An indescribable amount of great music came out in 2014 – it was quite a year. For the past month, we’ve been digging through the year’s Midwest releases to find a track or two that literally made our hearts skip a beat. Well, we found eleven (couldn’t just stop at ten), and we had to share them with you. Let us know what you think, and share tracks you’re taking into 2015 in the comments.

Stay tuned as our Best of 2014 series continues over the weekend and into next week with our Favorite EPs, Albums, and more.

“Flare Gun” by In Tall Buildings

“It’s no surprise to anyone that knows me that ‘Flare Gun‘ made it into my Best of 2014 list. I love the bubbly melodies that carry this track from beginning to end. Complimented by Erik Hall’s hypnotic vocals and overall atmospheric composition, this track is indie folk gold.” -Alyssa Lee

“Rebecca’s World” by Magic Castles

“This ethereal psych pop track was released earlier this year on a split 12” with The Brian Jonestown Massacre and it later found its way onto Magic Castle’s incredible new LP Sky Sounds. The song has a way of sneaking into your subconscious with its subtle, almost droning, tone. Put a pair of headphones on and let it meander through your mind until you’ve gained all it has to offer.” – Dan Jarvis

“Without U” by Spooky Black

“Give this song one listen, and then wrap your mind around the fact that Spooky Black is a teenager from Minnesota. Spooky’s melancholy croons fit right on top of ambient, electronic drum beats – it’s a track that’s so simple it’s great. This song is slow, smooth, somewhat haunting, and way sexy.” -Alyssa Lee

“Everything Kills” by Kevin Andrew Prchal

“Chicago folk singer, Kevin Andrew Prchal released his latest record Sorrow Sings this year and with it came the single “Everything Kills”. The song is a perfect example of everything right with the genre from beautiful lyrics over sparse instrumentation to Kevin’s emotional delivery and the chug of his acoustic guitar.” – Eric Slager

“Crucible” by Soddy Daisy

“While it’s still in its ‘demo’ form according to the band, this is the highlight of any Soddy Daisy live show for me. It starts on a steady doo-wop beat that quickly turns into trashy garage rock and back again. Singer/Guitarist, Maureen Neer, achingly croons lines like ‘A secret, you’re my dream come true, too bad I’m not the dream for you’ that fit right in alongside 6 decades worth of pop songs about heartbreak and love gone wrong. It’s perfect for a bittersweet couples dance.” – Dan Jarvis

“Eat Your Heart Out” by Pop Goes The Evil

“Cincinnati’s Pop Goes The Evil used 2014 to deliver their powerhouse pop/rock record, Love Stained Heart. While the album itself made its way onto my ‘Best of 2014’ list, I couldn’t talk about my favorite tracks of the year without mentioning ‘Eat Your Heart Out’. Fun, dark, and epic might come close to describing this fantastically unique offering.” – Eric Slager

“Get Down” by Kangaroo

“There is something so delightfully depressing and uplifting about this song that it’s hard not to smile and nod your head to it. The lyrical tone quickly jumps from ‘thank god we’ll all be dead soon’ to ‘the world is filled with love and laughter’. The erratic tempo changes match the ups and downs of the song perfectly. It’s also got a ton of reverb and drums that sound like a lo-fi version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘When The Levee Breaks’. A perfectly sarcastic and irreverent piece of rock music by Chicago’s very own Kangaroo.” -Dan Jarvis

“The Time” by Midwest Hype

“Indiana/Illinois funk/rock/reggae/hip-hop outfit, Midwest Hype, released their heavily-anticipated album The Time this year and the title track is one of my favorite tracks of the year. ‘The Time’ perfectly encapsulates Midwest Hype. If the hook doesn’t get stuck in your head, the groove will do you in for sure.” – Eric Slager

“There She Goes” by Sidewalk Chalk

“This song is a great way to sum up everything that I love about this band. Smooth horns and great hip-hop lyrics are what makes this a perfectly blended track. Sidewalk Chalk does not fit neatly into just one genre. Their obvious hip-hop elements are mixed with not-so-obvious elements of salsa, jazz, and I swear some serious blues. If you missed them in 2014, you should get into them now. What better way than with this perfect track to kick off the new year.” – Patrick David

“Bananazz” by Peekaboos

“Peekaboos are easily my favorite live act in Chicago. Their first full-length album, Stay Positive, remained on my turntable for months after I got it and I couldn’t help but want more. Lucky for me and all of us, they’re back in the studio working on a second record. The song was originally recorded as an Loud Loop Press exclusive single back in February and was also recently included on the new Berserk Records tape compilation, So Fly. ‘Bananazz’ is not only a fantastic introduction to the band’s dynamic (energetic vocal harmonies, a hard hitting rhythm section, plenty of ups and downs…) but an incredible 2 and half minutes of raucous rock and roll.” – Dan Jarvis

“Awwh Man” by Santah

“After a short break, Santah came back this past May with a limited edition 7″ release, one of the included tracks being ‘Awwh Man’. Nothing’s quite as perfect as Stan and Vivian McConnell’s brother-sister harmonies as they sit on top of lush instrumentation. Soaring guitar carries the song from verse to verse, and its energy builds as more and more elements come to the forefront and quickly fade into the main melody defining the song. Overall, it’s just a really well-composed track featuring all the indie rock goodness and soulfulness of You’re Still a Lover with the added touch of a ‘first taste of [Santah’s] thicker, stickier sound’. Start to finish, this is a song that begs to be played over and over.” – Alyssa Lee

Best of  2014
Favorite  8 Music Videos | Favorite 7 Vinyl Releases | Favorite 5 Chicago Venues

In Tall Buildings | Magic Castles | Spooky Black | Kevin Andrew Prchal | Soddy Daisy | Pop Goes the Evil
Kangaroo | Midwest Hype | Sidewalk Chalk | Peekaboos