Back to Rockville

The year in music | The albums loved by Kansas City’s music lovers

Thousands of albums were released this year. All in a variety of formats by artists on big labels, small labels or no labels at all.

Listening to every recording is impossible, and sorting out the great from the ordinary is no small task.

My lists of favorite albums, shows and local releases are on this page. And once again, we’ve enlisted some help: We asked musicians, club owners, promoters and radio personalities to list their favorite albums of 2014. Their picks can be found on the pages that follow.

Some artists pop up again and again — Sturgill Simpson, Jack White, Temples, the War on Drugs — but no clear consensus emerged from our survey. We take that as a sign that a lot of good music was made in 2014.

So peruse these lists and let them either confirm your own tastes or lead you to new discoveries. And if you have Spotify, you can listen to some of our favorite songs of the year here:

Favorite albumsTimothy FinnThe Kansas City Star

▪ Beck, “Morning Phase”: Because he has gone back to his “Sea Change” phase and delivered a lush, embracing folk-rock album.

▪ TV on the Radio, “Seeds”: Because it’s as crafted and mainstream as anything they’ve ever produced, yet deranged enough to keep their loyal fans happy.

▪ Sturgill Simpson, “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music”: Because he sounds as taproot outlaw as Waylon and Willie as he explores themes existential and transcendent.

▪ Jack White, “Lazaretto”: Because he forges a blitzkrieg of styles and genres into a great rock record.

▪ Nikki Lane, “All or Nothin’”: Because she talks tough and walks the walk as she blends country, pop and soul.

▪ Temples, “Sun Structures”: Because they mine the sounds of the Zombies, the Byrds and other ’60s psychedelic pop heroes and craft tight, catchy pop tunes.

▪ War on Drugs, “Lost in the Dream”: Because it’s cinematic, panoramic, dreamy and moody, and it reveals more nuances with each listen.

▪ New Pornographers, “Brill Bruisers”: Because they’ve regained their big, bright and joyful indie-pop footing. And because of Neko Case.

▪ Courtney Barnett, “The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas”: Because her lyrics are clever and frank, and her music covers lots of terrain: garage rock, post-punk, alt-country, ’60s girl pop.

▪ The Big Iron, “We Will Fall”: Because they’re a Kansas City band whose rage and dissent remain steeped in underground 1980s punk.

Laura LorsonKansas Public Radio

▪ FKA Twigs, “LP1”: Do you like Portishead? Did you like Bjork’s “Homogenic”? Do you like Beyonce? Do you like Tori Amos? Would you like her if Tricky got together with Emile Haynie and produced her? Well, if you put them all in a blender and hit puree, you’d end up with something like this.

▪ Cloud Nothings, “Here and Nowhere Else”: What I wanted the Gin Blossoms to sound like back in the ’90s: Pop-punk, done right, sounding genuine, sounding simultaneously like fun and like being really, really annoyed with the world.

▪ Swans, “To Be Kind”: A lot of people seem to think of Swans as just kind of sludgy malcontent rock, but they’re not the same now as they were back in the ’80s. Michael Gira seems to have found a different kind of purgatory. These songs are about finding a different kind of solace than wallowing. Discordant? Yes. Weird? Yes. Count me in.

▪ Little Daylight. “Hello Memory”: Synth-pop at the core, but executed with cheer and good feeling, and probably my favorite pop record of the year. People go on and on about the song “My Life,” which is plenty good, but the real winner to my mind is “Mona Lisa,” which is full to bursting with bright Brian Wilson-y harmonies and has a hook as big as a house.

▪ Charli XCX, “Sucker”: This doesn’t come out until Monday, but this record’s going to be everywhere next year, and frankly, it ought to be. Actual songs, with actual lyrics and actual tunefulness! And once it hits, people will finally understand why my pet phrase-of-the-moment is “livin’ the dream like a London queen.” If I were 14, this would be the only thing I would want to listen to for the rest of my life.

▪ Aphex Twin, “Syro”: Richard D. James never fails to surprise and unsettle. Surprisingly listener-friendly. I highly recommend hearing this on vinyl. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a record as dense with layers of sound (and I am an OG Phil Spector mono fan). There is so much going on here, I hardly know where to begin. Beats, rhythms, acid-funk, counterpoint. If you like musicians who aren’t afraid to turn genres on their figurative heads and mix and match disparate sounds into something wholly new, this is for you.

▪ Clark, “Clark”: It’s dark, it’s electronic, it’s spare and disorienting and yet somehow completely captivating. Just my cup of tea. It’s more than chillout and, yes, more than just techno. Try the track “The Grit in the Pearl” first.

