Category Archives: 2015


Top 50 Albums of 2015: 50-41


Florence + The Machine_How Big How Beautiful 












I bought this album six months ago and it didn’t really sink in until revisiting it during my yearly round up. This is a group whose best songs often dominate their albums, but the difference with “How Big” is that the highlights are more abundant than on previous releases. “Ship To Wreck”, “What Kind Of Man”, “Delilah”, “Third Eye” & “Mother” all stand out here. Like Adele, Florence sings unsubtle heart-crushing, breakup songs with powerful pipes, the difference being that these songs are built with huge production to be sung in arenas. Florence has had quality albums before and great songs, but “How Big” is their best and most consistent album yet.





Buy How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (Deluxe) Amazon

Buy What Kind Of Man Amazon

Buy Ship To Wreck Amazon






 Jason Isbell_Something More Than Free













After toiling for many years as the third singer songwriter in the great Drive-By Truckers and as a very good but little heard solo artist, Jason Isbell finally had somewhat of a breakthrough with his last album, 2013’s “Southeastern”, which garnered awards, positive reviews and sold in the hundreds of thousands; no small feat for a little known guy whose music carries the alternative country banner. The stink of “Something More Than Free” is that it’s not up to the quality of “Southeastern”, which may be true. The album’s momentum does dip a bit in the middle, but standouts like the one-two punch at the beginning of the album in “If It Takes A Lifetime” and “24 Frames” along with others like “Speed Trap Town” are among the best songs Isbell has yet written and make “Free” well worth multiple listens. Isbell is among the best songwriters of his generation in depicting the demons and redemption of small town living without resorting to the cliches used by so much of mainstream Nashville.

Buy Something More Than Free [Explicit] Amazon

Buy 24 Frames Amazon

Buy How to Forget Amazon






 Blur_The Magic Whip












“The Magic Whip” is a reunion album and Blur’s first since 2003’s “Think Tank”. Thankfully it does nothing to damage the legacy of this wildly consistent band who has quietly put together one of the best discographies of any rock band of the last twenty-five years. Blur remains criminally underappreciated in America but one of the biggest bands of all time in their native Britain. Blur mastermind Damon Albarn has sinced helmed the very successful cartoon band Gorillaz who ironically made much more of a dent in the U.S. ”The Magic Whip” tends to combine parts of both Blur and Gorillaz, as well as his more recent solo album crafting solid if a bit more subdued effort than Blur’s past records. While small parts of “The Magic Whip” can bore slightly, upbeat tracks like “Lonesome Street”, “New World Towers” and especially “Ong Ong”, as well as the highlight of the album “Ghost Ship” make “The Magic Whip” a welcome come back from one of the all-time greats.


Buy The Magic Whip Amazon

Buy Ghost Ship Amazon

Buy Ong Ong Amazon


















“Dirty Sprite 2” is Future’s third official retail release though it was given away free first as a mixtape. Despite that it still sold in the hundreds of thousands, proving that Future is one of the biggest stars in modern rap. He is also really the progenitor of auto-tuned mush-mouth codeine rap paving the way for other artists like Young Thug and creating one of the dominate sounds in rap today. Along with “DS2”, Future also released two other mixed tapes in 2015 “Beast Mode” and “56 Nights” and a much-celebrated collaboration with Drake called “What A Time To Be Alive”, making him (along with Drake) the most prolific rapper of the year. “DS2” can be listened to as a whole- a concept album about a hedonistic fucked up man drugging and fucking his way into oblivion. Like the Weeknd, Future’s partying sounds dangerous and world weary rather than fun & pleasurable. This is a man who has seemed to lose all sense of himself and any morality and is obsessively documenting his plummet to the bottom. Future’s garbled voice and the woozy, spaced out production can be a depressing, but fascinating listen. If you can’t handle this much drudgery in one place you can instead cherry pick the many highlights like “Fuck Up Some Commas”, “I Serve The Base”, “Stick Talk” or “Blow A Bag”. It’s also well worth checking out some of Future’s other great 2015 tracks like “March Madness”, “News Or Somethin’ ” as well as “Diamonds Dancing” and “Jumpman” with Drake.

Buy DS2 (Deluxe) [Explicit] Amazon

Buy F*ck Up Some Commas [Explicit] Amazon

Buy I Serve the Base [Explicit] Amazon






Car Seat Headrest_Teens Of Style












“Teens Of Style” is a re-recorded compilation of previously released DIY lo-fi tracks by Will Toledo, a talented twenty-something Virginia singer-songwriter. The tracks are slightly cleaned up but still bring to mind early-mid nineties lo-fi like Pavement, Yo La Tengo and especially Guided By Voices. Despite the long running length of several tracks, Toledo is always focused on hooks and melody, which shine through the hiss. Toledo’s lyrics and literary and humorous and his powerful guitar licks and even his vocal style also bring to mind early period mid tempo music of the Who & the Kinks.
Buy Teens of StyleAmazon

Buy Strangers Amazon

Buy Something Soon Amazon






 Beach Slang_The Things We Do












“The Things We Do…” is the debut album from a forty years old life-long punker and is one of the most fun, if least original releases of the year. It’s a thirty-minute album with straight forward, driving power pop/punk songs bearing much in common with Japandroids and the Exploding Hearts as well as the Replacements before them. Lead singer James Alex clearly writes and sings this music because it’s the only thing that makes sense in his life and the passion & urgency of the music seems to drip from his pores. Play Beach Slang loud & proud!

Buy The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us Amazon

Buy Ride The Wild Haze Amazon

Buy Hard Luck Kid Amazon


















Bjork is known to make dense music. She is known to make sad music. But “Vulnicura”, her breakup album, is probably both her heaviest and her saddest music yet. The album follows the chronology of her breakup with her longtime partner- the pre-breakup, the moments during and after and then the longterm ramifications it will have on her and her son. The music is heartbreaking and gorgeous, often slowly unfolding into sweeping orchestral strings and the majority of the tracks are well above the five minute range. There are no singles to hook the listener and it’s a cerebral, headphones record that requires intense concentration of the listener, but it’s also Bjork’s best album in years.
Buy Vulnicura Amazon

Buy Lionsong Amazon

Buy Quicksand Amazon






Hot Chip_Why Make Sense? 












Hot Chip, British indie dance pop quintet, has now become an institution by their sixth album “Why Make Sense?” This may make their music somewhat less exciting, but the group still delivers consistently good to great sophisticated dance music focusing on the joys of longterm adult relationships. Hot Chip have carved out their niche in music and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. As with most of their albums there are a few absolute standout tracks- in this case lead single “Huarache Lights” and “Need You Now”. While the group has yet to deliver, and may never deliver, a classic album from top to bottom there is something to be said for a group who continues to please their audience this well into its career.

Buy Why Make Sense?

Buy Huarache Lights Amazon

Buy Need You Now Amazon






Destroyer_Poison Season













It’s hard to believe that Dan Bejar, the leader and one constant in Destroyer, has been releasing albums as Destroyer since 1996, while also plying his trade as one of the members of renowned indie super group New Pornographers. Destroyer has always had a cult following who appreciated Bejar’s ultra literary, quirky wordplay, but Destroyer’s profile was raised considerably after the great reception to the very great 2011 album “Kaputt”. “Kaputt” was a twenty first century update of late 70’s / early 80’s yacht-rock and lounge lizard era Roxy Music. A mix of soft rock, quiet storm & smooth Jazz. “Poison Season”, Destroyer’s long awaited follow-up takes a double turn both toward more muscular music (see “”Dream Lover”) and to the string laden sounds of fifties crooners. Some of “Kaputt’s” horn-centric sound remains but “Poison Season” comes across more cinematic and melancholy than the coke-fueled hedonism of “Kaputt”. “Poison Season” is a fine album though it does pale in comparison and is less surprising than the brilliant “Kaputt”. “Times Square” and “Dream Lover” do standout as two killer tracks.

