December means list season - a time when everyone, from magazines and websites to shops, blogs and even you, dear reader, will work out exactly what your album, track or musically themed vegetable of the year really is. Off they’ll go into an ordered rundown; a factual account of what music was the best of the last twelve months.
That’s ace, but we want to do something that better reflects what DIY is. We’re all about music, sure. We happily grade albums with shiny stars, tell you what our tracks of the week are or tip you off to the hottest new thing, but when it comes down to it, it isn’t that simple. See, while we love the raw material they come out with, it removes so much of what we really have a crush on - bands themselves. While a great album makes a great act, it’s the personality, the full thing that really makes us excited.
So, instead of the usual end of year lists for individual types of releases, we’ve thrown it all together into one definitive list of artists. Between 15th and 19th December we’ll be publishing all kinds of features, interviews, retrospectives and archive pieces to explain just why they rank as they do. Albums, tracks, live performances, funny tweets and fierce rants - all count in The List, our definitive run down of who and what made our 2014.
How The List was decided
We think music is about more than just the tracks and albums bands and artists release over the course of twelve months. The List is a combination of everything from DIY writers’ nominations for albums and tracks of the year, through to the best festival performances and tours, amazing attitude and general sassiness.
There’s no points system, no firm statistical ranking - everything is thrown into a hat to result in 100 artists who we think made 2014 brilliant. Let the fighting begin!
Read The List 2014: DIY’s year in music [100 - 91] here.
Read The List 2014: DIY’s year in music [90 - 81] here.
Read The List 2014: DIY’s year in music [80 - 71] here.
Read The List 2014: DIY’s year in music [70 - 61] here.
Read The List 2014: DIY’s year in music [60 - 51] here.
Read The List 2014: DIY’s year in music [50 - 41] here.
Weezer majestically reminded the world why they fell in love with these three-chord fools in the first place.
Given their status as the top band people love to hate on, a good year for Weezer is probably just one during which there’s no notable pleas for them to stop existing. So it’s just as well a) they haven’t listened to such imbeciles, and b) have had a great 2014. Album ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’ wasn’t just good – it was great; living up to its name by majestically reminding the world why they fell in love with these three-chord fools in the first place. And, if that wasn’t enough, Rivers Cuomo’s writing spells with McBusted, and especially ‘Hanging Around’ from Charli XCX’s newbie, ‘Sucker’, shows there’s loads more fuel in that writing tank. Emma Swann
Psych taking on Ellen? Temples did it.
Harnessing the power of countless British bands who’d come before, Temples made quite the international impact this year. It’s not every day you see a blog-worthy psych act perform on Ellen, that’s for sure.
After conquering American television, though, Temples didn’t stop there. When Noel Gallagher boldly proclaimed that “the future of the galaxy” rested on their shoulders, Temples could have easily buckled under the pressure. Instead, they delivered ‘Sun Structures’, a debut ripe with dreamy melodies, sharp rhythms, and wonky background fuzz. It’s classic psychedelic music with a knack for perfect pop sensibility; an appealing mix of both warm nostalgia and crisp innovation. When throwback rock‘n’roll is so finely reproduced for the modern age, people everywhere take notice (and their coifs aren’t too shabby either). Loren DiBlasi
38. Sky Ferreira
One of the world’s best pop stars, hands down.
Sky Ferreira’s year may have begun with falling over on stage, embedding diamante in her leg and disturbing even film director Eli Roth with the resulting wound, but it did also feature becoming BFFs with Miley, releasing ‘Night Time, My Time’ outside North America, adding lasers to that record’s live show and the March DIY cover. Any ghosts of last year’s escapades have been exorcised; already working on a second full-length – including sessions alongside the world’s top chorus writer, Charli XCX – Sky’s proving one of the world’s best pop stars. Easily. Emma Swann
37. East India Youth
Music is the real winner.
In January, William Doyle aka East India Youth told the world that he had been “creatively reborn” - and what a rebirth it has been. If this is the first of many creative spurts for Doyle, it’s all the more impressive to see the sheer determination, skill and maturity with which he’s approached 2014. With a Mercury nomination under his belt, album number two well on the way and a meticulously honed live show, Doyle shows no signs of slowing. On Mercury night, he claimed “music is the real winner tonight” (yeah sorry Will, we’re not letting that one drop) and it’s not that far of a stretch to say that for such a new artist, 2014’s real winner,is East India Youth. Henry Boon
36. Parquet Courts
Parquet Courts can only become more vital as time goes on.