▪ Leyland Kirby, “We Drink to Forget the Coming Storm”: Whether he’s being the Caretaker or the Stranger or the fella behind V/Vm, it’s haunting and spare and three hours long, so if you love that kind of drifty, “music from somewhere in a dream” David Lynchian pianoscape thing, you should settle in with this for the rest of your life. I love it.

▪ Sturgill Simpson, “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music”: This is wonderful stuff. You’ll never convince me that the world is not made better by a man who has heard and loved and learned from Sun Ra, Van Halen, Elvis Costello and the Atomic Bitchwax setting out to write non-revivalist Bakersfield country songs.

Kristen MayFlyleaf

▪ Sam Smith, “The Lonely Hour”: Sam’s voice is such a breath of fresh air. He is a rare talent, and his tone is like butter. Listen to this album if you are in need of some therapy after a breakup or longing to be with the one you love.

▪ Jessie Ware, “Tough Love”: Jessie is one of my new favorite British singers. Her high register is to die for, and she evokes such power and emotion with this album. Great music for falling in love.

▪ Jenny Lewis, “The Voyager”: She reminds me of Carly Simon and Linda Ronstadt. Honest about the trials of life and relationships without sounding miserable, she has a way of creating melodies that show she’s still having fun.

▪ Little Dragon, “Nabuma Rubberband”: Yukimi Nagano has a unique vocal quality and style, which is why I love her. Soulful, like she could sing anything from Etta James to Aretha, she lends her instrument to more electronically orchestrated tracks. A trippy, midtempo, jazz-infused journey.

▪ Tycho, “Awake”: Tycho’s music transports you somewhere beautiful. Their songs are like mantras

▪ Broods, “Evergreen”: I love the combination of Georgia Nott’s voice and the lush tracks created to accompany her.

▪ Banks, “Goddess”: The song “Waiting Game” almost brought tears to my eyes. The vocals pull you in from the beginning, and you want to hear her story.

▪ Temples, “Sun Structures”: This band is just cool. Their album sonically is something straight out of the 1960s, which is refreshing.

Steve TulipanaCo-owner of RecordBar

▪ Swans, “To Be Kind”: Triple album of glorious and cathartic drones, poly-rhythms and chaotic doom.

▪ Perfect Pussy, “Say Yes to Love”: Dense, grindy, edgy yet hooky goodness. This is the kind of music “emo” should refer to.

▪ Monta at Odds, “Robots of Munich”: Kraut rock from Kansas. The band’s best work to date.

▪ Francis Bebey, “Psychedelic Sanza 1982-1984”: Trippy hypnotic thumb piano explorations.

▪ Anatomy of Habit, “Cyphers + Axioms”: Pummeling post-metal experimentalism. Think Ian Curtis fronting Swans. Features members of Tortoise, Joan of Arc and Bloodyminded.

▪ Jorge Arana Trio, “Oso”: Is it metal? Is it jazz? Is it good? Answers to all three: Yes.

▪ Xiu Xiu, “Angel Guts: Red Classroom”: Terrifying, intense experimental death disco. Music for mayhem.

▪ Slint, “Spiderland”: One of my all-time favorite albums gets a deluxe re-issue with tons of extras and a documentary.

Nathan ReuschThe Record Machine

▪ Future Islands, “Singles”: Some might find Samuel T. Herring’s vocal growl and dance moves a little off-putting, but it’s the asset that helps them stand out.

▪ St. Vincent, “St. Vincent”: Her latest album finds Annie Clark continuing to push her boundaries and mature into the matriarch of today’s indie music scene.

▪ Sylvan Esso, “Sylvan Esso”: This collaboration between two folk musicians is my favorite electronic release of the year. The soulful vocals of Amelia Meath match the bounce of beats created by producer Nick Sanborn.

▪ The War on Drugs, “Lost in the Dream”: Although I think they still have a way to go, they are quickly becoming one of today’s next “it” bands.

▪ Spoon, “They Want My Soul”: It took Brit Daniel a full-length album and a side project to really return to the form of 2007’s “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.” This was as close to a sunny summer record as I had this year.

▪ St. Paul and the Broken Bones, “Half the City”: Imagine Drew Carey fronting your favorite classic soul records. This throwback is just so good it works.

▪ Rubblebucket, “Survival Sounds”: Take the best parts of Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire and Of Montreal, and distill them through the pop lense of No Doubt, and you might have an idea of how you need to prepare yourself.

▪ Kevin Drew, “Darlings”: This doesn’t meet the highs of his former Broken Social Scene collaborations, but it delivers his best moments since then.