Buy Poison Season

Buy Times Square Amazon

Buy Dream Lover Amazon






 Julia Holter_Have You In My Wilderness












Experimental singer songwriter Julia Holter has thus far had more in common with classical and new age music than pop or indie rock, but with each album she has moved closer to pop like song structures and “Have You In My Wilderness”, her 4th full length is both her most accessible and best record yet. Holter sings, composes and plays keyboards on all of the album’s tracks. The album works well as a whole, it’s mellow dream pop floating like little fluffy clouds- ethereal but very intimate. Holter delivers some of her best songs yet particularly “Feel You” and “Sea Calls Me Home”, which is one of the great songs of 2015.
Buy Have You In My Wilderness Amazon

Buy Sea Calls Me Home Amazon

Buy Feel You Amazon

Top 50 Albums of 2015: 40-31


 Kurt Vile_b'lieve i'm going down












6th Full length album by Philly native (and ex War On Drugs member) Kurt Vile is an all together mellower and more somber affair from a guy who already carries an image of an introverted slacker. Vile is actually an extremely prolific singer-songwriter who has delivered consistently engaging music while developing his own signature sound, a rarity these days in rock. He is calling “B’lieve” his night album. Whereas its predecessor, “Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze”, was an ode to marriage and parenthood and had an optimistic, light vibe, “B’lieve” is gloomier and more pessimistic. Vile, a standout electric guitarist, favors acoustic guitar, banjo and piano on “B’lieve” with the electric guitar adding atmosphere rather than dominating the proceedings.   The album begins spectacularly, with four standout tracks back to back including lead single “Pretty Pimpin”, “Dust Bunnies” and the excellent “That’s Life, Tho (Almost Hate To Say)”. The rest of the album seems to run together, creating a soothing, mellow vibe. Time may reveal additional standouts upon further listening.


Buy b’lieve i’m goin down… (Pre-Order Deluxe) Amazon

Buy Pretty Pimpin Amazon

Buy Dust Bunnies Amazon
















Shamir is a mad-talented twenty year old singer songwriter from Las Vegas with a high pitched androgynous singing voice which sounds not unlike a seventies era disco queen. He is influenced by R&B, Hip Hop & country but makes music for the club, but with a melodic pop sensibility. He gained blog fame last year with the great indie-club hit “On The Regular” and “Ratchet” helps prove that his success last year was no fluke. Shamir moves from synth-pop to acid house to crooning ballads to rapping with relative ease. Depending on taste, the listener may not love every song but Shamir shows confidence in each of his different styles and can genre hop like a 21st century era Prince. “Make A Scene”, “Call It Off” and “Demon” are other highlights on the album. Shamir’s effete ambiguity may keep him both apart from the mainstream and a hero to outsiders his talent and sense of melody to garner him a hit at any time. He will be an interesting artist to follow.


Buy Ratchet [Explicit] Amazon

Buy On The Regular [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Call It Off Amazon






 Panda Bear_Panda Bear Vs. The Grim Reaper












Released back in January, Panda Bear’s “Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper” has gotten a bit lost in in the shuffle with so many other epic album releases since then, but it’s a damn fine album. The main concern of the album is death, particularly from the perspective of a first time parent approaching middle age. Panda Bear, is Noah Lennox, one of the co-lead members of the great Animal Collective, but at this point he has made quite a name for himself as a solo artist. “PBMTGR” is his fourth solo album and since I’ve ever heard his first, it’s at least his third straight good one. Despite the bleak subject material the album carries a chill but sonically funky vibe throughout; a mixture of psychedelia, techno and late sixties Beach Boys. There are no duds on the album but lead single “Mr. Noah”, “Boys Latin”, “Tropic Of Cancer” and “Come To Your Senses” stand above the rest.


Buy Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper Amazon

Buy Mr Noah Amazon

Buy Boys Latin Amazon






 Earl Sweatshirt_I Don't Like Shit












With his sophomore album release, the celebrated Oddfuture mc continues to go against the grain, producing a mopey, misanthropic album with no obvious singles and few hooks and an unmarketable title. The beats on the album are fuzzy and hazy and the lyrics dense but intelligent and poetic. “I Don’t Like Shit..” doesn’t hit the listener immediately but sinks in later and is actually quite easy to swallow at ten tracks and 30 minutes with half of the songs coming in at under the three minute mark. Earl’s is a technically masterful and inventive rapper and is always interesting with a unique take on the world. “I Don’t Like Shit..” is an album for the true hip hop heads who like to dissect every lyric and beat. It’s a worthy follow up to his excellent commercial debut “Doris” even if it lacks as many wow moments.


Buy I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Wool [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Faucet [Explicit] Amazon






 Purity Ring_Another Eternity












Over the last few years Purity Ring has become one of the most influential, if not popular, groups in music. Their sound of icy, but accessible, synth pop is everywhere now and it’s almost like they are being penalized for having too many imitators. Though a solid effort, “Another Eternity” is slightly less rewarding than the group’s excellent debut “Shrines”. They have taken their sound in a slightly more pop direction, much like their similar sound-alikes Chvrches. The quality of the songs is still extremely high with “Heartsign”, “Bodyache”, “Push Pull” and “Begin Again” being the best of the lot.

Buy another eternity Amazon

Buy begin again Amazon

Buy repetition Amazon






Beach House_Depression Cherry 












“Depression Cherry” is another rock solid effort by one of the most consistently good rock bands of this decade. Beach House is almost punished for its own consistent, once again delivering its signature sound of lush, but wistful dream pop perfect for the waning days of autumn. They’ve yet to deliver a bad or even mediocre album and each new release brings a slight twist on their existing sound. This time out they add some shoegaze influenced feedback to some of the songs making them electric without changing the band’s overall mood much at all. “Depression Cherry” is only one of two rock solid album releases by Beach House in 2015, the other being “Thank Your Lucky Stars” released a month and a half after “Cherry”. Neither is the band’s best record, which in my opinion belongs to either “Teen Dream” or “Bloom”, but “Depression Cherry” is another great release from this rock-solid duo and two tracks on the album “Space Song” and “Sparks” are among the group’s very best.


Buy Depression Cherry Amazon

Buy Space Song Amazon

Buy Sparks Amazon






Laura Marling_Short Movie 











Though released back in March I didn’t pick up “Short Movie” until the end of the year, or else it would have been highlighted as a featured best of the month album well before now. Still in her mid twenties, Marling is now five albums into her career and seems to steadily be getting better with each of her releases. The first half of “Short Movie” is nearly perfect and it would have likely ranked in the top twenty if not for lagging a bit toward the end. Marling has already developed a singular voice and sound- indebted to the British folk movement of the late sixties/early seventies combined with the California based Laurel Canyon movement with Joni Mitchell as Marling’s prime influence. “Short Movie” is also distinguished from Marling’s earlier work by being played mostly on the electric guitar. This is a pessimistic album where falling in love is a threat to female autonomy and each of her male suitors is a disappointment.

