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24 Albums We Really Liked in 2015

Posted by January 10th, 2016 No Comments »

Forty-four contributors weighed in on this, our list of favorite albums of 2015, offering up 108 nominees. Here are the twenty-four that topped the list.

24. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear 

Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

23. Leon Bridges – Coming Home

Leon Bridges – Coming Home

22. Wind Burial – We Used to be Hunters

Wind Burial – We Used to be Hunters

21. Florence and the Machine – How Big How Blue How Beautiful

Florence and the Machine – How Big How Blue How Beautiful

20. Kehlani – You Should Be Here

Kehlani – You Should Be Here

19. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats 

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

18. Lord Huron – Strange Trails 

Lord Huron – Strange Trails

17. Beach House – Depression Cherry

Beach House – Depression Cherry

16. Run the Jewels – Meow the Jewels

Meow The Jewels

15. Waxahatchee – Ivy Trip

Waxahatchee – Ivy Trip

14. Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color

Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color

13. Jamie xx – In Colour  

Jamie xx – In Colour

12. Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass 

Natalie Prass

11. Le Butcherettes – A Raw Youth  

Le Butcherettes – A Raw Youth

Le Butcherettes’ music serves as great reminder that rock and roll used to be about rage and angst. It’s as if the band is saying “Come out of your dreamy pop, alternative, Indie bubble gum haze! The world is fucked up!” The band released a A Raw Youth in 2015 and sealed the deal for frontwoman Teri “Gender” Bender as one of the most original artists of her generation. She’s a remarkable musician and vocalist with a clear idea of how to her express her feelings, whether she’s raging against the injustices of the current era or demonstrated a newly melodic approach, like on album openers “Shave the Pride” and “Mallely.” Bender and her band mates also pay a lot of attention to detail, creating the right atmosphere for each song by playing a few notes on the synth or weaving in unexpected noises to add texture. A Raw Youth is a great record. – Cee Cee Hill

10. Fetty Wap – Fetty Wap 

Fetty Wap – Fetty Wap

Fetty Wap needs to be commended for writing a master thesis in trap-pop laced with genuine romance and brevity utilizing less words than the average set of refrigerator magnet poetry. The New Jersey-based rapper, thought to be a one-hit wonder thanks to the undeniable song of the summer “Trap Queen,” churned out hit after hit like dang Billy Shakespeare scribbled out sonnets. Just when his reign seemed to be coming to a halt – BAM – “My Way” was remixed with Drake and – CRACK – “Juug” was proven to be his Mona Lisa. – Cameron Deuel

9. Chvrches – Every Open Eye 

Chvrches – Every Open Eye

Every Open Eye is the emotional equivalent of skip-dancing down a sidewalk at night and suddenly tripping, skinning your knees open on the cement, then laughing uproariously and wishing someone caught it on tape. I know because I literally did that one evening while listening to “Clearest Blue” on headphones. If you need tunes to help you dance your way through a dumb breakup, choose this LP. – AJ Dent

8. Grimes – Art Angels

Grimes – Art Angels

When Visions came out, a lot of people dismissed Grimes as a passing fad. But that’s just because it’s so easy to dismiss a weird little waif who looks too pretty to be smart. People usually credit the producer or guest artists when pretty girls make good electronic music. In actual fact, Grimes is smart, and her sound is instantly recognizable. With Art Angels she figured out all she needed to do to make sure she got the credit for her own work was to do absolutely everything all by herself. And she did it wonderfully. – Gemma Alexander

7. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

The guitars and the way Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker project their voices. The eighth album from Olympia’s Sleater-Kinney couldn’t be better. That the band was on hiatus for a number of years doesn’t seem to matter. This isn’t a reunion record as much as a continuation of their previous work. And we want more of it. – Justin Vela

6. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly 

To Pimp A Butterfly

5. Sleaford Mods – Key Markets 

Sleaford Mods – Key Markets

Sleaford mods vocalist/lyricist Jason Williamson is well known for spitting a mix of hotly articulated rage, cynical asides, and the odd right-down-the-middle punchline (“by Victoria’s not very good secret – they’re knickers, mate.”) but on Key Markets he sings a bit more. Tracks like the excellent “No Ones Bothered” and the less excellent “Tarantula Deadly Cargo” fall entirely on the sing side of Williamson’s talk/sing approach. The beat’s from Andrew Fearn, the other half of the duo, which self describes theor sound as “electronic munt minimalist punk-hop rants for the working class,” are a bit more polished – still minimalist, but slight additions, such as the drop-out after the hook on “The Blob” or keyboard backings on “Face to Faces.” These fresh nuances are slight, but demonstrate a handle on what makes music like this work. – Graham Isaac

4. Deerhunter – Fading Frontier 

Deerhunter – Fading Frontier

Bradford Cox and company return with their most polished, accomplished record to date.  There’s still trace elements of the weird, but not enough to dismiss the group’s ambitions for commercial success. – Ben Allen

3. Wimps – Suitcase  

Wimps Suitcasd

Wimps’ Suitcase is not the kind of thing I listen to very often these days. It’s more the kind of thing I would have loved when I was 16. But there’s just something so catchy, infectious, fun, and snarky about these songs. It brings me back, in a good way, but simultaneously keeps things fresh and interesting enough that I can also appreciate it as a full-fledged adult. It’s fun dumb punk for the thinking man/woman.  – Aaron Semer

2. Built to Spill – Untethered Moon

Built to Spill – Untethered Moon

Built to Spill has always been at their best when exploring the relationship between the listener and rock music. On Untethered Moon, BTS’s spectacular return to form, they mine this territory again on “All Our Songs,” to great effect. Untethered Moon is BTS’s best record since 2001, with no reggae-tinged wankfests and few forgettable tracks. BTS is energized by a new rhythm section, and singer/guitar god Doug Martch’s songwriting has been reinvigorated. – Adam Lawrence

1. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Sit 

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Sit

Courtney Barnett deals in slice of life tunes seemingly written in the moment on her stateside full-length debut, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, one of the most eminently listenable albums of the year. Barnett writes about buying a house with her wife, blowing off work, and struggling with insomnia, all with a deftness of verbal wit and dry humor. It’s easy to picture the heroes and villains at work, the houses they’re thinking of buying in sketchy neighborhoods, the party that nobody cares if you attend. – Adam Lawrence

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