▪ Sohn, “Tremors”: The latest in the trend of a crooner bending electronics into something soulful. For fans of James Blake and Rhye.

▪ Foxes in Fiction, “Ontario Gothic”: Rarely has lo-fi ever sounded so lush. Warren Hildebrand teams up with indie all-star Owen Pallett to add strings to his already layered experimental textures.

Barry LeeKKFI station manager and host of “Signal to Noise”

▪ The Gourds, “All the Labor”: A last live look back at well-lived-in songs by one of the best Texas bands ever.

▪ Marc Ribot Trio, “Live at the Village Vanguard”: The great jazz-experimentalist guitar player stretches out with a power trio.

▪ The War on Drugs, “Lost in the Dream”: Melodic lyrical meditations and groovy grooves from a band on the cusp of greatness.

▪ The Quivers, “Hot Young Mess”: The best pure rock ’n’ roll album ever to come out of KC.

▪ Sturgill Simpson, “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music”: Living proof that real country music is not dead.

▪ Leonard Cohen, “Popular Problems”: The old master poet continues to cast his song-poem spells as the power of his words belie his fading voice.

▪ The Thompsons, “Family”: The first family of folk rock brilliantly examine their legacy together and apart.

▪ Tinariwen, “Emmaar”: Powerful African drone-poems undiminished by recording in America for the first time.

▪ Reigning Sound, “Shattered”: The beautiful sounds of a broken relationship laid bare.

▪ Bob Dylan, “The Basement Tapes Complete”: A timeless musical treasure chest from the 20th century’s greatest songwriter relaxed and at play with words and music.

Judy MillsOwner of Mills Record Co.

▪ Sturgill Simpson, “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music”: The voice of Waylon Jennings with the spirit of Alan Watts.

▪ Curtis Harding, “Soul Power”: Neo-soul steps out of the garage.

▪ Emma Ruth Rundle, “Some Heavy Ocean”: Ethereal folk rock with dark lyrics sung angelically into your ears.

▪ Bulbous Creation, “You Won’t Remember Dying”: Numero re-issue of an acid-rock band. Recorded in the legendary Cavern Sound Studio in 1969. This is real psych rock.

▪ Jungle, “Jungle”: An electronic dance party guilty pleasure.

▪ Shy Boys, “Shy Boys”: Layered, dreamy pop that rocks hard live but still enchants.

▪ Ty Segall, “Manipulator”: Arguably the album of the year. The prolific garage-rock hero delivers his most defined record yet. If you’re not yet, get on board.

▪ Nick Cave, “Live at KCRW”: Live recordings can be iffy, but this is a moment in time of a man who is a master of his craft. Songs of loss, love and perpetual hope. A record that matters.

▪ Jack White, “Lazaretto”: On the list only because it reminded thousands of people that listening to music is also a tactile experience and that vinyl is sexy.

▪ Le Butcherettes, “Cry Is for the Flies”: Because of Teri Gender Bender.

Marion MerrittOwner of Records with Merritt

▪ Barbara Lynn, “Here Is Barbara Lynn”: Left-handed Stratocaster player out of Beaumount, Texas, and at 72 still doing gigs and gaining fans everyday.

▪ John Coltrane, “Offering: Live at Temple University”: Recorded in 1966, eight months before Coltrane died of liver cancer, this album maybe the most challenging listen of the year but worth every horn squawk.

▪ Vashti Bunyan, “Heartleap”: The once-reluctant British folk singer still shines 44 years after her first album, “Just Another Diamond Day,” was released.

▪ Curtis Harding, “Soul Power”: Gospel, soul, rock, garage and punk, all in one album.

▪ Meshell Ndegeocello, “Comet, Come to Me”: Whether covering Whodini’s “Friends” or working with My Brightest Diamond, this bassist shows why she is among the best.

▪ Caribou, “Our Love”: Dan Snaith is back after a seven-year absence, with his infectious, driving electronics and poignant lyrics.

▪ Luluc, “Passerby”: Australian folk duo Zoe Randell and Steve Hassett’s album has the magical ability to put even the most harried of us into a state of calm bliss, enveloped in beautiful songs.

▪ Blonde Redhead, “Barragan”: A different sonic direction for the group, and I will have to admit that I had to have multiple listens before loving this album.

▪ Brigitte Fontaine, “Brigitte Fontaine”: A great example of the evolution of Ye-Ye, as Fontaine combines her whisper with primal screams on this jazzy, avant-garde album.

