Fifty Favourite Albums of 2015

Listageddon part II. There now follow my selection of fifty great releases from 2015, covering pretty much all bases from folk, pop and electronica to hip hop, psych and post rock. There is a link to the ubiquitous Spotify playlist at the end (neither No.7 or No.6 are on Spotify so No.6 is a link to the album’s Bandcamp page and No.7 is a link to a Youtube playlist of the whole album should you be so inclined!)

50. The Sound of Rescue – Aperture
Beautiful glacial post-rock/ambience.

49. The Orb – Moonbuilding 2703AD
New album from the ambient/electronic masters

48. Sleater Kinney – No Cities To Love
First album in 10 years from the US indie rockers.

47. Sun & Sail Club – The Great White Dope
Sludgy mini album of stoner rock from members of Kyuss and Fu Manchu.

46. Belle & Sebastian – Peacetime Girls Just Want To Dance
Album number 9 from the Scottish indie pop legends.

45. The Decemberists – What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful world
Seventh album of melodic indie folk, if ever you’re tempted to listen to bloody Mumford & Sons, listen to this instead, far better!

44. Roots Manuva – Bleeds
Album number nine of wry British hip hop.

43. Django Django – Born On Saturn
Second album of infectious indie pop.

42. Ghostpoet – Shedding Skin
Third, Mercury nominated album from Ghostpoet aka. Obaro Ejimiwe.

41. Lone Wolf – Lodge
Apparently his final album under the moniker Lone Wolf, from now on just Paul Marshall I guess. It’s another delicate beauty though with some heavy late Talk Talk influences.

40. Turbowolf – Two Hands
Why are this band not huge? They bloomin’ well should be! Second album of furious rawk from Bristol!

39. The Go! Team – The Scene Between
It’s officially impossible to be gloomy when listening to an album by these guys!

38. Puscifer – Money Shot
Tool frontman Maynard Keenan’s side project released its 3rd full length a couple of months ago (all released since Tool released their last believe it or not, bloody hell, I’ll be drawing my pension before their new one arrives!).

37. Teeth of the Sea – Highly Deadly Black Tarantula
I put this band up with Grails in the impossible to categorise stakes. Their continually evolving brand of post-rock/psychedelia/ambience is always intriguing and this new one is no exception.

36. Evil Blizzard – Everybody Come To Church
I had the fortune to catch these mad bastards live this year and they were just fantastic, great riffs, great theatre, disturbing costumes! Their 2nd album is more fun, straightforward rock driven listen than their slightly weirder debut!

35. Blacklisters – Adult
Second album of beautifully unhinged cacophonous noise from the Leeds inheritors of The Jesus Lizard’s crown.

34. Wire – Wire
The post punk veterans release album number fourteen. Fantastic that guys in their 60s are still writing and releasing such great stuff!

33. Joanna Gruesome – Peanut Butter
Second album of noisy indie/shoegaze/pop from Cardiff.

32. Sleaford Mods – Key Markets
Another year, another new Sleaford Mods album! More minimalist beats and sweary rants from the Nottingham duo.

31. Viet Cong – Viet Cong
Debut album of post-punk/indie rock from a band formed by two ex-members of ill fated band Women.

30. Post War Glamour Girls – Feeling Strange
Second album of intricate post-punk/art rock from the Leeds band.

29. Hawk Eyes – Everything Is Fine
Strong fourth album of cracking alt-rock from another Leeds band (hey, I live there after all!).

28. The Soft Moon – Deeper
Third album of dark, brooding, Cure-esque post-punk. The third to make this list as well I think!

27. Sonny Vincent & Rocket From The Crypt – Vintage Piss
This collaboration, a set of 13 songs, was apparently lost when the studio packed up and moved after a fire in 2003. Unearthed and released earlier this year, it’s almost as good as getting a new RFTC album!

26. Loop – Array 1
First new material from the band in 25 years. Excellently hypnotic riffs and drones abound on this EP. Another EP was feted to be released in the autumn but we are yet to see it.

25. Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi
Album number eight of melodic indie rock from the ever reliable Ben Gibbard and crew.

24. Wavves & Cloud Nothings – No Life For Me
Rather cracking collaborative mini album of indie/punk rock from these two respected bands.

