Tag Archives: Fictionist

Top 15 Albums of 2014 (Liv’s List)

This year has been a whirlwind for music releases; week after week, new albums have appeared left and right. Some have been amazing, and some…well, some could have been better (but we won’t name names). Anyway, here are my picks for TOP 14 Best albums of 2014 (in no particular order).

 

15. Lowborn by Anberlin, released on July 22nd, 2014, via Tooth & Nail Records.

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What a fantastic final album; it’s bittersweet, but such a work of art. It’s emotionally charged, with stunningly well-written lyrics, not that I’d ever expect anything less from Anberlin.

14. Cavalier Youth by You Me At Six, released on January 26th, 2014, via Virgin Records.

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The band’s fourth studio album is every bit of fresh, original, and entrancing as their first. You Me At Six seem to get more personal on the album, and approach a more pop-rock sound than on their previous releases.

13. Restoring Force by Of Mice & Men, released on January 28th, 2014, via Rise Records.

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You know an album is good when a band goes the extra mile and records an acoustic version of it in its entirety. There is a raw power throughout Restoring Force, and the brilliance behind it is impossible to ignore. The departure from the modern standard brings ripples to the scene overall, but also showcases the growth and artistic development of each member in Of Mice & Men.

12. Head Or Heart by Christina Perri, released on April 1st, 2014, via Atlantic Records.

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Personally, I adore this album. Not as much as her Ocean Way Sessions album, but it’s definitely up there as far as favorites go. There is so much vulnerability, personality, and vocal power on this album, it demands to be replayed.

11. Vessels by Stellar Young, released on December 16th, 2014.

 

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As said in my review, “Vessels has a sound that I could only imagine the musical lovechild between Anberlin and fun. would. Stellar Young prove to be a wildly talented group, not that there was ever any doubt about that. The album is beautifully executed, with a powerhouse presence and an undoubtable quality to it. ”

10. In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith, released on May 26th, 2014, via Capitol Records.

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There is so much beauty and power displayed on this album. Every song is enchanting in its own right, launching Sam Smith into the limelight as the true star he is. Finally, the soul has been brought back to pop music!

9. 1989 by Taylor Swift, released on , 2014 via Big Machine Records.

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As someone who has followed Taylor Swift’s career from the beginning, it amazes me to see the personal growth of the songstress, typically known for tearing down her exes and writing every girl’s breakup anthem. On 1989, Swift shows a more mature, poetic approach, with an original artistic flare. There’s something on this album for everyone, including some of the catchiest lines…and the best misheard lyric of 2014. “Gotta love those Starbucks lovers…”

8. Bloom & Breathe by Gates, released on October 21st, 2014, via Pure Noise Records.

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Wow. A debut album that has a cinematic, sophisticated sound to it, and is genuinely a work of art. Throughout the album, the band’s dedication to their craft, and their limitless talent, is obvious. I’m expecting a lot from these guys!

7. Imaginary Enemy by The Used, released on April 1st, 2014, via Hopeless Records.

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If you didn’t rock out to “Cry” at some point this year (especially you Octane Radio listeners/gym rats!), you’re lying to yourself. That single set the spark for this album, and once I listened, I couldn’t get enough. I daresay I’ve played this album more than I should have, but it was worth it.

6. May Death Never Stop You by My Chemical Romance, released on March 25th, 2014 on Reprise Records.

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Another bittersweet listen in 2014; it was brilliant in its musicality and as an overall summary of an amazing band’s career, but so hard to listen to knowing it was the last MCR release. As far as “greatest hits” albums go, I’m voting this as one of the best. “Fake Your Death” is such an anthemic, brilliant new track, and I love delving into my nostalgic side through the older tracks.

5. Forever Halloween (Deluxe Edition) by The Maine, released on June 17th, 2014, via Universal.

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Forever Halloween was amazing; the deluxe edition? INCREDIBLE. As I said in my review for Infectious Magazine, “While Forever Halloween was near-perfect as it was, it is difficult to imagine the album without these extra songs now that they’ve been heard. The Maine continue to show growth and excellence as the years wear on.”

4. Duality by Set It Off, released on October 14th, 2014, via Equal Vision Records.

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Brilliant, catchy tracks, all decorated with the originality of Set It Off. This reminds me of a heavier version of The Cab’s Symphony Soldier in that I just want to play the whole album again and again and again.

3. Talking In Your Sleep by The Cinema, released on December 16th, 2014 [independently released].

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I have so much respect for this album. First off, because it comes from the minds of two very talented men, but also because the album took two years to make, and was accomplished while they both worked on different coasts. Just…wow. It’s an incredible group of songs, and, best of all, it’s another release that avoided the cursed “sophomore slump.”

