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Ten Best Broward and Palm Beach County Albums of 2014

It's that time of year again folks, when all us music critics get on our little soapboxes and decide what music was relevant or "worth it" in the past year. We are tastemakers, after all (at least in our minds), so crafting these year end lists is why we make the big bucks (ah, we jest).

We sifted through endless bins of padded manilla envelopes and sorted through thousands of emails to discern which Broward and Palm Beach County acts put out the best EPs and LPs in the past year. We know we still probably missed that one underground band playing warehouses in Davie that stands to be the next incarnation of Hüsker Dü. And chances are, we probably snubbed your personal favorite band too. We know. But them's the breaks, kids.

After attending to our bleeding ears -- you know, from listening to so many tunes -- we gathered together our ten personal favorite efforts of the year. There were some New Times mainstays, artists that made our list once again, but there many pleasant surprises in 2014, as well. Check out our list of the ten best local albums of the year and add your own in the comments, if you wish.

10. Millionyoung - Materia

Old Flame Records

Millionyoung's 2014 effort proved that the "chillwave" has not yet hit the shore. One of the pioneers of the downtempo, breezy electronica sound, Mike Diaz stuck to his dreamy guns on this EP, crafting an album that proved the ideal soundtrack to our South Florida summertime daze.

It has a mellow, mesmerizing flow, similar to his other efforts, but this time, Diaz explores a more organic approach. He reaches for an analog and nostalgic vibe, in the vein of Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, that impresses and hypnotizes.

9. Rivers - S/T

After a brief hiatus, talented West Palm Beach native Danny Brunjes returned to the fold this year with a new project titled Rivers. Letting go of the introspective indie folk ways of his previous iteration, Under Every Green Tree, Brunjes teamed up with two former bandmates (Jon Wagner on drums, and Brent Ray on bass) and newcomer, guitarist Eric Blythe, to yield boozy, modulated rock and roll sweetness.

The group's eponymous debut EP is rousing and raucous, intimate and earnest, all at once. Tracks like "She Comes, She Goes" and "Greedy Love" hint at the rollicking nature of the Replacements and Guided By Voices.

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Alex Rendon

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