Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Ten Albums of 2014 Part 4 (Final Part)

Last day of 2014! I hope your year was as rocking as it could be. If not, at least it's almost over and you can start fresh in 2015. Anyway, this is the final part of my Top 10 Albums of 2014 series of posts. Today we get to find out what the top 3 albums I picked are! Hooray! Yesterday, I got through numbers 4-5which you can find if you click here. You can find 6-8 if you click here. To find 9-10, click here.

3. California Breed, by California Breed

In late 2012, hard rock super group Black Country Communion which was comprised of Deep Purple bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes, Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian, blues guitar prodigy Joe Bonamassa, and Jason Bonham, son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham parted ways. However, Hughes and Bonham still felt a chemistry with one another and wanted to work together on something completely new. That is when a 23 year old guitarist by the name of Andrew Watt whom Hughes had met through a friend was brought into the picture.

Watt's driving funk rock chops seems to mesh well with Hughes's and Bonham's pre-existing chemistry on the group's debut record California Breed, which came out this year. The sound is a huge departure from that of BCC. Every track on the album sounds raw, charged, honest, driving, and in general fun. It does have a very California type vibe to it. When I put it on it makes me feel as though I'm driving in a convertible down the street on a nice sunny day. Despite Hughes's advanced age he gives one hell of a fresh performance vocally, lyrically, and in terms of song writing. Again, credit to a man with a legacy who does not choose to stick to the past.

2. Modern Vintage, by Sixx: AM

The trio that brought you such songs as Life is Beautiful and Lies of the Beautiful People are back with a whole new album. However, this time around, Nikki Sixx, DJ Ashba, and James Michael have taken a bit of a different approach to the song writing. Where most of their tunes are known for being somewhat heavy metal/heavy alternative rock in nature this time the concept they were aiming for was to take the styles of the music they all listened to growing up and putting their own personal modern spin on them; hence the title.

Each song on here is a unique musical gem. You can find tunes that are just straight up rockers, but then you find ones that have almost a mild folksy, a funky, or a flamboyant Queen-esque vibe to them. Then of course you have a couple of ballads and even a cover of the classic tune Drive, by The Cars. It's another album with a little something for everybody, though all of the tunes are pretty easy to like. I honestly feel that this is probably the band's best work yet, which is really saying something because their previous album This is Gonna Hurt blew me away too.

1. Great Western Valkyrie, by Rival Sons

My pick for the album of the year for 2014 is Great Western Valkyrie, by Long Beach, California based rockers Rival Sons. Rival Sons combine hard rock, blues, and soul to make a sound that is comparable to many classic rock bands, yet at the same time is one all their own. This year these guys put out their fourth full length studio album Great Western Valkyrie. It's a bit of a departure from the sound of their previous albums though, partially due to the addition of a new bassist. Surprisingly, yet not so at the same time their sound has taken a more heavy British Invasion type direction.

There is a wonderful blend of influences from bands like The Who, to The Animals, to even Led Zeppelin and beyond. However, what makes the album special is while these influences are there, Rival Sons is by no means trying to copy off of any of them. It's more like they are saying "This is what we like, this is our musical style, and this is what we're pushing forward with" rather than just trying to sound old school for the sake of sounding old school. Plus, while the sound is old school they are still loud and heavy enough to keep up with the rest of the big boys in this day and age. If you're looking for some real honest to God rock n' roll, look no further. These guys are right up your alley.

Albums I didn't list:

Now I know what a lot of you may be thinking. "Why didn't you mention the Pink Floyd, Slash, Uriah Heep, AC/DC, Ace Frehley, Jack Bruce, etc. albums?". To be honest, while I absolutely LOVE those bands and artists I didn't really feel anything from their new albums. None of it felt like there was any real energy, drive, or willingness to create something new and fresh like they did when they were younger. There weren't any tunes in particular from those albums that really grabbed me and made me open up all of my senses. I was sadly kind of bored while listening to these albums, which then lead me to just put on their old stuff instead. Hopefully next time around this changes.

Anyway, let me know if you agree or disagree with my list. What were some albums from 2014 that you liked? Let me know in the comments below.

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