough time for Drowners to brew subtle melancholy under a plethora of shiny riffs and a lively beat. Short and deceptively sweet, “Unzip Your Harrington” reads as an earworm suspended between Arctic Monkeys’ Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and Suck It and See, prime musical real estate by anybody’s standards. –Emma Carroll


Drowners “Let Me Finish” from Drowners

Drowners are hardly shy about their love of Britpop – the band takes its name from a Suede single – and the euphoric “Let Me Finish” is no exception. Polished and clever, it’s The Verve with the brightness turned to maximum level. Beyond that, frontman Matt Hitt’s voice has never sounded better (or more similar to Richard Ashcroft.) –EC


EMA “Satellites” from The Future’s Void

As a fan of Erika M. Anderson’s music since seeing her perform in GOWNS in the late 2000s I have a general love for her songs. With EMA she’s gone in a slightly more pop direction but this song is a perfect example of how she is able to perfectly bring the strange and the accessible together to make haunted pop songs that are never short on imagination. This tune in particular reminds me of a good version of ‘90s industrial rock without the laughable trappings and not coming from the same place. -Tom Murphy


Eyehategod “Trying to Crack the Hard Dollar” from Eyehategod

After spending the better part of the last decade in hibernation, New Orleans based sludgelords Eyehategod came storming back from oblivion. Although their new record didn’t provide any sonic breakthroughs or uncover any new territory, it did remind the metal community of what they had sorely been missing; a metric shit-ton of feedback, built on a foundation of riffs strong enough to weather even the mightiest of storms. Add in Mike IX’s always harrowing tales of desperation and you’ve got the year’s heaviest (but grooviest) song by a landslide. –RB


The Faint “Unseen Hand” from Doom Abuse

The standout among several standouts on The Faint’s fifth LP Doom Abuse, “Unseen Hand” is a perfect summation of why this band is still so listenable. Excellent production, throbbing percussion pounding away under expertly constructed layers of noise and melody, paranoid lyrics about, I don’t know, the Illuminati or something. It’s somehow new wave as hell and punk as fuck simultaneously; how could that ever fail to excite? – Nick Abaddon


Fennesz “The Liar” from Bécs

Christian Fennesz has several years of remarkable, experimental guitar-centric instrumental music under his belt and it’s all worth exploring. This song struck me because listening to it on headphones is reminiscent of what it might be like to try to get an alien warning signal when a solar flare is ever so slightly interrupting your reception—distorted, windy yet oddly compelling and beautiful. Anything that make the imagination stir is worth getting into and Fennesz is great at that, especially so with this song. –TM


FKA twigs “Lights On” from LP1

One listen to “Lights On” makes it official: LP1 deserves the slew of rave reviews it received. twigs whispers the understated track in your ear, sounding equal parts vulnerable and self-assured. She spins the two incompatible emotions into a striking all-or-nothing appeal to her lover while a backing track beamed in from outer space fills the gaps of her cold dreamscape. Prepare to be astonished. –EC


FKA twigs “Two Weeks” from LP1

“You know I’d quench that thirst, I can treat you better than her,” FKA twigs sings on “Two Weeks”, and she means it. twigs’ voice carries a gorgeous but unshakable immediacy, as powerful as it is passionate. The track is a testament to her extraordinary songwriting ability, as though being one of the best voices in contemporary music wasn’t enough. Whatever it is, twigs has it. Pay attention. –EC


Foxygen “How Can You Really” from …And Star Power

Foxygen’s …And Star Power has a few duds, but this isn’t one of them. “How Can You Really” is pure delight in song form, and it’s nearly impossible to keep from dancing along with Sam France as he croons over a 70s-inspired chord progression. Is it too soon to declare instant classics? –EC


Future Islands “Seasons (Waiting on You)” from Singles

“Seasons (Waiting On You)” exploded earlier this year thanks to frontman’s Samuel T. Herring’s eccentric moves on Letterman. Unlike Kim Kardashian, the video of that performance broke the internet in a good way, exposing the masses to the band’s flawless blend of synthpop and contemporary alternative. Viral videos aside, it’s a near-perfect song from 2014’s most unlikely (and likeable) musical heroes. –EC


Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger “Moth to a Flame” from Midnight Sun

A psychedelic rock renaissance is firmly underway, and who better to lead the charge than Sean Lennon? Their third album is the best yet, packed front to back with lush melodies, atmospheric keyboards, and soaring guitars. All of these elements fire on all cylinders on the final track, “Moth to a Flame” which builds to a crescendo over a haunting vocal chorus repeating under a sweltering guitar solo and epic keyboard overdubs. In short, a modern flagship of the genre. -Rob Dixon


Godflesh “Life Giver Life Taker” from A World Lit Only By Fire

Like a lot of people lately who have been making music for years, Justin Broadrick decided to revisit some earlier ideas and see if they were still relevant in the modern context. The new Godflesh stuff is incredibly visceral and heavy on the pounding, hypnotic low end. This song is reminiscent of the most brutal end of Killing Joke. Its industrial beats and rippling guitar sludge works really well together to create a disorienting sound that envelops you and drags you away into its heady depths. –TM


Hauschka “Craco” from Abandoned City

Throughout Abandoned City, Hauschka uses a prepared piano method to conjure strange and terrific noises from his instrument, some to the point of making his piano completely unrecognizable. As enjoyable as his unusual technique is, it is one of the more straight forward pieces on the record that will leave you floored. “Craco” largely repeats the same refrain with sparse atmospheric embellishments surrounding it, but it is a melody so delicate and haunting that little else is needed to highlight its mournful state. –RB


Holy Wave “Star Stamp” from Relax

Psychedelic rock can err on the side of cerebral, wandering aimlessly through drawn-out chords and spacey vocals. Just don’t expect those mistakes from Holy Wave. The Austin-based outfit opts for jangly guitars and a steady tambourine to build “Star Stamp”, a loose, melodic ride that goes down smooth. No six-minute interludes necessary — this is contemporary psych at its best and brightest. –EC


The Horrors “So Now You Know” from Luminous

The Horrors gained attention in the UK prior to their 2007 debut Strange House, but it took 2014’s Luminous to conquer America. Luminous’ second single is decidedly gentler than its predecessors, trading the post-punk revival sound for a synthpop-meets-shoegaze genre mash. Even with an uptempo chorus intermittently deployed to push the song forward, the newfound calm suits the track and the band’s sonic evolution well. –EC


More Top Songs of 2014: part 1, part 3, part 4, part 5


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