15 Great Albums You Didn't Hear in 2014

A power-pop supergroup, a Nigerian rap star, a prog Hall of Famer, gamelan rock, noise-dance and more you may have missed

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Spencer Albee, 'Love is Not Enough' EP
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Spencer Albee, 'Love is Not Enough' EP

There's no shame in being a Fab Four disciple — Electric Light Orchestra, Oasis and Squeeze made careers of it — and Spencer Albee is a 21st century master in the lost art of Beatlesesque hooks. Albee, the king of Portland, Maine's secretly vibrant music scene (who puts on an annual Beatles tribute show every Thanksgiving), channeled a rough personal period (a breakup, an eviction) into an emotional set of stacked, wall-of-sound harmonies and contagious, confessional hooks. Albee played all of the instruments himself, constructing keyboard-heavy soundscapes on songs like "One 2 Three" and the bouncy "I Don't Know," which sounds like psychedelic doo-wop. He often utilizes chimes and bells for a sound akin to Phil Spector's Christmas music, but the lyrics — bitter, tortured, accusatory — are anything but joyous. By Patrick Doyle