Today continues Earbuddy’s countdown of our choices for the 100 best albums of 2015. Check out what we ranked for 100 – 36 HERE. No more stalling; let’s reveal 35 – 26.
35. Miguel – Wildheart
Much has been made about Wildheart being the sexiest album of the year (and it is), but while this isn’t the best R&B album of the year, it is the best that adheres to more rigid song structure. Put simply, any of these songs could have been (and still could be) world-smashing chart-topping singles, led by a man so in love with classic and progressive R&B that Bruno Mars would need to change his name and his face in order to come back from this if we lived in a just world. Wildheart: the best fuck of the year.
Joanna Newsom is a busy performer. “Anecdotes”, the first song on her latest album, Divers, features more words than are in this entire review, and those lyrics get into some heavy-handed metaphors about existence and how our surveillance state has shown a light on the ultimate futility of it all, and even getting that far requires either an uncanny ear to make out what Newsom is saying given her word count and tendency to warble or a lyric sheet. This is poetry that requires a lot of work to engage with, but patient listeners will be rewarded with one of the year’s most beautiful records.
The beauty of Multi-Love is that Ruban Neilson has finally found a theme he can execute. This is an incredibly fun — and well-crafted — example of experimental soul. The entire LP is so cohesive that it becomes tough to even blame him for some of the filler tracks. Though not exciting, they act as a fine bridge from one great track to the next. Furthermore, Neilson uses lo-fi synths and vintage production to a perfect effect. Where many artists bring the campiness of their tools to the forefront, Neilson puts them right where they should be. Though it’s tough album to properly classify (but what isn’t nowadays…), Mutli-Love has enough for anybody. Fans of soul will love Neilson’s Stevie Wonder vocals; fans of newer, experimental music will be intrigued by his quirky production; fans of music in general will appreciate his (mostly) tight songwriting.
This is not a mushy, introverted album, whatever the title hints at. This is punk rock, played at maximum volume, with only one song letting up the maelstrom. Every instrument is mixed at the same extreme volume, and listening to the album is akin to a giant bellowing in your face. The drums hit like collapsing redwoods, and each power chord bursts through your chest and exits the other side. As one might imagine, this is perfect fodder for fists-in-air, holler-along choruses, and Beach Slang’s James Snyder does not disappoint.
When Chelsea Wolfe claimed that Abyss would be her ‘darkest and most personal album to date’, she really wasn’t kidding; this record is more or less 55 minutes of pure, unadulterated darkness. As unappealing as this may initially sound, Chelsea Wolfe somehow manages so make this not only listenable, but wholly enjoyable.
Summertime ‘06 is a phenomenal album to listen to casually. Its twenty tracks are spread out over an hour, making for a breezy listen as no song is afforded the chance to overstay its welcome, an odd mitigation considering that this is the second-best sounding hip-hop album of the year behind To Pimp a Butterfly. Its commitment to dank grime and brevity suggests this is what Vertex would have sounded like if it came out ten years later and Buck 65 were black. Nothing is more surprising, though, than the revelation that Vince Staples is a talented writer.
Rustie’s third record refracts all of the influence of his earlier work into a gleaming multi-colored galaxy of maximalistic beatmaking harmony and it is reminder that beyond all the smog, wars and pollution there are beautiful sunsets, mystical wildlife and a sense that we might not be alone in this universe.
With such an ambitious title and such a long absence, it is just as well that Florence and the Machine have in fact come through with a record which is big, blue and beautiful. With only 11 tracks on the standard edition, every track is vital to the flow and momentum of the record; gentle and reflective cuts like “St Jude” and “Caught” ensure that there is emotional diversity whilst the more anthemic tracks like “Third Eye” and “Queen Of Peace” retain the mainstream appeal of the band’s older sound, striking the perfect balance between appeasing loyal fans and including those who didn’t quite get the oddball charm of the band’s earlier material.