23. METZ – II
This second album follows its predecessor’s pattern of brutal, raw, belligerent noise rock.

22. Low – Ones & Sixes
If there’s a new Low album in the year, you can pretty much guarantee to find it in my list. 2015’s no different, another beauty.

21. Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space
PSB’s musical tribute to the people and achievements on both sides of the space race.

20. Ought – Sun Coming Down
Second album of twisted indie rock from Montreal. They sound a bit like a cross between Pavement and Parquet Courts if you want a comparison!

19. Vessels – Dilate
The band now seem to have completed their shift from post-rock to full on dance music, I have no problem with that when they’re this good.

18. Vennart – The Demon joke
Ex Oceansize frontman Mike Vennart’s debut solo album is excellent, anthemic and beautiful, not unlike his previous band!

17. CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye
The second album doesn’t quite match the debut but is still an album full of infectious synth pop.

16. John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
This new album sounds like a coming together of his two previous records, the wry beautiful melodies akin to songs on The Queen of Denmark, and the electronic pounding funk that could be found on Pale Green Ghosts. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of either unfortunately, but is still a great album.

15. God is an Astronaut – Helios|Erebus
Just when I thought my favourite post-rock band were maybe weakening after hearing 2013’s Origins, they come back with a cracker!

14. Blanck Mass – Dumb Flesh
From the beatless bliss of his debut to full on, in your face, end of the world raves with this pummelling second album!

13. Spectres – Dying
Excellent debut of dark, feedback drenched shoegaze.

12. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet & Other Distress
Designed to work as one piece of music, the four tracks here go from huge post-rock monoliths to long drone passages and back again to epic climax.

11. Built To Spill – Untethered Moon
The first album in six years from Doug Martsch and band is of course excellent, why this lot aren’t more widely known and loved is a mystery to me, every album’s a winner!

10. Killing Joke – Pylon
Album number fifteen from another band of post-punk veterans, that I finally got to see live for the first time a couple of months ago! The third album in their dystopian trilogy of albums which began with Absolute Dissent in 2010, and MMXII in 2012.

9. Baby Chaos – Skulls, Skulls, Skulls, Show Me The Glory
A nice surprise this year was the first album from Scotland’s Baby Chaos since 1996’s utterly brilliant Love Your Self Abuse. What made it an even nicer surprise was that is was really good!

8. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
An album of beautiful heartfelt melodies that may well be the best thing he’s done.

7. Clutch – Psychic Warfare
Album number eleven from one of my all time favourite rock bands, unsurprisingly it’s bloody top notch!

6. Colaris – Nexus
This is an album that just goes to prove it is still possible to make a traditional post rock album that can really stir the soul, that the genre is not quite dead yet.

5. Cheatahs – Mythologies
This second album is an extremely impressive follow up to what was a very strong debut. Evolving their shoegaze sound beyond just sounding like Swervedriver to truly encompass their own sound and style. It really is very good indeed.

4. Faith No More – Sol Invictus
There were inevitable worries that the first album of new material from the reformed Faith No More would be, at best mediocre, and at worst, crap. However, worries were misplaced as Sol Invictus was an impressive return, with a few songs as strong as anything they’ve ever done.

3. Grimes – Art Angels
Quite surprising to find such a straight up pop album this high up my list, but I’ve been pretty much addicted to it since it came out a couple of months ago.

2. Mew – +-
I’ve been a big fan of this band for a good few years since the 2005 album “And The Glass Handed Kites” clicked for me and wouldn’t let go for weeks. Soaring dream pop melodies and complex song structures that can, and have, become glorious earworms for days!

1. Petrels – Flailing Tomb
So here it is, number one. This album had to be here really, on first listen it surprised, confounded and thrilled me with its combination of electronic drone, synth pop and choral harmonies, and the epic three parter that builds and builds to close the album in a jaw dropping, floor shaking, head-flailing krautrock wig out knocked me for six. Even after many repeated listens it still makes me stop and wonder. It’s an album that should be consumed as a whole though to really make the impact, so I urge you to not just listen to the one track on the playlist but investigate the whole album.

And here is the playlist, 48 of the 50 above;

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