20 Favorite Albums of 2015 (Pt.2)

Here is part 2 of the list of best albums started a few days ago.

10. Asunder, Sweet, And Other Distresses- Godspeed You! Black Emperor

The newest album from this key post-rock band see them scaling back a bit. Instead of a two hour epic, this album runs just over 40 minutes and is pretty straightforward at first. What makes this album so interesting is that is essentially a 40 minute long song, but one with no clear resolution. As the guitars and strings roar at the end of the album they never quite end up giving closure to the apocalyptic music. Instead, they just fade into nothingness and a haunting silence.

9. Vulnicura- Bjork

After the high concept multimedia of Biophilia, Bjork opens up emotionally on her new album and traces the flurry of feelings that come from the breakup of a long time relationship. On this record Bjork feels more immediate than ever putting her wrecked emotions on full display. As always, the music is fascinating. Bjork deconstructs her songs into lurching bursts of electronics and strings, providing an album that may not be immediately gratifying but rewards repeated and careful listens.

8. In Colour- Jamie XX

Jamie xx is the programmer behind the English band The XX. On his first solo record, Jamie xx displays his skills by crafting a playlist of beautiful and interesting electronic songs. In Colour is a burst of joy as Jamie xx slips expertly between styles and influences while maintaining the restrained coolness of his work with The XX.

7. I Love You Honeybear- Father John Misty

While the Fleet Foxes may not be releasing a new album anytime soon, we still have Father John Misty to give us a taste of that charm. Joshua Tillman’s work as Father John Misty is easily comparable to Fleet Foxes, but to focus too much on his former band cheapens his unique music. I Love You Honeybear traces the different emotions and frustrations that come in marriage along with providing a satire of American life and men’s roles while sounding absolutely wonderful.

6. Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit- Courtney Barnett

As I mentioned in an early blog post, 2015 was the year of girl rock and Courtney Barnett was one of the leaders of the pack. Barnett is an Australian rocker who crafts songs with classic slacker music and a sharp dead pan delivery. What makes this album so charming is that it never feels like Barnett is trying too hard to be cool and detached for hipster credibility. With the success of this album, Barnett has solidified her role as one of the most interesting new voices in indie rock.

5. Viet Cong- Viet Cong

They may have a controversial name, but Viet Cong is still one of the best new bands of the year. Their debut album combines a variety of post-punk influences that merge into an eclectic but cohesive album. The post-punk revival scene has been lacking a solid leading band to take up the mantle of Interpol, but Viet Cong has a good claim to the title.

4. No Cities To Love- Sleater-Kinney

After a ten year hiatus, Sleater-Kinney blasted back into the music scene in January with No Cities To Love. Scaling back from 2005’s expansive The Woods, on this album the band delivers fast and fierce punk songs that reminded everyone why we love this band so much. What is so wonderful about this album is that it does not just fall back into playing the same old music as before while still being recognizably Sleater-Kinney. The band matured wonderfully, so hopefully we do not have to wait another 10 years for the next album.

3. Carrie & Lowell- Sufjan Stevens

On Sufjan Stevens newest album he returned to the whispery folk singing that characterized his early albums. According to Stevens, Carrie & Lowell was influenced by the death of his mother and his looking back on his childhood. That inspiration turns Carrie & Lowell into a haunting analysis of death and life. Sufjan lays his heart out bare, and writes songs about nostalgia, depression, death and maintaining religious faith in the face of doubt. None of it feels forced, which makes the album such an intimate affair.

2. Divers- Joanna Newsom

Divers wins the award for the most beautiful album of the year. Joanna Newsom knows how to bring together a variety of sounds to create a wondrous tapestry of music. Of course, a big part of her music is the lyrics, which on this album explore the nature of time and how humans interact with it. It is pretty heavy material, but Newsom makes it work in an amazing way. Divers transports the listener to a whole new dimension of music one that is beautiful, heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time.

1. My Love Is Cool- Wolf Alice

This is my favorite album of the year. I do not know if it is the best album of the year, but it is the one that I enjoyed the most. Wolf Alice took five years of playing together to finally release a LP, but it is a wonderful wait. My Love Is Cool is a thrilling undertaking, exploring a variety of styles and influences. Most of the singles revolved around intense rock songs, but My Love Is Cool also includes beautiful folksy songs and quiet a bit of Cocteau Twins influence. I can not get enough of this album. If Wolf Alice keeps it up they will become one of the best bands of our era, this generation’s Sonic Youth.

 

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