▪ Allah-Las, “Worship the Sun”: Los Angeles’ neo-psych, garage rocker’s sophomore effort shows the group’s musical and lyrical growth.

Mark DavisVinyl Renaissance, sound engineer

▪ The Life and Times, “Lost Bees”: A career-defining record for this band.

▪ Periphery, “Clear”: One of metal’s best new bands.

▪ Molly McGuire, “III”: After a long hiatus, they return with a vengeance.

▪ Elbow, “The Take Off and Landing of Everything”: Gorgeous melancholy from this U.K. group.

▪ Haken, “Restoration”: One of the bright new stars of progressive rock.

▪ Opeth, “Pale Communion”: The latest from this constantly evolving Swedish band.

▪ The Pineapple Thief, “Magnolia”: Complex yet concise prog pop from the U.K.

▪ California Breed, “California Breed”: Simultaneously retro and yet modern rock from this new band featuring Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham.

▪ Amplifier, “Mystoria”: Soaring, anthemic guitar rock from this Manchester band.

Chuck Haddix

Host of “The Fish Fry” on KCUR

▪ Dave and Phil Alvin, “Common Ground”: Prime interpreters of Americana, the Alvin brothers relish playing off each other in this homage to the timeless blues of Big Bill Broonzy.

▪ Diverse, “Our Journey”: Alto saxophonist and former Kansas Citian Logan Richardson joins Diverse for this CD of thoughtful original compositions. Richardson proves to be the perfect foil for trumpeter Hermon Mehari in the front line, nicely complemented by Ryan Lee’s percussive drum style and bassist Ben Leifer’s supple bass work.

▪ St. Paul and the Broken Bones, “Half the City”: Paul Janeway’s impassioned, soulful vocals, Al Gamble’s keyboards, the crack horn section and heartfelt lyrics come together to create a modern soul classic.

▪ Paul Thorn, “Too Blessed to be Stressed”: Infused with a gospel fever, Thorn’s songs of sin and salvation play out against a backdrop of trailer parks, old dogs, Jesus and failed relationships.

▪ Jarekus Singleton, “Refuse to Lose”: This new release marks an impressive national debut by young Mississippi bluesman Singleton. With songs like “Keep Pushin’” and “Refuse to Lose,” Singleton preaches an uplifting message rooted in his life experiences.

▪ Kelley Hunt, “The Beautiful Bones”: A soulful meditation on relationships and life’s truths. Hunt and the band lay down a funky groove that buoys the weighty substance of her lyrics.

▪ Gary Clark Jr., “Live”: Clark, the latest guitar slinger to come out of Austin, manages to transcend that tradition, drawing from a broad repertoire ranging from traditional blues to thoughtful originals like “Things Are Changing.”

▪ Erin Harpe and the Delta Swingers, “Love Whip Blues”: Harpe’s music harkens back to the wild women blues singers from the classic era of Mississippi blues. A brassy vocalist and talented guitarist, Harpe’s good humor and enthusiasm shine through in this set of originals and judiciously selected covers.

▪ Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, “The Devil You Know”: This marks a strong comeback for blues veteran Castro, whose rhythmically driven, stripped-down band is joined by Joe Bonamassa, the Holmes Brothers and a host of other blues greats.

DJ Ray Velasquez

▪ Aphex Twin, “Syro”: A spectacular return to the future from the godfather of cerebral techno.

▪ Lone, “Reality Testing”: Shimmering techno sheen channels classic 808 State circa 1990. Everything old is groove again.

▪ Caribou, “Our Love”: An intensely creative, diverse and accessible expression of electronic avant-pop.

▪ A Sunny Day in Glasgow, “Sea When Absent”: Chilled, melodic, guitar-driven, Shoegaze gorgeosity.

▪ Arca, “Xen”: Engaging futuristic beats and pieces. Technology works. Technology delivers.

▪ Roman Flugel, “Happiness Is Happening”: Highly satisfying techno recalls Depeche Mode/New Order-era synth. Happiness is a warm drum.

▪ Lantlos, “Melting Sun”: Lush, loud, smoothly textured dream pop.

▪ Todd Terje, “It’s Album Time”: Kitschy, cocktail nu-disco fun.

▪ Andy Stott, “Faith in Strangers”: Sinister, bleak and gently eerie electronic atmospherics. Echoes of post-punk and early Autechre.

▪ Objekt, “Flatland”: Superior advanced and abstract techno in a year of superior advanced and abstract techno.

Chris HaghirianInk magazineMiddle of the Map Fest

▪ Sylvan Esso, “Sylvan Esso”: It’s a good story. Two people a lot like most of my musician friends, they’ve been in a bunch of projects, and then all of a sudden something clicks and the masses love their work. Congrats to them.

