The best albums of 2015 are revealed as Getintothis’ Peter Guy counts down his annual top 100.
This is now the ninth annual Getintothis Top 100 Albums of the Year list and each year there’s only one consistency – it’s hugely difficult to whittle it down to one hundred albums.
The simple fact is, even right now, we’re listening to the new Sunn O))) record and resigned to the fact that it’s our very first listen and deep down we know a band who have featured so prominently in our previous lists would have once again been in the mix. But life goes on, and at this time of year you have to draw a cut off point. Having said that, it seems amusing that a large portion of the music industry appears to have decided that the entirety of releases from the second week of December are now exempt what with end of year album lists now appearing before town centres have put the Christmas lights up. I digress.
Yes, the last 12 months have once again been a superlative time for new music. Interestingly, it’s been a time where new bands have succeeded in a critical capacity than the bigger, supposed heavy-weights. For while Adele is bank-rolling the entire industry, it’s the unknowns or under the radar smaller artists that have been gaining more and more of the plaudits. This is reflected somewhat in our Top 100 albums too with a mere eight albums released via the recognised ‘major’ labels and almost 30 debut albums. Plus another 30 of second albums. The list could have been complicated further by factoring in several dozen EPs or unsigned Merseyside artists who would have made the cut in previous years had there not been such a wealth of signed albums to include – all of which is not bad going when you consider the utter dross spoonfed to listeners or viewers up and down the country by commercial television and radio.
This year’s list is once again a banquet of delights, from venomous post-punk, dreamy lo-fi rock through to a handful of Merseyside artists who have been on a roll for sometime. There’s also a record which was sent to us from Belgium in the very first week of 2015 by the band themselves putting to bed daft suggestions that us journalists don’t listen to albums sent to us – over at Getintothis HQ we try our utmost to listen to everything that gets posted to us – we simply haven’t the time to write about the music which doesn’t capture our imagination. After all, with so much great music being made, what’s the point in focusing on the other stuff. Anyways, these albums below are all worthy of your time – check them out, then head to your nearest record shop and snaffle em up. Remember record shops aren’t just for Record ‘Store’ Day.
One key point in all this was driven home to us at the AIM Awards earlier this year, when FKA Twigs received her prize for Best Breakthrough Artist, when she said there’s a distinct difference from being in the music industry and the entertainment industry. Of course, it’s possible to be an artist and exist in both worlds – but increasingly the entertainment side of things dilutes the artistry to such a point that it’s near impossible to know where or what it is. With these albums, and the very many more that didn’t make the cut, it’s damn clear. These are artists all producing stellar music for music fans across the globe who take pride in the art form that is the album. We should embrace them all.
As we’ve said all along, please do share with us your recommendations in the comment section, or alternatively join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter – we look forward to discovering new albums from readers as much as we hope to provide a few new audio treasures for you too. So while soak up the full hit check out our extensive playlist below (only Tidal-bound Prince is missing!) – and happy listening.
1. Grimes: Art Angels
Each day this week we’ve waxed lyrical in our ‘Best Of’ introductory paragraphs about the profound strength of the albums released during 2015, however, it wasn’t until late in the year when a clear contender for our number one spot reared it’s head. That became quite obvious with the release of Grimes aka Claire Boucher‘s Art Angels.
In truth, we weren’t sure what to expect of Art Angels such was our initial disappointment with the pre-album demo Go – a track which seemed half-baked and more aligned to disposable Stateside EDM while simultaneously failing to translate into anything approaching the high points of her 2012 album, Visions. Thankfully, any worries were immediately cast aside with the hyper-kinetic opening flourishes of California – a track positively more radiant than anything Visions proffered – and marked her continued identity as a fully-fledged contender for the best pop artist on the planet.
Over the course of 14 tracks, Art Angels is relentless in it’s pursuit of massive pounding dancefloor fillers – and key to it all is Boucher’s production flair. Right up there with Kanye‘s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Art Angels is an exercise in monolithic pop jams. It’s a staggeringly huge listen.
From the Janelle Monae-assisted brutal club banger Venus Fly to the Nile Rodgers does Uptown Funk joy of Artangels through to the Kylie goes K-Pop workout of Pin there’s seemingly no bases Grimes can’t own. Almost every track on Art Angels could be considered a single – and those that have been releaaed thus far are some of the year’s finest. By a country mile. Flesh Without Blood careers around at 200mph as Boucher’s vocal courses atop first-rate cyber-electronica and crunchingly choppy guitars while Kill V. Maim is indicative of the album’s entire identity – sword-slashing ninja-pop with gigantic killer choruses. Elsewhere, there’s a swaggering skip to the record, most notably on the likes of ebullient Easily, the mariachi-infused Belly Of The Beat and the soaring closer Butterfly.
In an era were the likes of Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Rihanna have all dominated with colossal international pop crossover albums it’s Grimes, and only Grimes, who manages to produce self-styled ambition, image and tunes on every level – she’s in a class of her own.
Getintothis on Grimes
2. Chvrches: Every Open Eye
If there’s a band that have released a better pop album in 2015 we didn’t hear it. For the second consecutive album, Glasgow trio Chvrches delivered a taut, thrilling blockbuster which simply refuses to relent from the off. Once again Lauren Mayberry‘s belting vocals provides the lyrical angst layering the stadium-sized synth hooks. If they build on Every Open Eye they could just claim Robyn‘s crown as having the perfect hat-trick of pop gems.
