Here it is, later than last year, my albums of 2015, give it a read, give them a listen, let me know what you think, let me know your favourite albums of last year, enjoy.
- Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us
“Good love is not safe”
Anyone who knows me will know that I was excited for the release of this album all year. Last year the guys from Philadelphia released two EPs that impressed me greatly and now they’ve put together one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time. Now I want to make it clear, this album doesn’t have the greatest musicianship, production or variety of songs. But for me it is perfect, it’s a 10 song tribute to love, loving music and being young.
The lyrics could seem cheesy or be used in inspirational quotes, but that’s what I feel it’s striving for. They want to inspire you, they want you to remember what it’s like to be young, drunk and stupid, they want you to fall in love, they want you to fall in love with music.
I went to see them on my own at Hafenklang in Hamburg and it was the kind of concert where I didn’t care that I was at the front, screaming out songs on my own, it made me feel alive and what more could you want from punk rock music!
Best Song: Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas
2. The Wonder Years – No Closer To Heaven
I remember hearing The Wonder Years first album “Get Stoked On It!” in 2007 and thinking they were just another generic pop punk band with keyboards and overly long song names. The amazing thing is, with every album they’ve released, they’ve progressed as musicians and Dan Campbell has become one of my favourite lyricists in the scene.
With “No Closer To Heaven” the guys have moved away from just pop punk to a full blown rock band. The songs on the album are full of sing along choruses and clever, incredibly personal lyrics.
There’s a lot of sadness and anger on this album, the songs feel like they are gospels for the disaffected, but they always try to find the bright side to it and come away with their best work yet.
Best Song: Cigarettes & Saints
3. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
The best rapper without a doubt. This album covers so many subjects but is primarily about being a black man in the modern world. This is a progression from the incredible Good Kid M.A.A.D. City where Lamartalked about growing up in Compton.
His musical style and flow is so far ahead of any other artist around right now. It definitely has a huge jazz and funk influence and the bass playing of Thundercat is a standout contribution. It’s not always the easiest of
listens but it has so many layers and styles it’s worth every second.
Best Song: The Blacker The Berry
4. Doomtree – All Hands
Still by far the best hiphop collective out there. These 7 guys, 5 MCs and 2 Djs are constantly pushing boundaries and mixing up their style with every release.
This one is less poppy and more dense than their last release “No Kings” it’s still filled with an eclectic mix of indie rap, party bangers and classic Doomtree cuts. There’s more of an electro feel definitely influenced by POS’s “We Don’t Even Live Here”. They also put on one of the best live shows I’ve seen, and I was lucky enough to see them on one of the hottest days of the Summer at Molotow in Hamburg.
Best Song: Gray Duck
5. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
Comprised of just vocals, banjo and piano this album feels so intimate and incredibly sad but still also so beautiful.
Named after his Mother and Stepfather and dealing with his feelings about her death, his childhood and relationship with her.
There are so many wonderful moments on this album and really display his strengths as one of the best folk singer/songwriters of his generation.
It’s not easy listening but definitely worth spending some quiet evenings with it on the stereo.
Best Song: Should Have Known Better
6. Red City Radio – Titles & S/T
These guys were probably my discovery of the year. And in the best way possible I heard of them after a late night drunken conversation with a lovely person in my favourite Nightclub in Hamburg. I started listening to 2013’s Titles, which was the perfect mix of gruff vocals mixed with pop, punk and Americana style ballads. The lyrics, guitar riffs and vocal harmonising of the band blew me away and this album was on rotation all year.
Halfway through the year came their new Self Titled album. Off the bat I actually was a little let down, they’d polished off some of the rougher punk edges and most of the songs had the same up-tempo pace.
But upon further listens I realised the sound and lyrics had matured and that’s a good thing, there’s not a bad song on the album and the stand out “In the Meantime” is one of the best songs they’ve ever written.
Best Song on Titles: Joy Comes With The Morning
Best Song on S/T: In The Meantime
7. Noah Gunderson – Ledges & Carry The Ghost
So, Ledges came out in 2014 and I only heard of him from someone else’s 2014 list (and later on the Sons of Anarchy soundtrack), and it was a great introduction to him. Ledges is quite simple when it comes to musicianship, acoustic guitar drums and violin/vocal accompaniment from his sister Abby. There are some absolutely heartbreaking songs, but also some lovely gospel-y feeling tracks, especially the opener Poor Man’s Son, which is almost completely A Capella. This was his solo album, unbelievable!
Then this year came Carry The Ghost, Noah has added a full band, with piano and electric guitar. Normally, I’m not a fan when a quiet, intimate artist starts adding more and more layers to their sound, but this completely works, the feedback and melodies add extra emotion to these beautiful songs. And the overarching strength of both albums is his lyrics. They are incredible, so much more world weary and wise than a guy of 26 should ever write.
Best Song on Ledges: Liberator
Best song on Carry The Ghost: Slow Dancer
8. Caspian – Dust & Disquiet
Post-Rock, Post-Metal, Instrumental Metal; these genres are normally fairly predictable but still enjoyable for me personally. But this album takes it to another level. For one thing, this isn’t just instrumental, there’s singing, and my goodness can Calvin Joss sing.
The album has a great mixture of classic post rock and more progressive sound akin to 65daysofstatic, it’s impressed me so much that I’ve even moved it up my list while listening to it again
Best Song: Darkfield
9. The Front Bottoms – Back On Top
“This is what I want, Motherfucker make it happen for me”
The Front Bottoms are one of those bands that I keep expecting to get a radio hit and get big. They’re the perfect mix of pop-punk and indie, with truly funny and heartfelt lyrics. Several of the songs off the album are some of my favourites of the year, and some of the catchiest lyrics get stuck in my head for days.
Best Songs: HELP & Cough It out
10. Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear
Epic psychadelic folk, funny and sad at the same time from the drummer of Fleet foxes. Love songs for his wife and a song about the financial crisis. This album is full of lovely surprises.
He has a lovely 70s style voice, feeling like a mixture of a bitter Neil Diamond and Jackson Browne. The subjects of the songs sound like people you wouldn’t want to spend evenings with but make for great story telling material.
Best Song: The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.
11. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
12. Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool
13. Deichkind – Niveau Weshalb Warum
14. Jamie XX – In Colour
15. Deafheaven – New Bermuda
16. Great Cynics – I Feel Weird
17. Foxing – Dealer
18. Miguel – Wildheart
19. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit
20. Pentimento – I, No Longer
21. Moose Blood – I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time