27. Arca – Mutant
At 20 songs, Mutant is geared more to the Autechre’s Confield, Aphex Twin’s Syro and Boards of Canada’s Tomorrow’s Harvest fan base than the Calvin Harris and Tiesto one. There are songs that have single potential such as “Vanity”, Sheep highlight “Umbilical”, and the mind melting “En” which has a video that accompanies the lethargic lusty qualities of the song quite well.
Will Toledo has been creating music as Car Seat Headrest since he was in high school and has a discography on Bandcamp stretching back many years. Teens of Style could be your first time listening to the group, but your interest will be thoroughly piqued to go back and discover it all. There is an inspiration here that makes almost every song a home run, despite the fact that it is a compilation of sorts. These compositions sound vital, possessed of an energy that needs to be brought back to current indie rock. The epic song lengths are like those of Cymbals Eat Guitars’ early work, but unlike them, you get the sense that Toledo is more of an artisan, a skilled craftsman who has honed his craft to this point.
And now a look at our list so far:
100. Wild Raccoon – Mount Break
99. HIBOU – HIBOU
98. Aqualung – 10 Futures
97. Misterwives – Our Own House
96. Lapalux – Lustmore
95. Of Montreal – Snare Lustrous Doomings
94. GABI – Sympathy
93. White Reaper – White Reaper Does It Again
92. All We Are – All We Are
91. The Cairo Gang – Goes Missing
90. Sun Hotel – Rational Expectations
89. Jose Gonzalez – Vestiges and Claws
88. Travis Scott – Rodeo
87. Shlohmo – Dark Red
86. Krill – A Distant Fist Unclenching
85. Sarah Bethe Nelson – Fast Moving Clouds
84. Jaakko Eino Kalevi – Jaakko Eino Kaveli
83. Blur – The Magic Whip
82. Young Thug – Barter 6
81. Vomitface – Another Bad Year
80. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – Surf
79. Martin Courtney – Many Moons
78. The Black Ryder – The Door Behind The Door
77. Prurient – Frozen Niagara Falls
76. Oberhofer – Chronovision
75. Adele – 25
74. Main Attrakionz – 808s and Dark Grapes III
73. Slutever – Almost Famous
72. Dan Deacon – Gliss Riffer
71. Future – DS2
70. Ash Koosha – Guud
69. My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall
68. Matthew E. White – Fresh Blood
67. Mount Eerie – Sauna
66. Shannon and the Clams – Gone By The Dawn
65. Autre Ne Veut – Age of Transparency
64. Wilco – Star Wars
63. San Fermin – Jackrabbit
62. Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy
61. Pile – You’re Better Than This
60. Clarence Clarity – No Now
59. The Mountain Goats – Beat The Champ
58. Petite Noir – The King of Anxiety
57. Lady Lamb – After
56. MIkal Cronin – MCIII
55. Ava Luna – Infinite House
54. Freddie Gibbs – Shadow of a Doubt
53. Youth Lagoon – Savage Hills Ballroom
52. Girl Band – Holding Hands With Jamie51. Floating Points – Elaenia
50. Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper
49. Lower Dens – Escape from Evil
48. Majical Cloudz – Are You Alone?
47. Lightning Bolt – Fantasy Empire
46. Joey Bada$$ – B4.DA.$$
45. Death Grips – Jenny Death
44. Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last
43. Drake – If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late
42. Hudson Mohawke – Lantern
41. Beach House – Depression Cherry
40. Deerhunter – Fading Frontier
39. Laura Marling – Short Movie
38. Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down…
37. Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp
36. Björk – Vulnicura
35. Miguel – Wildheart
34. Joanna Newsom – Divers
33. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love
32. Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us
31. Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss
30. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06
29. Rustie – EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE
28. Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
27. Arca – Mutant
26. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Style
And that’s it for today! Be sure to join us tomorrow as we take a look at our best releases of 2015: 25 – 11.