20 BEST ALBUMS OF 2015

20 BEST ALBUMS OF 2015


20 albums which filled up concert venues,
play lists and the music news. Or deserve to.
Not a top 20.


Björk, Massis, Songhoy Blues, Spoiwo, Zu, Drenge, Thee Oh Sees, Faith No More, Slaves, High Tension, vert:x, Soulfly, Public Image Ltd., Slayer, David Gilmour, Girl Band, The Dead Weather, Orchidfoot, Shining (NOR), Wolf Eyes, Kurt Cobain


Björk – Vulnicura

bjorkWith Vulnicura, Björk releases the most personal product of her career, a cathartic expression of loss and suffering after breaking up with Matthew Barney. In a Facebook post, she described it as a ‘heartbreak album’. The songs are drawn chronologically around the breakup, describing in detail the pain of before, during and after. The lyrics are simple, direct and referential. Still, despite having her most personal feelings exposed to the world, the entire experience remains delicate, candid, highly emotional. And heartbreaking indeed.

In November, Björk released a string version of the recording.

Björk – Vulnicura

Favorite song: Atom Dance

 

RELEASE DATE: January 20, 2015 (digital version), March 16, 2015 (physical version)
LABEL: One Little Indian Megaforce Sony
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/bjork
WEB: www.bjork.com


Massis – Massis

massis belgiumAmong new Belgian releases, here’s the self-titled album from MASSIS, an impressive debut with eight tracks that moisturize and nurture the passion for instrumental noise rock. Experienced musicians, skilled over the years through many different styles, from hard rock and hardcore to post-punk and noise rock, MASSIS’s members have already an impressive previous activity in bands like Heibel, Triptych, Cabrón, Hangmen, Balderdash, as well as many years of stage experience. No wonder that the album is astonishing for a debut work. (read more)

Favorite song: Powerplant

MASSIS them

 

RELEASE DATE: February 10, 2015
LABEL: self-released
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
BANDCAMP: massisband.bandcamp.com/releases
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/MASSISband
WEB: www.massisband.be


Songhoy Blues – Music in Exile

Songhoy Blues – Music in Exile jpegThere is a story behind each band. The awarded documentary ‘They Will Have to Kill Us First’ reveals the Songhoy Blues’ story: members are originally from a northern region of Mali. Running away from civil war and radical Islamists who banned music in the area, they arrived in the capital and decided to start a band. Their life changed when they were discovered by Damon Albarn’s Africa Express. Music in Exile is desert blues that mixes traditional elements with modern ones, Malian melody with American blues and has a message that transcends any language barrier.

Favorite song: Ai Tchere Bele

They Will Have To Kill Us First - Songhoy Blues

 

RELEASE DATE: February 23, 2015
LABEL: Transgressive Records
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/SonghoyBlues
WEB: http://songhoy-blues.com


Spoiwo – Salute Solitude

Spoiwo

Spoiwo are a five-member Polish group from Gdańsk. Salute Solitude is one of the best post-rock releases of the year. In addition to classic instrumentation they use two synthesizers, which deepen the dreamy feeling of the solitary world they are describing through their music. Salude Solitude has its own philosophy, that the solitude requires sensibility, awareness and courage and it’s not something to reject but to embrace. A state of being which is magnificently transposed into sound.

Favorite song: Call me Home

spoiwo

 

RELEASE DATE: March 13, 2015
LABEL: self-released
FORMATS: digital
BANDCAMP: spoiwo.bandcamp.com
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/Spoiwo


Zu – Cortar Todo

ZU
Among bands with unmistakable signatures, Zu is one of the leaders. They are this merciless Creator deity who plays with punk, math, metal, noise, electronics essences to create precious gems like Cortar Todo. Beyond the visceral aesthetics – Cortar Todo means ‘cut everything’ in Spanish and it’s indeed full of slashing, scratching, ripping off sounds the album is as fully round as a circle: on a loop, the last accords of ‘Pantokrator’ match perfectly the opening of ‘The Unseen War’. Everything in between is a brilliant sound massacre in which you may agonize but can’t escape of. Another masterpiece.

