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Best of 2015

Anything music related. Latest songs, good new bands, and blasts from the past.

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Re: Best of 2015

Postby JohnErle » January 1st, 2016, 6:50 pm

Ok, I'd better bang out a few of these before it gets any closer to 2017.

#10 - Iron Maiden - Book Of Souls

I certainly didn't expect Iron Maiden to crack my top 10 at any point in this century, but then they somehow managed to deliver a double album that's their best since the mid 80s. The Red And The Black deserves to be a concert staple for as long as Maiden can keep going, and the album as a whole sounds both fresh and familiar, giving Maiden fans exactly what they'd been waiting for. There's very few surprises here, but does anyone really want to be surprised by Iron Maiden at this point? Book Of Souls: It does what it says on the tin.

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Re: Best of 2015

Postby JohnErle » January 1st, 2016, 6:55 pm

#9 - Yo La Tengo - Stuff Like That There

The spiritual successor to Fakebook, this album is an all-acoustic mix of covers, originals, and re-workings of Yo La Tengo songs. A perfect Sunday afternoon listen.

Friday, I'm In Love


The Ballad Of Red Buckets
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSPgF4-ytVE
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby JohnErle » January 1st, 2016, 6:59 pm

#8 - Calexico - Edge Of The Sun

Slicker production than previous efforts, but the songwriting and performances are as superb as ever.

Falling From The Sky


Cumbia de Donde
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjzxxzBTNmw
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby Leestu » January 1st, 2016, 9:54 pm

Glad you're joining in John. I'm just going to interrupt briefly for my number one album.

Before I do that though I just want to give an honorable mention to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. After releasing two albums in 2014, one of which made my top 10 that year, this psych rock band released another two albums in 2015. That's four in two years....and all four are totally different to each other. Always experimenting and trying out new things. Well done guys! I finally saw them live this year and when all seven members joined the seven members of Goat onstage for an epic 14 person, 4 drummer, 10 minute plus psych rock jam it was something special.

Album#1: Pond "Man It Feels Like Space Again"

The best kept secret in alternative music atm is how good this awesome band from Perth, who straddle the line between psych rock and pop, are becoming. They have been plugging away for few years now, working hard and touring constantly, and I've seen their placement on festival billings start at the bottom and get higher and higher as time progresses. If they keep going like this they will be headling small festivals one day. After releasing some great material they got everything right with this outstanding album. Fascinating guitar work, a great sound and full of melodious song writing. Every song is great from the catchy singles Elvis' Flaming Star and Zond, to their slower nostalgic ode to nostalgia Sitting Up On Our Crane, and even dipping their toe in country with Medicine Hat. It is an album you can listen to anytime. In a bad mood - this will pick you right up. In a great mood - this will enhance that. It is an easy Sunday morning listen but can also work as a fun rocking party album while socialising with friends. Great for background music while busy, or perfect for sitting down and doing nothing else but immersing yourself and/or losing yourself in the music. Musically there is so much in there to find that rewards repeated listenings. Truly a fantastic album that deserves a lot more fame and acclaim.
I am going to post the opening track that very effectively sets the tone of the album showing what you are in for, followed by one of their singles from the album. And to finish off the atmospheric closing title track of the album that I think manages to basically sum up the album you just listened to in one epic song.

Waiting Around For Grace - I can only find live versions on youtube so hopefully you have spotify access but if not this is a decent live version once they get into it.
https://youtu.be/XC3HWlvFd3A
https://open.spotify.com/track/09Oad698yNhwtPYsePUCK7

Zond
https://youtu.be/HNnd-gl_U4w
https://open.spotify.com/track/7JQPb1fwYlGP2inm7iQuJ9

Man It Feels Like Space Again
https://youtu.be/iNbPg6zKmPI
https://open.spotify.com/track/6gyFuPUQEM8MUlAotxGN8i

I'll post my favourite song of the year soon.
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby JohnErle » January 2nd, 2016, 1:32 am

#7 - Patty Griffin - Servant Of Love

A bit of a disappointment after the brilliant American Kid, but still good enough to crack my top 10 thanks to standout tracks like There Isn't One Way. It's the over-abundance of sad, slow piano ballads and jazzy songs that keep me from totally embracing this album, but some of those songs sounded better to me live, so maybe it's something about the production that's holding it back for me, although I suspect the absence of master collaborator Robert Plant is part of the problem as well.

There Isn't One Way


Shine A Different Way
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zV1yooTZbmY
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby JohnErle » January 2nd, 2016, 1:43 am

#6 - The Decemberists - What A Terrible World, What A Wonderful World

Another amazing batch of songs from the Decemberists, but unfortunately the album is horribly over-compressed once again, and in a great year for music like 2015 I can't forgive these crappy production values enough to let this album crack my top 5. The master they used on YouTube sounds a tad more dynamic and cleaner than the version I've heard, so maybe there's a better sounding version of the album out there somewhere.

