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45 Best Albums of 2014 So Far

The best rock, hip-hop, EDM and country of this year’s first half

Skrillex, Recess

Skrillex, "Recess" album cover, 2014.

Courtesy of Big Beat Records, Asylum Records, and Atlantic Records.

From Skrillex's massive drops to Beck's sensitive simmer, from Miranda Lambert's rustic bite to Future's robotic croon, 2014's proving to have no shortage of excellent music across all genres. Here's an unranked list of the year's best so far.

Ought, 'More Than Any Other Day'

Courtesy of Constellation

Ought, ‘More Than Any Other Day’

These Montreal punk upstarts establish their own sound right on their debut album – they're young men in love with their own misery, taking out all their frustrations on their instruments, until every guitar strum feels like a full-blown emotional breakdown. Lead yelper Tim Beeler commands your attention all through the six minutes of "Habit," sounding like David Byrne staring at his own reflection in the bottom of a glass, wondering how it all went so wrong so fast.

Read our full review.

White Lung, Deep Fantasy

Courtesy of Domino Recording Co.

White Lung, ‘Deep Fantasy’

Vancouver's White Lung are as furiously formidable as ever on their third LP. Mish Way's damning yowls offer profound ruminations on sex and body image, while guitarist Kenneth William's swift, discordant lashes resurrect the finer aspects of 2000s-era post-hardcore; drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou holds down a steady velocity, pelting listeners with relentless rounds of thrash.

Read our full review.

Ben Frost Aurora

Courtesy of Mute Records/Bedroom Community

Ben Frost, ‘Aurora’

Unrelentingly menacing, Iceland-dwelling composer Ben Frost has created a 40-minute suite of VHS grinding, wistful Blade Runner synths, howling white noise and broken Detroit techno. The human attempts to fight the robots are provided by the junkyard clang of Swans percussion abuser Thor Harris.

Read our full review.

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