The Best Dallas Albums of 2014

Categories: Best Of

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Peter Salisbury
Have a cigar, Bludded Head. Thanks to "Reign in Bludd," you've earned it this year

And the end-of-year celebrations roll on. Having started the month off with our biggest annual celebration of local music, the Dallas Observer Music Awards, we've continued to shine a light on some of our favorite goings-on from the year past over the last couple weeks: The best concerts in Dallas (and some of the not-so-great ones), the best songs from local artists, and the best country and metal albums.

Now it's time to tick off one of the other biggest categories of the year: the best Dallas albums of 2014. There were a lot of great candidates to consider, but we narrowed the field down to the 12 long-players that really shaped the local landscape this year -- and the ones we just couldn't stop playing.


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The Best North Texas Country Albums of 2014

Categories: Best Of

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Shane Kislack
Matt Hillyer's debut solo-effort was worth the wait.

Just because we handed out some trophies last week doesn't mean we're done celebrating the best music that came out of our area this year. As a historical matter of fact, North Texas has long enjoyed a rich abundance of country music talent. In 2014, we've seen that many beloved vets of the Dallas and Fort Worth honky tonks have just as much creative power as some of the brightest younger talents do.

For those with hearing that extends beyond mainstream radio and the ability to step into a club that may not be inside the hipster-safe confines of Dallas proper, country music in all of its myriad forms are well-represented between Grand Prairie and Denton. Twangy songs inflected with blues, folk and rock have been a part of the country stew for generations, and north Texas in 2014 has certainly been no exception to that. Here's our Top Five North Texas Country Albums for 2014.

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The Best North Texas Songs of 2014

Categories: Best Of

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Mike Brooks
Blue, the Misfit

It's been an exciting year for Dallas music. If there were any room before to doube whether the local scene was on the rise, there should be none left after 2014. There are plenty of ways to judge that, from the reemergence of Deep Ellum to the artists who've gotten national attention, be it from major labels of festival slots. Most nights of the week, there's a great show with a local artist happening in almost any neighborhood.

But of course it all boils down to the songs -- and there, too, Dallas is in rude health. From hip hop to punk rock, dance tracks and deep album cuts, there were dozens of memorable songs from local artists in 2014. Today we've picked out 20 of the best.


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The Best North Texas Metal Albums of 2014

Categories: Best Of

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Courtney Scholari
Baring Teeth released some of North Texas' most forward-thinking metal in 2014
2014 was a good year for Dallas metal. While it wasn't as prolific as years past, the Dallas metal scene's output still possessed a depth of quality. Death metal, thrash, hardcore-punk-influenced metal, heavy metal and sludge were all represented by this year's class of Dallas metal releases. Some could be forgiven for thinking this was a down year for Dallas metal; three of these five albums were released in October or later. That being the case, there were a lot of late entrants into the best albums of 2014 discussion in Dallas metal, from both established and lesser known bands. In the end, this year's class illustrates the diversity of the Dallas metal scene.

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The Best North Texas Blues Acts

Categories: Best Of

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Andrew Shepherd
Jonathan Tyler leads the pack in the Best North Texas Blues Acts

Well, shucks. The Dallas Observer Music Awards are over. It was fun while they lasted, and now, a few days removed, we're still recovering. We spent the past couple months highlighting some of the awesome North Texas artists that were nominated for this year's awards in the run-up to the ceremony, which took place this past Tuesday at Granada Theater.

But even thought the DOMAs are over, we haven't forgotten about the nominees. So we're forging ahead and continuing to highlight all the nominees. This morning: the Best North Texas Blues Acts. This fine state is steeped in the blues, so the talent pool is bound to be a deep one.


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The Biggest Dallas Concert Shitshows of 2014

Categories: Best Of

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Mike Brooks
Perfect Pussy got all worked up at Three Links over the summer

It's that time of the season: Time to stop and stock of all the great things we've accomplished in the past year, all the fun we've had and all the great shows we've seen. You know, end-of-the-year listicle season. But enough with all the cuddly bullshit. The end of the year more often a good reason to stop and consider everything we've fucked up lately, which can be a good and cathartic thing to do. It's also an excuse to have some fun.

The other day, we highlighted our favorite Dallas concerts from throughout 2014. Needless to say, we think there were some pretty amazing shows on the list. But there are plenty that we'll be remembering from this year for all the wrong reasons: the meltdowns, the cancelations, the bro country. So let's do this thing: the biggest shitshows of 2014.


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The Best Dallas Concerts of 2014

Categories: Best Of

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Mike Brooks
Deafheaven played Club Dada twice in 2014, but they truly ruled at Spillover

As 2014 draws to a close, there's one thing that seems pretty clear: It's been a hell of a year for Dallas music. Tonight, in fact, we here at the Dallas Observer will be celebrating some of the best music to come out of North Texas over the past 12 months with our 26th annual Dallas Observer Music Awards, which take place at Granada Theater. In the coming weeks, we'll try and take stock of everything that's happened locally, but to help get the ball rolling we've pulled together our picks for the best concerts that came through Dallas this year. Did you favorites make our list? Click through to find out.


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The Best North Texas Country Bands

Categories: Best Of

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Courtesy the Artist
Eleven Hundred Springs are DOMA Dancehall kings.

With the 26th annual Dallas Observer Music Awards finally upon us -- in fact, voting just closed last Friday and the music showcase convened in Deep Ellum over the weekend -- we've spent the past couple month highlighting some of the nominees for this year's awards. And when we say that these artists are the "Best," don't just take our word for it: We polled 150 local music experts to pull together the nominees this year, so they come on pretty good authority.

Tomorrow is the big day that we finally announce the winners at the awards ceremony, which takes place at Granada Theater. So we're the taking the chance to squeeze in one last category: Country. But Country music is a tough nut to crack. The "true country vs. crap country" debate is one that didn't begin with Florida Georgia Line; it's raged for decades. What isn't up for debate however, is that we in North Texas have an abundance of worthy bands that represent the themes, sounds and soul of Country music and it's diversity wonderfully.

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The 20 Best Songs Ever Written About Dallas

Categories: Best Of

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Jeff Scroggins
The Old 97's are bound to be on this list. But who will be No. 1?

Oh, Dallas. You give us all the feels. Sometimes we love you, sometimes we get tripped up on your oversized ego. But mostly we just love you, and in particular, we dig your music. We're not the only ones, either: Artists from around the world have been inspired to write songs about this city, whether it was because of the skyline, the honky tonks or even just the groupies. (Yes, we said groupies.)

So we've pulled together 20 of our favorite songs about Dallas, songs that are as diverse as the city and the people who live in it: blues, country, hip-hop, punk rock and rock 'n' roll. They're not always pretty, but when you put them all together, they represent something about what makes this place great.


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The Best North Texas Live Acts

Categories: Best Of

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Mike Brooks
Slim Gravy ventures out into the crowd during a typically entertaining A.Dd+ performance

With the 26th annual Dallas Observer Music Awards just around the corner -- in fact, the band showcase happens this Saturday night all around Deep Ellum -- we've been spending the past several weeks highlighting some of the nominees for this year's awards. And when we say that these artists are the "best," don't just take our word for it: We polled 150 local music experts to pull together the nominees this year, so they come on pretty good authority.

With the showcase finally upon us, what better category is there to shine the spotlight on than the candidates for Best Live Act? Each of these artists will be playing the showcase this weekend and, needless to say, each will make for must-see shows. It's a diverse crowd, from rappers to performance artists to punk bands, but that's just the way we like it. Oh, and with the awards ceremony happening a week from tomorrow, don't forget to vote!


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