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Top Albums of 2015

December 19, 2015 — 1 Comment

Here are my favorite albums of 2015. I’d love to hear from you what your favorite albums were.

Here’s my top albums from previous years: 2014201320122011 and 2010

Click links to play in Spotify

Tame Impala

tame-impala-currents6. Tame Impala – Currents

Had only had a little exposure to Tame Impala before this album but they definitely took it up a notch with this album. A couple great songs on this album:

sufjan carrie5. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell

I actually loved (and still listen frequently) to Sufjan’s experimental electro-album Age of Adz. So I was a little disappointed to hear that he was returning(regressing?) to a more stripped down acoustic sound. The verdict? In my opinion, not as good as Adz. Especially in terms of repeat listens. It’s a beautiful, dark, honest, depressing album about Sufjan coming to grips with the death of his mom (who abandoned him as a kid). But I don’t find myself going back to it very often. It’s just not very fun (at all). But there ARE some hauntingly beautiful songs. Part of the reason I don’t get to listen to it very often – my kids and my wife hate it. So our minivan is rarely blessed with the beauty of Sufjan. A couple of the best songs on the album:

A sincere, longing song about Jesus. You don’t hear that much in the indie world:

 

depression cherry4. Beach House – Depression Cherry

A chill album. Minimalist and beautiful. So many great songs. Not fun. But moving. Their music makes you feel like you are floating in space or relaxing in a hammock by the ocean.

A few of the best:


GRIMES-ART-ANGELS-COVER-ART3. Grimes – Art Angels

Grimes wins weirdest cover art of 2015. About half the songs are too weird to enjoy. The other half are amazing indie pop. She is one talented woman – she plays and produces everything you hear on the album (instruments and vocals). These are definitely my most listened to songs of the last few months:



purity ring2. Purity Ring – another eternity

It was very difficult to decide #1 and #2. Both amazing indie-pop albums packed with incredible songs. Chvrches just has a little more realness and emotion and depth. But Purity Ring has better beats. A tremendous improvement in this their second album (their first album had a few good songs and lots of bad ones). So many great songs. Hard to pick even a few to mention since they’re all so good:



chvrches1. Chvrches – Every Open Eye

Chvrches first album was really good. This one is bigger and deeper – a more expansive and polished sound. Not a bad song on the album. Definitely my family’s favorite album of the year (I was a little more divided between Purity Ring, Chvrches, and Grimes).

Some standout songs:



Would love to hear – what are your favorite albums of 2015?

Top 10 Albums of 2013

December 19, 2013 — 4 Comments

2013 was a great year in music with several of the best indie rock bands releasing albums. Here are my 10 favorite albums. I’d love to hear from you what are your favorite albums of 2013.

Click links to play in Spotify

Volcano-Choir-Repave10. Volcano Choir– Repave

Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon’s side project. Similar to Bon Iver, though not quite as good. Two great songs from this album: Comrade and Byegone

 

artworks-000057602816-6qit5q-t500x50019. Phantogram – Phantogram EP

One of my favorite bands. All four songs on the EP are great. Two standout songs: Black Out Days and Never Going Home

 

homepage_large.843c2ed58. Local Natives – Hummingbird

Best songs on this album: Heavy Feet, You & I, Ceilings.

 

 

90fa25fe7. Phoenix – Bankrupt!

Good indie pop. Not real substantive (I don’t find myself going back to this album that often – but I like the songs when I hear them). Definitely some fun songs. Best songs: The Real ThingChloroform, Don’t and Entertainment.

 

 

CHVRCHES Debut

6. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe

My favorite new band of 2013. Love their sound. Top songs: Recover (one of the best songs of the year), Tether, The Mother We Share.

 

2013-10-07-cults_gif_630x802_q855. Cults – Static

Great sophomore album from Cults. Some are put off by the 50’s doo-wop sound but there’s so many great songs on here. The best songs on the album: Were Before, I Can Hardly Make You Mine, High Road, So Far, Shine a Light.

 

artworks-000039552194-inuahw-t500x5004. Caveman – Caveman

In the City is one of the best songs of the year. A great swinging-in-the-hammock chill album. Two other great songs on the album: Where’s the Time and Chances

 

sticker,375x3603. Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Not as good as their previous Grammy-winning-album, The Suburbs. Reflektor is pretty uneven. With 5 of the best songs Arcade Fire has ever made. A few decent songs and a couple very forgettable songs. Here are the 5 amazing songs: ReflektorHere Comes the Night TimeAfterlifeAwful Sound (Oh Eurydice)It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus).

 

5_21_The-National2. The National – Trouble Will Find Me

I didn’t think The National could ever come close to High Violet (the best album anyone has made in the last 5 years). “Trouble” doesn’t quite match High Violet but it is an amazing album with only a couple minor flaws. Some particularly great songs: Sea of LoveI Should Live in SaltGracelessDemonsDon’t Swallow the Cap.

 

Vampire_Weekend_-_Modern_Vampires_of_the_City1. Vampire Weekend –

Modern Vampires of the City

An amazing album from start to finish. Beautiful music with profound lyrics – nearly every song dealing with God and our looming mortality. A sample from the song Unbelievers:

“If I’m born again I know that the world will disagree

Want a little grace but who’s going to say a little grace for me?

We know the fire awaits unbelievers

All of the sinners the same

Girl you and I will die unbelievers bound to the tracks of the train”

In maybe-the-best-song-of-the-year “Ya Hey”, Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend’s secular-Jewish lead singer “flips the script of the old question ‘If God really loves us, why do terrible things happen?’ Ezra seems to be asking ‘How can God love such terrible things?’” (quote)

Pitchfork (the de facto king of indie music blogs) puts it this way:

Koenig stages a plaintive confrontation with his higher power, listing its non-believers, and shrugging: “America don’t love you/ So I can never love you in spite of everything.” This isn’t a breakup, but an attempt to see the other side in hopes of reconciliation: why should you show such love for the people who go such lengths to deny your existence, when you can’t even get any credit for it?

The scrambled, mutated voices on the hook play off the inpronounceable name of the Lord while flipping the title of perhaps the most beloved pop song of the past two decades. Such is the scope of “Ya Hey,” but Vampire Weekend put it within the grasp of anyone who wants it with another impossibly catchy song that skips along while carrying the weight of the universe.

 A few of the best songs (though, seriously- there are 10 really good songs on this album- all very diverse yet cohesive):

 

Who did I miss? What were your favorite albums of the year?