Top 10 Albums & Best Streaming Music of 2014 (So Far)

The War on Drugs' Lost In the Dream- Spotify Favorite 2014

The War on Drugs – Lost In the Dream: Best Streaming Music of 2014

Previously, we’ve taken the opportunity at this point in the year (and the end of the year) to celebrate our favorite recent albums and encourage worldwide users to enjoy these albums via Spotify. But now, it’s not so simple. Would-be usurpers to the Spotify and it’s streaming music throne are popping up all the time.

Spotify vs. The Streaming Music Competitors

Top 10 Spotify Albums of 2014

The Best Streaming Music of 2014 (So Far) on Spotify

Music fans looking for the best streaming music online are finding new options all the time.

As though Rdio, Pandora, I Heart Radio, and Rhapsody weren’t already giving Spotify a run for its money, there are recently developed services like Apple’s iTunes Radio. iTunes radio recently acquired Dr. Dre’s Beats Radio, which the Swedish company will have to contend with.

iTunes Radio seemingly has a distinct advantage, considering that Apple can, and has, put pressure on labels and artists by asking for exclusive streaming and downloading rights in exchange for a higher cut in royalties. And now with Beats Radio and its 20 million+ song deep catalog on its side, iTunes radio is looking to be a strong leader in the field of streaming music.

Even more recently, Amazon launched Prime Music, which so far offers a pretty meager catalog, though that will likely change. In the meantime, if you’re subscribed to Amazon Prime, you might as well enjoy what the company is offering for free.

So the competition for your ears and streaming music dollars is pretty heavy at the moment, which means good things for consumers. Spotify’s student discount targets the all-important 18-24 demographic by knocking 50% off the price of a premium membership. No matter what, it’s never been a better time to be a streaming music lover!

Enjoy the Best Streaming Music of 2014 With a FlashRouter

No matter which streaming service you prefer, you’re going to need a powerful router to handle it all. And as our video above demonstrates, FlashRouters has got you covered in that department.

All of our routers are flashed with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. These replacement firmwares boost functionality  and extend the lives on already powerful routers, offering advanced security options, extended wireless range, and bandwidth allocation!

Best Routers for Streaming Music

Plus if you’re streaming music from outside the US and you want to access US-only streaming music services, a FlashRouter will even allow you to use a VPN with greater ease. Stay in touch with geographically restricted material with our VPN-friendly FlashRouters. If you’re subscribed to any VPN on our official provider list, we can send your router programmed to work with your VPN right out of the box!

If you’d like a quick recommendation, one particular standout that immediately leaps to mind is the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk DD-WRT FlashRouter, which is, far and away, the strongest, most powerful DD-WRT router around. Looking for something a little more affordable? The sleek, reliable Netgear WNDR3700 DD-WRT FlashRouter might just do the trick.

Okay enough with the fluff, time to get to the list for your listening pleasure!

Best Albums of 2014 (So Far) Streaming On Spotify

Swans' To Be Kind is among the best new streaming music of the 2014.

Swans – To Be Kind: Best Streaming Music of 2014

We keep making this apology, but we’ve missed a lot of supposedly great stuff this season. It happens as you get a little older. Tell us what we missed in the comments, and we’ll hit one of the many music streaming sites we listed above to rectify the problem as soon as we can. Anyway, enjoy!

10. Perfect Pussy – Say Yes to Love In case their name wasn’t indication enough, this is a band with the intention of getting your attention. Thankfully, their band name doesn’t, couldn’t, distract from the throat-shredding performances of frontwoman Meredith Graves, who is more than ably assisted by a band with the chops to create just the right environment for her fury.

9. Aphex Twin – Caustic Window Admittedly, we haven’t had much time to absorb this one, as it has only been available for mere days now. But hey! We finally got Aphex Twin’s lost album! Big thanks must go out to all of those who donated to the Kickstarter campaign that finally brought this elusive genius’ work to our ears.

8. Real Estate – Atlas Real Estate were never shy about loving The Clientele (and who could blame them?), but boy, that trademark, reverb-soaked, wistful, gloom-pop that The Clientele perfected is beautifully revived on Atlas, Real Estate’s third and best album.

7. Fennesz – Becs It’s good to hear Fennesz and his supremely ethereal distorted guitars again. Becs may not accomplish much that previous Fennesz releases didn’t already, but his ability to conjure up a sort of sun-baked nostalgia through explosive distortion is a rare gift indeed.

Wye Oak's Shriek is among the best streaming music of 2014

Wye Oak – Shriek: Best Streaming Music of 2014

6. Wye Oak – Shriek You miss Jenn Wasner’s alternately elegant and explosive guitar work. We know. We miss it too, but the heart of Wye Oak – Wasner’s gorgeously rendered unease and deft interplay with multi-instrumentalist Andy Stack – is still there and beating strong. Armed with an unusually expressive bass and a boosted interest in synth-pop, Wye Oak bravely chart new territory and give redefinition a good name.

5. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else What if The Walkmen’s “The Rat” went on for the length of an album? You might have something like Cloud Nothing’s Here and Nowhere Else, which blasts out of the gate like its on fire, heedlessly ramps up its BPMs without warning, and leaves the band’s hands, vocal chords, and the listener’s eardrums torn to pieces before concluding. It’s catchy too, which is a plus.

4. Liars – Mess Liars have made a career out of defying expectations, so maybe we should have guessed that they’d follow up the austere, electronic sound-scapes of WIXIW by pivoting off that album’s least representative track (“Brats”). So now we have Mess, an album that finds them at both their poppiest and most club-friendly,  but also their most brutal, often within the same track. Put this one on and spook your friends into dancing.

3. Wild Beasts – Present TenseTense” is right. From the opening claustrophobic rush of “Wanderlust”, through the closing stuttering balladry of “Palace”, Wild Beasts keep it on the tightrope, raising and deflating tension with supernatural control. It’s this remarkable discipline that makes the eerie songs (“Daughters”) eerier, and the poignant moments (“A Simple Beautiful Truth”) all the more poignant.

2. Swans – To Be Kind Who has the nerve to put out a 2-hour-plus record of skeleton-rattling power? Of goosebump-inducing discomfort and catharsis? Of near-relentless intensity? And who has the nerve to do so a mere two years after doing the very same thing? Swans, that’s who.

1. The War on Drugs – Lost In the Dream All of your classic ’80s rock nostalgia is not just rewarded on The War on Drugs’ Lost In the Dream; it’s vindicated. Driving music has never felt so soulful. New Wave synths have never soared with such purpose. Blatant stylistic thievery has never been so easily forgivable. You can thank aerodynamic tracks like “Red Eyes” and “An Ocean Between the Waves” for an onslaught of Tom Petty/Dire Straits-loving wannabes that will surely follow in this accomplished album’s wake.

Have some favorite albums of 2014 that we missed? Tell us all about ’em in the comments, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

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