Favorite song: The Unseen War.

zu luca

 

RELEASE DATE: March 24, 2015
LABEL: Ipecac
FORMATS: digital, cd
BANDCAMP: zuband.bandcamp.com
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/vajrazu
WEB: www.zuism.net


Drenge – Undertow

drenge-undertow-art
I remember Drenge’s debut album of two years ago and I clearly remember that it was awesome but the current one is better produced, better arranged, gloomier and much more energetic. The two still very young brothers, Eoin and Rory Loveless, added also some bass guitar to it, played by an old friend, Rob Graham. They keep their teenage anger’s authenticity but their power of expression is darker and more demanding to be understood. The improvement from the self-titled debut album to Undertow is as remarkable as the one from Bleach to Nevermind.

drenge

Favorite song: The Snake

RELEASE DATE: April 6, 2015
LABEL: Infectious Records
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/drengeboys
WEB: www.drenge.co.uk


Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last

thee-oh-sees-mutilator-w

With a brand new rhythmic section, Thee Oh Sees gracefully avoids the danger of hiatus and releases a hyperactive, atmospheric and full of taste album. Mutilator Defeated At Last is heavy, intense, exquisite and unpredictable. It has all the elements of pure fuelled garage rock but also elements of progressive rock, as the organ on ‘Sticky Hulks’ or acoustic guitars on ‘Holy Smoke’. All in all, another cool psychedelic journey.

THEE-OH-SEES--1024x649
Credit: Minivan Photography

Favorite song: Web

 

RELEASE DATE: May 18, 2015
LABEL: Castle Face Records
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/TheeOhSees
WEB: www.theeohsees.com


Faith No More – Sol Invictus

faith-no-more Although they did follow the ‘reunion trend’ and got back together for touring in 2009, FNM took their time to release a new album. It has finally happened with Sol Invictus (Latin for ‘unconquered sun’), 18 years after Album of the Year. FNM’s back catalog is one distinctive album after another and Mike Patton is an unpredictable catalytic element so no one knew what to expect with Sol Invictus and many were still left puzzled after listening to the result. I guess they only had two options: produce something completely new or continue with the variety of style and themes approached in their 30 year career. They’ve chosen to come up with a product showing they are still the real thing even after all this time.

faith no more

Favorite song: Separation Anxiety.

 

RELEASE DATE: May 19, 2015
LABEL: Ipecac
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/faithnomore
WEB: www.fnm.com


Slaves – Are You Satisfied?

Slaves-–-Are-You-SatisfiedOne of the two ‘slaves’, Isaac Holman said: ‘Our band is based around the mundane. People mistake it for political, but it’s not, its social observation and personal.’ Slaves deep-rooted punk sound may have appeared dishonest to some and caricatural to others. Everything on the record could have been a perfectly legit rallying call except that their sarcasm and derisiveness doesn’t address issues as disfavored social categories or marginalized groups but rather of those having a 9 to 5 job and their day-to-day ‘modern’ life-style. And they have been seriously criticized for that, as if it’s sin when middle-class express anger through punk music. But even if you like it or not, the message is strong and coherent throughout all 13 tracks and overall it makes Are You Satisfied? one of the most solid debut albums ever.

slavesFavorite song: Hey

RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2015
LABEL: Virgin EMI Records
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/officialslaves
WEB: youareallslaves.com


High Tension – Bully

bully

High Tension is a blast punk-rock band from Australia and Bully is their second album. In addition, they are a female fronted band; Karina Utomo’s resourceful vocals are simply amazing, her lungs being able to uphold and raise higher any style from stoner to death metal. A heavy release full of attitude discovered on Henry Rollins’ radio show on KCRW.

