Since 2015 is only a week away I thought I'd take a little time and highlight a few of my favorite local albums of 2014. I get numerous submissions every day and there are certainly some great releases that slip through my fingers, but the special thing about these albums is that I chose many of them from memory because they simply stood out. I've watched some of these artists create their albums from start to finish, some of them I have never met, nonetheless, like every Bay Area artist, they put their heart into their work and deserve to be recognized.
It is my pleasure and honor to serve the Bay Area as the editor of The Deli Magazine San Francisco. Thanks to everyone for sending their music, playing our shows and being so supportive. On behalf of The Deli Magazine, I wish you happy holidays and a happy new year. Let's have a great 2015!
The Deli SF Editor in Chief
The Deli SF's 10 Best Albums of 2014
Balms - EP
The Bay Area based shoegaze band, Balms has had an exciting year as their breathtakingly beautiful new album, EP received a great amount of critical acclaim. EP is a lovely and sweet yet confidently executed shoegaze/dreampop album. It's full of evenly layered, reverb latent ballads that are sure to mellow you out while keeping you engaged from beginning to end.
Luke Sweeney - Adventure: Us
We love Luke long time (if you're too yong for Stanley Kubrick films, you can just write that first sentence off as a typo). His 2014 debut full length release, Adventure: Us is a larger than life eccentric psych pop album. Sweeney has a classic rock and roll singing voice that is perfectly fused with his band's unique and upbeat songs (which are mixed in with a few 60s-esque slow jam ballads on the album). Sweeney's humor is always at the forefront of his work but Adventure: Us is a coherent album that spews quality and charm.
King Woman - Dove / Fond Affections
Kristina Esfandiari of successful dark-gaze band, Miserable has a new side project called King Woman. She's a major band crush of ours and her single, Dove/Fond Affections has the ability to make the hairs stand on the back of your neck. Flaunting a swaying and washed out ambient compositional style, Dove/Fond Affections is eerie and entrancing. Her cover of Rema Rema's 1980s track, Fond Affections brings life to an almost forgotten 4AD classic.
Mark Nelsen - Homeward
Mark Nelsen is a musical force of nature. As the electrifying singer/guitarist of the Bay Area band, Electric Shepherd, Nelsen took a trip inward and went on a personal space odyssey with his themed solo album, Homeward. This collection of songs are moving, thorough and sonically impressive. Nelsen takes you on an intergalactic trip as the other worldly tones of this album make the "lost in space" theme exciting, clear and poignant.
Al Lover - Sacred Drugs
Anything the San Francisco based DJ and music mixologist, Al Lover touches turns to gold. His 2014 release, Sacred Drugs is no different. This trippy, drone-psychedelic mixtape is seamless and exhibits a deep jungle shamanistic vibe. If you're looking for an album that's going to take you deep down the rabbit hole of an unpredictable musical dreamscape, Sacred Drugs is certainly an album you should hear.
Feather-Bright - Feather-Bright
Feather-Bright's debut self titled album is a breath of fresh air. This folk indie rock album is a unique genre bending record that will keep you guessing as the album's tracks flow from soft ballads to electric waltzes that morph into prog musical pop overtures. Feather-Bright has a musical style of their own and it's really nice to hear a band mold their own style that doesn't quite fit into any box.
The Love Dimension - Create and Consume
The SF based veteran band, The Love Dimension released an impressively thoughtful and exciting album called Create and Consume. This hardworking 60s revivalist rock band put their heart and soul into this psychedelic ode to the Universe. Create and Consume is a really special album that reflects the memory of the roots of San Francisco's hayday of the free love culture, but this album goes deeper and takes a post modern look at love, spirituality and looking to the inner self for wisdom and artistic motive.
Joel Gion - Apple Bonkers
The legendary tambourine and percussionist, Joel Gion released his debut album, Apple Bonkers. It's inspiring to see that even though he enjoys a 20 year music career, he stretched and reinvented himself in 2014. This psych pop album sounds great and shows Gion's individual musical talent that defines his optimistic and kind spirit. Not every album can reflect the full spectrum of an artist's presence and personality. Apple Bonkers is a real treat for true Joel Gion fans.
Known to Collapse - Collectives
Singer/songwriter, Kevin Lehner made his way to Oakland from Birmingham and immediately began to immerse himself in the Bay Area live music scene. Known to Collapse' Collectives is a really beautiful alternative folk album that showcases Lehner's competent vocal abilities. It's not easy to make electro-acoustic albums flow well, but Collectives' blend of acoustic guitar and tasteful effects and distortion is done in a touching and smooth fashion.
The Electric Magpie - Begins
The young mod-centric revivalist band, The Electric Magpie released their anticipated debut album, Begins earlier this year. This full length album does not disappoint as it is doused with memorable tracks that inhabit an surprising level of depth coming from such young songwriters. Begins delivers a well produced collection of throwback tracks that are full of color, expression and humor.