▪ Broods, “Broods”: A New Zealand brother and sister teamed up to make a highly addictive electro-pop EP that I can’t stop listening to.

▪ Lykke Li, “I Never Learn”: Swedish singer/songwriter knocks out another great dreamy electro-pop record, and also played a great show at the Uptown this year.

▪ Phantogram, “Voices”: If electro-pop had a face and an accessible forerunner, Phantogram would be it. Getting huge amount of spins on commercial radio and owning the festival circuit, all proof they put out a pretty great product.

▪ St. Vincent, “St. Vincent”: In her early 30s. she has already put together an impressive catalog that started in indie pop. She is now very much filled with art-pop, and there’s no telling where it will end. But it’ll be fun to follow.

▪ Beck, “Morning Phase”: A dozen albums into his formidable career, it doesn’t seem fair that Beck could knock out another instant classic album, but he did. You can’t tell whether it’s from the late ’90s or 2014.

▪ Tycho, “Awake”: I listened to this album more than any album in 2014. Ambient electronica music keeps me out of therapy. This album will soon score every cellphone ad/car ad/movie you see.

▪ Zola Jesus, “Taiga”: Zola Jesus is the stage name of Nika Roza Danilova, a tiny-framed woman putting out heavy, brooding, ambient pop music. Catch her at the Granada on Jan. 14.

▪ TV on the Radio, “Seeds”: With their fifth album, they’ve knocked out another great collection of music. They’ve managed to keep the hipsters happy with their musical idiosyncrasies while at the same time putting out massive singles that are getting huge commercial airplay.

▪ Forrester, “Antithesis”: These Lawrence kids blew me away with their live show and solidified me being a fan with the production on their first and probably only EP. Cheers boys.

Bill BrownleeContributing reviewer

▪ Flying Lotus, “You’re Dead!”: An astonishing merger of jazz and hip-hop.

▪ St. Vincent, “St. Vincent”: Annie Clark’s arty funk rivals the best work of the Talking Heads.

▪ Peter Schlamb, “Tinks”: The Kansas City-based vibraphonist breaks with tradition.

▪ Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens, “Cold World”: The no-frills gospel album offers emotional sustenance.

▪ Against Me!, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues”: A stalwart punk band finds inspiration in gender-identity issues.

▪ The Architects, “Border Wars (Episode II)”: The Architects remain Kansas City’s scrappiest rock band.

▪ Kris Bowers, “Heroes + Misfits”: Bowers’ vast range encompasses the breadth of jazz in 2014.

▪ Keyshia Cole, “Point of No Return”: The profane R&B singer unleashes her pain.

▪ Joyce DiDonato, “Stella di Napoli”: Italian arias showcase DiDonato’s delicious sense of drama.

▪ Young Fathers, “Dead”: The gloomy hip-hop ensemble fashions a celebration fit for a wake.

Joel FrancisContributing reviewer

My favorites, in haiku:

War on Drugs, “Lost in the Dream”

Title says it all.

Chet Baker sang let’s get lost,

join me won’t you, please?

TV on the Radio, “Seeds”

Title song is hymn:

“This time, I’ve got seeds on ground.”

Makes my soul smile.

Flying Lotus, “You’re Dead”

DJ, hip-hop, jazz

Introspective mélange is

feast for brain and ears.

Old 97s, “Most Messed Up”

20 years later,

“Too Far to Care” gets sequel.

Band is best when messed.

Kelis, “Food”

Ribs, cobbler, fish fry.

These tasty song titles whet

appetite for tunes.

Hold Steady, “Teeth Dreams”

Lucero axeman

adds grit to busy lyrics.

The Ambassador.

New Pornographers, “Brill Bruisers”

Supergroup returns

with best batch of power pop

since Twin Cinema.

Lydia Loveless, “Somewhere Else”

Farm girl references

Verlaine, Rimbaud, Chris Isaak.

Arty honky tonk?

Brian Eno and Karl Hyde, “High Life”

2 albums, 2 months.

Ambient meets house, techno.

Second one is best.

Warpaint, “Warpaint”

Female quartet takes

four years after debut.

Follow-up worth wait.

Jenee OsterheldtColumnist at The Kansas City Star

▪ Jhené Aiko “Souled Out”: Her voice is more of a feeling than a sound. And she sings my heart out.

▪ SZA, “Z”: She’s anti-R&B but 100 percent soulfully bittersweet.

