Maria Haskins Counts Down Her Favorite Releases of 2014

Crucified Barbara

By Maria Haskins

2014 was an incredibly rich year when it comes to rock and roll: tons of fantastic releases from old and new bands. Here are 15 of my favourites that all made a major impression on me, and my playlist.

 

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15. Thundermother – Rock ‘N’ Roll Disaster

What I said: “The music here is no-bull, kick-your-ass, rattle-your-ribs, bang-your-head, guitar-powered, AC/DC-ish hard rock, lit up by the band’s infectiously boisterous energy —Thundermother’s sound is still rough around the edges, but it’s a pleasant roughness that makes this album crackle with a raw and irrepressible rock’n’roll energy.”

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14. Station – Wired

What I said: “Sometimes you hear music that instantly, without warning or even a simple “hello”, pushes your sheer-pleasure button – the one that’s connected to your mind, your gut, your soul, your heart and everything in between. — this EP is four tracks of joyful rock-perfection, and so damn addictive it ought to come with a health-warning.”

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13. Resonance Project – Tale Goes On

What I said: “Each track on Tale Goes On feels a bit like a finely crafted short story or fairy-tale, expertly shaped and polished with both musical skill and profound, lyrical poetry. — the band stands out as a truly original and compelling musical voice.”

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12. Ragdoll – Ragdoll Rewound

What I said: “This is pure rock’n’roll gold from start to finish… each song is like a treasure chest you can return to and explore again and again, always finding something more to love.”

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11. Flash Lightnin’ – For The Sinners

What I said: “…Flash Lightnin’s For The Sinners is a revelation: a feverishly hot, groove-rocking, sweaty and bristly, full body- and mind-contact album. —there are sharp, barbed and heavy hooks in both the music and lyrics that dig in under your skin, until you wake up with a tune stuck in your head three days in a row (true story).”

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10. Tunga Moln – Tunga Moln II

What I said: “This album just gets to me on every level: from the music – an original blend of heavy, psychedelic rock with prog tendencies; to the lyrics, which reveal a dark and haunting emotional landscape. — a trippy musical magic carpet ride, and I just can’t stop listening to it.”

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9. Mothership- II

What I said: “…a mind-tripping, mind-ripping ride into an alternate universe. — Mothership unleashes track after track of heavy, yet exquisitely layered hard rock that flashes and thunders with blues and psychedelia, powered by the kind of bass-lines and drums that makes your ribs rattle.”

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8. October Rage – Fallout, Dust And Guns

What I said: “…a heavy rocking, five-track EP with massive riffs, rugged and powerful vocals, and a deep, thumping heartbeat. This is no mindless rock-by-numbers release: instead there’s a dark, lyrical undertow to each tune here, but each tune is also lit up by the band’s musical pyrotechnics…”

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7. Royal Bliss – Chasing The Sun

What I said: “Chasing The Sun is quite simply a stunner – a beautifully crafted, heart-ripping, chest-thumping, ass-kicking stack of rock… The entire album is rippling with frigging amazing vocals, brawny riffs, killer drums, and lyrics that cut right through the pre-fab bullshit and into some serious heart-and-soul territory.”

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6. Black Tora – Black Tora

What I said: “Black Tora cranks it up to 11 on this album, making this an irresistible and thoroughly satisfying heavy and hard rock and roll ride that will take your breath away, jumpstart your heart, melt your face, and make you bang your head, all at the same time. (Yes, it actually is possible.)”

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5. Aviator Shades – Ready To Blow

What I said: “Vancouver’s Aviator Shades is just one of those bands that have it all: pure, hellacious rock’n’roll firepower; deep-dish-satisfying musical talent; and a knack for making tunes that gets your shimmy-and-shake muscles moving.”

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4. KXM – KXM

What I said: “…this is a mesmerizing, rich and deep album, where each player’s instrument and voice is allowed to shine equally, and add to the brilliance of the whole. — If you’re looking for a musical high, you simply can’t go wrong with KXM.”

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3. One Bad Son – Black Buffalo

What I said: “…a full-on rock’n’roll attack, right from the ridiculously tasty opening track “Vinyl Spin Burner” — One Bad Son does not put a foot wrong on Black Buffalo, delivering a slayer of an album with lyrics that have a story to tell, and music that is bold, heavy, and hooky enough to satisfy any rock’n’roll craving.”

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2. Rival Sons – Great Western Valkyrie

What I said: “…Rival Sons has a masterful ability to use musical influences without submerging their own unique energy, always finding that sweet spot for their own groove and sound. — Great Western Valkyrie is another tour de force, and proof positive that this band is quite simply one of the best damn bands in the world right now.”

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1. Crucified Barbara – In The Red

What I said: “Heavier, harder, catchier, hookier… more everything. This is Crucified Barbara in full and fearless flight, holding nothing back, delivering 11 blazing hot tunes roaring with lust and desire, anger and defiance, pain and power. — There’s a breathtaking feeling of freedom and power and pure, raw energy here that is electrifying. Crucified Barbara is burning hotter, cutting deeper, and rocking harder than ever…”

 

Maria Haskins’ Rock And Roll: Website / Twitter

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