Best of 2014 Colorado VIPs: Neyla Pekarek of The Lumineers

We've asked some notable members of the Colorado arts scene, whom we dub "VIPs," to share their favorite music of 2014.

Next up is Neyla Pekarek. She's been a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist with The Lumineers since 2010, during which time the Denver group has been certified Platinum for its self-titled debut album and nominated for two Grammy Awards. The band has toured relentlessly all over the world, and will perform at the Colorado Up! inaugural concert for Governor John Hickenlooper on Jan. 13 at the Ogden Theatre.

Read all of our Best of 2014 Colorado VIP lists.

photo: Neyla Pekarek of The Lumineers
Neyla Pekarek of The Lumineers

My Top Ten Tunes of 2014:

  1. The War on Drugs - "Red Eyes" ("Lost In The Dream"): If I hear one more person say how INCREDIBLE these dudes’ live show is, I’m gonna punch something. I didn’t see them live this summer, and yes—I am aware I failed. But—the record is awesome, and this tune particularly is just delicious.
  2. First Aid Kit - "Master Pretender" ("Stay Gold"): Swedish sisters writing folk tunes, wearing sparkly gold gowns, and singing allllll the sweetest lil harmonies? Yes please.
  3. Metronomy - "Love Letters" ("Love Letters"): There’s no way I’m cool enough to know about this record, but luckily my friends are. The highly anticipated release of "Love Letters" was well worth the wait. I had the privilege of seeing these folks live recently, and let me assure you—the bass player has some enviable dance moves.
  4. The Outfit - "Station Wagon Apocalypse" ("The Outfit: 7” Station Wagon Apocalypse:): These hometown studs delighted us with a super cool 7" they released this year with maybe my favorite tune of theirs yet. The epic title, "Station Wagon Apocalypse," really lives up to its hype.
  5. Jack White - "Would You Fight For My Love?" ("Lazaretto"): Jack White’s latest tasty treat, and bonus: The video was filmed at Denver’s own Cruise Room. Totally worth the $14 cocktails on the off chance you might run into Jack White.
  6. Jenny Lewis - "Just One of the Guys" ("The Voyager"): As a gal who spends the majority of her time in close proximity to her dearest, darlingest, loveliest, dirty rotten band of boys, this clever tune off Ms. Lewis' latest record was just a delight. Also, thanks Jenny Lewis, for inspiring all of us: that we can be ultimate babes, even as we reach 40.
  7. Kissing Party - "Michigan Madonna" ("Looking Back It Was Romantic But At The Time I Was Suffering"): We get so lucky as Denverites when we get to call a band like Kissing Party one of our own. We are delighted with another record (my personal favorite since "The Hate Album") from these guys and gal that carefully crafts 15 tiny treasures that make us wanna dance while breaking our hearts all at the same time.
  8. Sylvan Esso - "Wolf" ("Sylvan Esso"): My dear bandmate, Stelth [Ulvang] enlightened me to what became my favorite record of the year. I can't get enough of these folks. Magnetic vocals that hooked me immediately. While it's hard for me to pick my FAVORITE track off their record, I do think this one is so so neat. Cool lyrics, smoldering vocals, sweet beats. What more do ya need?
  9. Shovels and Rope - "After Hours" ("Swimmin’ Time"): I could definitely write multiple top tens of why I heart this band so bad, but for all intents and purposes, I'll just gush about this marvelous track off their newest album, "Swimmin' Time." The vocals on both of these people are enough to knock the whiskey right outta your hand (which you should be drinking while you're listening, because they certainly are), and when they sing these incredible harmonies, it's just everything I've ever wanted in the world. If I could be Cary Ann Hearst when I grow up, that would just be swell.
  10. Shady Elders - "The Night Air" ("The Night Air"): I'm so glad I procrastinated in making this list (sorry, Open Air) because I was able to include the just recently released EP by another Colorado gem, Shady Elders. Britt Rodemich's perfect, smokey voice invites you with open arms into these dreamy tunes that are real treat for your ears.