▪ Pharrell, “Girl”: We all know “Happy” was the song of the year, but the entire album is an infectious pop smile.

▪ Prince, “Art Official Age”: Because his purple majesty still reigns.

▪ Kelis, “Food”: The song titles make you hungry, while her music feeds your soul. Don’t sleep on this quiet release.

▪ Coldplay, “Ghost Stories”: Chris Martin’s voice floats above the music like a heartbreaking cloud you don’t want to escape.

▪ Lykke Li, “I Never Learn”: This album is my favorite rainy day.

▪ D/Will, “Reset”: When someone lets you hear their spiritual awakening, listening is a beautiful ride.

▪ Cowboy Indian Bear, “Vandeventer”: The group has disbanded, but this music is forever.

▪ The Roots, “... And Then You Shoot Your Cousin”: Dark and moody, their 11th studio album came out before Ferguson and Eric Garner, but the music is right on time.

▪ FKA Twigs, “LP1”: It’s like Bjork and Prince had a baby, and the lullaby is so perfectly twisted and brilliant.

▪ Mary J. Blige, “The London Sessions”: We’ve been calling her the queen of hip-hop soul for 20 years. On this album, she finally believes it.

Enrique ChiMember of the band Making Movies

▪ Jack White, “Lazaretto”

▪ Jorge Drexler, “Bailar en La Cueva”

▪ Bahamas, “Bahamas Is Afie”

▪ Abstrakto, “Abstrakto”

▪ Ana Tijoux, “Vengo”

▪ Ryan Adams, “Ryan Adams”

▪ Lykke Li, “I Never Learn”

▪ Ty Segall, “Manipulator”

▪ Death Grips, “The Powers That B”

▪ The War on Drugs, “Lost in the Dream”

Kasey RauschSinger/songwriter and host of River Trade Radio of KKFI

▪ Kyle Reid & the Low Swinging Chariots, “Alright, Here We Go”

▪ Old Sound, “Rain Follows the Plow”

▪ Quinn DeVeaux, “Late Night Drive”

▪ Shakey Graves,”And the War Came”

▪ Desi & Cody, “Dog Days Comin’”

▪ Jesse Aycock, “Flowers & Wounds”

▪ John Fullbright, “Songs”

▪ Barak Hill, “Wheels Won’t Roll”

▪ Carsie Blanton, “Not Old, Not New”

▪ Dallas Jones & Molly Healey, “Sunday”

Michelle BaconThe Philistines, the Deli Magazine

▪ Katy Guillen and the Girls, “Katy Guillen and the Girls”

▪ The Project H, “We Live Among the Lines”

▪ The Sluts, “Loser”

▪ Cadillac Flambe, “Old American Law”

▪ Jorge Arana Trio, “Oso”

▪ Eddie Moore & the Outer Circle, “The Freedom of Expression”

▪ The Dead Girls, “Noisemaker”

▪ Schwervon!, “Broken Teeth”

▪ Wells the Traveler, “Build It Up”

▪ Kirsten Paludan and the Key Party, “Up All Night”

Dee, Isaiah and Solomon RadkeRadkey

▪ Twin Peaks, “Wild Onion”

▪ The Growlers, “Chinese Fountain”

▪ Kitten, “Kitten”

▪ The Orwells, “Disgraceland”

▪ Weezer, “Everything Will Be Alright In the End”

▪ Angel Olsen, “Burn Your Fire for No Witness”

▪ Presidents of the United States of America, “Crappy Ghost”

▪ Dum Dum Girls, “Too True”

▪ Drenge, “Backwaters”

▪ Blood Red Shoes, “Blood Red Shoes”

Alicia SolombrinoSinger, Beautiful Bodies

▪ TV on the Radio, “Seeds”

▪ Interpol, “El Pintor”

▪ Iggy Azalea, “The New Classic”

▪ Jack White, “Lazaretto”

▪ Taylor Swift, “1989”

▪ Die Antwoord, “Donker Mag”

▪ Vance Joy, “Dream Your Life Away”

▪ Sia, “1000 Forms of Fear”

▪ Future Islands, “Singles”

▪ Prince, “Art Official Age”

Mark Manning,Host of Wednesday Midday Medley, KKFI

▪ Shy Boys, “Shy Boys”

▪ Loose Park, “Monstrous”

▪ My Brothers and Sisters, “Violet Music, Vol. 1”

▪ John Velghe and the Prodigal Sons, “Organ Donor Blues”

▪ Katy Guillen and the Girls, “Katy Guillen and the Girls”

▪ Voices of Unbound, “Madagascar”

▪ Jorge Arana Trio, “Oso”