Getintothis on Chvrches
3. Julia Kent: Asperities
Asperities has barely been off our jukebox since it landed in early Autumn – a pensive, strident yet uplifting and quite remarkably beautiful marriage of cello, subtle atmospherics and sweeping orchestration which works as a complete package quite unlike anything else in 2015. A masterstroke.
Getintothis on Julia Kent
4. Hooton Tennis Club: Highest Point In Cliff Town
Merseyside music’s 2015 fairytale success story was completed the moment Hooton Tennis Club inked their deal with Jeff Barrett‘s Heavenly Recordings – yet few could have seen how four Wirral lads’ shiny-sloppy intentions could translate into one of UK music’s finest debut albums in recent years. In under 40 minutes, Highest Point In Cliff Town represents 12 sure-fire near-instant winners which simply radiates with effervescent punch-the-air charm. Crammed with singles, it’s almost impossible to highlight the peaks, yet in live set closer, Always Coming Back 2 You, they’ve penned the sound of this year’s summer. Delicious.
Getintothis on Hooton Tennis Club
5. HEALTH: Death Magic
HEALTH don’t do things by halves – and Death Magic is the sound of them ramping up the ante once again. Yet, what marks this album out as being a career high, is that they’ve channeled their furious extremities cleverly into something which works on an almost commercial tier – it’s hugely accessible and in some places dare we suggest, pop. Nevertheless it’s a relentless listen and when they really tear it up, like at their incendiary Liverpool Music Week show, there’s few bands out there that do it with such clinical ferocity.
Getintothis on HEALTH
6. Föllakzoid: III
Föllakzoid are that rare breed who make everything they do seem effortless. Yet III is anything but – it’s cataclysmically huge in scale, steely in it’s power and musically so deft you could be forgiven for missing the intricacy that’s hidden beyond the undulating cavernous rhythmic depths. An awesome live proposition, III is the band’s finest offering yet and a record we’ve returned to one of the most in 2015.
Getintothis on Föllakzoid
7. MY DISCO: Severe
Melbourne’s MY DISCO formed in 2003 yet they were our great discovery of 2015 and Severe like so much of our favourite music this year contains a propulsive almost industrial kineticism which is as infectious as it is weighty. Another from the trusty stable of Temporary Residence, there’s much beauty behind the cold exterior.
Getintothis on MY DISCO
8. Jlin: Dark Energy
‘You don’t wanna hurt anyone,’ comes the plea on Guantanamo. ‘But, I do – and I’m sorry,’ comes the reply.
A ferocious, sadomasochistic force is at work in Jlin‘s debut album for Planet Mu and it makes for compulsive if unsettling listening. It’s been a trait for much of the best electronic records over the last 18 months with Jlin aka Jerilynn Patton‘s work sharing much in common with the likes of Pharmakon, Laurel Halo, Gazelle Twin and guest collaborator Holly Herndon. What makes her stand out is the severity of the attack; 39 minutes of samurai stabbing metallic malevolence with fancy footwork beats to boot. If this sounds intimidating, that’s because it is. The contracting modulators on Ra are so skewed it feels like you’re being consumed by a sink hole, Mansa Musa‘s African loops are preposterously tortuous while closer Abnormal Restriction begins by pummeling your face with the line, ‘I AM NOT ONE OF YOUR FANS!‘ Yet for all this aural violence, Dark Energy is funky, super-sexual and tight as fuck – there’s genuine beauty behind the brutalism. Peter Guy
Getintothis on Jlin
9. Gnoomes: Ngan!
The sixth and final Rocket Recordings release in our countdown is the cascading krautrock fever of Gnoomes – chiming almost-Byrds-like guitars trade with dreamy faraway vocals and wired rhythms. It pulls you in with it’s warmth and grips you tight – compulsive listening.
Getintothis on Gnoomes
10. Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
For all her obvious anxieties, Courtney Barnett produced one of the funnest albums of 2015 – a record were lyrics effortlessly untangle around a waterfall of melodies, super-catchy riffs and some of the singles of the year.
Getintothis on Courtney Barnett
11. Dommengang: Everybody’s Boogie
Exhaustive overblown raucous rock from Brooklyn-based lunatics – Everybody’s Boogie does exactly that – a continual rollercoaster of riffs and high octane rock from the opening title track to the finale. Every year there’s a record from the Thrill Jockey stable which we fall in love with. This year there were two, the aforementioned Wild Strawberries and this shuddering, boogying blockbuster.
Getintothis on Dommengang
12. Ryley Walker: Primrose Green
Summoning up the spirit of songwriting past masters, Primrose Green takes elements of Van Morrision, Nick Drake, John Martyn and more without ever descending into pastiche – instead it’s a cosmic journey into jazz-inflected summertime rock and roll. The instrumentation positively dances amid brass, organ and fancy fret-work while the dizzying Sweet Satisfaction extends proceedings into a darker, rampaging terrain. His Philharmonic show next year is one firmly locked down into our diary.
Getintothis on Ryley Walker
13. Eternal Tapestry: Wild Strawberries
Coming on like Guru Guru jamming with the Far Out Family Band – this sensational whacked out trip gets better the more you listen to it.