Make You Better


Philomena
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxLMNq69Q_E

I'll try to tackle my top 5 tomorrow, because if I don't do it before I go back to work on Monday it probably won't get done.
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby Leestu » January 2nd, 2016, 4:04 am

I wrote about Pond without mentioning Tame Impala! You don't see that often. Now onto my favourite song of the year.

Song #1: Tame Impala "Let it Happen"

I'm not much of a Tame Impala fan but they have had some great songs here and there. Half Full Glass of Wine, Elephant, Solitude is Bliss....not to mention Kevin Parker's guest vocals on Marc Ronson's Daffodils. Currents was meh but this song is the best thing they have ever done!
https://youtu.be/odeHP8N4LKc
https://open.spotify.com/track/7lzwtE0vSV5i2EJeUhVGYK

and for a different, but also excellent, version that shows how this song is performed in a live setting...fascinating!
https://youtu.be/E2mNdT43M8o
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby numbersix » January 2nd, 2016, 10:27 am

Quick thoughts on a few tracks I listened to

Fuzz sounded cool. Always enjoy Ty Segall and his offshoot acts. Blur was decent, but definitely feels like a "reunion" album. That Torres song was good, though I'm not a huge fan of her other stuff. Wasn't crazy about Tiny Little Houses, thought they blew it in the chorus. HEALTH's Stonefist was a contender for one of my tracks of the year. Some other great songs on that album.

Poison Drum were okay, very Springsteen influenced. Kurt Vile is great. Didn't get this album for some reason. Really should. I like Wilco's new album. Still not a patch on their peak material, but certainly their strongest in a few years. And maybe I'm too hung up on their first album, but that Bloc Party song is an abomination ;) City Calm Down were okay but felt a little too much like The National, you know? Really enjoyed Wand, I imagine they'd be a blast live. And that Metz song is great. I thought Wavves broke up a while ago? Guess I was wrong. They're okay, but not something that sticks with me.

Glad to see some Thee Oh Sees love as well. Will this be your first time seeing them? You'll love it, as they have two drummers on stage for this tour. I caught them in November (supported by Total Control!) and it was amazing. John Dwyer is one of the most fun people to watch on stage.

Onto Surf...

Speedy Ortiz was good indie rock. Nice to hear the Pixies are still inspiring. Funny lyrics on that that tune. And of course Ought are great. Saw them live twice this year and they were excellent. Courtney Barrett was someone who slipped past me, despite the universal acclaim. I do like what I've heard so far. Kinda catchy, quirky, music that's inspired, like you said, by Pavement amongst others. Snap on Chelsea Wolfe. Like the Sleater-Kinney album. Would be in my Top 20 of the year I'd say, though I would argue it's their weakest album to date.

Response on the next batch tomorrow...
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby JohnErle » January 2nd, 2016, 3:39 pm

Before I jump into my top 5, here's a few that just missed the cut.

Shearwater - Quiet Americans

This is a radical change in sound for Shearwater, but I like it. The album's out some time next year, and I'm curious to see if this dark, Depeche Mode sound is just an aberration, or the band's new focus.


Born Ruffians - Don't Live Up

The Born Ruffians are an Ontario band bringing some much-needed fun into the world of indie rock.



Blur - The Magic Whip

Apparently I've forgotten how to count to 10. That's the only possible reason I overlooked this album in my top 10.

Ice Cream Man

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Re: Best of 2015

Postby JohnErle » January 3rd, 2016, 12:41 am

#5 - My Morning Jacket - The Waterfall

MMJ's latest manages to find a sweet spot between their early sound and the slick production that's come to define them in recent years. And they have a few new tricks up their sleeves, like the Zepplinesque intro to Tropics.

Compound Fracture


Tropics (Erase Traces)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2hUf9tf-0s
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby JohnErle » January 3rd, 2016, 12:57 am

#4 - Heartless Bastards - Restless Ones

In an average year, this easily could have been my #1, but it was awfully crowded at the top in 2015.

The official video for Hi-Line is slightly ridiculous, but it does have a point about how hard it is for a band like the Heartless Bastards to market themselves when they don't play up the established cliches of a genre.

