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XLR8R's Best of 2014: Odds and Ends, Part 2

XLR8R's Best of 2014 series kicked off exactly three weeks ago, and since then, we've toured through quite the collection of year-end rundowns. Today, we've arrived at the final chapter, which wraps up both the Odds and Ends category and the Best of 2014 series as a whole. For those who missed the first half (which debuted yesterday), Odds and Ends is essentially a collection of our random thoughts, opinions, and observations from the year gone by. These items may not have fit squarely into a countdown-style list, but we've included some things we loved... and some things we didn't; more importantly though, everything in here left a mark on 2014, and merited one last bit of attention before the calendar flipped to 2015. Read more » 

XLR8R's Best of 2014: Odds and Ends, Part 1

Over the past few weeks, we've gradually unveiled the various facets of our Best of 2014 coverage, and while it might seem like we've covered just about every aspect of the year in electronic music, we realized amidst all of our listmaking that we had a few observations that didn't fit neatly into one of the usual categories. As such, we've created a new "best of" round-up, Odds and Ends, in which we can share a few of our lingering thoughts and opinions from 2014. (The first half debuts today, while the rest of our selections will be published tomorrow.) Admittedly, these "awards" are something of a mixed bag; some are serious, some are silly, some are incredibly specific, and others are quite general. Regardless, everything in here left an impression, and our look back at the year gone by wouldn't be quite complete without them. Read more » 

XLR8R's Best of 2014: Readers Poll

For the past several weeks, our Best of 2014 series has dominated the headlines on XLR8R. Up to this point, most of the selections have been made by our editorial staff, but we also wanted to see what our audience had to say about the year in music. That's why we've once again conducted an official Readers Poll, and now, after tallying the thousands of votes cast by the XLR8R faithful, we've put together lists of their favorite releases, tracks, labels, and new artists of 2014. Read more » 

XLR8R's Best of 2014: Labels

After devoting most our our attention to artists, releases, and tracks over the past few weeks, today's edition of our ongoing Best of 2014 series is all about record labels. Interestingly enough, it wasn't that long ago that many people were predicting that the internet's ability to connect artists directly with their fans would eliminate (or at least lessen) the need to enlist labels in the process. However, with each passing year, it almost seems like the opposite has been true; while the internet has certainly made lots of music more accessible than ever before, the web's unending tide has also worked to make that music feel increasingly disposable. With so many options out there, strong curatorial outposts are essential for those looking to cut through the noise, and that's where the labels come in. A good record label can serve as an aesthetic beacon, and when it's done well, running an imprint is something of an art in itself, and worth appreciating. In that spirit, we recently began to assemble a list of our 10 favorite labels of the year; however, limiting ourself to such a small number ultimately proved impossible, so we've also included five additional labels in a special "honorable mention" category. Read more » 

XLR8R's Best of 2014: New Artists

Believe it or not, our Best of 2014 series still has a few chapters left, and today's installment looks back at the year's best new artists. Granted, XLR8R is a publication that's largely dedicated to uncovering up-and-coming acts on a daily basis; our Downloads section is almost entirely populated by track giveaways from emerging producers, and our recurring Bubblin' Up series regularly shines a spotlight on rising artists throughout the year. That being said, it's also fair to say that not every new face that appears on our site is going to make a lasting impact. Some beatmakers offer us a quality MP3 and are never heard from again, while other producers create a lot of buzz with a hot debut 12" or EP, only to disappear into the ether. On the other hand, some acts do manage to stick around and gradually carve their own little niche in the electronic spectrum, and those are the figures we're focusing on today. We've selected 10 artists that continually popped up on our radar in 2014, and while there's no question we enjoyed what they did this year, their appearance on the list is also based on our prediction that we'll be hearing a lot more from them in the years to come. Read more » 

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