Getintothis on Eternal Tapestry
14. Josefin Ohrn and The Liberation: Horse Dance
Cementing Rocket Recordings‘ status as having one of the most expansive and beguiling rosters, Josefin Ohrn and her apocalyptic Liberation army of sonic warlords, Horse Dance comes on like a propulsive call to arms. Swirling organs, tribal percussion, fuzzy atmospherics and mesmeric vocals are all woven together in one of 2015’s most innovative yet accessible releases. Superb.
Getintothis on Josefin Ohrn and The Liberation
15. Kurt Vile: B’lieve I’m Going Down
It seems ridiculous to suggest that Vile’s sixth studio album B’lieve I’m Going Down was a *little* bit disappointing – but that’s the mark of the standards he’s set himself. To many, this would be a career-best – for Vile it’s simply business as usual.
Getintothis on Kurt Vile
16. Mark McGuire: Beyond Belief
Former Emeralds man, McGuire followed up his incredible debut Along The Way (#6 in our top 100 last year) with more of the same – majestic collages of expansive guitar and gurgling electronica. Three towering centre-pieces stretching up to the 16-minute mark were masterpieces in textured beauty but it was the shorter True Love (Song For Rachel) which truly won us over – heart-melting stuff.
Getintothis on Mark McGuire
17. Laura Marling: Short Movie
There’s simply not a song-writer in the UK who can match Marling for her consistency. Short Movie is her fifth album to date – and there’s barely a dip throughout. She’s 25.
Getintothis on Laura Marling
18. Lonelady: Hinterland
Taut and loose in equal measure, Julie Campbell once again delivered an infectious package of funk-fuelled rhythmic pleasures – we’re dreaming of the day James Murphy chooses to work alongside her. The results would be out of this world. Guaranteed.
Getintothis on Lonelady
19. Suuns and Jerusalem In My Heart: Suuns and Jerusalem In My Heart
Two sensational live performers combine on one of the out-rock albums of 2015; desert grooves, seductive ambience, krautrock experimentalism and meditative drone – what more could you want.
20. Anna von Hausswolff: The Miraculous
One of 2015’s most ambitious records, Anna von Hausswolff is a diamond in carving out colossal songs which start in one place and evolve into a myriad of others before, very often, bursting into something quite magnificent. We fell in love with The Miraculous the first time we heard the sprawling 10-minuter Come Wander With Me/Deliverance – before the whole album soundtracked a grey October in Budapest. Tremendous.
Getintothis on Anna von Hausswolff
21. Liturgy: The Ark Work
Redolent of These New Puritans‘ Hidden, The Ark Work is a sonic battlefield of instrumentation at war – it’s sheer force can knock you for six, but it’s all part of the thrill.
Getintothis on Liturgy
22. Bill Ryder-Jones: West Kirby County Primary
Bill opens up his heart on his most direct album (both musically and lyrically) to date. There’s a raft of stunning tracks most notably You Can’t Hide A Light With The Dark (note Ryder-Jones‘ work with young contemporaries Hooton Tennis Club rubbing off here) and on the hat-trick of tender beauties Wild Roses, Put It Down Before You Break It and closer Seabirds – the latter possibly the finest he’s ever written.
Getintothis on Bill Ryder-Jones
23. Condor Gruppe: Latituds Del Cavall
This one landed on our doormat back in January all the way from Antwerp. Space cadets Condor Gruppe juggle sandstorm grooves with flourishes of Morricone orchestration and kraut jams the kinda affair Can heads would lap up. Freak out.
Getintothis on Condor Gruppe
24. Cerrone: The Best Of Cerrone Productions
We’re cheating by lashing in this reissue but it’s simply too good to omit – wall to wall cosmic disco classics by the master, Marc Cerrone. 100% YES.
Getintothis on Cerrone
25. Foals: What Went Down
On their fourth album, What Went Down, marked the moment Foals truly went stadium-sized – sure there’s a few hymnal Chris Martin Band fillers, but when they set the gauge to stun they sound gargantuan. There’s few UK guitar bands that can match them in terms of consistency now.
Getintothis on Foals
26. Floating Points: Elaenia
This year’s Immunity and in the 10-minuter Silhouettes (I, II, III) one of the year’s finest tracks.
Getintothis on Floating Points
27. Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp a Butterfly
It’s difficult to know just how good To Pimp a Butterfly is even at this stage. As an opus it’s thrillingly complex, something that rewards further on every listen (and personally this writer has done so for a tally well into three figures) and is so dense we were able to write nigh on 2000 words merely about a guest verse that appears on it. It seems to be the perfect storm of a release, stunningly timed to reflect an angry America dealing with police brutality and race tensions, conflicted enough with self doubt, loathing and classic b-boy swagger, and both joyous and uncomfortable at the same time. Whilst you could listen to These Walls dreamily on loop in a summer haze for eternity the stark personal trauma laid bare on U is as dark and brutal insight into the depths of desperation and depression as it gets, a track so compelling you routinely skip for fear or it ruining your day. Only to return moments later to be even more captivated and dragged down than you could of ever imagined. Following on from his brilliant good kid MAAD CITY, its ensured hip hop hasn’t seen a one-two sucker punch this good since last millennium, and perhaps never at all by a lone emcee. You could lavish thousands of superlatives and exhaust a thesaurus long before heading to hyperbole when describing Lamar‘s current artist pedigree, but it’s simple enough in four words; all hail King Kendrick! Jimmy Coultas
Getintothis on Kendrick Lamar
28. Hills: Frid
With titles like Death Will Find A Way and National Drone, it’s pretty obvious from the get-go that Hills aren’t messing about – but the extent to which they channel whacked out acid-fried mind-melters is little short of astonishing. Frid is one of 2015’s finest albums truly warranting the tag psychedelia.
