The tyranny of choice, eh? The modern Spotify catalogue is vast enough to strike terror into the indecisive music fan, with more than 20 million tracks now available and some 20,000 new ones added each day.
Unless you're one of these annoying people who actually keeps up with new music - seriously, how do you find the time? - it's always tempting to just settle back into your comfy musical armchair and stick on a Bruce Springsteen Greatest Hits, or an REM playlist, or the soothing tones of Satanic Blasphemies by Swedish death metallers Necrophobic.
But to do that would mean you'd miss out on some cracking good tunes. There have already been dozens of great albums released in 2014, and most of them have found their way on to Spotify. So here's our pick of the year's best so far. Happy listening.
Listen to the entire playlist here: Stuff's Best New Albums On Spotify 2014
1. The Horrors - Luminous
The Horrors’ fourth album might as well be titled I ♥ Indie Dance 1991 such is its slavish devotion to the era. It's all shimmering synths, shuffling beats and shoegazey guitars, and while the band's previous two albums also mined the same seam, the influences are more obvious here.
That’s no bad thing in our book, though, because the early '90s were an amazing time for British music. Luminous isn't quite as good as the best of its idols - it's certainly no Loveless - but it starts brilliantly with the hypnotic 'Chasing Shadows', ends strongly on the swoony 'Sleepwalk' and serves up plenty of highlights in-between.
2. Warpaint - Warpaint
A song named 'Biggy' isn’t the only nod Warpaint’s self-titled second album gives to hip-hop – this is a record that’s all about beats and bass lines. Guitars take a backset in favour of synths, but even those are there to texturise rather than drive these songs forward.
Sometimes you feel like it could’ve made more of a mark – 'CC' drifts by and 'Go In' sounds like one of Radiohead’s more obscure B-sides – but even with hints of trip-hop (thankfully that doesn’t include the smell of dreadlocks) Warpaint are doing more interesting things with indie rock than a thousand Kasabians.
More after the break...
3. Mac Demarco - Salad Days
You could say that 23-year-old Canadian Mac Demarco’s public persona is that of a gap-toothed jackass – on the surface, he’s a schlubby slacker liable to disrobe on stage or embark on a long-winded rant about The Simpsons. But there’s nothing lazy or coarse about his music: these home-recorded pop songs (on which Demarco plays all the instruments) reveal an understanding of life and love as much as they do a talent for melody.
Salad Days is his third and most musically diverse album, and its languid pace make it the perfect accompaniment to those lazy, hungover Sundays.
4. Beck - Morning Phase
It’s difficult to know quite what you’re going to get with a new Beck album. Sometimes you might not even get a proper album at all (2012’s Song Reader was released as sheet music) but Morning Phase is as conventional as he’s been since Sea Change. And that’s no bad thing.
What it lacks in invention it more than makes up for with lush orchestration ('Wave', 'Phase'), catchy alt-country ('Say Goodbye', 'Blue Moon', 'Blackbird Chain') and good old-fashioned melancholia (er, all of it). Morning Phase might be a record full of sadness, but that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty to love about it.
5. Chromeo - White Women
Canada’s favourite electro-funk duo return with an onslaught of foot-tapping melodies, naughty lyrics and effortlessly cool style. And they’ve not forgotten the vocoder.
Stand-out track 'Fall Back 2U' drags disco into the modern day, and while the lyrics to 'Over Your Shoulder' verge on the obscene, they never detract from the rhythms. Their best work yet.
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