Angrier, snarlier, even more raw around the edges - Parquet Courts have maintained all the magic of 2013, and then some. The Brooklyn outfit, led by Andrew Savage’s biting remarks, surged ahead of the pack with ‘Sunbathing Animal’, their first release on Rough Trade. It sounded like the product of one boozy, multi-hour studio session. It probably was. Zero fucks given, absolutely no peddling to pressure of a new audience, they simply went and further enhanced their grizzly slant on punk. Savage remained a prominent figure throughout the year, his utterances getting angrier, hair more frazzled by the day. Each gig would witness a new wrinkle forming on his forehead.
In the second half of the year, out stepped a new project. Parkay Quarts’ name confused a few people, but this was basically a marginally different line-up, still fronted by Savage. This time, his target was post-millennial paralysis, a digital revolution that’s rendered most of us braindead. Sick to death of ‘Content Nausea’, he continued to spit truths with venom piercing every note. As the world gets shittier, society more unfair, Parquet Courts can only become more vital. Jamie Milton
35. Sam Smith
A superstar in waiting? Scrap that. He’s a worldwide phenomenon.
He has all the accolades he could ever dream of. A superstar in waiting? Scrap that. He’s a worldwide phenomenon. But despite the ease at which Sam Smith’s risen the top, the greatest moments arrived when he broke out of serene character every so often. Like when he tweeted “what a load of shit” (since redacted) immediately after the Mercury Prize nominees came out. And how he told fans he was too tired to come out and meet them before Instagram’ing party pics in the same city two hours later. The Sam Smith projected to the world is a slightly shy songwriter, one defined by recent heartbreak. In reality, he’s been having the time of his life for the last twelve months, even if he’s dishing out the hate every so often on Twitter, and even if Riff Raff isn’t his biggest fan. Jamie Milton
34. Kate Bush
One of the only artists who could make a thirty five-year wait seem worth it.
For many people fortunate enough to be in Hammersmith this August and September, 2014 will be the remembered as the year they finally witnessed a Kate Bush live show. They’d waited long enough - these shows were her first since 1979. It lent a sense of frenzied anticipation, an unreal feeling that this was actually happening. This sensation was only heightened by the fact that, over the two and a half hours she played for, the stage was filled with a wooden mannequin, fish skeletons, conversations about sausages and a giant machine that hovered above the audience like a helicopter.
The unique theatre was played out twenty-two jubilant times, each one helping to confirm that she could surpass whatever legend had been created for her in her absence. She was human, but she was also unique. She’s one of the only artists who could make a thirty five-year wait seem worth it. Danny Wright
33. Courtney Barnett
Only George Ezra was able to compete with the Aussie singer-songwriter’s ubiquitousness at Glastonbury.
There was probably a maximum of about an hour between Courtney Barnett appearances at this year’s Glastonbury Festival – only George Ezra was able to compete with the Aussie singer-songwriter’s ubiquitousness at this year’s event. Indicative of just how in-demand she is – she played one of the most talked-about sets on the Park Stage with just a handful of EPs to her name, the double ‘A Sea of Split Peas’ one of last year’s word-of-mouth successes. If that wasn’t enough, she’s gone from covering the Lemonheads to duetting with Evan Dando – most notably at this year’s Lollapalooza festival. Emma Swann
Superfood cemented themselves as a band to believe in.
Superfood are a bunch of loons ready to take over the world. At least, that’s the indication they gave in 2014 with debut album ‘Don’t Say That’. This year, we discovered that they used to party in a house full of half-pipes, that they write songs about raisins and talking flowers while stoned, and that they look really cool if you print their faces on a bunch of limited ‘zines. With their DIY Presents run of free shows this summer, they announced themselves as a band so bonkers they’re willing to bring a bubble machine on stage, just days after contributing to an old venue’s roof collapse. Largely thanks to their run of shows on contender for tour of the year, with Wolf Alice as headliners and Gengahr as openers, Superfood cemented themselves as a band to believe in. Jamie Milton
31. Gerard Way
A grunge-loving Anglophile with countless hits up his sleeve.
How many artists could make their live debut at Reading & Leeds, opening a stage, with only one song to their name? Even more remarkably, who would manage to draw thousands of weary, hungover punters first thing in the day and still have them singing along, to words they’ve never actually heard before? Gerard Way, that’s who.
Playing a handful of his first shows at the last festival that his former outfit My Chemical Romance headlined, his sets felt important. A statement of intent and the first step down a brand new path, the former frontman has since unleashed his debut solo album on the world, and finally given himself the opportunity to explore the more fuzzier, grungier side of his musical tastes. Luckily, he wears his influences on his new blue shirt sleeve pretty darn well. Sarah Jamieson