As we drift into the heart of summer, The B-Side reflects on records released in the first six months of 2014. The offseason is excellent for catching up on those albums you haven’t yet given a good ear to, so slather on some sunscreen, bring your audio player of choice, and immerse yourself in some Grade A sound. Below, we’ve selected 25 albums you shouldn’t overlook.

Beck-Morning-PhaseBeck – Morning Phase
“The real stars of this album [are] Beck and his guitar, who are at the forefront of almost every track.” – Ryan | full review

Cloud-Nothings-Here-and-NowhereCloud Nothings – Here and Nowhwere Else
“Punk enough.” – Audrey

failureFailure – Tree of Stars
“Failure emerges from the woodworks around the same time as Tool. Both were kicking and screaming. This celebratory reunion EP is a compilation of live tracks from Magnified and Fantastic Planet featuring a brand new single, ‘Come Crashing.’ Since its release, the band has been birthing songs one at a time, essentially abandoning the long album format. “ – Jade

guy_blakeslee_ophelia_slowlyGuy Blakeslee – Ophelia Slowly
“I’ve listened to this repeated and it gets better every time.” – Audrey

Hive Bent DyatlovHive Bent – Dyatlov
“Crunchy fuzz from my home state.” – Audrey

Jack White LazarettoJack White – Lazaretto
“Has he ever produced anything that hasn’t knocked you back in your seat? Lazaretto is a cathedral for all of White’s distinct styles and, yet again, crowns him the king of contemporary blues music.” – Conner

kelis-foodKelis – Food
“This hip hop super diva took a seductive and mature turn with soul pounding Food. Inspired by her budding culinary career, Kelis delivers a fresh platter of raw talent.” – Jade

King Buzzo TMKAKing Buzzo – This Machine Kills Artists
“Acoustic, furious, intense, even a little pretty and totally mesmerizing.” – Audrey

Little-Dragon-Nabuma-RubberLittle Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband
“The sensuous beats running beneath Little Dragon’s latest are enough to get your blood pumping as you fall into the dream that is Yukumi Nagano’s voice.” – Conner

Lykke Li I Never LearnLykke Li – I Never Learn

Mogwai Rave TapesMogwai – Rave Tapes
“These Scottish kings can remurder, repelish, and hexon bogon me anytime – the lord is out. Of control.” – Joanna

Neil Young A Letter HomeNeil Young – A Letter Home

Owen Pallett In ConflictOwen Pallett – In Conflict
“I can’t ever say anything bad about Mr. Pallett. He does a great video here describing the process for this album; a favorite quote is when Pallett says, “the most important part of a good performance is that there’s an element of humiliation involved.”” – Audrey

Priests-Bodies-And-Control-And-Money-And-PowerPriests – Bodies and Control and Money and Power
“Hooky, bratty dance punk that totally reminiscent of The B-52s – you can pump that fighting fist to it or just move your hips.” – Audrey

sam-smith-in-the-lonely-hourSam Smith – In the Lonely Hour
“I’m leaving my lover for Sam Smith; the production on his debut album is tidy and godly – it’s essentially Ryan Tedder crying a river of Adele’s tears… sad hip hop beats and washed-out soul.” – Joanna

“Sam Smith is the white Frank Ocean.” – Kurush

scHoolboy-q-oxymoronSchoolboy Q – Oxymoron

st-vincent-album-coverSt. Vincent – St. Vincent 
“A goddess among mortals, Annie Clark has ascended to new heights with this year’s release. Full of lines that will turn the head of the most callous listener and inspired by drug-induced musings and wanderings, St. Vincent has stolen our hearts and occupied our minds.” – Conner | full review

“[Clark] is a beast on guitar.” – Joanna

thieverycorp saudadeThievery Corporation – Saudade
“[Rob Garza and Eric Hilton] have made music into a common tongue.” – Linda | full review

“Damn I was about to say that.” – Sayre

Tinariwen-EmmaarTinariwen – Emaar

Tune-Yards-Nikki-NacktUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack
“Revolutionary falls short of describing the sound of the tUnE-yArDs. Words do this album no justice. Turn the lights down low; listen and let the vibrations spirit you away.” – Conner

Tycho AwakeTycho – Awake
“Whereas Dive’s sea foams fluttered prettily, Awake’s emeralds comprise a class nearly as fiery as the bass-driven, experimental work Past is Prologue.” – Joanna | full review

Warpaint Album CoverWarpaint – Warpaint
“Dreamy all-female indie rockers release their second eponymous record to a rapidly growing fan base. Check out this must-see band hooked up to a live amp at this year’s Outside Lands.” – Jade

War on Drugs Lost in the DreamThe War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream 
“Heartrending and dripping with emotion, Lost in the Dream conjures true sentiment out of metaphysical imagery. Listener be warned – this album will have a series effect on your attitude and has the power to draw darker thoughts to the front of your psyche.” – Conner | full review

Crosses album cover††† – †††
“The symbolically-christened side project of Deftones’ Chino Moreno is a dark wave trip down psychedelic lane. Moreno has a tendency to stray from his nu-metal roots and dive into a dreamier shoegaze ocean. Fans were surprised and impressed by this pagan-colored masterpiece.” – Jade | full review



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