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!
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!