▪ Monta at Odds, “Robots of Munich”

▪ Calvin Arsenia, “Moments”

▪ Schwervon!, “Broken Teeth”

DJ Sheppa Appehs

▪ Dusky, “Love Taking Over”

▪ Lxury, “Pick You Up”

▪ Sophie, “Lemonade”

▪ Friend Within, “The Label”

▪ Duke Dumont, “Slow Dance”

▪ Sleepyhead, (Untitled)

▪ Tchami, “Untrue”

▪ The Magician, “Sunlight”

▪ Duke Dumont, “Won’t Look Back”

Neill SmithBooker at RecordBar

▪ Ryan Adams, “Ryan Adams”

▪ Strand of Oaks, “Heal”

▪ Perfume Genius, “Too Bright”

▪ Flight Facilities, “Down to Earth”

▪ Alt-J, “This Is All Yours”

▪ The Rural Alberta Advantage, “Mended With Gold”

▪ Panama, “Always”

▪ King Tuff, “Black Moon Spell”

▪ Benjamin Booker, “Benjamin Booker”

▪ Painted Palms, “Forever”

Britt Adair

The Bad Ideas and booker at Vandals

▪ Reacharounds, “Living in the Future”

▪ Roman Polanski’s Baby, “Get Right!”

▪ Devo, “Hardcore Vol. 2”

▪ The Big Iron, “We Will Fail”

▪ Nature Boys, “First LP”

▪ Judas Priest, “Redeemer of Souls”

▪ Tweens, “Tweens”

▪ Thurston Moore, “The Best Day”

▪ The Spits, “The Spits”

▪ Wovenhand, “Refactory Obdurate”

Keenan NicholsFormerly of the Architects

▪ Nikki Lane, “All Or Nothing”

▪ Big Iron, “We Will Fall”

▪ Allas Las, “Worship the Sun”

▪ Lucinda Williams, “Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone”

▪ Jack White, “Lazaretto”

▪ Ryan Adams, “Ryan Adams”

▪ OFF!, “Wasted Years”

▪ Radio Moscow, “Magical Dirt”

▪ Frank Iero and the Celebration, “Stomachaches”

▪ Mastodon, “Once More ‘Round”

Gregg TodtFederation of HorsepowerThe Johnny Dare Morning Show

▪ Band of Skulls, “Himalayan”

▪ OFF!, “Wasted Years”

▪ Big Iron, “We Will Fall”

▪ The Black Keys, “Turn Blue”

▪ Nikki Lane, “All Or Nothin’”

▪ Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, “Give The People What They Want”

▪ The Wytches, “Annabel Dream Reader”

▪ Big Business, “Battlefields Forever”

Mike KennedyProgram director for Q-104

▪ Keith Urban, “Fuse”

▪ Cole Swindell, “Cole”

▪ Eric Church, “The Outsiders”

▪ Miranda Lambert, “Platinum”

▪ Sam Hunt, “Montevallo”

▪ Little Big Town, “Pain Killer”

▪ Luke Bryan, “Crash My Party”

▪ Jake Owen, “Days of Gold Deluxe”

▪ David Nail, “I’m a Fire”

▪ Frankie Ballard, “Sunshine and Whiskey”

Jon HartProgram director KTBG-FM The Bridge

▪ Making Movies, “A La Deriva”

▪ Beck, “Morning Phase”

▪ Damien Jurado, “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun”

▪ The New Basement Tapes, “Lost on the River”

▪ Courtney Barnett, “Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas”

▪ Katy Guillen and the Girls, “Katy Guillenn and the Girls”

▪ Strand of Oaks, “HEAL”

▪ Rainmakers, “Monster Movie”

▪ New Pornographers, “Brill Bruisers”

▪ Not a Planet, “ The Few, the Proud, the Strange”

Sarah BradshawMusic director, the Bridge

▪ The New Basement Tapes, “Lost on the River”

▪ First Aid Kit, “Stay Gold”

▪ Strand of Oaks, “HEAL”

▪ St. Vincent, “St. Vincent”

▪ Nikki Lane, “All or Nothin’”

▪ The Black Keys, “Turn Blue”

▪ Katy Guillen and the Girls, “Katy Guillen and the Girls”

▪ Paolo Nutini, “Caustic Love”

▪ Ben Miller Band, “Any Way, Shape or Form”

▪ Ben Howard, “I Forget Where We Were”

Bill Shapiro“Cyprus Avenue” on KCUR

▪ Leonard Cohen, “Popular Problems”

▪ Rosanne Cash, “The River and the Thread”

▪ Jerry Lee Lewis, “Rock & Roll Time”

▪ Willie Nelson, “Band of Brothers”

▪ Smokey Robinson, “Smokey and Friends”

▪ Studio Rio Presents, “Brazil Connection”

▪ Lucinda Williams, “Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone”

▪ Dead Man’s Town, “A Tribute To Born In The U.S.A.”