2. Slow Me Down by Sara Evans, released on March 11th, 2014, via RCA Nashville.

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Catchy as hell, with a poppy, uptempo tone that is impossible not to love. It’s a perfect driving/car-aoke record; I promise, you’ll sing your heart out to basically every song.

1. Heart On My Sleeve by Mary Lambert, released on October 14th, 2014, via Capitol Records.

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Mary Lambert can do no wrong. The songstress has crowds enchanted with her stunning vocals and her fearless way of tackling subjects people don’t want to talk about. With songs like “Secrets,” Lambert has resonated with listeners, and opened up a beautiful story.

 

 

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

House of Mercury by Ship Captain Crew

Fictionist by Fictionist

All That Gold by James and the Drifters

High Noon by Arkells

Get Hurt by The Gaslight Anthem

 

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REVIEW: Fictonist – ‘Fictionist’

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Fictionist begins their self-titled fourth album with “Cut String Kite,” which carries a haunting, indie feel. It seems to blend elements of the 90s together beautifully. The bass plays a strikingly clear role in the song, providing a bit of an edge. The track itself is unusual, especially with the electro coming into play. “Miss You” has a similar sound, but definitely focuses more on the timing of the beats, and plays up the vocals, which rise and harmonize, giving the track a rich quality.

“Not Over You” comes in with bouncing piano, electronics, and clear-cut rhythm. However, the lyrics have a classic feel to them, with an almost vulnerable, poetic stance on the struggle of letting go. The distortion of the vocals are reminiscent of early Duran Duran, but manages to get by without sounding like a cheesy imitation. It’s not my absolute favorite, but it’s a decent track that I could easily warm to.  “Free Spirit” has more of an edge that appeals to me, as well as timeless style. Despite a melancholy subject (having to let someone go if they don’t want to stick around), there is an upbeat tone to the music that is both catchy as hell and also clever. Each element of the song flows perfectly, and need we mention the epic guitar solo as the song nears conclusion?

Starting off, “Lock and Key” is soft, with a grit to the vocals, then adds in 80’s synth, and elements of 90’s grunge. It’s hauntingly realistic, and draws on the human characteristic of fear of giving yourself fully to the people in your life. By far, this song carries the most emotional weight. “Even though I’m scared, I think I love you…” is chanted repeatedly, capturing a sense of fear, frustration, and even desperation.

“Statue In The Stone,” much like “Not Over You,” focuses heavily on piano. With swelling vocals, Fictionist seem to take the album up a notch, with their musicality expounding over genres and eras in music. The instrumentals on this track are fantastic, and definitely worthy of note, as is “Can’t Get Enough,” which sounds very cinematic (see also “City At War”).

Fictionist give listeners a dose of surprise with “Give It Up,” which has more of a rock edge than its predecessors, but by the chorus, the glitchy/electro-pop sound bounces in, only adding to the character of the track. “Leave The Light On” contains that same technical sound, but shows the band’s versatility with a raw sound, which allows them to be a bit more vulnerable. It may be my favorite on Fictionist, although its a toss-up between this and “City at War,” which finishes off the album perfectly, maintaining the general vibe of the album, but with a more daring push to try something new. The guitars on the track will make rock legends jealous; guaranteed.

In many ways, this reminds me of The Maine’s Pioneer, not necessarily because of the sound, but because of the explorative tone. Fictionist play with their creativity and seem to push at their “boundaries” to find a sound that fits them, without a label’s (in this case, Atlantic Records) input. Not only does it sound fantastically liberated, but the boundless talent of the band shines through enough to make them stand out.

 

For more on Fictionist, please click on any of the following:

Website: http://www.fictionist.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/fictionistnoise
Twitter: www.twitter.com/FictionistNoise

 

Fictionist, the new, self-titled, full-length album, drops in Provo on October 3 and nationally on October 7, 2014, accompanied by national tour dates (see below).

Tour Dates:
09/12 – Lindon, UT @ Jaseboards Banzai Skate Park
09/13 – Ogden, UT @ Webertown Fest 2014
10/03 – Provo, UT @ Rooftop Concert Series (w/ The Blue Aces)
10/21 – 10/25 – New York, NY @ CMJ Music Marathon (Shows TBA)

Tour Dates w/ Neon Trees:
10/27 – New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre
10/29 – Jacksonville, FL @ Florida Theatre (w/ Echosmith)
11/02 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel (w/ Echosmith)
11/04 – Birmingham, AL @ Iron City (w/ Echosmith)
11/05 – Chattanooga, TN @ Track 29 (w/ Echosmith)
11/06 – Knoxville, TN @ Tennessee Theatre (w/ Echosmith)
11/07 – Lafayette, IN @ Elliot Hall of Music (w/ Slow Hands)
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