Favorite song: Sports

high tension

 

RELEASE DATE: July 10, 2015
LABEL: New Damage Records
FORMATS: digital, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/HighTensionBand
WEB: www.hightension.com.au


vert:x – annwn

vert-x

vert:x (all lower cases, vert colon x) seems to be champion when it comes to being compared to early Hawkwind. However, the reviews do continued beyond that point and vert:x’s potential has been constantly exposed throughout its reviewed catalogue. Their latest album offers hypnotic landscapes at fast pace, repetitive patterns and carefree energy coming out of guitars combined with synthesizers. On a music scene where spacerock meets kosmische, vert:x is always a delight.

vertx
Credit: Frank Roper/ Local Sound Focus

Favorite song: atom a.k.

 

RELEASE DATE: July 24, 2015
LABEL: self-released
FORMATS: digital, cd
BANDCAMP: vertx1.bandcamp.com
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/vertx


Soulfly – Archangel

soulfly-archangel
Max Cavalera loves to keep himself busy. After Savages, he released one more record with Cavalera Conspiracy, took part in the supergroup Killer Be Killed and above all, was touring, touring, touring. Still, Archangel is one of the most powerful Soulfly acts since Profecy. Although very short, only about 37 minutes, it’s brutal, consistent and as aggressive as ever. One might think that behind the opener’s title – We Sold Our Souls to Metal – hides an old-fashion obsolete metal anthem. It is not at all the case. In fact, each song on Archangel sticks up for Cavalera’s shamanic attitude.

SOULFLY
Photo Credit: JP Daniels

Favorite song: We Sold Our Souls to Metal

 

RELEASE DATE: August 14, 2015
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/SoulflyOfficial
WEB: www.soulfly.com


Public Image Ltd. – What the World Needs Now…

PiL_-_What_The_World_Needs_NowReleasing This is PiL after two decade hiatus was a clear challenge for John Lydon.  But the advocate for the originality of every human being came back reinvented and stronger than ever, always in search to reaching audience in his own particular way. What the World Needs Now… is This is PiL’s twin brother, only that it might be the more attractive one, due to Lydon’s theatrical better vocal performance and the acid lyricism (occasionally even explicit).  In case you’re wondering what’s the answer to the question imply the album’s title, have patience until the last song; there is still enough Johnny Rotten left in John Lydon to get you shocked sophisticatedly.

pil 2
Photo Credit: Stefan Meekers

Favorite song: Spice of Choice

 

RELEASE DATE: September 4, 2015
LABEL: PiL Official Ltd
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/pilofficial
WEB: www.pilofficial.com


Slayer – Repentless

slayer
The year 2013 was hard on Slayer, loosing Jeff Hanneman on one side and Dave Lombardo on the other. Still, they managed to get their stuff together pretty well and come up with a new album in 2015. Repentless is a classic thrash metal album that proves once more who are the masters of the genre. Old-school metal is not dead and this one of the Slayer’s uncompromising albums. ‘No looking back, no regrets, no apologies/What you get is what you see.’ Respect.

slayerFavorite song: Implode

 

RELEASE DATE: September 11, 2015
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/slayer
WEB: www.slayer.net


David Gilmour – Rattle That Lock

David Gilmour Rattle That Lock Album sleeve - mediumWhen the master speaks, everybody listens. You might need a few quiet moments to gather respect, which is the case on Rattle That Lock as the album starts with some 20 seconds of silence. The album is meditative and personal. It was written together with his wife who signs most of the songs lyrics and David’s son performs piano on ‘In Any Tongue’. Three very beautiful instrumental pieces carry within Gilmour’s trademark of melancholy – ‘5 A.M.’, ‘Beauty’, and ‘And Then…’ – while the rest of the album gets particularly closer to early Pink Floyd work.