Getintothis on Hills
29. Jib Kidder: Teaspoon To The Ocean
One of the year’s early high points, with it’s undulating rhythms and seductive melodies, Teaspoon To The Ocean remained on rotation throughout our year – the sprawling nine-minuter Melt Me a particular fuzzy trip.
Getintothis on Jib Kidder
30. Viet Cong: Viet Cong
The audacious distorted bleak abyss that Viet Cong create over the 7 songs that make up their self-titled debut LP is truly from another world altogether. Fusing together the drone rock elements of Deerhunter with the synth wizardry of Brian Eno is no mean feat but one that the post-punk, krautrock noise Canadians create with ease. Some of the melodies are extremely challenging with Continental Shift sounding like something from the depths of Hades expanding into an all-consuming cloud whilst 11-minute final track Death is a sprawling journey into the unknown leading its followers to the promise land. For a debut album Viet Cong is a fantastic achievement and one that should make many peoples lists for album of the year. Craig MacDonald
Getintothis on Viet Cong
31. Sudakistan: Caballo Negro
Few bands lay down guitars like Sudakistan in 2015 – their Psych Fest showing was on par with this stunning offering.
Getintothis on Sudakistan
32. Teeth Of The Sea: Highly Deadly Black Tarantula
Ramping up the industrial noise levels, Teeth of the Sea made a compact snarler of an album. Masterful.
Getintothis on Teeth Of The Sea
33. Darkstar: Foam Island
Dark yet highly accessible nuanced electronica.
Getintothis on Darkstar
34. Moon Duo: Shadow Of The Sun
What’s left to say about Moon Duo – not much, except that they continue on that cyclical drone path into musical nirvana. Divine.
Getintothis on Moon Duo
35. Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell
“Fuck me, I’m falling apart,” sings Sufjan Stevens on No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross, and it cuts to the heart of this autobiographical tour de force. Stevens ties uncomfortable memories with a very pretty bow, and his latest album is a return to the quietly devastating realm of his earliest albums, traversing a turbulent childhood spent with a loving but often-absent mother (Carrie) struggling with substance abuse, protected by a devoted step-father (Lowell). This collection of sweet, sweet songs whispers oft-disturbing truths in your ear, sometimes swaddled in synth lines, a mandolin strum here, a simple piano chord there. The effect is devastatingly moving, subtle and beautiful melodies belying the rawness and starkness of this musical memoir. Love, death, violence, doubt, God, sex, abandonment, loneliness, drugs – all the grand themes are here. Lullabies for grown-ups. Nick Lodge
Getintothis on Sufjan Stevens
36. Zun Zun Egui: Shackles Gift
Don’t you just hate it when a band release an absolute belter and then split up – nice one Zun Zun Egui, talk about double-edged sword.
Getintothis on Zun Zun Egui
37. My Morning Jacket: The Waterfall
Jim James‘ rabble returned in glorious style – some of The Waterfall (namely Tropics) was on par with their career highs.
Getintothis on My Morning Jacket
38. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
Symphonic rock instrumentalism at its finest, darkest (well what do you expect with an album title like that) and a kick in the shins to (the inevitable comparison with) Mogwai. Four tracks and each of them long enough to develop a theme and keep the interest sustained at the same time. An occasional nod to the middle east at times in some of the guitar sound, but this is proper heavy stuff. The wonderfully-titled, final piece, Piss Crowns Are Trebled is a thirteen-minute crescendo as good as anything Mahler or Beethoven wrote and, as it eventually tails off, you still want more. So, that’s a good thing. It’s big and it’s clever. Peter Goodbody
Getintothis on Godspeed You! Black Emperor
39. Tobias Jesso Jr: Goon
Goon makes us remember what all this gig going, YouTube trawling, record buying and hack writing is actually about: the music. Tobias Jesso Jr plays his tunes stripped back on a piano. He has nowhere to hide but that’s fine. His music stands up for itself under the glaring modern eye of the digital world. Not many albums that have arrived this year offer themselves with such honesty and so little pretension. Jesso’s debut album Goon serves up twelve slices of humble pie, charting his trails and tribulations over the past two years. Although the songwriter claims he was not overly-influenced by past artists, Jesso’s compositions have strong echoes of classic piano ballad performances. This writer’s stand out track, Without You, sounds like it quietly slipped out the back door of a 10CC recording session. Nilsson’s melodies have drifted breezily over from the 70s, making themselves comfortable in the grooves. Randy Newman’s introspective yet universal lyrics seemed to be aped, the narrative being upfront and personal. There’s nothing wrong with any of this. The results are powerful, considered and profound. Jesso’s songs can be easily identified with. He was quoted in an interview “Getting the feedback from how it (the song) relates somebody else, that’s the most interesting part, somebody saying how it relates to their life“. Tracks such as How Could You Babe? and Just A Dream reach out to affect effectively. Great albums makes the listener think about themselves, their own lives and their actions towards others. Goon does exactly that. James Elson
Getintothis on Tobias Jesso Jr
40. Holly Herndon: Platform
Holly Herndon‘s catalogue is stacking up with winner after winner; this one had grooves aplenty aligned to some pensive beautifully textured gear – ever rewarding on repeated listens. Another Liverpool Music Week highlight.