Buy Short Movie Amazon

Buy How Can I Amazon

Buy False Hope Amazon






 Belle & Sebastian_Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance












“Girls In Peacetime” is the ninth album by Scottish collective Belle & Sebastian and on it they maintain their signature sound while tweaking it a bit to include more funk and disco. Though Belle & Sebastian goes dance is a bit of an overstatement “Girls In Peacetime” is certainly their most danceable album. But even when they bring out a funky bass, B&S remains a more subdued, twee, bookish “dance act”- more Pet Shop Boys than Chic. Despite the band’s slightly different sound if you’re not already a fan this album is unlikely to convert you, but there should be enough here to satisfy their longtime fans. “Ever Had A Little Faith” is a classic soft spoken ballad in the traditional B&S vein, while “Perfect Couples” and “The Party Line” are the two best examples of the band’s new upbeat disco sound. All three songs should go into the group’s ever expanding canon of classic tunes, and while the album runs a little long there are no real true missteps here. Belle & Sebastian delivers a return to form album here if not a classic and that is just fine.


Buy Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance Amazon

Buy The Party Line Amazon

Buy Ever Had A Little Faith? Amazon



















“At.Long.Last.A$AP” has been a bit unfairly overlooked this past year, probably due to 2015’s slew of amazing albums but inside and outside of Rap. Though lacking a smash single like “F#ckin Problems”, “A.L.L.A” proves a worthy follow up to A$AP’s 2013 commercial debut. A$AP is stylistically all over the map here, bringing it Miguel as guest vocalist and sampling an old Rod Stewart vocal on the radio ready single “Everyday”, celebrating psychedelics on first single “L$D”, grabbing Lil Wayne for “M’S”, Kanye for “Jukebox Joints” and M.I.A. for “Fine Whine”. This album is both star-studded and eclectic. One minute A$AP is attacking organized religion or thoughtfully describing tough economic circumstances of his community and the next he’s full of swagger and even unfortunate misogyny. “A.L.L.A” is not a perfect album by any stretch but it has enough great moments to be considered very, very good.


Buy At.Long.Last.A$Ap [Explicit] Amazon

Buy L$D [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Excuse Me [Explicit] Amazon






 Unknown Mortal Orchestra_Multi-Love












Throughout their past two albums lead singer/guitarist Ruban Nielson and Unknown Mortal Orchestra have quietly carved out a place in indie-rock in between jam-bands and Animal Collective. Nielson is a hot shit phenomenal guitar player, but the group’s recordings are too weird and lo-fi to likely cater much to fans of that circuit. On their third album, “Multi-Love”, the group takes a real left turn toward soul, funk and even disco sounds an away from Grateful Dead inspired psychedelia. As a result you get some of the groups most ‘pop’ sounding music like “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” and “Necessary Evil”. But it is still plenty weird and to further complicate matters the main subject matter for the album is regarding a polyamarous triad that Nielson recently underwent with his wife and another woman. He is not straight forward in celebrating it or cautioning against it, but approaches the subject with emotional seriousness in describing its trials, tribulations, heartbreak & utter confusion.


Buy Multi-Love Amazon

Buy Necessary Evil Amazon

Buy Can’t Keep Checking My Phone Amazon

Top 50 Albums of 2015: 30-21


Neon Indian_Vega Intl. Night School 












Third full length album by one of the founders of the late-oughts chillwave movement is a tribute to late night hedonism- clubbing, fun & sex. Neon Indian is Alan Palomo and he takes his inspiration from late seventies/early eighties disco, R&B, funk, reggae & synth pop, crafting his most danceable, upbeat music to date.   While Neon Indian’s past releases were druggy sounding headphone albums, “Vega Intl” sounds like to soundtrack to a night out on the town. Though “Slumlord”, “Annie” & “Smut!” all standout as highlights, the album plays best as a whole and like Chaz Bundick and Ariel Pink, Palomo has proven that he’s yet another artist in a much maligned earlier movement who is here to stay.

Buy Vega Intl. Night School Amazon

Buy Slumlord Amazon

Buy Annie Amazon






 Titus Andronicus_The Most Lamentable Tragedy












In an age where the single track trumps the full album, where streaming rules over buying, New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus doubles down and goes the complete opposite route, releasing a 29 song, 93 minute rock opera double album. This is not a perfect album. There are a few short blasts of energetic punk that really don’t translate into songs and one song towards the very end is just plain bad, but there is plenty here to love. Lead single “Dimed Out” and “Fatal Flaw” are two standouts that rank amongst the best the group has ever done and the album really hits its stride with two Pogues covers- “Come On Siobhan” and “Pair Of Brown Eyes”. Chief singer and songwriter Patrick Stickles comes off pissed off, and self-effacing but self-aware touching on mental illness, depression, self-loathing and general misanthropy as well as drug and alcohol abuse. The album is grouped into five different sections, which makes it a bit easier to swallow due to its epic length. Titus is an intellectual blue collar group, like a punk rock Springsteen mixed with the Hold Steady. Their popularity probably has a low ceiling but they have definitely an extremely rabid if small fanbase. It’s not the easiest most accessible music but due to their passion, smarts, indie rock ethos and ambition, they are the only band that matters to a few.
Buy The Most Lamentable Tragedy Amazon

Buy Fatal Flaw Amazon

Buy Dimed Out Amazon






 Empress Of_Me












“Me” is the stellar full-length debut of Empress Of, the alias of Lorely Rodriquez. She has been all but known outside of hipster circles but “Me” delivers an accessible combination of pop, indie rock and R&B which will hopefully help change that in a hurry. “Me” is a concept album with poignant lyrics about a doomed romance from its inception to its demise- it hits on both the high and low water marks and can be equally sexy and utterly heartbreaking. Rodriquez is quirky, experimental and lyrically raw and detailed without sacrificing the tightness of her songs. Every track is between 2 ½ and 4 minutes long and each makes an impact. “Make Up”, “Standard” and “How Do You Do It” are three of the highlights but the whole album is a worthwhile listen. Empress Of is one of the best new artists I’ve heard in 2015.


Buy Me Amazon

Buy Make Up Amazon

Buy How Do You Do It Amazon






 chvrches_every open eye












“Every Open Eye” takes Chvrches sound further away from Purity Ring- influenced indie synth-pop and toward anthemic, radio-ready straight up synth pop. Chvrches 2013 debut “The Bones Of What You Believe” was justly celebrated and commercially successful, containing memorable singles like “Recover” and “The Mother We Share”. “Every Open Eye” has at least a handful of tracks you could picture on the radio- namely “Make Them Gold”, “Keep You On My Side”, the “Just Can’t Get Enough” aping “Clearest Blue” and the best two of the lot “Leave A Trace” and “Neverending Circles”. After a near perfect first half of the album the second half begins to lag a bit particularly when lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry cedes lead vocals to one of her bandmates. But this is a group headed in the right direction. Their next trick will be to write a record a whole album full of great tracks. If they are able to pull this off we’ll have a true classic on our hands.
Buy Every Open Eye Amazon

Buy Never Ending Circles Amazon

Buy Leave A Trace Amazon






 Kacey Musgraves_Pageant Material













“Pageant Material” is the follow-up album to the much celebrated, grammy award winning, 2013 debut album “Same Trailer Different Park” that took the country world by storm. Musgraves is both damn talented and just plain likable. “Pageant Material” is filled with relaxed, well-crafted songs with simple instrumentation, sweetly sung and expertly written. Musgraves is great at clever turns of phrases that feel both familiar and unique. She provides details to her songs and characters, which flesh them out without reporting to typical Nashville cheesiness. She comes off as small town and relatable but fun and open-minded. Lead single “Biscuits” was an early favorite but less obvious tracks like the extremely sweet “Late To The Party” and “Cup Of Tea” sink is after multiple listens. “Pageant Material” may not be getting the attention of her debut but it’s just as good of an album and should solidify Musgraves status as one of the best young stars in country with massive crossover potential to anyone who favors great singing and songwriting.


