2015 has given us a lot of good music. So much of it, that we have, at times, had trouble keeping up with all of it. This is an incomplete list in no particular order of ten of the best albums we did not get the chance to write a full review on.
Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves
Strangers to Ourselves is the first new album from Modest Mouse since 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank and it was nice to see that the band had managed to keep most of their charms through the hiatus. The album is a mix of weird and catchy and manages to not sound out of place in 2015 or Modest Mouse’s existing catalog.
Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
Sleater-Kinney is another band that went on an indefinite hiatus some time in the middle 2000s and decided to release a comeback album this year. No Cities to Love is energetic, charismatic, and focused sampling of riot grrrl punk and also one of the best rock albums of the year.
Joywave – How Do You Feel Now?
I found out about Joywave when I realized that they were the band behind their two singles “Tongues” and “Somebody New” as well as the collaboration, “Dangerous”, with Big Data. Joywave remind me a lot of The Beta Band for their ability to blend indie rock and electronica into an eclectic, hook driven, album that just sounds different enough from their peers.
Susanne Sundfør – Ten Love Songs
Ten Love Songs is an album that contains ten artsy Scandinavian pop songs, which sounds simple enough, but Sundfør is not quite as mindless as some of her contemporaries. The album is smartly thought out and focuses more on the bittersweet moments of love than head over heels bliss or utter heartbreak.
Jim O’Rourke – Simple Songs
Simple Songs is legendary producer, Jim O’Rourke’s, sixth solo album on Drag City and his first featuring vocals since 2001. O’Rourke is a master craftsman when it comes to producing and mixing music and densely layers instruments and melodies. Simple Songs is a beautiful mix of 70’s sounding pop rock that give it a sense of timelessness. His voice is not fantastic but redeems itself with the emotional sincerity with which it conveys the often jaded but clever lyrics.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress is a tightly packed instrumental rock album from Canadian post rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It is forty minutes of intense guitars, strings, and drone synths colliding and harmonizing with passages of light and dark, loud and quiet. All of this builds up to an epic payoff in the finale.
Róisín Murphy – Hairless Toys
Hairless Toys is an elegant return for Murphy whose last album, Overpowered, came out way back in 2007. It is an album that seems to aim for a balance between experimental and accessible. Murphy challenges the listener to pay attention to the nuances and subtleties in her music, turning her signature dance pop sound on its head to explore darker emotional states. As always, Murphy’s voice is exceptional and a highlight.
Laura Marling – Short Movie
Short Movie is about average for an album by Laura Marling, which is a good thing because each of her five albums have been excellent. During the decade that she has been making music Marling has done a remarkable job of maintaining the strengths of her music, the introspective and insightful lyrics, emotionality, and folksy sensibilities, while still managing to add new elements to her sound and Short Movie continues this trend.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love
Unknown Mortal Orchestra brand of catchy psych rock gets mixed with funk and R&B and the result is a brooding, mystical, journey through singer/songwriter Ruban Neilson’s polygamous relationship with his wife and another woman. The best songs on the album are catchy enough to be stuck in your head for days while the rest fill in the spaces in between.
Algiers – Algiers
Algiers sound is a mixture of industrial, gospel, and punk rock which actually sounds new and different. It’s a frantic, busy, and political album that still manages to make an emotional connection to the listener. The best thing about Algiers might just be how much potential they have because they sound like a band that could improve with each album and they already sound so good.