MY FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2015

  1. 36.
    Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper/Crosswords EP
    Crosswords was effectively a small collection of b-sides but I actually enjoyed it as much or more than Grim Reaper. But, I had "Boys Latin" stuck in my head for weeks, so I'm putting both on the list.
  2. 35.
    Floating Points - Elaenia
    Laid back, organic, layered electronic jams. Very Four Tet in all the best ways.
  3. 34.
    Ævangelist - Enthrall to the Void of Bliss
    SO MANY good metal albums releases in 2015. I happened upon Ævangelist's "Writhes in the Murk" on Bandcamp completely by chance, just in time to see them prepping a brand new album for release. Providence!
  4. 33.
    Wilco - Star Wars
    I mean. It's Wilco. Basically a no brainer. They are kings of taking things just seriously enough, but knowing when not to take things too seriously. "Magnetized" is a timeless gem of a song.
  5. 32.
    Future Brown - Future Brown
    Dark, hooky, producer-focused hip hop with a global perspective and a small dose of feminism. Yes please!
  6. 31.
    Vince Staples - Summertime ‘06
    California hip hop keeps getting better and better. This album feels like Long Beach. Staples is wise beyond his 22 years, and his lyrics show it.
  7. 30.
    Happyness - Weird Little Birthday
    I'm a sucker for a laid back shoegaze record, and this satisfied all the same needs in 2015 that Nothing's 2014 record did. Also, a song about stealing Win Butler's hair. How could you go wrong?
  8. 29.
    Kamasi Washington - The Epic
    I must be in my 30s because here's a massive jazz opus on my list. Blame Flying Lotus: LA is officially making jazz cool again.
  9. 28.
    Ought - Sun Coming Down
    Somewhere between Parquet Courts and Talking Heads, in all the right ways.
  10. 27.
    JLin - Dark Energy
    Footwork is the perfect dance subgenre for people who like to let their brains get stuck in an infinitely recursive loop, and JLin's take is especially satisfying and hard to get out of your head.
  11. 26.
    METZ - II
    METZ found the perfect balance of consistency and progress on this followup to their blisteringly loud debut, proving that post-hardcore still has some unexplored territory to cover.
  12. 25.
    Bully - Feels Like
    Nashville-grown garage punk. Alicia Bognanno's voice is damn near perfect.
  13. 24.
    Fetty Wap - Fetty Wap
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  14. 23.
    The Velvet Underground - The Complete Matrix Tapes
    High quality bootlegs of VU at their peak is a live music nerd's wet dream.
  15. 22.
    Unwound - Empire box set
    I never heard Unwound during their time, so these box set reissues they've been releasing have been an exciting discovery for me. They find a post-hardcore sweet spot somewhere between Fugazi and These Arms Are Snakes and bring a healthy dose of experimentation into the mix. One can only hope their newfound fans can coax them out of retirement for a tour or some new material.
  16. 21.
    mewithoutYou - Pale Horses
    This felt like a return to the form of their peak material. Not that they've had any particularly deep valleys, but this was still an exciting, refreshing release.
  17. 20.
    Holly Herndon - Platform
    Experimental, heady electronic music that tackles subject matter like internet subcultures (like the ASMR movement), privacy, and the role of technology in our lives. It's like someone looked into my soul and turned it into a really weird, delightful record.
  18. 19.
    Torres - Sprinter
    Torres brings some heavy realness to her songwriting. This will make you cry and also want to punch things.
  19. 18.
    HEALTH - DEATH MAGIC
    I have always loved HEALTH's dark, driving, post new wave sound. This record felt like they finally achieved the full depth of sound they were always after.
  20. 17.
    Beach House - Depression Cherry/Thank Your Lucky Stars
    I will never not like a Beach House record, and this year we got two! These are both sleeper records that require a little more attention than their past works, but it pays off.
  21. 16.
    Deafheaven - New Bermuda
    Obligatory hipster metal album. Their not-so-positive portrayal of California's coast as a new Bermuda Triangle is a fun thought experiment.
  22. 15.
    Grimes - Art Angels
    Everyone had to put this on their list, right? In all seriousness, "Flesh Without Blood" was one of my favorite ear worms this year. Worth approx. 3000 listens.
  23. 14.
    Low - Ones and Sixes
    This was a perfect fall album. Brooding and methodical, quiet and loud all at once.
  24. 13.
    Best Coast - California Nights
    Fate had me hearing the lead single from this record a lot during a visit to the California coast where I grew up. This album is pure nostalgia for me.
  25. 12.
    Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion
    It's been a good year for pop music and Carly Rae was no exception. She made countless perfect decisions in the writing and production of this album that make it feel like an homage to the last 30 years of dance, pop and top 40 R&B. "All That" sounds like a lost Prince hit.
  26. 11.
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
    "Peasantry or 'Light! Inside of Light!'" may very well be the most ominous instrumental jam Godspeed has released yet, and that's saying something because "ominous" and "instrumental" are basically all Godspeed does.
  27. 10.
    Jamie xx - In Colour
    I kept coming back to Jamie xx all year as my background music of choice. It's very dance-oriented, but produced in a solid and headphone-friendly, well-rounded way and carries a satisfying narrative from start to finish.
  28. 9.
    Rayland Baxter - Imaginary Man
    I've all but abandoned the warm, old-country-and-soul inspired pop coming out of Nashville lately. Probably an issue of proximity, but it all runs together for me. But Rayland caught my ear in a different way. There's something smart, self aware and thoughtful here that makes it feel less like riding a trend and more like authentic, laid back rock and roll that many of his peers with loftier ambitions are missing.
  29. 8.
    Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
    Courtney is the new queen of turning mundane observations into sacred commentary on modern life. "Depreston" packs the same punch as all of Arcade Fire's Suburbs record in one song. I can't wait to see where her career takes her.
  30. 7.
    Death Grips - the powers that b
    They continued their dark, antisocial troll game into 2015 stronger than ever. I don't know what it says about me that their fuck-the-world approach to pretty much everything is so satisfying, but here we are.
  31. 6.
    Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
    Sufjan released one of the most sincere, sad records of the year, and wore his heart squarely on his sleeve for the entire tour that followed. A once in a lifetime live experience and an album to help remember it forever.
  32. 5.
    David Bazan - Bazan Monthly, Volume 2
    Bazan kinda flew under the radar with this monthly 7" single strategy, but the end result is effectively two albums in two years, full of material where he pushes himself both as a songwriter and DIY producer in new directions. Volume 2 is especially interesting, as he took a largely electronic approach to the production. The result is the same introspective mind sharing he's known for, over a backdrop of sounds we'd only heard from him in fits and starts before.
  33. 4.
    CHVRCHES - Every Open Eye
    Perhaps the perfect dance pop album? Oh god I can't stop listening to these ascending vocal melodies.
  34. 3.
    Purity Ring - another eternity
    They always feel like the evil twin of CHVRCHES to me, and that basically just makes me like it that much more.
  35. 2.
    Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly
    K-Dot is a pure embodiment of the hip-hop ideal of rap music as—in Killer Mike's words—"an alternative to violence to combat poverty with art." This is the soundtrack to #blacklivesmatter and America in 2015.
  36. 1.
    Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy
    Punk rock that can make you cry. I will never not love a TA record, but this one got me right in the feels. "Fired Up" is my new anthem. It's also worth noting that this is a 93-minute, five-act punk rock opera (i.e. a recipe for disaster), and there's not a minute of it I would skip.