Best of 2014 - Kira Wisniewski's picks (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Best of 2014

Kira Wisniewski's picks (2014)

staff picks

[Kira Wisniewski is a contributing editor at]


I’m pumped for so many positive things that have happened in my personal life in 2014. To quote my dear friend Meg: “I’m just living my best life!” This past year:
  • I was able to press my first 7-inch and it featured one of my favorite bands (Restorations) for an art show I’ve been co-curating with super talented pals.
  • I threw a 30th birthday party for my heterolifemate that included a private karaoke DJ, a balloon drop and temporary tattoos of her face.
  • My main squeeze and I did an unofficial BBQ tour of the south.
  • Professionally, I got a title promotion and spent a couple days with feminist rockstars like bell hooks and Angela Davis.
However, as the year closes, and we’re reflecting on the year and remembering favorite tunes and personal highlights, it’s imperative that we also reflect on the atrocities that unfortunately took place in 2014. I’m by no means an expert here or trying to be, but here are a few resources, articles, and videos that can help us all be better informed and more engaged: Colorlines, Crunk Feminist Collective, this piece by Cera Byer, this post by Aida Manduley, videos by Jay Smooth, this piece from Quartz, and of course, this clip of Jon Stewart from The Daily Show. #blacklivesmatter

2014 also marks the end of the road for me and the org. It’s been a honor and a privilege to be an editor for three years and it’s been a delight getting to know everyone in the Punknews community. I’m happy that nearly 200 interviews were coordinated, conducted and posted on my watch as interviews editor. And I’m excited for the next generation of editors to keep moving things forward in 2015 and beyond. That all being said, here’s my top ten albums of 2014. (I’m not apologizing for the pop album listed. Haters gonna hate.)


Eagulls: Eagulls


This 37 minute, 10-track album is such a fun treat from across the pond. The driving 4/4 drum beats and shouty urgency of the vocals makes me keep my fingers crossed for an Eagulls and Japandroids tour (that has a stop in Baltimore). That would be a fun, sweaty mess of a good show.


Taylor Swift: 1989

Big Machine

I’m all about TSwift’s full-on foray into pop music. I’m also all about this stage in her life where she’s realizing that your girlfriends are what is most important and those are the relationships you should be nurturing. Shine theory, y’all. Preach.


The Lawrence Arms: Metropole


After approximately a million years, the Larry Arms finally put out a new record! And the good news is that it is great! Completely consistent with the tried and true texture and tone we’ve all grown to know and love from this lovable trio! (I can apparently only speak in an exclamatory manner about this band.)


Cayetana: Nervous Like Me

Tiny Engines

What a debut! Augusta Koch’s voice is just so goddamn delightful. I love her range of emotion heard on this album. She can go from singing sweetly in one instance and then in another she has a great “don’t-fuck-with-me” growl. I just love it. This is indie pop punk at it’s finest.


Hard Girls: A Thousand Surfaces

Asian Man Records

This is such a fun album! It’s anthemic, danceable and earnest as all hell. I was late to jump on the Hard Girls train, but full steam ahead, y’all!


Against Me!: Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Total Treble

This is such a remarkable and beautiful album. When I saw them play this album in some small town in Pennsylvania earlier this year, it was honestly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. I was raised on Florida sunshine, so I’ve seen Against Me! many, many times and this particular show, showcasing this particular album was just such a treat; everyone in the band looked so happy. My love for this band runs deep.


Ex Hex: Rips

Merge Records

What another stunning debut! I only wish this was released earlier in the year, so it could have been the soundtrack to my early summer road trip. It’s both retro and fresh at the same time (I realize that sounds cray.) This album needs to be played with the windows down on the open road, but let’s all save that for next summer and in the meantime sing and dance to this album in your shower. It’s a great consolation prize.


Chumped: Teenage Retirement

Anchorless Records

Even though they hail from Brooklyn, to me, they sound like a perfect hybrid of the whole Midwest pop punk sound with a heavy dose of SoCal mixed in. Also, does anyone remember that band the Halo Friendlies? I fell for that band when I was a youth at Warped Tour. Anywho, frontlady Anika Pyle’s voice makes me super nostalgic. Listening to Chumped makes me relive the essence of being young, dumb and in love (I mean this in a good way).


Restorations: LP3

Side One Dummy

What a band! What an album! I really enjoy how ferocious this album is. There is not a dud on the entire album. Every song on it, I hope they play when I see them live. And when listening at home or in the car or walking or scooting or whatever -- let's all agree to listen to this album very loudly. Cool? Cool.


The Menzingers: Rented World

Epitaph Records

Real talk: ”I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore” might be my favorite first track on album of all time. It’s hands down my favorite song of the year too. When you start that strong, you’ve got a solid fucking album. This is the band I’ve probably seen the most live this year and in every single iteration they were goddamn delightful -- from a weird $5 show with Taking Back Sunday at an outdoor bar thingy (Power Plant Live) to the acoustic Red Scare joint in Brooklyn to playing the Souls anniversary on summerstage in Asbury Park to a straight up show at Baltimore’s Ottobar. Every time I sang along loudly and out of key and danced with one fist in the air. What more could you ask for in an album of the year? Nothing.

Honorable Mentions

There were more good tunes in 2014 for sure: Red Scare comp, Gaslight Anthem, Adore Delano, Masked Intruder, Lagwagon, Antarctigo Vespucci, PEARS, Future Islands, Diarrhea Planet, FKA twigs. And I know technically the Beyonce album dropped at the very end of December 2013, but that album seriously slays and was quite present in my life this past year. Here’s a playlist that includes the top ten and some tunes by the HMs. Fair warning, although always a punk rock girl at heart, I do enjoy pop music (you should know that by now, dear reader).

2015: You Do You

Thanks again for the opportunity to be part of this community.

You can read my infrequent tweets and mostly retweets of people I admire on Twitter, see photos of my pet rabbit Billie Jean on Instagram, and keep tabs on the curation of my (almost) annual art project Call + Response here. Be good to each other.