Getintothis on Holly Herndon
41. Holy Holy: When The Stroms Would Come
Straddling the commercial comfort-zone and progressive out-rock world, Aussie’s Holy Holy are another of the year’s awesome breakout bands – a big stand out at Sound City and Liverpool Music Week there’s much more to come from this lot. Any discerning Floyd fan should immediately seek out You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog and bask in that riff.
Getintothis on Holy Holy
42. METZ: II
The best dive bar rock band on the planet? We think so.
Getintothis on METZ
43. Kamasi Washington: The Epic
A three hour modern masterpiece has to be amongst the contenders for album of the year. This lavish and unsparing odyssey has revivified the increasingly lacquered legacy of jazz classicism. Kamasi Washington‘s To Pimp A Butterfly credentials have exposed the LA based band leader as a relevant force in contemporary culture. Brainfeeder‘s Coltrane lineage is reiterated too as The Epic reopens the jazz museum to a new generation of listeners. The albums refreshing body of influence pushes the envelope, melding be-bop with fusion and soul jazz with R&B. Each solo surpasses the last as Kamasi Washington delivers a truly epic statement of intent. Although the album is divided into three clear movements, we suggest you clear an evening and witness this behemoth in its remarkable entirety. Philip Morris
Getintothis on Kamasi Washington
44. Gnod: Infinity Machines
Defining the psychedelic is a complex, heterogeneous task, especially given a span of half century since the term came into usage. For many, the psychedelic is more than a musical style that evokes a bewildering and sublime aesthetic – it is an ideology that emerges through an intelligent manipulation of art forms. Gnod’s Infinity Machines serves as an excellent definition of a modern psychedelic, merging a series of montages, spoken texts and field recordings to assemble a delicate and ominously deep tapestry of strange melodies and stark rhythmic clusters. Infinity Machines utilises a post-minimalist sensibility to describe a 21st Century obsession with desire and affect, folding between paranoia and electro acoustic ecstasy. Infinity Machines is frightening and divine. Mark Greenwood
Getintothis on Gnod
45. Blur: The Magic Whip
In all honesty who expected this to be half this good? Perhaps on a par with Think Tank – which is praise indeed. Albarn once again showing his versatility by the bucket load.
Getintothis on Blur
46. C Duncan: Architect
Our pick for the Mercury. A quiet yet moving piece of assured song-writing.
Getintothis on C Duncan
47. Lilacs and Champagne: Midnight Features Volume 2: Made Flesh
Alex Hall and Emil Amos create the ultimate Blaxploitation soundtrack without ever descending into a pastiche of Isaac Hayes. Cool as.
Getintothis on Lilacs and Champagne
48. Girl Band: Holding Hands With Jamie
Following their superlative Early Years EP, Dubliners Girl Band finally released their debut late in 2015, and it’s an astonishing and devastating listen – that they’ve managed to translate their equally awesome live show mechanics on to record is an achievement in itself. Roll on their Buyers Club date next year.
Getintothis on Girl Band
49. All We Are: All We Are
It’s incredibly rare to find an album where you can say there’s not a bad song on it. Well, 2015 GIT Award winners All We Are have accomplished this and made it sound effortless. The amalgamation of backgrounds and influences of the three musicians results in numerous highlights; the goose-bump-inducing sign off to Keep Me Alive, the slick bass riff on Utmost Good, and the simplistic beauty of Something About You which epitomised their set on the main stage at Sound City are just a handful. A sign of how remarkable the album is lies in the fact that we’re unable to put our finger on a favourite track – this prestigious title has changed hands at least half a dozen times. Single Honey is a pretty good starting point for newcomers but on an album rife with high points it’s best to digest it all in one hugely palatable portion. Paul Dahill
Getintothis on All We Are
50. Ought: Sun Coming Down
Intense, intense, intense.
Getintothis on Ought
51. Stealing Sheep: Not Real
The Sheep’s most confident and clever statement to date. Such was the gulf in anything they’d done previously it almost felt like a new band. Where they go next is a tantalising proposition.
Getintothis on Stealing Sheep
52. Arca: Mutant
There’s a pattern here… A dense mess of explosive electronic vignettes.
Getintothis on Arca
53. Blanck Mass: DUMB FLESH
Another of 2015’s must-listen electronic ear-wreckers. As comfortable a listen as it’s cover art suggests.
Getintothis on Blanck Mass
54. Zombi: Shape Shift
Same again for Pittsburgh synth, bass and drums horror-blizcore duo Steve Moore and Anthony Paterra and quite frankly we can’t get enough of it. Compulsive, thrilling and despite it’s barbarity it’s an infectious listen.
Getintothis on Zombi
55. Outfit: Slowness
Andrew Hunt takes control of Outfit‘s second album as he pours his heart out about the distance and isolation that can engulf in the big wide world. Perhaps not as instant as Performance but it’s a beautiful, gradual reveal.