Buy Pageant Material Amazon

Buy Late To The Party Amazon

Buy Cup Of Tea Amazon






 Viet Cong_Viet Cong












“Viet Cong” is the self-titled debut album by a band whose half of its members made up the pretty great Calgary band Women. And Viet Cong will no longer be going by its current moniker due to the name upsetting too many people over the past year. New band name is TBD. “Viet Cong” the album was released early last winter and is a perfect to play during this bleak season filled with short, dark days and harsh weather. The album starts off slowly with an atonal dirge called “Newspaper Spoons” which may not be pleasing to the ears but sets the tone of the album. With the next track “Pointless Experience” the album starts to take off and never lets up until the seventh and last track- the eleven minute “Death”. At times Viet Cong sound like Wolf Parade, but are more experimental and atonal. Or the Danish punk band Iceage, but less tight and with longer songs. And despite their penchant for droning the majority of the tracks are filled with hooks- you may just need to wait a few minutes to hear them. Tracks “Continental Shelf”, “March Of Progress”, “Bunker Buster” and “Silhouettes” are all standouts making the first track mostly a head fake in leading off a pretty great album.


Buy Viet Cong Amazon

Buy Continental Shelf Amazon

Buy Silhouettes Amazon






Natalie PRass_NAtalie Prass 












Natalie Prass is a Berklee College of Music dropout and current Nashville resident who delivers an extremely solid debut album filled with throwback blue-eyed soul dipping into both the sounds of the 1970’s Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter scene as well as the well-produced, fussed over soul of they heyday of Atlantic Records. Prass’s singing is warm and understated. Her songs are extremely well crafted with up to three dozen musicians collaborating on them. Elegant strings and plentiful horns with not a synth sound within earshot are all courtesy of the house band from Richmond’s Spacebomb Records, also Prass’s record label. Though “Natalie Prass” is consistently very good two tracks “My Baby Don’t Understand Me” and “Why Don’t You Believe In Me” especially bear special attention. Both are among the best songs of the year in my opinion and can be added to the pantheon of great breakup tunes.

Buy Natalie Prass Amazon

Buy Why Don’t You Believe In Me Amazon

Buy My Baby Don’t Understand Me Amazon






 Carly Rae Jepsen_Emotion












“E*Mo*tion” is the critical smash pop album of the year but that has not translated to sales numbers or heavy airplay for Carly Rae Jepsen. Jepsen may not possess much star quality herself, which may be what’s stopping these great songs from more sales and airplay but they deserve to be heard and anyone who is a fan of well produced, melodic pop should love them too. I thought the pre-album lead single “I Really Like You” was a bit overrated but much of the remainder of “E*Mo*tion” is filled with greatness. Jepsen, who is known as a one hit wonder after releasing “Call Me Maybe”, one of the most popular radio hits of this decade, wanted to take the focus away from another huge smash single and concentrate on delivering a classic pop album filled with quality songs from start to finish. 2nd single, “All That”, an 80’s synth inspired ballad is one such gem and lead track “Run Away With Me” is pure pop perfection and is one of the best pop songs of the year. Why isn’t it all over the radio?? Album tracks like “Boy Problems”, “Warm Blood” and “Let’s Get Lost” help round out “E*Mo*Tion” providing the album with depth and showing it as much more than a collection of hot singles and filler like many pop albums. Hopefully the rest of the world will catch on to “E*Mo*tion” so that is becomes more than the cult classic that could already be its destiny.


Buy E·MO·TION (Deluxe) Amazon

Buy Run Away With Me Amazon

Buy All That Amazon






 My Morning Jacket_The Waterfall












It’s hard to believe that Kentucky natives My Morning Jacket have been touring and recording for over 15 years now. In that time they have carved out a niche as not only one of the finest working live acts in rock music, but also as the one band who can truly bridge any gap between indie rock and the jam band circuit. With “Waterfall” MMJ ditches the uneven experimental sound of “Circuital” and “Evil Urges” toward a more middle of the road sound giving them their most consistently good album 2005’s “Z”. “Waterfall” is a break-up album and is therefore mellower and more introspective than their normal output. Some of the best moments on the album to me are beautiful acoustic tracks like “Get The Point” and “Only Memories Remain”, but with a mighty voice like Jim James’ there are also soaring epics like lead single “Big Decisions” and “Believe (Nobody Knows)”. Well into their second decade My Morning Jacket have managed to keep their music both interesting and quality while continuing to grow their fanbase rather than rely on past glories.


Buy The Waterfall Amazon

Buy Get The Point Amazon

Buy Compound Fracture Amazon






Twerps_Range Anxiety 












Twerps are a little known indie-rock band from Australia whose sound is a total throwback to eighties jangle-pop, back when alternative or indie music was just known as college rock. Though Twerps are bringing nothing new to the table their songs on “Range Anxiety” are fantastic with “Back To You”, “I Don’t Mind” and “Simple Feelings” being the best among many other highlights. If you like and miss the sound of early R.E.M. or lesser known bands like the Go-Betweens and the Clean, Twerps are the band for you.


Buy Range Anxiety Amazon

Buy Simple Feelings Amazon

BuyI Don’t Mind Amazon

Top 50 Albums of 2015: 20-11















Coming right before Christmas, Baroness delivered the last great album of 2015. Straight forward metal, like a less progressive Mastodon, Baroness are the perfect band for metalheads who appreciate expert musicianship and pummeling riffs but are tired of the cookie-cutter sludge heard on “alternative” radio and have no time for over the top, unintelligible inauthentic screaming vocals. “Purple” is the long awaited follow-up the Baroness’s seventy five minute 2012 double album “Yellow & Green”. “Purple” is a much shorter, barely forty minute album with zero missteps. Its subject matter concerns the near death experience and long physical recovery of the band members due to a bus crash shortly after the release of “Yellow & Green”. Though a true metal album, Baroness often add synths and go into quieter atmospherics throughout the album, making their pummeling drums, heavy guitar riffs and catchy shout-along choruses even more affective when they hit you. Apart from a pretty good album ending ballad and an instrumental which acts as a bridge between the first and second sides of “Purple”, every track is outstanding. “The Iron Bell” and “Try To Disappear are my current favorites.


Buy Purple Amazon

Buy The Iron Bell Amazon

Buy Try to Disappear Amazon






Dr. Dre_Compton 












Legendary rapper/producer Dr. Dre finally shelved the long awaited album “Detox” and rush released this companion album to the wildly successful film “Straight Outta Compton”, and the album is somewhat surprisingly a resounding success. Dre became a victim of his own perfectionism with “Detox”, but was able to use the focus on one particular subject to his advantage- his hometown. Dre brings in his most famous collaborators to guest on “Compton”- Snoop, Ice Cube, The Game, Eminem, along with Compton’s finest current rapper Kendrick Lamar, who is present on several of “Compton”‘s highlights. Expert producers like DJ Premier and DJ Dahi also contribute exhibiting both Dre’s clout as reigning godfather of the rap industry as well as his impeccable A&R skills. Dre sounds different than you’ll remember him on “The Chronic” or even “2001”, but his voice is hardly the spotlight anyway. His production is hot shit and the beats on the album are both current and varied. Highlights of the album are “Genocide” and “Deep Water” but nearly every track is solid. Listen to this album and go see the movie!


