Another year has passed, and some fantastic music has come from it. Here we’ve picked five of our top albums of 2014 to talk about, with another five coming very soon. Also, keep an eye out for our ‘Artists’ Picks’ feature, where our favourite musicians of the year share their favourite releases!

Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence


“Lana Del Rey returned in 2014, with her first hint of coming back onto the music scene being recording the main theme song for the Disney film Maleficent, before releasing her second album in the summer. Ultraviolence is a sensational album, with dark lyrics supported by her haunting and enchanting voice in key tracks such as ‘Brooklyn Baby’ and ‘West Coast’. Mixing sexy with dark undertones fits Lana’s alluring voice perfectly. It makes the listener become more intrigued with Lana’s seductive yet sinister story, which is reflected throughout the record. Her persona makes her all the more interesting, and allows her to fill her music with powerful emotion. With two hit records, it will be interesting to see whether she will be tempted to release a third in the future. Bring on 2015 for more surprises!” – Freya Sizeland

Nick Mulvey – First Mind


“Mulvey’s debut is a melodic beast that shows off his unique guitar style and ear for a beautiful melody. He has somehow managed to merge melancholy and optimism to great effect; with a downbeat undertone that always hints at that silver lining. Very good debut.” – Seth Vincent

Taylor Swift – 1989


“Taylor Swift may not be the queen of country anymore, but she’s certainly made a mark in the world of pop with her album 1989 that came out in late 2014. While still keeping in touch with her roots, Swift has produced a record that has much desired catchy tunes, but also intelligent songwriting that is sometimes hard to come by in pop songs. Singles ‘Shake It Off’ and ‘Blank Space’ have dominated the world, and despite being on two different ends of the spectrum in the case of theme and delivery, both have that familiar Taylor Swift brilliance that has been present through all of her albums, no matter what the genre. 1989 has proved Swift’s still got it, and that she’s ready to take over in 2015 – even more than she already has, of course!” – Madison Convey

Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Balcony


“Catfish and the Bottlemen had an explosive year in 2014, playing over 200 shows and marking themselves as one of the year’s best newcomers. Their album The Balcony topped it all off. Full of festival anthems and intense guitar riffs, the emotion is raw and relatable with lyrics like “Fuck it if they talk, fuck it if they try and get to us, ’cause I’d rather go blind than let you down”. It’s not surprising Van McCann has girls swooning. The Balcony is a must listen of the year – and who else can fit ‘simpatico’ into a song? We’re all looking forward to the next instalment from these Llandudno lads.” – Nicola Cane

PVRIS – White Noise


“My album of 2014 is PVRIS’ debut album White Noise. I am usually skeptical when it comes to bands that I hear about through people repeatedly tweeting about them. This is usually due to the fact that I often find that they are incredibly overhyped, but this was an entirely different case; the PVRIS album was well worth the buzz it created. Upon listening, I actually understood what the entire Twittersphere was excited about for the first time in so long. The album is absolute perfection from start to finish, with a distinct rock sound mixed flawlessly with synth throughout – think CHVRCHES, but slightly more hardcore. Lynn Gunnulfsen’s vocals are absolutely spot on and really bring the lyrics of the songs to life. Despite the songs sounding a bit dark lyrically, they are super catchy and somehow manage to stay stuck in your head for a long time. Notable tracks to check out are ‘Ghosts’, ‘My House’, ‘Mirrors’ and ‘Holy’.” – Nikki Andrews

Feature photo of We Are The In Crowd at Vans’ Warped Tour in Mansfield, MA by Kelly Hamilton.