Emily Saex — Editor / Writer

the pack ad Do Not Engage album cover

1. The Pack A.D. – Do Not Engage (Nettwerk Records)
Vancouver duo The Pack A.D. may have titled their album Do Not Engage but it’s impossible not to engage in these eleven stirring, alt-indie grunge rock songs – whether it be headbanging, dancing, or shouting along in your bedroom, car or with the band live. You can stream the album here.

2. The Bloodhounds – Let Loose! (Alive NaturalSound Records)
I had this album on repeat for weeks and any fear lingering in the back of my mind that rock n’ roll might be dead is forever gone because East L.A.’s The Bloodhounds know exactly how to dish up mouthwatering rock n’ roll. You can stream the album here.

3. AJ Davila – Terror Amor (Nacional Records)
With Terror Amor, AJ Davila pushes the boundaries of what Latin music can be. It’s not all reggaeton and banda out there! And whether or not you know Spanish, this album will have you singing (or humming) along, bopping your head and stomping your feet. You can stream the album here.

4. Crosses – ††† (Sumerian Records)
Crosses, fronted by Chino Moreno (Deftones), blew the roof off The Roxy this year with their best Los Angeles performance to date, just a few months after releasing †††. The album included remastered tracks from their previous EPs as well as five new songs, including the very catchy “Bitches Brew.” Crosses did not disappoint this year – live and on record. You can stream the album here.

5. Ozomatli – Place in the Sun (Vanguard Records)
Los Angeles natives Ozomatli ruled 2014 with their super dance-worthy album Place in the Sun. Forever flawlessly fusing a variety of musical styles from hip-hop to latin to swing and putting on impeccable live shows, such as their free Levitt Pavilion show this summer, no one can top Ozomatl. You can stream the album here.

6. Priests – Bodies and Control and Money and Power (Don Giovanni Records/Sister Polygon)
Washington, DC quartet Priests released a serious can of whoop ass with their 2014 EP release Bodies and Control and Money and Power. The group’s fearless, fast paced noise punk is so powerful that it knocks you out in a mere 17 minutes! You can stream the album here.

7. Wye Oak – Shriek (Merge Records)
This album was a surprisingly impressive release from the indie duo – a powerful concoction from the that focused on exploring the softer sides synths and underrated wonders of bass all while providing some much welcome cathartic release. You can stream the album here.

8. Jason Webley & Friends – Margaret (Self-Released)
Jason Webley & Friends (Eliza Rickman, Shenandoah Davis, Zac Pennington of Parenthetical Girls and more) made the ultimate concept album (and book and live concert), just in time for the holidays. Margaret – inspired by the dumpster found scrapbook of Margaret Rucker is one of the most creative releases this year. You can stream the album here.

9. Knife Party – Abandon Ship (Earstorm/Big Beat Records)
Knife Party’s 2014 album Abandon Ship was shrouded in some release date hell but ultimately the final product turned out to be a killer, wide-spanning electronic music album touching upon a variety of sounds, from ’90s house to dub to trap. I dare you not to dance while listening to this album. You can stream the album here.

10. Alt-J – This Is All Yours (Infectious Records)
Watch the video for “Hunger of the Pine.” ‘Nuff said. You can stream the album here.

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