Buy Compton [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Talking To My Diary [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Genocide [feat. Kendrick Lamar] [Explicit] Amazon






 majical Cloudz_Are You Alone?












Sophomore album by duo made up of singer Devon Welsh and multi instrumentalist Matthew Otto is at the least the equalto the group’s excellent debut “Impersonator”. Like “Impersonator” there are two standout cuts- “Downtown” and “Silver Car Crash” but “Are You Alone?” may be even more consistently great than its predecessor. But other tracks like the title cut, “Control”, “So Blue” and “Change” are nearly as good making the album a meatier offering overall. Like Morrissey, Majical Cloudz can be sad to the point of parody. The electronic-based music is so spare and quiet- focusing the listener on Welsh’s hypnotic, haunting baritone vocals. If you find beauty in sadness Majical Cloudz is a must listen.


Buy Are You Alone? Amazon

Buy Downtown Amazon

Buy Silver Car Crash Amazon






Jeremih_Late Nights- The Album












Jeremih is a crazy talented singer and multi instrumentalist whose sweet as honey falsetto voice has appeared on what seems like half of rap’s featuring credits of the last few years. “Late Night”: The Album” is his third studio album which dropped unexpectedly in mid-December and delivers on all of the promise of his guest appearances. “Late Night” is a true R&B/Rap hybrid album. Though Jeremih doesn’t rap himself, he brings in big hitters like Future, J. Cole, Migos, Big Sean, YG, Twista & Juicy J. to guest rap all over the the album. “Late Nights” varies from sweet to raunchy, sometimes within the same song. It’s first half is nearly perfect and though it lags somewhat over the second half there is still much to like here. There are more than a handful of outstanding tracks included the radio hit “Planez”, the upbeat club anthem “Don’t Tell ‘Em” featuring YG and two killer ballads “Impatient” and “Oui”. Jeremih really shows his range & depth as a singer and musician on the album’s last track “Paradise”, which is nothing more than him and an acoustic guitar, and it’s one of the albums best tracks. Though at times the raunchy lyrics seem misplaced and detract from the quality of the songs, “Late Nights” is a big winner overall and one of the year’s best R&B albums.


Buy Late Nights: The Album [Explicit] Amazon

Buy oui Amazon

Buy Paradise [Explicit] Amazon






Deerhunter_Fading Frontier 












“Fading Frontier” is being called Deerhunter’s pop album, which is only a bit of an overstatement. Over the course of the last decade Deerhunter have rather quietly built one of the most impressive discographies in indie rock. They have been able to tread the line between accessibility while remaining outside of the margins. They have their own singular sound, but have been able to tweak it to give each release its own variety. Before Deerhunter have brought us several jams per album that stand out amongst the rest of their catalogue. “Fading Frontier” is their first that has an album full of them. In a cooler world you can imagine nearly half on the radio. Their jangle pop influence is now more front and center and their experimental side takes a backseat. They are still plenty psychedelic, but now within concise tight three to five minute songs rather than weird, meandering tracks. “Fading Frontier” was released in October, near the end of a pretty incredible year for music. I feel like it’s been a bit underappreciated. Here’s to hoping that 2016 brings this album more life and exposure.

Buy Fading Frontier Amazon

Buy All the Same Amazon

Buy Duplex Planet Amazon






Chris Stapleton_Traveller 












Chris Stapleton is a thirty seven year old Nashville lifer who seemingly came out of nowhere in 2015 to release his debut solo album and sweep the Country Music Awards to the result of some big hits and album sales. “Traveller” further points the way toward a welcome trend away from big hat over-produced cheeseball “bro-country” toward a more authentic traditional country sound. Likeminded artists include Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson along with plenty of women including Ashley Monroe, Brandy Clark, Kasey Musgraves and even Miranda Lambert. Stapleton, like many in Nashville, has been plying his trade as a songwriter for other Nashville artists for well over a decade. But it’s difficult to see why he took so long to get noticed in his own right. His smooth baritone is bluesy and soulful and Stapleton is able to master ballads and rockers, traditional twang as well as more modern straight-forward songs. He threads the needle perfectly between accessibility and outlaw country and as a result is having a huge radio hit with his cover of “Tennessee Whiskey”, to my ears the best song on the album. But there is plenty to love on “Traveller” and my guess is that Chris Stapleton is a country star who is here to stay.

Buy Traveller Amazon

Buy Tennessee Whiskey Amazon

Buy Might As Well Get Stoned Amazon






 Drake_If You're Reading This, It's Too Late












Already probably the biggest rap star on the planet, Drake dominated 2015 like never before.   He is set to drop his next official album “Views From the 6” early this month and its lead single “Hotline Bling” became his biggest single ever last October. He dominated 2015’s biggest rap battle between Meek Mill, also scoring another big hit with “Back To Back” and collaborated successfully with Future with late 2015 album “What A Time To Be Alive” which boasts hits like “Diamonds Dancing” and “Jumpman”. Back in February he released “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late”, planned as a free mixtape but instead released digital only and was one of only a handful of albums to sell a million units in 2015. Though the album is a bit overly long its highlights are many and it sounds better now than upon release. This is Drake at his most emo and experimental and least accessible. A rich man bitching about his problems, but it is always interesting to dig into his psyche. There are no obvious singles but some of the standouts on here like “Legends”, “Energy” and “Know Yourself” became hits despite their anti-commercialism. Drake’s audience buying into whatever he is doing shows that he is truly at the top of his game.


Buy If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Energy [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Know Yourself [Explicit] Amazon






 Alabama Shakes_Sound & Color












Since the band’s 2012 debut album Alabama Shakes have built a very solid roots rock following behind the powerhouse lead vocals of Brittney Howard. While the debut was solid, lead single “Hold On” stood apart from the rest of the album and the Shakes were known mostly for their live sound rather than their recordings. This is what makes their sophomore album “Sound & Color” such a pleasant surprise. The group stretches out and experiments, showing that they are more than just a sixties retro throwback. “Sound & Color” is both musically varied and sometimes downright weird, dabbling into modern indie rock sounds, as well as seventies glam rock, punk rock and especially psychedelic soul. “Sound & Color” beats their previous album in every way possible- it is more interesting as well as more consistently good, even if it doesn’t contain an anthem on part with “Hold On”.


Buy Sound & Color Amazon

Buy Gimme All Your Love Amazon

Buy Shoegaze Amazon






Tobias Jesso Jr._Goon 












Like Father John Misty and Natalie Prass, Tobias Jesso, Jr. helped to lead a throwback to the 1970’s Laurel Canyon singer songwriter scene at the beginning of 2015. Jesso Jr. is a 29 year old, who had become an indie-blog favorite the previous year. By the end of 2015 he was writing songs with Adele on the top selling album of all time. What a difference a year makes. “Goon” is emotional, simple & spare with a great sense of melody with the main focus on Jesso’s piano and voice. The highlights are many including the great “How Could You Babe”, “Hollywood”, “Without You” and “For You” but the album is solid from top to bottom. There is nothing like Jesso currently on the radio but his music is plenty accessible for potential crossover and hopefully his star will continue to rise in the near future. He is totally sincere where artists like Father John Misty are dropping with irony and cynicism.


