Best Albums of 2015…in my humble opinion.
This is coming in no particular order, as I doubt very much I could pick one over the others.
1. Murder by Death – Big Dark Love
Murder by Death are easily one of my favourite bands in the whole world, they haven’t recorded a bad album, their worst albums are great. Big Dark Love, has one tiny flaw and that is the track order. If the first track was third or fourth, this would have been their best album to date. Like the sound of dark country with Johnny Cash level baritone vocals with a cello thrown in for good measure? It’s a recipe for success.
2. CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye
Despite my outward appearance of looking like a guy who fell out of a hardcore band, I’ve always had a weakness for girl fronted electro pop. Chvrches are the kings of it right now. Yes its a little hip, but I still couldn’t care less.
3. Hip Hatchet – Hold You Like A Harness
On a warm summer night I had the privilege of supporting a warm, friendly, softly spoken gentleman from Portland called Phil. Whenever you play a show, it is always great to meet nice people, it is even better when they turn out to be super talented and write the most beautiful acoustic/country songs you have heard in years.
4. Jake Morley – The Manual
Whenever I see people raving about how much they love “insert acoustic singer writer type here” , I usually give said person a listen. 99 times out of 100, none of them can hold a candle to Jake Morley. Super talented guitarist who doesn’t let his guitar skills get in the way of writing a better song. I wrote this blog about him because he is that awesome.
5. Frank Turner – Positive Songs for Negative People
6. The Milk Carton Kids – Monterey
You know that person who complains, “they don’t make music like that any more”, well, if they are a fan of 60’s folk, then point them this way. I am patiently waiting for the day this pair do a Simon and Garfunkel tribute record…play the video, you will understand why.
7. Pokey LaFarge – Something In The Water
It’s Sunday morning, the sun is out and you want to listen to something with loads of swing, but don’t want to go for the scratchy transfers of old jazz records…Pokey LaFarage is the solution. I think this is the 5th record of his I own. They are all amazing.
8. The Mountain Goats – Beat The Champ
I’ve never hidden my love for wrestling. When alt country/indie rock kings The Mountain Goats dropped an album entirely about wrestling (AWA 80s era) I couldn’t contain my excitement. There are some great songs on this album even if you aren’t a wrestling fan, but hearing John Darnielle’s stories about being a young wrestling fan…it speaks to me.
9. Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space
PSB have been around for a fair few years now, and each of their previous offerings have been wonderful, but their take on the height of the space race is their finest work by far. I’ve included one of the best tracks from the album, but this really is an album that deserves listening to start to finish as it truly takes you on a journey through history. I’m looking forward to 2025 when they do the anniversary tour and play the album front to back live.
10. DJ Yoda – Breakfast of Champions
What happens when the UK’s cut and paste hip hop hero finally gets a group of musicians together and actually makes some songs from scratch? Hip hop gold. I listened to his interview with Scroobius Pip the week before it came out, and it made me even more excited to get my hands on the album. As much as I love seeing him DJ and his cut and paste adventures, more of this please!
No Devotion – Permanence : From the ashes of Thursday and the Lost Prophets, came this gem of hope. I don’t think there is an album I’ve wanted to be successful and be amazing as much as this. I hope this give them a chance to reclaim their musical lives.
Refused – Freedom : 17 years after they recorded The Shape of Punk to Come and changed the face of music, along comes the difficult follow up. I waited for the hype to die down, is it a follow up worthy of its predecessor, nothing could be. Is it a great album? Yes.
The Glitch Mob – Life Death Immortality : Dark, mid paced, bass heavy electro. I’m a massive fan of their previous albums, this is excellent and well worth a mention.
Boysetsfire – Boysetsfire : After their previous album being a return to form after a hiatus, this is more of the same. Long before emo was a thing, there was emotional hardcore. 20 years later, Boysetsfire still remain masters of the genre.
Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room – Party Adjecent : Second solo album from the Alkaline Trio bassist, move to a full band from the previous acoustic solo album. Matt Skiba clearly brings the dark weirdness to Alkaline Trio, Dan clearly brings the punk rock.
Hail Mary Mallon – Bestiary : Aesop Rock decided to put of recording a solo album again (after the gem that was The Uncluded), this time he teamed up with Rob Sonic to record a grimey concept album about the closure of a bowling alley. Yes, I know it sounds weird, but its great.
Kitty, Daisy and Lewis – The Third : The siblings have no incorporated their parents into the band and Durham family are now clearly the best swing/R and B/soul/rock n roll band in the UK. Good time music to get you dancing.
Looking back at that list, 2015 has been a great year, I do wonder how good this list would be if I included some of the records I’ve heard for the first time this year…