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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The Empty Hearts, 'The Empty Hearts'

The Empty Hearts, 'The Empty Hearts'

The Empty Hearts are a new band with a ton of résumé: Blondie drummer Clem Burke, the Cars' lead guitarist Elliot Easton, singer-guitarist Wally Palmar of the Romantics and bassist Andy Babiuk of veteran garage revivalists the Chesterfield Kings. What you get with that New Wave and Nuggets-driven cred is top-notch pop with muscular go-go, bright with vintage AM-radio choruses ("50 Miles an Hour Down a Dead End Street," "Meet Me Round the Corner") but tough enough to pass the late-set-at-CBGB test. (Producer Ed Stasium worked on more than half a dozen Ramones albums.) At a recent New York show, the Empty Hearts played virtually the whole album along with some of their old bands' grenades (the Cars' "Just What I Needed," the Romantics' "What I Like About You"). It all sounded like greatest hits. By David Fricke

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