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The 40 Best Albums of 2014 So Far

July 01, 2014

For those of you who haven't checked the calendar today, it is indeed July 1. That means we're halfway through the year (crazy, right?) and it's time to reflect on the first half of 2014 in the only way we know how--by ranking albums. This year has already seen a wide variety of worthwhile releases, from the stellar Medeski Martin and Wood collaborative record with Nels Cline to Jack White's record setting Lazaretto. We've also seen a few triumphant returns, most notably String Cheese Incident and Beck, both of whom released their first albums after several years out of the studio.

All in all, we can only hope the back half of 2014 is as good as the front half was. In honor of our 40th anniversary, here are our top 40 albums of the first half of the year.

40. Sonny Rollins | Road Shows, Volume Three

39. Hard Working Americans | Hard Working Americans

38. Phantogram | Voices

37. Old & In The Way | Live at the Boarding House

36. Chris Robinson Brotherhood | Phosphorescent Harvest

35. Railroad Earth | Last of the Outlaws

34. Bruce Springsteen | High Hopes

33. The Hold Steady | Teeth Dreams

32. John Butler Trio | Flesh & Blood

31. The Infamous Stringdusters | Let It Go

30. tUnE-yArDs | Nikki Nack

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Can someone put together a Spotify playlist of the essential tracks on this list?

By John - 07/01/14

Umphrey’s is number 4? Guess we know who wrote this article

By Bill - 07/01/14

The fact the Rival Sons Great Western Valkyrie is not on this list makes this list null and void

By v - 07/02/14

I’m really surprised that moe.‘s new album No Guts No Glory didn’t make the list! It is one of the best albums they have come out with in the past 8 or 9 years.

By Lynzee - 07/02/14

I feel like this is just a list of bands we’ve all heard of that have put out an album this year.

By Dude. - 07/02/14

Benmont Tench - “You Should Be So Lucky”


By D - 07/02/14

I have not listened to every album on the list but I have heard the new albums from moe. Umphrey’s McGee and CRB and I like all three of them. Ryan Adams and Counting Crows have new albums coming out in the fall. I’ve heard new songs from both Ryan Adams and Counting Crows and really like what I’ve heard so far. Should be great.

By Peace Love And Music - 07/02/14

Surprised that Ray Lamontagne’s Supernova failed to make the cut. Also thought Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80’s new album deserved mention.

By Ryan - 07/02/14

I’ve compiled these into a playlist for your listening pleasure.

Here are a few Albums that made my top 40 that didn’t hit here:
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe: New Ammo
Snarky Puppy: We Like It Here
Miles Davis: Live at the Fillmore 1970
Brad Mehldau: Mehliana Taming the Dragon
Gramatik: Age of Reason
Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa: Live in Amsterdam
SoulJazz Orchestra: Inner Fire
Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang: Four foot Shack
Nick Moss: Time Ain’t Free

By JungleJon - 07/02/14

St. Vincent needs to be on this list.

By kglnyc - 07/02/14

Temples and Warpaint shouldn’t be anywhere near this top 10.

By Andrew G - 07/02/14

There are some genuinely bad albums on this list.

By Bumblaster - 07/02/14


By J - 07/02/14

Elbow’s Takeoff and Landing of Everything is so fully realized - definitely should be on here…...

By Geoffrey Little - 07/02/14

ditto elbow

By sean c - 07/14/14

The String Cheese album has warmed over bad disco. How can that be in the top 10? There are some good songs by Billy and Kieth on it, but 1/2 the album is just filler and throw away material.

By Doug - 07/16/14

Um…..St. Vincent….....?

By Brian - 07/20/14

I personally would have Wigout At Jagbags as #1.  I also agree with the calls for St. Vincent to have been included.

By @bryontreece - 07/21/14

It’s Warpaint’s 3rd Album.

By Ben - 07/22/14

No Old 97s?  Your suspect.

By Sam Ruskin - 09/26/14


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