Best albums of 2015

It’s that time of the year again when we look back at some of the music that moved or excited us over the last 12 months – in truth, 2015 probably wasn’t a vintage year for truly great albums but there were plenty of records released worth shouting about.

The Irish music scene continues to hold its own even if the best music it produces operates in the margins, criminally overlooked in favour of the more  commercially successful mainstream acts. Very fine albums by Girls Names, the Drays, God Is an Astronaut and particularly Hedge Schools demonstrate the kind of quality out there. On the international front, J Tillman, aka Father John Misty released a stunning album early in the year, but it was Sufjan Stevens heart-breaking return to his childhood on Carrie & Lowell that claimed our hearts.

 

Carrie & Lowell -Sufjan Stevens

1.  Carrie & Lowell – Sufjan Stevens

“…words are such poor things,  wholly inadequate in conveying just how affecting these songs are. It is music to be felt, not read about, a deeply personal and moving meditation on life, death and everything in between….” full review here

 

 

Album Review; Slow Meadow

 

2.  Slow Meadow -Slow Meadow

“…A rare and precious find – Slow Meadow is one 2015’s most beautiful discoveries….” full review here

 

 

I Love You, Honeybear -Father John Misty3. I Love You, Honeybear – Father John Misty

“…The thing that strikes you on first listen is the sheer musicality of these songs – Tillman has gone for it in a big way, the shackles have been thrown off and a host of potentially deeply unfashionable influence have been scrambled together to produce something incredible.”  full review here

 

 

Yucatan - Uwch Gopa'r Mynydd

4.  Uwch Gopa’r MynyddYucatan

“…It’s almost impossible to listen to an album like this and not succumb – Yucatan coax magic and light out of familiar chords and melodies and the results are intoxicating…” full review here

 

 

Ezra Furman - Perpetual Motion People

5. Perpetual Motion People – Ezra Fuhrman

“…With Perpetual Motion People, Ezra Furman has produced one of the 2015’s most wildly inventive pop statements – he continues to operate in the margins, some distance from pop music’s rigidly formulaic core and for that we should be thankful..” full review here 

 

low

 

5. Ones and Sixes – Low

“…There is nobody making music quite like Low – they take the bare bones of rock music and turn it into something of shivery, skeletal beauty. At the heart of what they do is a purity of vision – drums, bass, guitar and vocals – unadorned simplicity… full review here

 

Sleep -Max Richter

6.  Sleep – Max Richter

“…Richter has been at the vanguard of the ambient/classical  movement and with Sleep, he has created his most challenging but arguably his most rewarding work to date…” full review here

 

 

METZ - METZ II

 

7.  METZ II – METZ

“…At a time when the music scene feels like it has stagnated to the point of no return, METZ have issued a rallying cry, a defiant statement that there is life in the old dog yet, that Rock music still retains the capacity to thrill and excite…” full review here

 

 

At The End Of A Winding Day -The Hedge Schools

8. At the End of a Winding Day – Hedge Schools

“…At The End of a Winding Day is an album to treasure – do yourself a favour and let this record into your life…” full review here

 

 

 

 

9. The Agent Intellect – Protomartyr       The Agent Intellect - Protomartyr

Post Punk has been enjoying something of a revival in recent years with polished interpretations of that genre by bands like the Killers, Interpol, and Editors enjoying mainstream appeal. Protomartyr reclaim the true spirit of Post Punk to some extent with this grimy, scuzzed up effort. Singer and main songwriter Joe Casey delivers his lines with a certain Mark E Smith swagger; his dark vision of the world set against the backdrop of spiky guitar noise makes for one of the year’s most thrilling rides.

 

 

Album Review: BC Camplight10. How To Die In the North – BC Camplight

“…How To Die in the North is an album of wonderfully skewed pop music, sounding like Pet Sound’s weird younger brother filled with sun-kissed melodies, celestial harmonies and oddly brilliant instrumental flourishes…” full review here

 

 

 

11. Look Away Down Collins Avenue – The Drays  12. Arms Around A Vision – Girls Names  13. Claustrophobia – Scuba  14.  Helios Erebus – God Is An Astronaut  15. 10000 – Emilie & Ogden  16.  + –Mew  17. Vamala – Champs 18. All Around Us – Briana Marela  19. Maze of Woods – Inventions  20. The Miraculous –Anna Von Hausswolff