I have to kind of / sort of agree with Tyler that 2014 didn't smack me like 2013 did. Getting an incredible record from MBV after all those years and discovering Waxahatchee and Unknown Mortal Orchestra is not the kind of year one can have every year.
But there was a lot of great stuff this year as well.
I have to start with a confession though. I started out high on The War on Drugs' record, but Mark Kozelek made me face facts and realize that, dammit, it really was beer commercial guitar solos! I really have to ding it for that. I almost can't stand to listen to the thing now.
Parquet Courts (or Parkay Quarts) really solidified their claim on "next great American band" for me with two great releases: Sunbathing Animal and Content Nausea. Sure they're from New York. Sure they sound a bit like the Velvets, but people, Lou Reed ain't walking' through that door, so jump on this!!
Spoon arose from the somewhat ho-hum nature of Transference to produce a stunningly good album, "They Want My Soul". To me it just keeps getting better and better the more I listen. Me and Mrs. A saw them play up in Tulsa this year and the show was incredible. Mrs. A stayed through two encores and never gave me the "ok it's late so let's get out of here" look. Kudos to Brit Daniels.
Tijuana Panthers are a new discovery for me this year. Their 2014 release "Wayne Interest" is quite good but I also really like their older album "Semi-Sweet". By the way, they are not from Tijuana. If you like Harlem or King Tuff or Tav Falco's Pantherburns.....
Another top new discovery and top new band is Happyness. Their debut is called "Weird little birthday" and I really like it. Here's a link to one of the songs. OK, maybe it sounds a little like Sparklehorse, but then again Mark Linkous ain't walking' through the door either so............
Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band. This is not old, this is brand new music from Thailand. Pretty awesome.
White Fence, For the Recently found Innocent. Guided by Voice + Rain Parade + Soft Boys. I am a sucker for exactly this kind of music.
White Fence and Parquet Courts were on my list last year. This year's entries by them are even stronger than 2013's. I'd say they were both still on the rise. Spoon just stubbornly refuses to start sucking. It's really quite amazing. I am really looking forward to more stuff from the others on my list.
When I look at say, Pitchfork's list, I just can't relate. A Sunny Day in Glasgow was aiight, and they got Spoon and Parquet Courts on there (along with the beer commercial guys), but most of it is weak sauce. Though to be fair, Mrs. A won't let me listen to Run the Jewels enough to come to an informed opinion.