Buy Goon Amazon

Buy Hollywood Amazon

Buy How Could You Babe Amazon






Deafheaven_New Bermuda 












OK I know these guys aren’t for everyone but “New Bermuda”, Deafheaven’s sophomore album, is actually a real improvement on the group’s much discussed, instant metal classic debut. Deafheaven combines black metal with shoegaze and atmospheric electric guitar music akin in Explosions In The Sky (see: soundtrack of Friday Night Lights), which can alternately be a pummeling assault on the senses while also unfolding into moments of deep beauty. The band is made up of expert musicians who can change tempos and stop on a dime with an incredible drummer seemingly well versed in many different musical styles. The demonic vocals sound like Satan himself and are unintelligible both with and without a lyrics sheet (but the lyrics are great and should be checked out!). The vocals are not everyone’s cup of tea and are best enjoyed as another musical instrument rather than pure singing. Somehow the singer was able to pull these vocals off live- I’m still not sure how!! “New Bermuda” is five tracks long- all over 7 minutes and all great. It’s a perfect album for what it is. Just don’t expect it to soundtrack your next party, unless it’s a Bar-b-q in hell.


Buy New Bermuda Amazon

Buy Brought to the Water Amazon

Buy Baby Blue Amazon

Top 50 Albums of 2015: 10-1


Vince Staples_Summertime '06













I loved Vince Staples debut 2014 EP “Hell Can Wait” so much that it made my top twenty last year even though I usually keep EP’s separate from my main countdown. Audaciously Staples followed that brilliant EP with a full length double album, during a time when most major label rappers and forced to give their albums away as free mixtapes. Like Kendrick Lamar, Staples is from Compton and also like Lamar, extremely political helping to further conversation in the age of rampant police brutality against people of color and of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. “Summertime ‘06” documents and pivotal year in Staples life, a year when he was still quite young- a year where he grew up too fast. The album is a depressing look at racial profiling, drug addiction, poverty, gang banging and institutional failures of his community, but like Public Enemy or Ice Cube before him, Staples manages to sound authentically cold, hard and pessimistic while being catchy if outside the bounds of traditional rap radio. Staples is one of the most important young voices in rap today.

Buy Summertime ’06 [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Summertime [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Norf Norf [Explicit] Amazon



















Though “Wildheart” may rank just slightly below his last album, 2012’s “Kaleidoscope Dream” in overall quality it is a worthy follow-up nonetheless whose highlights may just be his best songs yet. Let’s start with lead single “Coffee”, a song as much about love as sex and one of my very favorite songs of the year. Album closer “Face The Sun” is nearly as good and “Waves”, “nwa” and porncentric “The Valley” are other highlights. Miguel is normally kinks and naughty but also just as focused on female pleasure as his own. He is the closest thing we have to a modern day Prince. Sexy & sultry with a powerful, passionate voice, equally adept at funk as he is at crooning loverman, pillow talk jams. Like Prince he is eccentric, even weird, with a distinct personality, writes his own stuff and plays a mean guitar. He also crosses over from R&B to Rock and back again, giving fans of either genre much to love.

Buy Wildheart (Deluxe Version) [Explicit] Amazon

Buy coffee [Explicit] Amazon

Buy face the sun Amazon






Father John Misty_I Love You Honeybear













Father John Misty (alias of Josh Tillman), is a hyper literate, super smart guy with a dripping sense of irony and cynicism and probably a superiority complex. He takes the piss out of everything and everyone. He plays his character as a drunken lothario, above it all like his Laurel Canyon forebear Harry Nilsson. And like Nilsson Tillman has a great sense of melody and a beautiful voice. When Tillman isn’t taking shots at his sexual conquests or both making fun of and feeling sorry for America’s dwindling middle class, he is writing beautiful love songs to his wife Emma who seems to be nothing less than a soulmate to him. Tillman’s last album as Father John “Fear Fun” brought him many fans, particularly in in the indie world, but “I Love You Honeybear” does that album better in almost every conceivable way. The songs are better and more consistent while being more musically and tonally varied while maintaining his sense of humor and nonchalance that made him standout on “Fear Fun”. Tillman unwillingness to play the ‘record company game’ will likely keep him at least slightly outside of the margins even though he has the talent, sense of melody and potential of accessibility to probably achieve much greater stardom. But again like Nilsson before him, Tillman’s unique weirdness can also give him more longevity in the long run and make him more interesting and memorable.

Buy I Love You, Honeybear Amazon

Buy When You’re Smiling And Astride MeAmazon

Buy Bored In The USA Amazon






Courtney Barnett_Sometimes I Sit And Think...













“Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit” is the full length debut from Barnett, a talented 20-something Australian singer songwriter with a unique voice and style and a kickass rock band behind her. Barnett’s cache has steadily risen since the release of her two EP’s, including the great song “Avant Gardener” one of my favorite songs of the last few years. Barnett’s singing is done with a wink, in a deadpan monotone while her band plays a mixture of indie-punk and nineties indebted grunge. This music is both fun and thought provoking. Barnett’s manages to make the mundane details of life profound and she exhibits both great storytelling and twists of a phrase. The music varies through many different varieties of rock- grunge, punk, power pop, acoustic but Barnett’s voice always remains the same, given her a unique, recognizable sound. And “Sometimes…” is another album filled with great songs like “Pedestrian At Best”, “Debbie Downer”, “Depreston” and “Aqua Profunda!”. It is my favorite debut album of the year and would surely even rank higher of the list in a year with less stiff competition.

Buy Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit Amazon

Buy Pedestrian at Best Amazon

Buy Debbie Downer Amazon






Sufjan Stevens_Carrie & Lowell












“Carrie & Lowell” is the first major album in five years from Sufjan Stevens, one of the best musical artists of his generation. It’s both one of his best and definitely his most personal, making the wait well worth it. After dabbling in electronic music with 2010’s “Age Of Adz”, “Carrie & Lowell” returns to Steven’s acoustic roots and he is at his most spare and intimate here. The album addresses his difficult upbringing with a mother (Carrie, who recently passed away in 2012) who was bipolar and schizophrenic and also had substance abuse issues. And Lowell, his stepfather, who took the family under his wing, when their mother could no longer function as a parent. As usual Stevens writes and sings with depth, beauty and great empathy exploring his own issues with grief, depression & his own substance problems. “Carrie & Lowell the album is both a truly heartbreaking album and jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Nearly every song is a highlight but the album is best listened to as a whole, alone. It requires full concentration.

Buy Carrie & Lowell Amazon

Buy No Shade in the Shadow of The Cross Amazon

Buy Should Have Known Better Amazon






Tame Impala_Currents













“Currents”, Australian band Tama Impala’s fourth album, is quite a departure for the group in several ways. It’s a move away from the group’s sixties inspired psychedelic guitar rock sound and is much more a solo album with hired guns by group mastermind Kevin Parker, than it is a collaborative ‘band’ album. Lyrically Parker is clearly breaking out of a familiar, probably long-term relationship and placing himself in the unknown. Despite the griping of some of Tame Impala’s old fans that the group’s sound has changed too much, I believe their more synth driven sound is largely successful and “Currents” stands alongside the group’s best material, and they are one of my very favorite modern bands working. “Currents” mostly deals with the excitement, loneliness, shame, pain, jealousy and guilt that occurs after a big breakup and the album also acts as a metaphor for Parker taking a more solo route musically as well as changing up his sound rather drastically. “Currents” has one weird misstep in the middle with “Past Life” and has three of four other interludes that act as bridges between songs, but it’s otherwise loaded with highlights including seven minute lead single “Let It Happen”- the album’s statement of purpose, “Eventually”, “The Less I Know The Better”, “Cause I’m A Man” and the beautiful and underrated “Yes I’m Changing”.