Getintothis on Outfit
56. Pinkshinyultrablast: Everything Else Matters
Another of 2015’s top discoveries this time from St Petersburg, Russia. It’d be lazy to pigeonhole them in the shoegaze camp as there’s far more than mere layers of fuzz going on here, check the rampaging riffs of Metamorphosis for proof – though the near nine minute Marigold could well have dropped off any peak era My Bloody Valentine record.
Getintothis on Pinkshinyultrablast
57. Besnard Lakes: A Coliseum Complex Museum
Winner of most preposterous concept and accompanying press release, the Besnard’s returned with another cinematic opus combining their incessant hooks, bludgeoning rhythms and those swoonsome harmonies.
Getintothis on Besnard Lakes
58. East India Youth: Culture Of Volume
A more fluid, song-based record than William Doyle‘s debut offering as he ramps up the instrumentation to give a fuller, bigger sound – sometimes even treading into Pet Shop Boys-esque territory. Another fine statement of intent.
Getintothis on East India Youth
59. Hey Colossus: In Black and Gold
Appearing in the very first week of the year, there’s been very little music since that even borders on the pulsating intensity of Hey Colossus‘ In Black and Gold, the doom-psych veterans’ first for Rocket Recordings. Though the record immediately descends like a falling meteor into relentless mid-tempo, it’s a death march of enrapturing appeal that never drifts close to monotony. After an insidiously lightweight opener the band immediately mutate their sound into a cataclysmic, apocalyptic thud on Sisters and Brothers, setting the tone for the LP’s viscous thrusts and spears.Hey, Dead Eyes, Up! sees the most unforgivingly barbaric assault, while the title track opens shimmers of space only to crash momentously down with a tsunami of ferocious, searing psychedelia. If there’s been a more thrilling 42 minutes’ worth of ear-bludgeoning recorded this year, I’m yet to endure it. Patrick Clarke
Getintothis on Hey Colossus
60. Algiers: Algiers
One of 2015’s oddest and boldest discoveries – thudding gospel dark rock driven by 100% menace. A compulsive listen.
Getintothis on Algiers
61. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Chasing Yesterday
The best thing he’s done since Heathen Chemistry. Gallagher was back in mighty form; largely due to resurrecting old Oasis demos and transforming them into bonafide classics – almost every track a winner. How long is it since we’ve been able to say that?
Getintothis on Noel Gallagher
62. Joanna Newsom: Divers
Getintothis on Joanna Newsom
63. Herbcraft: Wot Oz
Portland noise heads have reimagined Vanishing Point by channeling it through Can‘s most fuzzed out filters. We can’t get enough of the sprawling fug of album highlight Push Thru The Veil.
Getintothis on Herbcraft
64. Gwenno: Y Dydd Olaf
Another jewel in Heavenly Recordings‘ 2015 crown – winner of the Welsh Album of Year and it’s easy to see why as Y Dydd Olaf is loaded with dreamy avant-pop topped off with Gwenno‘s breathy delivery.
Getintothis on Gwenno
65. Julia Holter: Have You In My Wilderness
More sumptuous otherworldly pop this time with a certain French twist. Grandiose and epic.
Getintothis on Julia Holter
66. Sleater-Kinney: No Cities To Love
While not up there with Woods and the like, Sleater-Kinney prove their still very much a vital and sometimes brutal force.
Getintothis on Sleater-Kinney
67. Ibeyi: Ibeyi
One of our great discovering of SXSW, two sisters harmoniously in-tune with each other stretching their vocals to the max around a world of percussive and tribal instrumentation.
Getintothis on Ibeyi
68. Everything Everything: Get To Heaven
Big, big, big tunes – their best offering yet. Just ditch the daft Flash Gordon outfits.
Getintothis on Everything Everything
69. Garbanotas Bosistas: Above Us
One of the big success stories of Sound City this year came not on the main stages but from Lithuanian psychedelic rock and rollers, Garbanotas Bosistas and the accompanying album Above Us illustrates what a mighty proposition they are – fans of Storm in Heaven era Verve are in for a treat – check out the swirling Gėlėta Suknia and get lost in the cosmos.
Getintothis on Garbanotas Bosistas
70. Gengahr: A Dream Outside
A dark, dreamy dose of romantic pop that rises and falls between icy climes of quivering vocals to the warm, dark depths of fluid driving riffs. There’s touches of psychedelia, swirling elegantly around simplistic melodies that soothe and gently etch themselves into your mind. Gengahr are in no rush to make an impression you, this is no deluge of dream pop, it is not intended to blast you away floundering and wondering what’s going on. It’s a far more gentle, progressive record that washes over you in slight ebbs and flows and allows you to drift away, tuning into the occasional raucous solo. Stick on Bathed In Light and try not to picture yourself rowing a raft, your toes dangling in the water. Delightful grooves accompany perfected guitar effects of John Victor whose style ranges from the unconventional tunings of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr and the bluesy strums of Allah Las and Growlers. With their plethora of talent, the album could be said to be a little safe in parts, but Gengahr are a band we’re already eager to hear develop, from their already irresistible sound that can slot neatly into practically any mood. Matthew Wood
Getintothis on Gengahr
71. Leftfield: Alternative Light Source
Hugely welcome return after 16 years away, Alternative Light Source is a better body of work than The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and most other contemporaries have managed during Leftfield‘s absence. The monsters Universal Everything and Little Fish were outrageously big.
