This week I’ve been counting down my favorite albums of 2015. It’s been an outstanding year for new releases, so I had 50 albums in the main list, plus a robust list of 25 Honorable Mentions.
Feel free to view the detailed reports, but so far, the list, which I’ve broken down into chunks of five, has gone like this:
50)Lower Dens — Escape From Evil
49)Girl Band — Holding Hands With Jamie
48)Creepoid — Cemetery Highrise Slum
47)Thayer Sarrano — Shaky
46)Rachel Grimes — The Clearing
45)Stolen Jars — Kept
44)Hey Anna — Run Koko
43)Speedy Ortiz — Foil Deer
42)Marriages — Salome
41)Haiku Salut — Etch and Etch Deep
40)The Harrow — Silhouettes
39)Casket Girls — The Piano Album
38)Spectres — Dying
37)Eternal Summers — Gold and Stone
36)Esmerine — Lost Voices
The countdown continues now. Don’t forget to click on album art to get to the place to buy the album.
35)Diverting Duo — Desire
This is the third album by the dreamwave duo from Sardinia. They’re one of many bands in the countdown that are new to me this year. They’re a bit Cocteaus, a bit Dead Can Dance, a bit Beach House. All very good. Because of the album’s late release on October 27, I obviously haven’t had much time to spend with this album, but I love it nonetheless. It’s warm and sexy and mysterious.
34)Viet Cong — Viet Cong
The debut album by the Calgary post-punk quartet was probably one of the most anticipated debut records of the year. They had set the indie scene ablaze with their live shows and a cassette EP that you could only buy at their shows. They were also surrounded by controversy because of their name. It was never their intent to do so, but they pissed a lot of people off with that name. Their album was shortlisted for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize, and after there was an incident at the gala, they announced that they would be changing their name in 2016. They’re going to take their time coming up with a new name, but they made it clear that they are changing.
They got the famous music video director Yoonha Park to do two videos for them, and they’re both fantastic. Here’s one.
33)astrobrite — Deluxer
astrobrite is an ambient shoegaze/dream pop recording project based in Chicago. It was headed up by Scott Cortez in 1993 as a side project for his very similar lovesliescrushing. Both projects have been going strong since the early 1990s, and sometimes it’s really hard to tell what’s astrobrite and what’s lovesliescrushing. For a while, both bands used the same vocalist. There’s always an angelic female vocalist, there’s always miles of delay and feedback and tape loops and beautiful noise. It’s worth noting that the Russian shoegaze band Pinkshinyultrablast named themselves after an astrobrite album from 2005. You’ll see them later in the countdown.
32)Noveller —Fantastic Planet
Noveller is the ambient/dream pop/noise pop one-woman show created by Brooklyn-based guitarist Sarah Lipstate. She’s been making solo records since 2009, and she’s released something like nine proper albums. And she’s usually literally the only person involved in making her albums. She does it all.
I first learned about her because she frequently contributes to the Radiolab broadcast, and when they take their show on the road, she performs on their stage during the breaks. I fell in love with her 2013 album No Dreams, and I liked this new album one just as much.
31)Godspeed You! Black Emperor — Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
This is the fourth proper album by the trailblazers of the incredibly vibrant Montréal post-rock scene. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve never made a bad record. That said, this one didn’t sit as well with me as most. I normally reserve a spot in my top ten for new records by Godspeed, but this one didn’t make it there. I got to see them at the 2015 Hopscotch Music Festival. They were on the main stage outdoors on the opening night of the festival. Some pretty substantial rain moved in, and it made it challenging for them and the audience. It was a good set, but since it was my fourth time seeing them, and since there were some great bands that I really wanted to see starting up (indoors) just as they were winding down, I left their set early.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Jeezus! If he put that new Godspeed record at 31, I can’t wait to see what’s on the rest of the list!”. Tomorrow, I’ll post one more chunk to get us down to #26. After that, I’ll take a day or two off before picking back up after the holiday.