2014 Year Enders

YEAR END LIST – GRRRRLS

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2014 is over, and while I won’t even try to make any sort of “Best Of” list – there’s just been way too many great things going on – I want to take some time to list what I’ve been loving.  And that’s the great thing about year end lists (at least here at the Hassle), there’s endless ways to organize them. I’ve found a lot of great girl groups this year, and though some on this list are just female-fronted with boys in the background, the point still comes across. And hey, we’re all about equality. There are obviously way more women making great music, but this is just a glimpse at what albums this year deserve to be on heavy rotation.

ANGEL OLSEN(pictured above) – BURN YOUR FIRE FOR NO WITNESS
This record will make your jaw drop, it is just so hauntingly beautiful. This is only her second album, from Jagjaguwar, but Olsen has obviously mastered her talents. With a twangy, folk feel and an enchanting, deep voice, these songs are easy to get lost in. Plus she’s a bit cheeky in how she sings the most cheerful-sounding song about being lonely.

SHARON VAN ETTEN – ARE WE THERE
Also from Jagjaguwar comes subtle powerhouse Sharon Van Etten with her fourth album, full of dramatic guitar and piano that pair perfectly with her quiet but strong voice. These songs seep into your bones; they are heavy with brooding emotion and raw power. Van Etten knows how to write songs, and even better, knows how to deliver them in a way that will floor you with beauty.

NOTS – WE ARE NOTS
This Memphis punk group debuted their first album ever off Goner Records and holy shit is it heavy, filled with abrasive hooks and gang vocals. You can just hear how it’s fueled by anger and urgency and grrl power.

THOSE DARLINS – BLUR THE LINE
Other Southern girls that can really sing: Jessi and Nikki Darlin from Nashville take turns crooning deeply, singing sweetly or just all out screaming on third album, from Oh Wow Dang. This group has been a favorite of mine for some time, but their latest release really shows their progression as a band, biting a bit stronger with a turn towards grungy chords and heavy reverb.

THE COATHANGERS – SUCK MY SHIRT
This album off of Suicide Squeeze is the bands fourth full length, and though it does sound more refined as the band has grown, all the essential elements still exist: growling vocals, crashing drums and urgent riffs. They’ve managed to combine force and depth with great writing.

PERFECT PUSSY – SAY YES TO LOVE
Captured Tracks released this bands first studio album, and it was a smart move. It is unrelentingly intense, thick with sludge and layered noise and pure power. Even if you can’t always make out the lyrics, you can still feel their tension rising up through the ether, and that feeling sticks around long after the ringing in your ears.

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