Hi-Line


Black Cloud
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR5Y2yi6LO4
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby numbersix » January 3rd, 2016, 9:34 am

Next batch

Leetsu...
The Districts didn't do a lot for me, sadly. That bluesy style of rock isn't for me, but I agree the lead singer of Alabama Shakes is very impressive. Fidlar didn't really stay with me. Wolf Alice had a great year this year, as apparently they blew people away at every gig and festival they played, not to mention both Grammy and Mercury award nominations. In all the press bluster I never really listened to them. But they sound pretty decent. I actually didn't get Modest Mouse's album. I think it's because what I listened to felt disappointing. Death Grips are another act I've heard a lot about but never listened to. I loved the rawness of this tune. Probably my favourite of your tunes of the year so far. And I really like that Viet Cong album. Quite varied and Continental Shelf is such an amazing track.

Surf...
I loved The Coral's first album too, but I think Bill Ryder-Jones didn't quite grip me. Wavves V Cloud Nothings? I really liked the song you posted. I think the more poppy sensibilities of Wavves are given a nice edge by Cloud Nothings. Great bass line. Might have to listen to the rest of this. And nice to see Protomartyr get some appreciation. I feel they were left to the side on a lot of the critics' lists, but I don't think there's been as a good a guitar album as this in quite some time.

As for Foals. Well, I have to say that I disagree with you guys. I really loved their first two albums (even if they weren't perfect). But in their last two albums I've felt that whatever they did that set them apart and made them distinct is slowly being lost. I loved how they could make great rock songs through using math-rock rhythms, multi-section songs, and intricate guitar playing. But they seem to feel they should become a stadium rock band, and slowly the intricacy is losing out to huge bombastic moments. They're becoming more like Coldplay or U2 than I'd like them to. On this new album there are one or two good song, particularly the first and the last, but there are so many ones that fail because they're losing that great element. Songs like Birch Tree are bland and forgettable, and songs like Snake Oil are failed attempts at anthemic rock. They haven't written anything as beautiful as Spanish Sahara, as atmospheric as Electric Bloom, or as distinct as Black Gold in a long time.

John....
Thanks for joining. A lot of your picks are from bands I knew, and used to like, and didn't realise they were still around and releasing stuff. Iron Maiden were never really my thing, but the track you posted certainly doesn't sound any worse than their classic stuff ;) Yo La Tengo and Calexico were, on the other hand, bands I did know and like. Not a fan of the Friday I'm in Love cover, just because it's such an iconic song. The other track (a reworking of an older tune) was very nice. As for Calexico, I thought the first track was much poppier than what I knew of them, and the second track was better. Both albums sound nice, but not sure if I'd get before accessing the rest of their back catalogue first.

Will listen to the rest tomorrow.
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby JohnErle » January 3rd, 2016, 12:39 pm

#3 - Great Lake Swimmers - A Forest Of Arms

This is the highest ranking Canadian album on my list, and for sheer musicianship I would probably rank it #1, but the lyrics on my top 2 resonated more strongly with me, so that's the reason A Forest Of Arms fell to #3.

There isn't a bad track on the album, and there isn't that one standout track that towers over all the rest, making it exceptionally difficult to pick one or two songs for this countdown. I also couldn't find any studio recordings of my favourites on YouTube, so these live performances will have to do, even if they don't quite capture the perfection of the album. Don't Leave Me Hanging comes the closest, because the band has a fondness for recording in unconventional locations like abandoned churches or these caves in Ontario.

Don't Leave Me Hanging


Something Like A Storm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aXuSouzXps
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby JohnErle » January 3rd, 2016, 8:03 pm

#2 - Steve Earle - Terraplane

Ostensibly a blues album, but Steve Earle is far too restless to stick with any one sound for too long, so Terraplane offers up every conceivable sub-genre of the blues, and a few no one has ever thought of before. Terraplane is a Steve Earle album first and foremost, and a blues album second.

It's hard to think of another artist who would have the balls to respond to the end of his seventh marriage by writing a song like Ain't Nobody's Daddy Now. Sorry Beck, but this is how a real man writes a break-up album, and Earle's audaciousness continues to amaze me.


You're The Best Lover That I Ever Had


Ain't Nobody's Daddy Now
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhpeM3rBrEY
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Re: Best of 2015

Postby JohnErle » January 3rd, 2016, 10:01 pm

Before I post my #1, I'll give some quick comments on the #1s posted so far.

Pond - You didn't really need to mention Tame Impala in your description, because 30 seconds into that track I was thinking "This is way too Tame Impala for me." Surprisingly, I kinda liked your #1 song. I thought Lonerism was hugely overrated, so I never paid any attention to their latest, but that single wasn't bad at all. More like Animal Collective than I was expecting.

Kendrick Lamar - No. Just no.

??? - I don't think Surfer has posted his #1 here yet, but I saw it on Facebook so I won't spoil it here if he's still planning a big reveal. Suffice it to say that I've liked that artists' stuff in the past but haven't listened to the latest yet, and the track you posted didn't grab me.
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