Getintothis on Leftfield
72. Oneohtrix Point Never: Garden Of Delete
A disjointed affair with slightly diminishing returns from one of our big favourites at Getintothis HQ. That said, Garden Of Delete does have it’s high points, not least the skittering oceanic dance breaks of eight-minute Mutant Standard.
Getintothis on Oneohtrix Point Never
73. LA Priest: Inji
Wobbly tricksy electronic pop from former Late Of The Pier singer Sam Dust. Achingly cool but just about thrusts in enough hooks and trippy rhythms to keep you on side. More please.
Getintothis on LA Priest
74. Drenge: Undertow
More crunching full-rottle attack from Eoin and Rory Loveless who’ve endeared themselves to Liverpool on several occasions this year – not least with their binning of an entire newsagents shop of a particular national newspaper. You know the one. Nice one boys.
Getintothis on Drenge
75. Hot Chip: Why Make Sense?
It must be real weird being in Hot Chip producing really good album after really good album and just kinda being taken for granted as a really good band producing really good records every year. Well, maybe it’s not that weird at all – maybe it’s just the norm. Why Make Sense? indeed, here’s another really good record – our pick is opener Huarache Lights – a slab of funky electronica with some dirty mixing Daft Punk with be proud of.
Getintothis on Hot Chip
76. US Girls: Half Free
Illinois-born, Toronto-based Meghan Remy is one of our favourite breakout artists of 2015 and her 4AD debut is a magpie’s nest of mini treasures; part soul, part lo-fi rock and hugely rewarding. In an alternate universe Window Shades with it’s piano stabs would be the perfect Bond theme – seductive, cool and rather raunchy.
Getintothis on US Girls
77. Matthew E White: Fresh Blood
Tough ask, this. I’m torn between Kathryn Joseph, Lau, and Matthew E White. All different, all current favourites, and all uniquely special. Another thing that unites them is the heavy rotation they get in my ears. Asking me to pick just one is like asking me to pick my favourite daughter. Forced into my aural corner, I’m going to shout for Matthew E White‘s Fresh Blood. As a follow up to 2012’s Big Inner, Fresh Blood sees White developing and expanding on the luscious, honey glazed themes on his debut album. With an early background in Jazz composing and arranging under his belt, the sound here is unashamedly big. He’s big on big, you could say. Layers of strings, brass, gospel backing vocals, the soul of the south, and a hazed and fuzzy sun bleached Laurel Canyon vibe. All done big. Its not all glorious sunshine though. There are moments of darkness, as he discusses abuse (Holy Moly), and the untimely death of Philip Seymour Hoffman (Tranquility), but from the evening cool breeze of the opening track, Take Care Of My Baby, to the brass backed beauty of the album’s closer, Love Is Deep, it’s all delivered with a rich languid beauty that leaves me wanting more every time I hear it. That’s a good sign. Paul Fitzgerald
Getintothis on Matthew E White
78. Vessels: Dilate
Long time favourites of Getintothis, the Leeds outfit have wisely moved away from the post-rock ventures of previous albums into a more ambient-electronica environment – and for the most part it’s a joy. Take in the sumptuous bliss of eight-minute work out Elliptic for starters. Beautiful.
Getintothis on Vessels
79. Lightning Bolt:Fantasy Empire
It is fair to say that the improv-noise duo of Brian Chippendale and Brian Gibson have made a startling return on this their first album on the Thrill Jockey imprint. The duo’s rehoming has, delightedly, not dulled their blisteringly aggressive cacophony. Chippendale‘s heavily distorted drums assault you from the off, while Gibson continues to take his bass guitar to places that hitherto had seemed impossible. In short the duo still excel in punishing and abrasive walls of sound; music that pins you to the wall in its relentless intensity. In its construct the record differs from its predecessors. This is the first Lightning Bolt LP to be made in a proper studio using modern digital recording equipment and techniques and the effect is clearly audible. The production is cleaner and more spacious and the overall effect lends a more accessible crispness to the band’s sound. That said, the changes have not seen the band’s visceral appeal sacrificed. Not a bit of it. Their monster riffs and propulsive rhythmic bombardment retain the capacity to shock and awe; if not quite a comeback (for they never really went away) it is most definitely a welcome return. Paul Higham
Getintothis on Lightning Bolt
80. Ezra Furman: Perpetual Motion People
Junk-shop pop, vaudeville, rock & roll and who knows what battle for attention in this arresting high-drama cauldron of literally everything.
Getintothis on Ezra Furman
81. Young Fathers: White Men Are Black Men Too
The Mercury winners weren’t messing about, after collecting their winnings they threw this one out double-quick and it’s almost on par with Dead. They straddle so many styles sometimes it gets a tad messy but live they still remain one of the UK’s finest offerings.
Getintothis on Young Fathers
82. Ghold: Of Ruin
Epic drone with punishing drops. Monolithic.
Getintothis on Ghold
83. BC Camplight: How To Die In The North
One of the early releases of the year got lost among many end of year collections but there’s much to cherish in Brian Christinzio‘s bath of rock and soul.
Getintothis on BC Camplight
84. Battles: La Di Da Di
Bit by numbers this one, still, it’s Battles and that’s always a good thing. See Deerhunter.
