The 10 Best St. Louis Albums of 2014

Tef Poe's Cheer for the Villain was named "Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months" in our annual Best of St. Louis awards issue. - Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Tef Poe's Cheer for the Villain was named "Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months" in our annual Best of St. Louis awards issue.

In a year that brought unprecedented attention to St. Louis, we're blessed to have musicians who tell the city's story from a variety of angles and in a whole host of styles. This list, culled from albums reviewed for the weekly Homespun column and listed alphabetically, represents an evolving scene filled with restless creative talents. Some are long-awaited albums from long-time favorites; some are relatively new projects from multifaceted artists. As always, some are new faces staking their claim.


Solstice Part 2 (Dreams from a Snow Globe)

Con (Northside native Malcolm Chandler) operates within Muhammad Austin's MME crew, a stable of young, progressive lyricists who favor syrupy grooves and stuttered beats as their sparse but evocative palette. Chopped-up soul breakdowns become the background to "Reefer-bish," Con's most fluid track, while an ever-apt Shuggie Otis groove gets tricky on "$0Fall." Austin (a.k.a. Mvstermind), whose 2013 release A.D.D. (Artistically Day Dreaming) was a standout, provides engineering help and guest vocals on a few songs, including atmospheric closing track "ChillTrill." Taken alongside the other offerings from the MME collective, Con shows that he can hold his own on Solstice Part 2 while using the best talents of his friends to create a trippy, psych-soul experience.

Demon Lover

Moody Future

In the three years of Demon Lover's existence, the band has taken pop-centric experimentalism not only as permission to muck about with a variety of styles, but also to exert some kind of mastery over them. The light-touch, melodica-driven dub of "3500 Spring"/ "Annie Got Mad" would sound like some white-dread Venice Café nightmare in any other context. But coming between gibberish boogaloo "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" (not an ODB cover, sadly) and the crust punk/nursery rhyme mashup "Counterattack!!" leaves the song sequence seemingly random but, at least, consistently incoherent. That Demon Lover is only physically releasing Moody Future on cassette (alongside streaming/digital) suggests a stylistic fluidity between, and often within, tracks.

The 10 Best St. Louis Albums of 2014
Press photo via Facebook

The Feed


The Feed prides itself on being hard to pin down — and these nine songs don't offer one set path — but Outsider is sequenced to deliver the swiftest, most rock-oriented songs early on. "Celestial Ceiling" is a falsetto-driven piece of glammy New Wave that smartly starts the LP with the band's least typical song — the stops and starts offer white space where other songs in the band's catalog can feel overstuffed. The LP's second half gives the band room to stretch; the slow-growing thrum of "Everybody Wants You" shows the band's psychedelic strain, while the initially manic "Victim" builds to a staccato breakdown that displays the players' jazz chops.

Jon Hardy & the Public

Restless City

Since 2007's Working in Love, Jon Hardy & the Public has been content to release music in four-song spurts alongside the odd digital release; with Restless City, it's clear that Hardy was holding off on putting out another album until he had an obvious, coherent series of songs that skirted around a single theme. This time, Hardy turns his new set of songs outward to examine a world simply working to survive. Each verse in opening song "Something's Gotta Give" details a few characters' fiscal woes — stock-market crashes, medical bills, bankrupt pensions — without rancor or pity. Instead, the song sets the scene for what follows on the rest of the album: up-close portraits of struggle that seem to be lightened only by flashes of love, friendship and mercy.

Follow through for more great music released in 2014.

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