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Archive for the ‘25 Best Albums of 2015’ Category

25 Best Albums of 2015

Honorable Mentions: 
Tyler the Creator – Cherry Bomb

Third Eye Blind – Dopamine

New Order – Music Complete

Veruca Salt – Ghost Notes

Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion

 

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25. Joanna Newsom – Divers

Divers is full of some of the most complex song writing I’ve heard in the past few years.  She’s a song-writer that is on par with Kate Bush.  That’s the highest honor I can personally give to her.

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24. Braids – Deep in the Iris

I had actually never heard of Braids, and Deep in the Iris is one of those albums that’s a pleasant surprise.  It’s one of the reasons why I listen to so many albums in a given year.  There’s some deep themes and songwriting at play here within some very powerful cuts.

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23. Gaz Coombes – Matador

I’ve always been a huge Supergrass fan, and lead singer Gaz Coombes sophomore album Matador is on par with everything they’ve ever done.  A seasoned songwriter by now, Coombes fills this album with great pop hooks and deeply complex song structures as well.

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22. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

The 90’s are alive!  It’s rare that a band makes a comeback and even comes close to the greatness that they once were.  No Cities to Love not only reaches those levels, but in many ways surpasses the band that Sleater-Kinney once was.  Sharp song-writing.

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21. Mew – +-

Mew is a band that I felt was hot out the gate, and then failed miserably with their ambitious fifth album No More Stories…  They’re smart with their 6th album and have gone back to what they do best, writing synth dripped, dreamy pop songs that stick.

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20. My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall

In my mind, My Morning Jacket is the hardest working band in America, next to maybe Pearl Jam, playing live today.  The Waterfall continues with MMJ’s legacy.  To me it sounds like them going back to the basics of everything they’ve done great in the past.

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19. Best Coast – California Nights

Best Coast has become masters of crafting the catchiest, popiest songs you could possibly write.  California Nights is them at their finest.  Everything they’ve learned in the past is perfected here.

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18. Vanessa Carlton – Liberman

Many a young pop songwriter has been ruined from their one massive hit.  Carly Rae Jepsen herself is trying to come out of the shadows of “Call Me Maybe” with a fantastic new effort.  Vanessa Carlton is very far removed from her days of “A Thousand Miles”.  She’s at the point where she almost doesn’t even resemble that pop princess.  She’s a seasoned song-writer at this point, and Liberman shows that.

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17. Brandon Flowers – The Desired Effect

I can’t even believe I’m putting Brandon Flowers in this list.  I’m a self-proclaimed Killers hater.  I’ve constantly stated how over-rated I think they are, but there’s something special about his second solo album.  It’s full of thick synth dripped 80s pop songs, and they’re written perfectly.  So today I eat my words for you Brandon Flowers.

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16. Florence + the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

Florence and the Machine have a massive presence and that is exemplified in their music.  Her third effort is full of powerful, epic songs that build and build and explode all over wax.

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15. Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon

Sometimes it’s nice to hear a songwriter just focus on writing great songs, and not worrying about some of the studio magic that lots of acts employ.  Gesso sounds like a young John Lennon here, channeling songs of love and loss, hope and despair.

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14. El Vy – Return to the Moon

It’s no secret that The National are one of my favorite bands of all time.  Lead singer Matt Berninger’s side project has a little more ummph to it, while still having the feel of what makes The National so great.  This is the sound of a band having fun on tape.

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13. Matthew Good – Chaotic Neutral

What I can say about Matthew Good is that he is always consistently rock solid.  There’s not an album of his that doesn’t come out that I don’t fall in love with.  While Chaotic Neutral doesn’t blow you out of the water, it does serve as an anchor to his music.

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12. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit

Barnett easily wins the best new artist of the year award.  This is a young songwriter that KNOWS how to write.  This album is filled with loose jangle pop that instantly hooks you.  She has a bright future ahead for her.

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11.  City and Colour – If I Should Go Before You 

I was definitely late to the show with these guys.  I had never even heard of them until I caught them live at Pitchfork in 2013.  I quickly became familiar with their discography, and If I Should Go Before You is them perfectly balanced.

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10. Daniel Johns – Talk

The complexity of Daniel Johns writing is summed up by a conversation I had with my Bring Tha Noize podcast co-host Ngandu Kasuku…”So this guy is basically the Weekend?” “Yeah but it’s the lead singer of Silverchair.”  “What? I thought this guy was black.”  Daniel Johns jumps into more R&B, electronic chill-wave on his debut.  He’s a chameleon.  The album runs a little bit long, and if 2 or 3 songs were stripped out of this I would have named it the best album of the year.

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9. Youth Lagoon – Savage Hills Ballroom

As a musician myself I definitely have a place in my heart for people who are the driving creative force for a project from beginning to end.  Trevor Powers is Youth Lagoon, and he constantly one-ups himself.  He’s more tight and focused than he has every been before here.

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8. Swervedriver – I Wasn’t Born to Lose You

The 90s are alive part II!  Swervedriver are back with a bombastic tour de force that sounds plucked straight from 1994, and that’s a good thing.  Massive guitars over massive guitars, and catchy songs stuffed in between all the riffs.

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7. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday

You can say what you want about Noel Gallagher, but the dude knows how to write great songs.  Chasing Yesterday is full of them.  He’s a pure songwriter that knows how to produce and bring the most out of his music.  I’m just glad he left Oasis so he could run the show.

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6. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

 It’s no surprise that To Pimp A Butterfly is at the top of a majority of top ten lists this year.  The cultural implications of the album alone make it deserving of those accolades.  Lamar is officially a force to be reckoned with.  While this was not my favorite album of the year, I do feel it is the most important album of the year.

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5. Wolf Alice – My Love is Cool

 The 90s are alive part III!  This is the best debut from a band that I’ve heard since Joy Formidable.  There’s a lot of similarities there as well.  Powerful, loud, guitar rock with a fantastic female voice driving all of these songs forward.

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4. Sufjan Stephens – Carrie & Lowell 

Easily the most depressing album of the year, but also the most heartfelt.  Sufjan is the master of melancholia.  These songs are honest and pure.

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3. Local H – Hey Killer 

I’m obviously a homer for these guys, but I honestly believe this is their best effort since Pack Up the Cats.  Fueled by a new drummer, Hey Killer sounds a feels like a rebirth for the band.  Local H turns it up with a lot more complexity and their always amazing hard alternative aggression.

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2. Tame Impala – Currents

This was at the top of my list for pretty much the entire year until my #1 knocked it off.  This is straight up jammmmm city.  Dance dance groove type shit.  This is the sound of someone growing leaps and bounds as a song-writer AND a producer.

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1. Foals – What Went Down

Foals is a band I never actually really liked.  I’ve heard all of their old albums and have thought…mehh.  So their 4th album What Went Down sat unlistened in my iTunes for a number of months before I finally got around to it.  This album is the reason why I listen to almost 200 albums a year, because you never know who or what is going to take you by surprise.  This album is stacked front to back with massive songs.  The production is slicker than anything they’ve done in the past.  It’s a wild ride front to back.