My Favorite Albums of 2015
We're at the end of another year, and I find myself grateful for all of the artists who are writing music today. I listened to a lot of albums this year, and a lot of them blew me away. The following 15 (+1 because I couldn't kill one) albums aren't a "best of the year" list, but a "albums I listened to most" list. There are incredible albums that are missing only due to my experience with them, not their validity as great albums (Kendrick Lamar, I'm looking at you).
Alabama Shakes - Sound And Color
This album was so refreshing when I first listened through. Brittany Howard is a force of nature, and she absolutely makes this album what it is. The vocals are incredible, the instrumentation is tight, and it's just so much fun to listen to.
All Dogs - Kicking Every Day
Maryn Jones has been writing some great music for a long time, and All Dogs is just the latest vehicle for her music to get out into the world. This album has some serious 90's mojo and channels The Breeders.
Beach House - Depression Cherry
I haven't historically been a huge fan of Beach House, but have enjoyed their previous albums. This album really seems to hit the spot for me where the others didn't. Legrand's vocals mesh perfectly with the instrumentation throughout, and I think the opening track (Levitation) is the best track on the album.
Beirut - No No No
Upbeat organ. Peppy Percussion. Crooning Vocals. This album is a ton of fun and flows together as a whole. It's short enough to keep coming back to on repeat, and I definitely did just that throughout the year.
Death Cab For Cutie - Kintsugi
Aside from the gorgeous album artwork and meaning behind the title, Death Cab really grooves on this album. It feels like we're entering a new era for them with tighter instrumentation and some really standout guitar licks. When the full band kicks in on "No Room In Frame," we're at peak Kintsugi.
Emancipator - Seven Seas
Portland-based electronic artist Doug Appling writes some really enjoyable stuff, and this was one of my favorites to work to in 2015.
Foals - What Went Down
If you're after some fast paced rock with aggressive vocals and crunchy guitar tones, look no further. What Went Down reminds me of The Killers from the days of yore, only a bit... angrier? It's a driving, energetic ride from start to finish.
John Moreland - High On Tulsa Heat
This is a great neo-country/Americana album from the big man down in Oklahoma. Moreland has been writing raw, honest songs for years, and his latest adds a bit of production polish and full-band tracks to make a satisfying release on Thirty Tigers.
Julien Baker - Sprained Ankle
Only one of two releases of 2015 that brought me to tears. If you like sad music with percussive guitar-picking and loop pedals, this might be for you. Baker cites David Bazan, mewithoutYou and Ben Gibbard as influences, but she's crafted something completely her own.
mewithoutYou - Pale Horses
mewithoutYou has historically been one of my favorite bands. Somuchso that I generally find something to like in all of their albums (Yes, including It's All Crazy...!), so it's no surprise that I love this one. That being said, I feel Pale Horses is what they've been trying to achieve with their sound over the past 4 years, and the effort shows. Brilliant from start to finish.
My Morning Jacket - The Waterfall
Wonderful album with a spacious, vintage sound and some terrific songs. James' voice is incredible and the production is wonderful. The Waterfall pulled me in so much that I listened to it a bit too much on it's release.
Rayland Baxter - Imaginary Man
I've never heard of Rayland Baxter before this release, but I'm a huge fan. His voice is mellow and clear, and he's crafted a great album full of vintage sounds. There are great rock songs, ballads, and some folky tunes as well.
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
The second release of 2015 that brought me to tears. Carrie & Lowell is raw, painful, and beautiful. It's full of Stevens' heart and his love for his mother, and it brings a fresh new meaning to his older releases. A must listen.
Tame Impala - Currents
Currents is incredible. Some of the best choruses and grooves of the entire year that won't get out of your head anytime soon. It is, in my opinion, Tame Impala's best album to date.
Tobias Jesso Jr. - Goon
A sad piano man singing sad piano songs. Really nice "cloudy day in the city" music, with Hollywood being by far the best track.
Youth Lagoon - Savage Hills Ballroom
Last, but certainly not least, the latest from Trevor Powers. Savage Hills Ballroom takes everything he was working towards on Wondrous Bughouse and completes it. He's still a troubled soul, but he's figuring stuff out. It makes for an incredibly satisfying listen.