For our first indie roundup of 2014, we gather 20 of the best releases from January and February. We start with two quirky alternative darlings headed in seemingly opposite directions: Beck goes soft once again, reviving his Sea Change role as sensitive singer-songwriter, while indie guitar goddess St. Vincent somehow gets even more beautifully surreal and strange.
Meantime, you can hear why singer-songwriter Angel Olsen has drawn so much praise for the poignant, fiery form of indie rock that she augments with her seductive, sly twang. From there, we move on to other dark and dreamy poets (Marissa Nadler, Damien Jurado, Sun Kil Moon); punks finally doing their job in calling out societal BS (Against Me!); veterans arguably at the top of their game (Stephen Malkmus, Neneh Cherry); electro-rockers bringing sexy back (Phantogram, Planningtorock); newer indie pop bands turning retro dream- and psych-pop into sweet and smooth listening (Hospitality, Quilt); and plenty more. So sit back and sample all 20 albums in our attached playlist.