These Are The 13 Absolute BEST Albums Of 2015: Have You Heard Them Yet? (VIDEOS)
top 13 albums of 2015 (cont’d).
Here are numbers 6-13 for our Reverb Press‘ best 13 albums of 2015 that you’ve never heard of.
6. Jess and the Ancient Ones – Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes
Finland’s Jess and the Ancient Ones sound as though they are from the past. I mean that in the best possible way. You could imagine finding a dusty copy of their latest album in your parents’ garage, in a stack with Deep Purple, Jefferson Airplane, and Hawkwind. Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes makes it pretty plain, with its title, exactly where it is coming from. Straight up hard psychedelia, leavened with a touch of surf rock and creepy lyrics. It sounds like shag carpeting, wood paneling, cheap weed, and Lava Lamps.
7. Kamasi Washington – The Epic
Here’s another one that I’ve written about before. Kamasi Washington’s The Epic more than lives up to its name. I stand behind what I wrote some seven months back: this is the best jazz album since Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew. It clocks in at three hours, features a 10 piece band, a 20 member choir, and a 32 member string section. This is some damned ambitious shit. And it works. Every track moves and breathes and continuously unfolds and expands. Seven months later, I am still discovering new things with each listen.
8. Lupe Fiasco – Tetsuo & Youth
Hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco has traditionally taken on big political themes. He was famously “removed” from a concert celebrating Barack Obama’s second inauguration for being a touch too critical of the president. More recently, he won the latest Republican debate by spending the entire time tweeting his opinions of the candidates’ flag pins. Tetsuo & Youth feels less broadly political and far more intimate, shaped by his hometown of Chicago. The instrumentation is jazzy and lush, and Lupe’s flow is mesmerizing. He delivers lines like “I like my pancakes cut in swirls, Moroccan moles and undercover squirrels,” and pulls it off.
9. Midnight Odyssey – Shards of Silver Fade
Here’s another album that sprawls. More than sprawls. 160 minutes and a mere eight songs. Midnight Odyssey is a one-man band from Australia. Like so much of this list, it is metal, mixing bits of black metal, doom metal, and straight up ambiance into something weird. Hushed passages give way to squalls of guitars and blast-beats. Anthemic vocal melodies yield to shrieks. At times it sounds like the Swans, at times like Bathory, at times like Brian Eno. The album demands patience and perseverance, but rewards the investment. More than any other album on the list Shards of Silver Fade is a journey.
10. Myrkur – M
We’ve heard from Myrkur before. I reviewed her debut back in August. And, speaking for her other band — Ex Cops — Amelie Bruun smacked down McDonalds for their cheap fuckery at South by Southwest. Getting back to Myrkur’s debut, it’s held up to time. I’ve been listening to the thing for months, and it doesn’t wear thin. Traditional black metal mixed with ethereal, layered vocals, traditional melodies, and exotic instrumentation proves a winning combination. It is metal, no doubt. But it sounds new and fresh and makes me want to hear more.
11. Scale The Summit – V
Progressive rock isn’t exactly cool. Nor is progressive metal. Scale The Summit partakes in both (though they prefer to refer to themselves as “adventure metal”) and, if you like this sort of thing, you will like their latest. Absurdly proficient guitar and bass and drums, woven together tightly enough that you could bounce a quarter off of it. This album is, I will admit, not everyone’s cup of tea. But it is endlessly engaging and never boring.
12. Spectral Lore – Gnosis
Spectral Lore is a late addition to this list — I only ran into them a few weeks back. And, technically speaking Gnosis is an E.P., not a full length album. That said, at 50 minutes, it counts as an album in my book. Gnosis is yet another permutation on that most adaptable of genres: black metal. It weds a thick and suffocating wall of sound with delicate acoustic passages and Eastern melodies. There is something warm and comforting about the sound. It feels as though you could curl up inside it and drift off to sleep, lulled by buzzsaw guitars and whispered vocals.
13. Zombi -Shape Shift
Zombi make instrumental music that can trace a direct lineage back to 70s and 80s movie soundtracks. It is a rather specific genre that they have chosen, but they nail it. Lush synths float over prog-rock drums and skittering bass. It is the soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist but, based on what I’ve heard here, would probably fucking rock.
And here ends an entirely random and subjective list. There was a lot of good music made in 2015, more than any one article can capture. Got any favorites? Add them in the comments.