I’ve been trying to finish going through albums that came out in 2015 that I haven’t heard yet (just got into Unknown Mortal Orchestra, they’re great), but I think it’s time to throw in the towel and admit to myself that a “best of last year” blog post in March is pointless. So here are my favorite albums that came out in 2015 that I listened to a whole bunch in 2015:
I love Christmas music! Seasonal songs are my jam for four weeks out of every year, and my favorites are the weird original ones. I especially love strange Christmas music when it’s free, and this year we get bunch of good stuff: UPDATE! I found some more good stuff!
The next release in the Christmas Forest series (mentioned below), this compilation is smoother and sweeter than Volume 8. The cover of the Getz/Gilberto classic is pitch-perfect and somehow meshes well with the Holiday mood, and the noisy post-rock version of Christmastime Is Here works really much better than it should. It also contains a new Sound of Ceres track, which makes me happy. Get it here for free.
This free collection of songs definitely veers closer to Contemporary Christian Music mainstream than usual for me anymore, but it’s a really solid collection of songs. Sticking mostly in the modern worship genre, it’s totally sing-along-able, just like the title suggests. Get it for free here.
Sleeping at Last has released a compilation of Christmas songs recorded yearly as a kind of a Christmas card, and they all stick pretty close to his inspirational style that splits the difference between modern worship and Sigur Rós. Expect plenty of swelling crescendos quietly-strummed guitars, and bells. Get it for free here.
Sam Billen (formerly of The Billions) loves to put together Christmas compilations with his friends and then release them online for free. This is the 2015 edition and it’s full of quiet, twinkly indie pop. My favorites are the instrumentals from Yuuki Ono and I Am Robot And Proud, but the whole thing is a charming, mellow affair. Don’t miss the annual Half-Handed Cloud Christmas track, which is always a delight! Download it for free here.
Colorado record label Act So Big Forest has released 8 volumes of their Christmas Forest compilation full of wild, lo-fi tracks. Each volume has a track from Candy Claws and this final release features a track from their new project, Sound of Ceres. The whole thing is moody and noisy and a little unhinged. Download it for free here.
Owen Ashworth has recorded under the names Casiotone For The Painfully Alone and Advance Base, and all of his music features his honest, plaintive voice and plenty of thrift store keyboard sounds. This mixtape of all of his Christmas tracks ranges from 2006 through this year and includes Christmas classics, covers, instrumentals and new original holiday songs. Get it here for free.
Last year Chill Mega Chill released Tape Deck The Halls last year, and they’re back this year with Totally Righteous Holiday Special. It’s a compilation of tape-label chillwave that veers from found-sound compositions featuring samples of It’s A Wonderful Life to danceable jams about getting sloshed on eggnog. Get it here for free.
Lots of music that’s coming out that I am excited about!
- Panda Bear – vs. The Grim Reaper — I loved Person Pitch and was less enthused by Tomboy. The prerelease mix and EP have skewed pretty beat-heavy, so I’m excited.
- Teen Daze – A World Away EP — The two tracks released are the two sides of classic Teen Daze; one is nicely dancey and the other is coolly ambient. Preorder here.
- The Decemberists – What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World — New Decemberists yay! They have a just-odd-enough video (with Nick Offerman) that points to a more 70s-influenced sound.
- Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love — You have to be excited about this. It’s required if you like “indie rock”.
- Bjørn Torske – Nedi Myra/Trøbbel Reissues — This dude is a predecessor to Lindstrom and Todd Terje and it’s exciting to see these hard to find albums reissued.
- Mark Ronson – Uptown Special — Mark Ronson making pop music is a sign that the world is still not completely garbage. [[update: out now on iTunes]]
- Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear — I’m pretty sick of Tillman’s schtick at this point, but I’m definitely not at all sick of his songwriting or music. It’s a weird place to be.
- Dan Deacon – Glass Riffer –Dan Deacon just keeps making the weirdest, most beautiful electronic music he can. See the video for the first single.
- Heems – Eat Pray Thug — I really like listening to Heems rapping. His flow drifts easily between hyper-articulate, swagger, and hazy silliness in a way that I just can’t get enough of.
- Purity Ring – Another Eternity — Just announced! Heavy electronics with gorgeous lilting vocals. Check out a new song here.
- Twin Shadow – Eclipse — His last album, Confess, is one of my all-time favorite albums. I can’t wait to hear more from Twin Shadow.
- The Go! Team – The Scene Between — The Go! Team hits this perfect joyful/nostalgic balance that you can’t stop listening to. If their first single is any indication, this new album (the first in a while) is refocused but still exuberant.
- Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell — The press line on this new Sufjan release is that it’s a return to folkier, quieter sounds. It’s a welcome announcement.
- Anamanaguchi — There’s a hint of something on the video for the PC Music-influenced single Pop It that appeared mysteriously last year. My soul is prepared.