Buy Currents [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Yes I’m Changing [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Let It Happen Amazon






Jamie XX_In Colour












In a different year “In Colour” could have been a solid number one, but 2015 was no ordinary year and it boasts the best top seven or eight since I’ve been compiling these lists. It’s the best straight up DJ album I can remember, even beating out the brilliant “Cosmogramma” by Flying Lotus. It’s improbably Jamie XX’s best release even topping the xx’s brilliant self-titled debut from back in 2009. It is both consistently great and top heavy with amazing singles, including his collboaration with dancehall artist Popcaan and rapper of the moment Young Thug “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”, which was one of 2015’s signature summer jams. “Gosh” and “Loud Places” (the best of the lot in my opinion) are two others that were among the best songs of the year along with instrumental mindfuck “Hold Tight”. There isn’t a bad moment here and Jamie manages to varied while always remaining tasteful making his way through hip hop, pop, chilled out electronic slow jams, deep house, drum n’ bass and other more dance ready rhythms. Romy Croft from his band the xx guest here several times, always to nice effect, giving the listener a taste of Jamie’s other band while moving fully outside of it throughout the rest of the album.

Buy In Colour [Explicit] Amazon

Buy Loud Places Amazon

Buy I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) [Explicit] Amazon






Grimes_Art Angels











Grimes is Claire Boucher, one of the most unique artists to come around in a long time. She brings more weirdness and experimentation to pop and more pop to indie music than anyone else. She’s had great moments in the past, especially the track “Oblivion” from her 2012 album “Visions” but with “Art Angels” she gives us both one of the year’s best albums and an album filled with “Oblivion” like moments. The variety on “Art Angels” is incredible. She melds EDM, dance pop, country, balladry, hip hop sampling, K-pop & rock guitar music together, singing, writing and producing everything herself expertly. Filling each song with crazy hooks along with her own weirdness. One can imagine most of these songs playing alongside, but always standing apart from other modern radio hits. Her helium filled vocals are somehow both accessible and unintelligible at the same time. The highlights are abundant. Pre-released digital single “Realti”, “Flesh Without Blood” (with Janelle Monae), “Venus Fly”, “California”, Kill V Maim” and “Butterfly” are all among the best tracks released this year and I get the feeling that more listens to “Art Angels” will bring new favorites. “Art Angels” has all the makings of a modern pop classic.

Buy Art Angels Amazon

Buy Butterfly Amazon

Buy Flesh without Blood Amazon






Kendrick Lamar_To Pimp A Butterfly













“To Pimp A Butterfly” has dominated year end #1 lists like no album before it in recent memory and I was very tempted to place it there as well. Even upon its release last March it felt like an important album out to make a statement. It’s a very lengthy album chock full of opinions and ideas, challenges its audience both musically and lyrically. Though Kendrick is an expert rapper, one of the best technically, he gives us so much more than rap on “TPAB”. It feels almost as much a funk and jazz fusion album than it does rap. Along with likeminded Los Angeles artists like Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Flying Lotus and Thundercat, Kendrick crafts a black concept album for the ages, like Stevie Wonder, Funkadelic and Sly & The Family Stone did before him. And this album is more than anything, about what is means to be black in modern America. Kendrick waxes philosophically on fame, wealth, drugs, sex as well as race- never sparing and always questioning America’s power structure, his own community and even himself. Though the three singles- “The Blacker The Berry”, “King Kunta” and “Alright” are the most notable highlights, there is so much more greatness here than them, even if it may take many listens for some of the rest of the tracks to sink in. President Obama called “How Much A Dollar Cost” his favorite song of the year. “If These Walls Could talk” is another highlight. And it will likely be years before “TPAB” is fully deciphered. It’s a rare album that truly justifies this long a running time but “TPAB” is one such album and is like a “Songs In The Key Of Life” for our modern age.

Buy To Pimp A Butterfly [Explicit] Amazon

Buy King Kunta [Explicit] Amazon

Buy The Blacker The Berry [Explicit] Amazon






Sleater-Kinney_No Cities To Love












“To Pimp A Butterfly” is the clear critical consensus number one album of 2015. It’s the most important album, a fantastic album, and I was very tempted to give it the number one slot as well. But “No Cities To Love”, Sleater-Kinney’s first album in a decade, is just too perfect. Every song slays. Between the mid-nineties and the mid 2000’s S/K was probably my favorite rock band and that being said, I think “No Cities” is improbably their best album. Many, if not most, reunion albums are a huge disappointment, or at best a worthy follow-up to a band’s best work. But S/K managed to deliver a relevant, urgent album filled with top notch songs that tweaked their sound while still remaining true to it. The few tracks that I didn’t absolutely love on first listen (namely “Gimme Love” and “Fade”) I love now and the remainder of the album is filled with instant S/K classics like pre-released singles “Bury Our Friends” and “Surface Envy” along with the title track, the brilliant “Price Tag” and “New Wave”- one of my favorite S/K tracks yet. S/K’s last release “The Woods” was brilliant too- their longest, jammiest album, most indebted to 1970’s Classic Rock and Heavy Metal. “No Cities” goes the opposite way- delivering a short, tight album with all killer, no filler. That it dropped in early January also set the tone for one of the best music years in recent memory.

Buy No Cities To Love Amazon

BuyA New Wave Amazon

Buy Price Tag Amazon

Top 50 Albums of 2015: Top EPS


Kelela_Hallucinogen EP












Kelela ups the ante with her first commercially available EP, after 2013’s pretty good “Cut 4 Me” free mixtape. Kelela combines electronic and R&B music using some of the most hip producers in music including Arca, DJ Dahi & Kingdom, to create a sleek, sexy sound like a less weird FKA Twigs. Every track on the EP is a winner with lead single “Rewind”, and bookend tracks “A Message” and “The High” being particularly great. Though Kelela falls under the ever-growing alternative R&B genre you can both dance and romance to this music. She’s quite a talent at both singing and songwriting and I expect her to be around a long time.

Buy Hallucinogen Amazon

Buy The High Amazon

Buy Rewind Amazon
























For those of you as confused as me, the title of the EP is supposed to read ‘Melissa’. Its 5 tracks arguably bests her excellent first full length LP in ambition, quality and accessibility and is certainly one of the best 10-20 non-single releases this year. The EP’s subject matter is centered around sex- seduction, dominance & submission. She sings, writes & co-produces each of the tracks. She is sexy, provocative, thought-provoking and a mega-talent. She may be poised to become one of the weirdest musical stars since Bjork. Four out of five of the EP’s tracks are great- Lead cut “Figure 8”, “In Time”, “Glass & Patron” & I’m Your Doll- all among her best tracks yet. The 5th “Mothercreep” is merely solid. Don’t sleep on this EP!

* EP not available via Amazon







Thundercat_The Beyond













Thundercat is a dynamite bass player and an integral part of a forward thinking, musically outré Los Angeles collective of artists including record label mates Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington as well as bigger artists not part off the Brainfeeder label like Kendrick Lamar and Erykah Badu. Thundercat often guests on other records in addition to his solo output and can make the transition from electronic music to hip hop to jazz seamlessly. “The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam” is a 16 minute, 6 track mini album about vulnerability and death. Though Thundercat brings his trademark astral funk to every track, particularly the standout “Them Changes”, apropos to the subject matter the EP gives off a vibe of introspection and rumination and is probably not one to put on at a party.

