Top Albums and Songs of 2015 (Sam List)

Inspired by Todd and a really great year for music, I’m coming out of hibernation with my tops of 2015…

Top Albums

Jamie xx In Colour (Young Turks)
I figured this collection of dancefloor etudes wouldn’t hold up to repeat listens but here I am, on the last day of the year, still unable to shake the hooks from my head.

Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment Surf (self-released)
A remarkably eclectic and powerful album. The fact you don’t see any of the guest stars credited in song titles tells you everything you need to know about how this “experiment” fared.

Protomartyr The Agent Intellect (Hardly Art)
Riveting post-punk from Detroit; kinda like Interpol without the pretense.

Young Guv Ripe 4 Luv (Slumberland)
Ben Cook set out to satirize bands like Cheap Trick, Big Star, Marshall Crenshaw, etc. only to end up creating a completely epic power pop album of his own.

Jose Gonzalez Vestiges and Claws (Mute)
I respect Jose’s absolute commitment to the whispery folk formula that made him famous, especially when it produces a gorgeous album like this one.

Sufjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)
Like Jose, Sufjan keeps doing his thing and it keeps getting better.

Thundercat The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam (Brainfeeder)
Yearning, confident, proggy, funky – like nothing else out there.

Colleen Captain of None (Thrill Jockey)
An art album that plays like a pop record.

Kamasi Washington The Epic (Brainfeeder)
I may be the only so-called music snob who thought Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly was just okay (or is that just me being extra snobby?) – but if the Kendrick Lamar phenomenon means former studio musicians like Kamasi see more sunshine, I’m all about it.

Beirut No No No (4AD)
Even a B+ record from Beirut will make my top 10.

Top Songs

Young Fathers “Shame” (Big Dada)
Nosaj Thing feat Chance the Rapper “Cold Stares” (Innovative Leisure/Timetable)
Baio “Sister of Pearl” (Glassnote)
The Arcs “Stay In My Corner” (Nonesuch)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” (Jajaguwar)
Lonelady “Groove It Out” (Warp)
Bicep “Just” (K7)
Swervedriver “Last Rites” (Cobraside)
Spectres “Where Flies Sleep” (Sonic Cathedral)
Beliefs “Tidal Wave” (Hand Drawn Dracula)
Low “What Part of Me” (Sub Pop)
Helen “Motorcycle” (kranky)
Four Tet “Morning Side” (Text)
William Alexander “Strangest Things” (Yellow K)
Open Mike Eagle feat MC Paul Barman & Milo “Trickeration” (Mello Music)

Atlas Sound

What does it take to to wake me from a 3hive coma? One simple tweet: “@diplo: i wish atlas sound would ask me to make them a mixtape.” Which got me thinking, How friggin sweet would that be? Which got me thinking, Wait, none of us have posted Atlas Sound on 3hive?? Which got me thinking, Where’s my login??? So here goes…
Atlas Sound is what the crazy prolific Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox calls himself when doing the home recording thing. It’s hard to put a finger on his steez cause it morphs based on his mood and whatever’s moving him at the time. To get a sense of his wide range of influences, just check the playlist to his latest “micromix“. The common thread is a drowsy, droney, and often messy sheen to surprisingly tuneful and hypnotic song structures.
“Doctor” covers an obscure single from ’50s/’60s doo-wop act The Five Discs. “Walkabout” is a pop chant that’ll shimmy its way into your head and stay a while. And, given the season, I threw in Bradford’s oddly sentimental “holiday” tune from 2007. Now, I’m heading back to Twitter for more inspiration…

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Out Hud

Let’s hear it for the Golden State! No, Out Hud ain’t no Midwest transplant, but straight outta Californ-I-A. Between Out Hud and !!! (with which they share members) the Williamsburg myth loses steam (hasn’t it already?), proof that geography has little to do with rhythm. “How Long” is retro without kitsch, funk with a pinch of punk, and completely danceable. Get down on it.

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