With 2015 looming ahead of us all, let’s take a look back over 2014 and 10 stand out musical releases of the year!

The Grand Scheme of Things - Beans on Toast. 1st December, 2014

The Grand Scheme of Things is the 6th studio release from the self titled ‘drunk fold singer’ Beans on Toast. After a busy 2014 of stadium tours as support for Frank Turner, this release marked the closing of a fantastic year for a brilliant artist. What’s more, this album does not disappoint at all. True to form, Beans on Toast has yet again delivered a charming, clever, and charismatic album! Certainly a career highlight, as well as one of the best releases of 2014.

It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol - The Retrospective Soundtrack Players. 24th November, 2014

It’s not often a ‘Christmas’ themed album becomes a stand out album of the year, but in this case we can make an exception. With their third release, The Retrospective Soundtrack Players have written something that combines both A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol into one concept album. The result is truly brilliant. This is not just a Christmas themed album, it holds its own against any other release of the year, and surpasses many. Although the theme is Christmas, this is an album that can be played all year. With guest vocals from Frank Turner, Chris TT, and Ben Marwood, It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol is a delight to listen to, as well as being wonderfully written.

Hozier - Hozier. 19 September, 2014

2014 was an exceptional year for Irish singer-songwriter Hozier, with the release of his debut self-titled album sparking a surge in popularity, accompanied by sold out shows across the country. The album itself is a well crafted series of haunting songs, with Hozier’s outstanding voice really becoming a force to carry the lyrics. Stand out songs such as Cherry Wine, From Eden, and the Grammy Nominated Take Me to Church became immediately popular on release, and deservedly so. If 2014 is anything to go by, the only way is up for Hozier in 2015.

The Third Three Years - Frank Turner. 24th November, 2014

Although perhaps not a ‘real’ album release in the traditional sense, Frank Turner’s The Third Three Years was still a great addition to the releases of 2014. As a compilation album, The Third Three Years features covers such as American Girl and Somebody to Love, along with some unreleased original songs and alternative versions of previously released material. Altogether this release is a fantastic collection of previously unheard material, as if we could expect anything less from Frank Turner.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Soundtrack - John Powell. 13th June, 2014

As well as becoming a hit at the box office this year, How To Train Your Dragon 2 also produced one of the best musical releases of 2014. The soundtrack, composed by John Powell and performed by the Dreamworks Orchestra under the baton of Gavin Greenaway, is a traditional celtic influenced release, incorporating the use of traditional celtic instruments. The music is a huge part of the films success, and continues to impress on its own. Beautifully written and performed, the How to Train Your Dragon 2 Soundtrack is the instrumental release of the year.

Carry on the Grudge - Jamie T. 26th September, 2014

2014 saw the long awaited return of the sharp-mouthed Jamie T after a 5 year absence from music. Carry on the Grudge displays a new side of Jamie T, one that is very reflective and dark. The release also displays a growth in Jamie’s writing, with a greater range of style being shown than on previous albums. Song such as Peter and Zombie really stand out in this release, showing that Jamie T certainly has not lost his touch. With a highly successful tour to follow up the release, of which the shows were absolutely mad, things are looking good for the future of Jamie T.

Royal Blood - Royal Blood. 22nd August, 2014

Royal Blood have taken 2014 by storm with their self-titled debut release! The two-piece band have managed to produce a thoroughly unique sound that seem greater than the sum of their members, resulting in a stand out album and sold out shows. Royal Bloods ruthless style is the power behind this album, with the use of a bass guitar along with a series of pedals giving the songs a menacing, creative sound. After this debut, we can expect big things form Royal Blood.

The B-Sides— The Gaslight Anthem. 27th January, 2014 In August of 2014

The Gaslight Anthem released their newest album Get Hurt. However, this may not have been their best release of the year. The B-Sides, a compilation of acoustic versions of previous releases, as well as other alternative takes on older material, stands out more than Get Hurt mainly due to lead singer Brian Fallon’s voice taking extremely well to more stripped back tracks. The Gaslight Anthem have managed to create excellent, simple versions of their brilliant releases, making this album an extremely enjoyable listen, and a great release to have kicked of 2014.

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades - Billy the Kid. 8th September, 2014

Billy the Kid is an artist I personally stumbled upon at a Chuck Ragan show, and was blown away. Billy’s beautifully songwriting along with her powerfully sweet voice brings such character to her performance and recordings, making her an artist that deserves far more attention than she currently receives. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades delivers Billy’s talent perfectly, making it an excellent addition to the music of 2014. Having said this, if you want to really enjoy Billy’s music, live is the place to do it!

Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker. 19th August, 2014

Yet another outstanding debut of 2014. Benjamin Booker’s unique voice and sound gives this release an energy that courses through each song, as the album’s versatility is apparent with each fade. Violent Shiver, the first track of the album kicks it off with force. Unforgettable riffs, coupled with Bookers gravelly voice make his music an excellent listen, and definitely a release to remember from 2014.