Best Music of 2015

Hello kids! It’s that time of year again — fasterbarnacle time, that is — where I deliver my favorite music of the year post. It’s true my list comes a bit later than all those other bigger, more “widely read” lists, but I like to hold off in order to cover those unexpected gems that drop late in December like that mind blowing and poignant D’Angelo and The Vanguard record that was absent from most 2014 “best of” lists. And while there really wasn’t that kind of LP for me this time around, one of my favorite songs did arrive in December; “Shock Me” by Baroness off the album Purple (which was good, just not fasterbarnacle list worthy), an unabashed melodic piece of anthemic sludge metal.

Now you’re gonna notice I didn’t get around to writing what it was about each LP that resonated with me this year. My energy and time have been focused elsewhere these past few months and I’m just now getting this up as I decompress/process another recent bananas adventure (more about that to come).

That said, and hurried brevity aside, I feel my love of sharing music is worth at least hobbling together a little something rather than letting it drop altogether, and 2015’s offerings are the reward for said effort. Absent my usual $.02, I hope the samples embedded below will inspire you to seek these records out for a deeper listen.

As always, feel free to let me know what you dug over the year — I love discovering new tunes.

Happy new year all! Happy Chinese new year, Mardi Gras and beyond!


Hjaltalín Alpanon

Okay, here is the first and only Asterix type of aside on this list. The brilliant, endlessly enthralling Alpanon by Hjaltalín (live with The Iceland Symphony Orchestra) could have been my favorite record of the year, but given  it’s technically a compilation/live record — and recorded in 2010 (though released/issued in the states in 2015) — it just felt right pulling it off the numerical part of things, and give it its own due by mentioning it front and center. It really is a jaw-dropping LP.


Top EPs of 2015

Jacob Banks The Paradox; FKA twigs M3LL155X; GRIZ Chasing the Golden Hour Part 1; WhoMadeWho Ember; Mick Jenkins Wave (S); Júníus Meyvant EP; Teen Daze A World Away



Top 30 LPs of 2015

30. Israel Nash Israel Nash’s Silver Season

29. Active Child Mercy

28. Grimes Art Angels

27. Doomtree All Hands

26. Bilal In Another Life

25. Young Fathers White Men Are Black Men Too

24. Baio The Names

23. The Very Best Makes a King

22. Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

21. Royal Headache High

20. De Lux Generation

19. Lupe Fiasco Tetsuo & Youth

18. Natalie Prass Natalie Prass

17. Josh Garrells Home

16. Tobias Jesso Jr. Goon

15. Milo So the Flies Don’t Come

14. Modest Mouse Strangers To Ourselves

13. The Underachievers Evermore: The Art of Duality

12. Patrick Watson Love Songs For Robots

11. Raury All We Need

10. EL VY Return to the Moon

9. Kamasi Washington Epic

8. Beirut No No No

7. Tropics Rapture

6. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment Surf

5. Destroyer Poison Season

4. The Tallest Man On Earth Dark Bird Is Home

3. Algiers Algiers

2. Jamie xx In Colour

1. Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly


2015’s best track.

Lastly, my favorite song of the year: Modest Mouse’s 6 minute incendiary eco-political dance epic “The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box”. I really can’t get enough of this track and my iTunes play count can confirm this. Cryptic and eerily on point at the same time, it weaves, swings, bounces and gets under the skin. I love it.


Bonus Fasterbarnacle Playlist

If after all of the above you’re still jonesing for more, and you are an Apple Music subscriber, here is a link to a playlist I’ve created with some of the tracks that had my head bobbing in 2015. Per usual, it’s a genre mishmash of goodness. Click, add, and enjoy!

2015 Fasterbarnacle Star Tracks


3 comments on “Best Albums of 2015

  • Good list, bro! I’m a friend of Rachel P’s. Definitely had overlooked some of these! El Vy is sounding great! Tropics, too! With you on the Kamasi, Natalie Prass, Tobias Jesso, etc. Some that I’d help prop are: Echo Lake – Era; The Districts – A Flourish and A Spoil; Baroness – Purple; Desaparecidos – Payola; Hop Along – Painted Shut; Adventures – Supersonic Home
    Keep em coming, bro…

    • @Stephen, thanks for the suggestions! A couple of those went under my radar. Definitely enjoyed Payola and Painted Shut this year with the latter just missing my list. You’ll notice I gave a shout out to “Shock Me” in my introduction, but the rest of Purple didn’t grab me the same way. Looking forward to checking out Era, A Flourish, so again, thanks!

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