Favorite song: A Boat Lies Waitingdavid gilmour jpeg

 

RELEASE DATE: September 18, 2015
LABEL: Columbia
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/davidgilmour
WEB: www.davidgilmour.com


Girl Band – Holding Hands with Jamie

girl-band-holding-hands-with-jamie

 

Girl Band is in fact a band of four guys coming from Dublin. Their debut album Holding Hands with Jamie sounds a lot like a homemade recording except that … it’s not. There are traces of experimental, post-punk, noise, industrial all over it and they meant every scrap of them. The extreme noise and remote vocals exert irresistible attraction and the raw sound is exceptionally appealing. Intriguing and very original.

Favorite song: Baloo

girl band

 

RELEASE DATE: September 25, 2015
LABEL: Rough Trade
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
BANDCAMP: https://girlbanddublin.bandcamp.com/
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/girlband
WEB: http://girlband.ie


The Dead Weather – Dodge and Burn

the dead weather

Everybody knows Mr Jack has unusual preference for noir aesthetics for somebody named White. Dodge and Burn is a Dead Weather classic featuring Led Zeppelin influences, desolate lyrics, insane imaginary, precise vocal duets, sinister storytelling with two main protagonists: the guitar signature of Jack White and the dominant vocals of Alison Mosshart. On Dodge and Burn, Jack White shares and even leaves more space for Alison Mosshart.
With this third record, The Dead Weather becomes less and less a side project and more of a band with future releases being impatiently expected.

jack white

Favorite song: Rough Detective

 

RELEASE DATE: September 25, 2015
LABEL: Third Man
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/Dead.Weather
WEB: www.thedeadweather.com


Orchidfoot – Underground Photosynthesis

Orchidfoot - Underground Photosynthesis

Orchidfoot is not yet to be found anywhere on the internet except on their bandcamp and soundcloud and on independent stations such as Dandelion Radio. Underground Photosynthesis is a two layered product: some tracks are written in a singer-songwriting style of a rare intensity, other pieces are made of dreamy electronic rhythms and sound effects. Each song has a suave and delicate signature impossible to ignore regardless of their creative intentions.

orchidfootFavorite song: It’s Plain

 

RELEASE DATE: October 15, 2015
LABEL: self-released
FORMATS: DIGITAL, VINYL, CD
BANDCAMP: https://orchidfoot.bandcamp.com/releases
SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/orchidfoot


Shining (NOR) – International Blackjazz Society

Shining-International-Black-Jazz-Society

Once released, in 2010, the title of the album Blackjazz became the description of the band’s genre. We find it again on One, One, One, in a song title, ‘Blackjazz Rebels’. Now the term comes back on their latest album, International Blackjazz Society. Could this be the Ariadne’s thread that helps finding way out through a labyrinth of madness? Shining definitely continue spreading around their great brooding mix of jazz and metal and the insane energy coming out of Jørgen Munkeby sax stays very very high.

shiningFavorite song: Thousand Eyes

 

RELEASE DATE: October 19, 2015
LABEL: Spinefarm Records
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/shiningnorway
WEB: www.shining.no


Wolf Eyes – I Am a Problem: Mind in Pieces

WolfEyes-cover-800
Wolf Eyes’ history goes back in the ’90s with a huge discography mostly self-released and tons of side projects. Best described as trip metal, their specialty is sculpting sound into disturbing scary landscapes. But despite the title, the lyrics and their past records, this latest album seems less creepy and more coherent than their usual tone. Don’t get fooled though, it still sounds like the soundtrack of movie about a basement holding secrets that no one wants to know.

Favorite song: Enemy Ladder

wolf-eyes-main

 

RELEASE DATE: October 30, 2015
LABEL: Third Man Records
FORMATS: digital, vinyl, cd
BANDCAMP: https://wolf-eyes.bandcamp.com
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/wolfeyesinc
WEB: http://wolfeyes.net


Bonus: Kurt Cobain – Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings

montagemontage delux



This compilation, released at Universal Music, is quite controversial. It sits somewhere between a creepy souvenir and the soundtrack of a documentary. Still, any Nirvana fan would want it in their collection.



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Posted on: December 29, 2015ywannish