Getintothis on Battles
85. Public Service Broadcasting: Race For Space
Tackling the US-soviet space race on record could be a contrived GCSE experiment gone wrong, instead PSB have produced a Floyd-goes-super-pop album absolutely lathered in riffs. Well fun.
Getintothis on Public Service Broadcasting
86. Major Lazer: Peace Is The Mission
In a world where most music appears to be soullessly manufactured and where disagreements as to what constitutes ‘real’ music (arguably anything remotely consisting of a tune, but let us not get lost in semantics) run rife, it seems that the vast majority of musicians have forgotten to simply have a little fun. Not so Major Lazer, whose latest offering Peace is the Mission is one of the most entertaining records of 2015. While there are more serious moments in tracks such as Be Together and Lean On, it’s gems like Too Original and Roll the Bass that make it absolutely impossible to listen to without flailing madly to the beat. You may of course find yourself immune, but doubtless you’d have a great deal of fun finding out. Laura Coppin
Getintothis on Major Lazer
87. Ghostpoet: Shedding Skin
Heart-on-the-sleeve lyrical turmoil aligns to metallic rock and soul as Mr Ghostpoet continues to plough his own emotionally-wrought furrow. Heavy.
Getintothis on Ghostpoet
88. The Sundowners: The Sundowners
Having begun to shed that ‘Fleetwood Mac‘ tag which has weighed heavily on them from the outset, the Wirral outfit’s debut album displayed added bite and in places a propulsive experimental edge; if they can channel their love of great music and awesome live displays into something more progressive they’ll fast become serious ones to watch.
Getintothis on The Sundowners
89. Bjork: Vulnicura
String-drenched emotional breakbeat. Yep, Vulnicura is another step away from Bjork‘s commercial heyday – in it’s place is a warped labyrinthine whopper with nine tracks weighing in at just under an hour. She sounds very sad too.
Getintothis on Bjork
90. Ufomammut: Ecate
No discerning end of year album list would be complete without some ritualistic psychedelic slightly sadistic sludge-quaking black metal-esque progressive stoner rock now would it?
Getintothis on Ufomammut
91. Deerhunter: Fading Frontier
Another solid record from the Bradford Cox-led collective. But we’re pining for something more out there with Fading Frontiers simply doing what Deerhunter do. Maybe it’s just us?
Getintothis on Deerhunter
92. Prince: HITNRUN Phase One
A taut oddball of swag from Prince is nothing new. In fact, it’s pretty much becoming the norm. Failing to build on the impressive Art Official Age, this rag bag contains at least four winners and a handful of oddities. Business as usual then.
Getintothis on Prince
93. Dan Deacon: Gliss Riffer
Tablas, electronica, front-porch folk & blues, no one makes music sound so rich and otherworldly like Dan Deacon – this one kinda passed under seemingly everyone’s radar. A shame as there’s some mighty stuff on here – check out opener Feel The Lightning; it’s one of his best.
Getintothis on Dan Deacon
94. Petite Noir: La Vie Est Belle/Life Is Beautiful
South African singer-songwriter Yannick Ilunga has produced a mighty fine galloping soul-hip-hop record with a strident brassy edge aligned to delectable poppy hooks – check out MDR for starters.
Getintothis on Petite Noir
95. Carly Rae Jepson: E-MO-TION
In truth E-MO-TION should have been a monster. Yet, for some reason, it’s an overbaked slightly overthought pop beast which fails to burst out of the cage. That said, there’s a whole heap of bangers and if you’ve not lost your shit to Run Away With Me you’re doing it wrong.
Getintothis on Carly Rae Jepson
96. Golden Rules: Golden Ticket
London producer Paul White and Florida rapper Eric Biddines combine with a trunk load of funk segued with some Aquemini induced hip hop. Down South Boogie may just be the most slammin tune of 2015.
Getintothis on Golden Rules
97. Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Multi-Love
Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s third album, Multi-Love, has one of the most interesting personal back stories of the year. Ruban Nielsen, the band’s songwriter, and his wife Jenny threw out the rule book on love as they found themselves falling for another woman together. The album’s masterful lyrics, predominantly about Nielsen’s experience of the polyamorous relationship, are skilfully delivered giving you just enough to enjoy them but not enough to instantly know them, and they entice you to listen repeatedly. Whereas UMO’s II let you hear every affectionate scratch of its guitar strings, Multi-Love’s ensemble of organs, horns and guitar are smooth, rich and seductive, with the exception of the album closing track, Puzzles, which wouldn’t be out of place in their previous work. In Multi-Love, UMO have built on their delightfully simple and soulful psychedelic sound and created an encapsulating album whilst telling the most intriguing love story you’re likely to hear in 2015. Michael Fowler
Getintothis on Unknown Mortal Orchestra
98. John Grant: Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
Moving on from 2013’s superlative Pale Green Ghosts, Grant lashes oodles more electronica into his baroque pop cauldron with mixed results. While Grey Tickles, Black Pressure lacks the balance of his previous offerings there’s still enough here to satiate your aural desires.
Getintothis on John Grant
99. Wolf Alice: My Love Is Cool
Bombastic guitars underpinned by winsome melodies neatly repackaging some of 90s Seattle into something hugely palatable indeed.
Getintothis on Wolf Alice
100. Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear
More of the same from Mr Misty – Autumnal, lushly-orchestrated Americana. Ideal for the season.
Getintothis on Father John Misty
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