Buy The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam Amazon

Buy Them Changes Amazon

Buy Lone Wolf and Cub Amazon






Nao_February 15












5 track EP where every track is a winner seemed to fall out of the sky from nowhere a few months ago. Nao is a singer/songwriter from London who makes excellent modern R&B akin to Miguel. It combines the throwback 80’s R&B/Rock of the Time and “Purple Rain” era Prince, takes much from the neo-soul movement as well, and is especially indebted to late 90’s/early 00’s booty shaking R&B of Destiny’s Child, Aaliyah and Missy Elliott. If you dig any of the above influences Nao is well worth checking out.

Buy February 15 Amazon

Buy Golden Amazon

Buy Inhale Exhale Amazon



Sharon Van Etten_I Don't Want To Let You Down EP












Can be seen as an addendum Van Etten’s great 2014 release “Are We There” as these songs came from the same sessions. Van Etten deliver more passionately sung breakup porn including the great title track and even better “Always Fall Apart”.

Buy I Don’t Want to Let You Down Amazon

Buy I Always Fall Apart Amazon

Buy I Don’t Want to Let You Down Amazon

Top 50 Albums of 2015: Best of 2015 Volume 1

Best of 2015 Volume 1 (1/8/16)

1. Carly Rae Jepsen- Run Away With Me

Buy Run Away With Me Amazon


2. Drake- Energy

Buy Energy [Explicit] Amazon


3.  Grimes (Feat. Janelle Monae)- Venus Fly

*Track not available via Amazon


4. Speedy Ortiz- Raising The Skate

Buy Raising the Skate Amazon


5. Courtney Barnett- Pedestrian At Best

Buy Pedestrian at Best Amazon


6. Sleater-Kinney- A New Wave

Buy A New Wave Amazon


7. Jidenna (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)- Classic Man (Remix)

Buy Classic Man (Remix) [Explicit] Amazon


8. Kendrick Lamar- King Kunta

Buy King Kunta [Explicit] Amazon


9. FKA Twigs- Glass & Patron

*Track not available via Amazon


10. The Weeknd- Can’t Feel My Face

Buy Can’t Feel My Face Amazon


11. Majical Cloudz- Downtown

Buy Downtown Amazon


12. Father John Misty- When You’re Smiling And Astride Me

Buy When You’re Smiling And Astride Me Amazon


13. Miguel- Coffee

Buy coffee [Explicit] Amazon


14.  Vince Staples- Summertime

Buy Summertime [Explicit] Amazon


15. Jamie xx (Feat. Romy)- Loud Places

Buy Loud Places Amazon


16. Tame Impala- Yes I’m Changing

Buy Yes I’m Changing [Explicit] Amazon


17. Chromatics- I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around

*Track not available via Amazon


18.  Sufjan Stevens- No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross

Buy No Shade in the Shadow of The Cross Amazon


19. Julia Holter- Sea Calls Me Home

Buy Sea Calls Me Home Amazon

Top 50 Albums of 2015: Best of 2015 Volume 2

Best of 2015 Volume 2 (1/8/16)

1. Deafheaven- Brought To The Water

Buy Brought to the Water Amazon


2.  Viet Cong- Continental Shelf

Buy Continental Shelf Amazon


3.  Sleater-Kinney- Price Tag

Buy Price Tag Amazon


4.  Deerhunter- All The Same

Buy All the Same Amazon


5.  Tame Impala- Let It Happen

Buy Let It Happen Amazon


6.  Grimes- Flesh Without Blood

Buy Flesh without Blood Amazon


7.  Kelela- The High

Buy The High Amazon


8.  Drake- Hotling Bling

Buy Hotline Bling Amazon


9.  Jamie xx (With Young Thug & Popcaan)- I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)

Buy I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) [Explicit] Amazon


10.  Alabama Shakes- Gimme All Your Love

Buy Gimme All Your Love Amazon


11.  Kendrick Lamar- The Blacker The Berry

Buy The Blacker The Berry [Explicit] Amazon


12.  Kurt Vile- Pretty Pimpin

Buy Pretty Pimpin Amazon


13.  Tobias Jesso Jr.- Hollywood

Buy Hollywood Amazon


14.  Natalie Prass- Why Don’t You Believe In Me

Buy Why Don’t You Believe In Me Amazon


15.  Sufjan Stevens- I Should Have Known Better

Buy Should Have Known Better Amazon


16.  Father John Misty- Bored In The U.S.A.

Buy Bored In The USA

Top 50 Albums of 2015: Best of 2015 Volume 3

Best of 2015 Volume 3 (1/9/16)

1.  Missy Elliott (Feat. Pharrell Williams)- WTF (Where They From)

Buy WTF (Where They From) [feat. Pharrell Williams] [Explicit] Amazon


2.  Rae Sremmurd- No Flex Zone

Buy No Flex Zone [Explicit] Amazon


3.  Kendrick Lamar- Alright

Buy Alright [Explicit] Amazon


4.  Vince Staples- Norf Norf

Buy Norf Norf [Explicit] Amazon


5.  Baroness- The Iron Bell

Buy The Iron Bell Amazon


6.  Sleater-Kinney- Surface Envy

Buy Surface Envy Amazon


7.  Courtney Barnett- Debbie Downer

Buy Debbie Downer Amazon


8.  St. Vincent- Teenage Talk

Buy Teenage Talk Amazon


9.  My Morning Jacket- Get The Point

Buy Get The Point Amazon


10.  Tame Impala- Eventually

Buy Eventually Amazon


11.  Panda Bear- Mr Noah

Buy Mr Noah Amazon


12.  Jamie xx- Hold Tight

Buy Hold Tight Amazon


13.  FKA Twigs- In Time

*Track not available via Amazon


14.  Kanye West (Feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney)- All Day

Buy All Day [feat. Paul McCartney] [Explicit] Amazon


15.  Jeremih- Oui

Buy oui Amazon


16.  The Weeknd- Tell Your Friends

Buy Tell Your Friends [Explicit] Amazon


17.  Chvrches- Nevernending Circles

Buy Never Ending Circles Amazon


18.  Grimes- Butterfly

Buy Butterfly Amazon


19.  Miguel (Feat. Lenny Kravitz)- Face The Sun

Buy face the sun Amazon

Top 50 Albums of 2015: Best of 2015 Volume 4

Best of 2015 Volume 4 (1/9/16)

1. Sleater-Kinney- Bury Our Friends

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2.  Deerhunter- Duplex Planet

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3.  Alabama Shakes- Shoegaze

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4.  DJ Spinn (Feat. DJ Rashad & Danny Brown)- Dubby

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5. Jamie xx- Gosh

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6.  Alessia Cara- Here

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7.  Grimes- Realiti (Demo)

*Track not available via Amazon


8.  Empress Of- Make Up

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9.  D.R.A.M- Cha Cha

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10. Drake- Know Yourself

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11.  Carly Rae Jepsen- All That

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12.  Kacey Musgraves- Late To The Party

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13.  Chris Stapleton- Tennessee Whiskey

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14.  Father John Misty- The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment

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15.  Natalie Prass- My Baby Don’t Understand Me

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16. Dr. Dre- Talking To My Diary

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17.  Kendrick Lamar (Feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat)- These Walls

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18. Kamasi Washington- Final Thought

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