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The Best of 2014: Broad City, St. Vincent and More Look Back

Comedians and musicians break down the culture that inspired them over the past 12 months

Jack Antonoff, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson of 'Broad City'

Jack Antonoff, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson of 'Broad City'

Paul Marotta/Getty; Lane Savage

You've seen what the Rolling Stone editors loved in 2014 — but what about some of our favorite artists and comedians? We grilled the ladies of Broad City, Bleachers' Jack Antonoff, St. Vincent and more stars, asking for the the musicians, TV shows, movies and artists that inspired them most this year. Here are their top picks. 

Reported by Marielle Anas, Cady Drell, Elisabeth Garber-Paul, Angie Martoccio and Nick Murray

St. Vincent

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: Musician St. Vincent performs onstage at the 29th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on April 10, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Theo Wargo/Getty

St. Vincent

The First Bad ManMiranda July's latest novel is about a woman in her early forties who lives mostly in her head, but finds herself in strained and abusive relationships — but not abusive in that kind of textbook, sleeping-with-the-enemy kind of way. Really, really odd ones. The main character is so sad and pathetic, but in a way that's relatable. It's so heartbreaking. It rends you apart to read it. I'm a fan of everything she does — her films, her short stories, her performance art. There's a lot of superimposing emotions onto inanimate things that she does, in a way where I think, "Oh my God, I do that too. I've never heard somebody write that down." Just strange little passing thoughts or fixations.

Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love: I've heard the whole album already and I have to say, I've loved so many Sleater-Kinney records but I think this is my favorite. Everybody's so on point. Corin's voice sounds so urgent and Carrie's guitar playing is super guttural and acrobatic, and Janet is just slaying the drum set. And then the songs themselves just have so much heart to them. I feel like this record is such a crowning jewel in their legacy. I first started listening to them when I bought All Hands on the Bad One when I was in high school. I remember trying to figure out all of the songs on it, but I couldn't figure out any of them! And later I learned it was because they tuned down to, like C sharp or something, so everything was just out of range. But I remember feeling so excited that people were giving a voice to this frustration and alienation that I felt. It's just powerful, heavy music.

Ryan Trecartin's video installations: I discovered his work last year at the Venice Biennale. It was a very nice trip, David Byrne and I had wrapped up the Love This Giant tour and the Biennale was going on so David and I and a couple of friends went to Venice for a few days. It's just a mad art dash. I was watching this video art installation that just included all of the strange modern pieces that exist on the Internet, kind of channeled and filtered through these people of ambiguous gender and sexuality in bizarre costumes, speaking to each other in soundbites. But the soundbites were totally nonsensical. It's very great, you can see some of his videos online. I just love how it's taking the language of idiotic predatory psychic detritus and then kind of turning it on its ear and creating a whole new language. It's basically where we are in culture. We're not that far off. It's a little absurdist, but not really!

The Dance of Reality: I think this film is Jodorowsky's very autobiographical story, and it's brilliant. It's a celebration of beautiful ugliness. The mother character is kind of hysterical and coddling, and she sings opera. There's a scene where a black train of bedraggled mourners with holes in their black umbrellas walk through the desert and it's just so visually beautiful. It's just incredible. He's a very surrealist director. I tried to watch his film Holy Mountain on an airplane and this guy seated next to me was a businessman in a golf shirt and it just became increasingly uncomfortable to watch the video next to this guy. The flight attendants kind of skip you on the champagne handout.

Jack Antonoff

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 06: Musician Jack Antonoff of Bleachers poses for a portrait during the 2014 Boston Calling Music Festival, attended by 45,000 fans, at Boston City Hall Plaza on September 6, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

Paul Marotta/Getty

Jack Antonoff, Bleachers

Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle: ​He's been a massive idol of mine as the singer and songwriter for the Mountain Goats. He really taught me that you can talk about something, even if no one can relate to it, because honesty is what people relate to most.

Grimes, "Go": ​If someone was like, "Hey tell me what Grimes sounds like," you couldn't — you would have to be like, she's a mystical non-human creature that's learned how to say words and play music. "Go". . .felt like a huge step into new territory. In the second half of the post-chorus when all that percussion comes in, I just died. It's so rare, but sometimes you hear sounds and just think, "Fuck! How does that sound so new and brilliant?" That track is so out there and mainstream in the same breath. It makes my head spin thinking what she'll do next. I've always loved her as an artist, and I worked with her on the Bleachers record and she's just truly special. She's doing the most important thing, which is making music that sounds like no one else. Her next album is not gonna be anything less than that.

Steve Aoki

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white, color not available) DJ Steve Aoki attends the Steve Aoki Press Conference at Madison Square Garden on April 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images)

Mike Pont/Getty

Steve Aoki

TomorrowWorld Festival, Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia: September was a really big month. My album this year, Neon Future I, was an important moment for me. I'd been working on it for such a long time and the album had just come out when I played [the festival]. I was closing the main stage, the entire festival…It was just one of the really big moments in my DJ career, being able to look out into the crowd and see all of those people that having really similar experiences. It's my favorite festival in the world. It was really, really huge.

David Guetta

French DJ David Guetta poses upon his arrival at the Palais des Festivals to attend the 16th Annual NRJ Music Awards on December 13, 2014 in Cannes, southeastern France. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

Valery Hache/Getty

David Guetta

I mean, all the stuff from Showtek has been amazing, I think. It was like so much fun to play as a DJ. I think that big sound was really what happened in the last two years. Its been really exciting. I also feel like its the little bit the end of a cycle now, that's why I didn't do much of that on my album. I think Calvin Harris — I like "Blame," I like the singer a lot. I mean, the return of house music — that's super exciting and its kind of fun for me, because I feel like what I'm hearing is me in '92.

Dev Hynes

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 14: Dev Hynes of Blood Orange performs on stage at El Rey Theatre on April 14, 2014 in Los Angeles, United States. (Photo by Gaelle Beri/Redferns via Getty Images)

Gaelle Beri/Getty

Dev Hynes, Blood Orange

Robert Wilson is one of my aesthetic loves, he and James Turrell have a similar thing going on. I've loved every project of his I've seen in the last couple of years immensely, and it's interesting to see someone hit their stride in the last decade of life. But I should shout-out Lady Gaga's last VMA performance, when she sang "Applause" for the opening number. It made a world of sense when I found out Robert Wilson directed that performance because I loved it. They added a "boo" track to the beginning! She's unfortunately not the crowd favorite at the moment, but if you isolate certain things she's done, it's really incredible. I've been obsessed with Tony Bennett since my mom took me to see him when I was 13, and it's an incredible thing [for Gaga to record with him] this current landscape. It's crazy how sexist the music industry is. Someone like Justin Timberlake is allowed the time to take a break, but on the female side of things you have to compete with Miley Cyrus or Ariana Grande. No one has ever been reminded they need to be competing with Justin Bieber. So I feel you need to admire Lady Gaga.

Bea: Her name is Beatrice — we've been talking on Skype and WhatsApp. She's released an EP but the video for "We're Like the Hard Born" is really unbelievably amazing. It was shot on a selfie-stick, and there's a CGI dog. The whole thing is so well done and really thought-out. The chords are really interesting, weird and have such a cool, modern classical feel to it. It's rare that I like something new that's not hip-hop or classical. It's so visually stimulating that I had to find out who she was. I don't look at blogs because they make me sad, so I don't remember how I first came across it.

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