Did a lot of good music come out this year? As I sit here in front of my computer, I am opening the ‘List of 2015 Albums’ page on Wikipedia. I didn’t hear much I liked this year. Not to say nothing good got released – I just didn’t hear it and I feel a lot of my friends didn’t either. There was a lot of crazy activity in the world this year. It drowned out some of the art…but the art is there. I intend to find it. A lot of losers will say stuff like “You JUST learned about this?” or “that’s not underground enough!” All those losers who say those things can lick the sweat from my genitals. Music is about enjoyment regardless of popularity, intimate discovery no matter who else is already hip, and enjoying what one enjoys. Period. That’s art, that’s music, and that’s what this list is. It’s by a human being who just wants to turn you onto something weird and new.
You might not like it. But guess what? I don’t like those clone bullshit “Adele, Taylor Swift, Dick Brothers” lists that regurgitate what we already know: most of the boring people in the world listen to that shit. They love it, and they have a right to love it, and I have a right to make my own list. Maybe don’t read it if you’re a little bitch.
#10 Lupe Fiasco Tetsuo & Youth
Lupe Fiasco may have taken a dip in popularity but his talent stayed intact. This album is proof. The lyrics are just as captivating and entertaining as in the past, and the music stays artfully dark. Whether using real or synthesized instrumentation, the arrangement creates its own terrain over which Lupe Fiasco’s words find a perfect home.
#9 Purity Ring Another Eternity
Lately there’s been no shortage of electronically backed, female fronted pop powerhouse units. At a glance, the world’s music scene is inundated with such bands. So when looking at the genre, one must ask one’s self: “Sooo…are the songs any good?” On the Canadian duo’s latest, the answer is “Fuck yes.” With tunes that stick in one’s head faster than all that awful Christmas music we just heard, “Another Eternity” will be making heads bounce and feet tap for, hopefully, eternity.
#8 Trickfinger Trickfinger
Many people think this album is dog shit because John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers made it, and everybody wanted him make more guitar-driven, rock based songs. He didn’t and now a lot of those people are crying about it. Truth is, this album is a beautiful electronic composition reminiscent of early Aphex Twin but with Frusciante’s melodic sensibilities. A head full of THC and a good pair of headphones will enhance this album, taking it from “genius!” to “where the fuck am I?”
#7 Raekwon Fly International Luxurious Art
Raekwon of the Wu Tang Clan is hip-hop royalty and unlike a few of his peers, he still sounds like it. First of all, the beats are unexpected and they never get boring. The production here is the essence of creativity in rap music matching Raekwon’s rhymes, which paint pictures of excess and Wu-style badassery. Much to my delight, Ghostface Killah and Busta Rhymes make appearances which can never be a bad thing.
#6 Metz II
I just learned of this band, just now! I was scrolling through the “2015 albums” list and this noise rock selection piqued the interest of my Boris, Melvins, Old Man Gloom lovin’ ass. This trio takes punky, noisy, messy sonic violence and turns it inside out. The dissonant riffs are catchy despite the dissonance; the singer’s distorted voice is unique despite its distortions. They do what most great heavy bands do. They take the colors and shapes used in “metal” and “punk” and use them to their own ends. Good for them! Please, more of this.
#5 Eagles of Death Metal Zipper Down
The rock and roll duo fronted by wildman/priest/singer Jesse Hughes and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme (drummer for EoDM) takes their good time grooves down the road to grab a little of the weirdness lacing Queens of the Stone Age’s sound. It’s great to hear the band evolve and get a little off-center because the songs are, well…”fun.” Their past albums were just darned good rock music. This is extra-catchy, new-sounding, fresh stuff. Cheers to them, and condolences to them and their friends/fans after the infamous recent Paris attacks.
#4 Puscifer Money Shot
I’ll admit it right here, I’m a bit of a Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle) fanboy so it should be no surprise this album is here. The reason though for my fanaticism is his ability to always make beautiful, original, top-notch music. Here we see nothing less. Unique and punchy rhythms underlie moody, atmospheric elements – Maynard’s layered harmonies, some Arizona baked guitar lines, and colorful instrumentation. Hearing this album is like watching a movie.
#3 Kylesa Exhausting Fire
Sludgy dreams are what this latest offering from stoner metal outfit are giving me. In a genre full of bands that all sound the same, it’s always nice to hear an act take the promising-yet-misguided genre out of its usual four walls. Some pieces of this album even sound like a heavy Warpaint – something I damned well can not complain about. In a world where fantastic heavy music is falling by the wayside, “Exhausting Fire” brings some volume to a table where high decibels are much needed.
#2 Grimes Art Angels
I’ve always thought Grimes was a complete genius (albeit I just discovered her 4 months ago). Good timing because she dropped this album right on my freshly indoctrinated head. First of all, it sounds different from her other stuff in a great way. It has tighter performances than in the past, and it sounds like it’s on a mission to be as good as it is. Secondly, it’s so fucking enjoyable I don’t want to stop listening to explore anything else for this list. Like Frusciante, she seems to know just which direction to lead her songs that results in me feeling like a dog getting a belly rub. Starting from when I heard the fucking ridiculously catchy single “Flesh Without Blood” to when I took in the whole album, I’ve been hooked. It sounds like the future.
#1 Oh Wonder Oh Wonder
I’ve got to give this London duo number 1. Their debut album is one of the greatest pop masterpieces ever. Each song is so good the entire album is worth throwing into my most frequented playlists. It’s chill and folky and there are some synthesizers too. Someone could say they sound like this or that, but their ability to craft flawless beautiful pop songs is – seriously – unmatched by some of my all time favorites. They’ve been skyrocketing to success, and rightly so. A listener will remain entertained through smiles (“Landslide”), tears (“Heart Hope”), and magical road trips (“Drive”).