Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2015 in Music

It's really quite simple -- listen to about 500 albums, sift and sort them, putting them in the "maybe," "definitely," or "forget it" pile as you come upon them, and then as the year winds down, enter a mad rush to somehow quantify just how much each one is liked or loved relative to all the others, at least among the top of the list, all the while being introduced to albums you need to check out courtesy of other best of year lists.  Identify a top 25, plus 25 honorable mentions, post it, and forget about it.  Take a few weeks off, then start anew with the candidates for the list next year.

I couldn't quite pull it off this year, as I'm left with 29 honorable mentions, and find myself incapable of culling the list any further.

Here are the Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order) --

Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color
*American Aquarium - Wolves
The Arcs - Yours, Dreamily
Blitzen Trapper - All Across This Land
Mal Blum - You Look A Lot Like Me
Blur - The Magic Whip
Bop English - Constant Bop
Born Ruffians - RUFF
Leon Bridges - Coming Home
Buxton - Half a Native
City and Colour - If I Should Go Before You
Phil Cook - Southland Mission
El VY - Return to the Moon
Eskimeaux - O.K.
Bill Fay - Who Is the Sender?
Fraser A. Gorman - Slow Gum
Modest Mouse - Strangers to Ourselves
*The Mountain Goats - Beat the Champ
Murder By Death - Big Dark Love
Israel Nash - Israel Nash’s Silver Season
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - s/t
Josh Ritter - Sermon on the Rocks
River City Extension - Deliverance
Roadside Graves - Acne/Ears
The Stone Foxes - Twelve Rooms
This is the Kit - Bashed Out
Toro y Moi - What For?
Jonathan Tyler - Holy Smokes
Widowspeak - All Yours

And the Top 25:

*25. Matthew E. White - Fresh Blood

24. Decemberists - What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

*23. Hey Rosetta! - Second Sight

*22. The Districts - A Flourish & A Spoil

21. Avid Dancer - 1st Bath

20. Rhiannon Giddens - Tomorrow Is My Turn

19. DMA's - s/t (EP)

18. Brown Bird - Axis Mundi

17. Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free

16. The Helio Sequence - s/t

15. Lucero - All a Man Should Do

*14. Waxahatchee - Ivy Trip

*13. Kurt Vile - b'lieve i'm goin down

12. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

11. Mikal Cronin - MCIII

10. Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love

9. John Moreland - High on Tulsa Heat

8. Houndmouth - Little Neon Limelight

7. Ryley Walker - Primrose Green

6. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

*5. Lord Huron -Strange Trails

4. San Fermin - Jackrabbit

3. Belle & Sebastian - Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

*2. Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear

*1. Lady Lamb - After.  This is the album I have to stop myself from screaming out when I hear it through my headphones.  This is the artist I saw twice in 2015, completely blown away each time.  This was the obvious choice for my album of the year, and I'm not sure why it took me until December to realize it.

Asterisks denote bands I saw live in 2015.

Finally, here's a mammoth 175-track playlist featuring some of my favorite songs of the year (limited to one per artist):