The 2015 Track of the Year

Florence + the Machine, “Third Eye” Hey, look up Don’t make a shadow of yourself Always shutting out the light Caught in your own creation Look up, look up It tore you open And oh, how much? … You don’t have to be a ghost Here amongst the living You are flesh and blood And […]

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The 2015 Album of the Year

Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls (Iron Maiden LLP) The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized just how powerful nostalgia is, and how appealing it is, too. I can’t say for every 45 year-old, but at this age my musical interests have reverted greatly to the eras I’ve been fondest of in my life. […]

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The Best Tracks of 2015, #2

2. Girl Band, “Paul” The band who put out the best rock album of 2015 came through with the best rock track of 2015. A combination of the Fall’s Can worship and, well, Can, with a little classic noise rock tossed in for good measure, it’s hypnotic, explosive, abrasive, and completely frightening, featuring a bassline […]

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The Best Albums of 2015, #2

2. Grimes, Art Angels (Crystal Math) As much as I enjoyed Grimes’ 2012 album Visions, there was the lingering feeling that it all could have been a fluke. I was only cautiously optimistic about Claire Boucher’s future, and a big reason was that whenever I saw or read an interview with her, she was incapable of articulately explaining her […]

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The Best Tracks of 2015, #3

3. CHVRCHES, “Leave a Trace” The first single off the Scottish trio’s follow-up to 2013’s massive The Bones of What You Believe shows the band sounding stronger and more confident both as musicians and songwriters. Sleeker than the band’s synthpop of old, the lavish “Leave a Trace” is a perfect, sparkling showcase for singer Lauren […]

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The Best Albums of 2015: #3

3. Holly Herndon, Platform (4AD) Somehow an album sounding “dated” has become a bad thing. Many music enthusiasts, including yours truly, get sucked into the notion that great new music has to have a timeless quality, a sound that transcends whatever year it comes from. And I won’t lie, that kind of music is still […]

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The Best Tracks of 2015, #4

4. Royal Thunder, “Time Machine” The lead track off Royal Thunder’s stupendous Crooked Doors album knocked me flat over when I first heard it in January. And that was completely on a visceral, instinctive level. I paid no attention to the lyrics, just the music, and the breadth, immediacy, and confidence of the song had me […]

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The Best Albums of 2015, #4

4. Gwenno, Y Dydd Olaf (Heavenly) Like any other new music enthusiast, the desire to find something new and unique fuels my entire obsession. I love to stumble across an album that so strangely combines just he right elements that appeal to me, as well as others that I might never thought I’d listen to. So […]

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The Best Tracks of 2015, #5

5. fka twigs, “Glass & Patron” Coming right on the heels of last year’s LP1, which was my 2014 Album of the Year, fka twigs wasted no time watching away all doubts as to whether she could follow it up successfully. At only 18 minutes, the M3LL155X EP shows extraordinary growth already, and is highlighted […]

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The Best Albums of 2015, #5

5. Girl Band, Holding Hands With Jamie (Rough Trade) I can be an old fogey sometimes, especially when it comes to indie rock. There’s nothing in music that makes me sadder than a contemporary indie rock band that has no idea how to rock. 25 years ago indie rock was exciting, daring, creative, and at […]

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The Best tracks of 2015, #6

6. Grimes, “Kill V. Maim” The most overtly commercial sounding song on a wildly quirky new album by Grimes, typically, makes no sense when you dig deep. According to Claire Boucher, it’s a sketch of Al Pacino circa Godfather Part II, “except he’s a vampire who can switch gender and travel through space.” But Grimes […]

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The Best Albums of 2015, #6

6. CHVRCHES, Every Open Eye (Glassnote) Scottish trio CHVRCHES came along in 2012 and wowed me, becoming an obsession throughout the following year. Personally it was the most appealing new music imaginable: edgy but minimal synthpop with a striking female voice who provided wickedly smart lyrics amidst all the hooks. As phenomenal a debut as […]

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The Best Tracks of 2015, #7

7. Tove Styrke, “Number One” After a 2009 debut album that wasn’t exactly memorable, Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Styrke returned in 2015 with the saucy, sleek-sounding Kiddo, a pleasantly surprising statement of defiance and originality for a pop album. Part Suzi Quatro, part Robyn, part Annie, with a willingness to utilize reggae beats in audacious fashion, […]

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The Best Albums of 2015, #7

7. Royal Thunder, Crooked Doors (Relapse) Just how important is an album’s back story when it comes to appreciating the music? Some stories behind the creation of classic albums are so intertwined with the music that resulted that they become almost mythic. You can’t listen to Rumours without thinking of the turmoil within Fleetwood Mac. […]

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The Best Tracks of 2015, #8

8. Ghost, “He Is” I mentioned it plenty of times, but what Ghost do better than another band today is combine seductive beauty with heavy blasphemy. Metal fans who bellyache about how “insincere”, how “calculated”, how “cartoonish” it all is are missing the entire point. There is devilish pleasure in singing devout, overtly Satanic lyrics in […]

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