▪ Tom Petty, “The Hypnotic Eye”

▪ Nikki Lane, “All or Nothin’”

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to Follow the Back to Rockville blog on Twitter @kcstarrockville.

Shows of the year

Timothy FinnMusic writer, The Kansas City Star

▪ Paul McCartney at the Sprint Center

▪ Jack White at the Midland theater

▪ Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Midland theater

▪ The David Rawlings Machine at the Uptown Theater

▪ Loretta Lynn with Nikki Lane at the Uptown Theater

▪ Old Crow Medicine Show with Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Uptown Theater

▪ Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss with Jason Isbell at Starlight Theatre

▪ Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings with Valerie June at Liberty Hall

▪ Chrissie Hynde at the Uptown Theater

▪ Johnny Marr at the Midland theater

▪ Sturgill Simpson at Knuckleheads

▪ Ryan Adams at the Uptown Theater

▪ The Avettt Brothers at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater

▪ Steely Dan at Starlight Theatre

▪ Rosanne Cash at the Folly Theater

▪ Justin Timberlake at the Sprint Center

▪ Katy Perry at the Sprint Center

▪ ZZ Top with Jeff Beck at Starlight Theatre

▪ Eric Church with Dwight Yoakam at the Sprint Center

▪ The inaugural Boulevardia festival

Bill BrownleeContributing reviewer

▪ Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Midland theater

▪ Jessica Care Moore, Blue Room

▪ Pat Metheny Unity Group, Topeka Performing Arts Center

▪ Bettye LaVette, Knuckleheads

▪ Marijuana Deathsquads, RecordBar

▪ Miguel Zenón, Blue Room

▪ Spoon, Liberty Hall

▪ Lecrae, Independence Events Center

▪ Kronos Quartet, Helzberg Hall

▪ T-Pain, Crossroads KC

Jacki BeckerUp to Eleven Productions

▪ Neutral Milk Hotel at the Uptown Theater.

▪ Between the Buried and Me, Deafheaven, Intronaut and Kindred at the Granada.

▪ Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at Liberty Hall.

▪ St. Vincent at Liberty Hall.

▪ Earth at the RecrordBar.

▪ Ghost at the Pageant in St. Louis.

▪ Manchester Orchestra, Balance & Composure and Kevin Devine at the Granada.

▪ Arcade Fire with Tuneyards at Starlight Theater.

▪ Deafheaven with Pallbearer at the Granada.

▪ Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples and Beat Junkies at Crossroads KC.

Jeff FortierMammoth Productions

▪ Future Islands at the Waiting Room

▪ Nick Cave at the Midland

▪ Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss at Starlight Theater

▪ Neutral Milk Hotel at the Uptown Theater

▪ The War on Drugs at the Granada

▪ Benjamin Booker at the RecordBar

▪ Thievery Corp at the JazzFest afterparty

▪ Ziggy Marley at Crossroads KC

▪ The Antlers at the Riot Room

▪ London Grammer at SXSW

▪ Loretta Lynn at the Uptown

Finn’s favorite local albums of 2014

▪ The Big Iron, “We Will Fall”

▪ Kirsten Paludan and the Key Party, “Up All Night”

▪ The Architects, “Border Wars, Episode II”

▪ Outsides, “Million”

▪ Voices of Unbound, “Madagascar”

▪ My Brothers and Sisters, “Violet Music, Vol. 1”

▪ John Velghe and the Prodigal Sons, “Organ Donor Blues”

▪ Cadillac Flambe, “Old American Law”

▪ Katy Guillen and the Girls, “Katy Guillen and the Girls”

▪ Wells the Traveler, “Build It Up”

▪ Jorge Arana Trio, “Oso”

▪ Folkicide, “The Meaningless Glare of Broken Human Beings”

▪ Kelley Hunt, “Beautiful Bones”

▪ Monta at Odds, “Robots of Munich”

▪ Shy Boys, “Shy Boys”

▪ Blessed Broke, “Ladders Out of Purgatory”

▪ Sara Swenson, “Runway Lights”

▪ Kasey Rausch, “Guitar in Hand”

▪ David George and a Crooked Mile, “So You”

▪ Schwervon!, “Broken Teeth”

▪ Loose Park, “Monstrous”