These days, whether we like it or not, music is everywhere we go - in our car, in advertisements, while we exercise and while we're holding on the phone. Yet it's the tunes that we choose to keep and collect and make our own that changes who we are. We take a look back at the special sounds that provided the soundtrack for 2015.
|Oh babies. What a year. 2015 was a dominated by pop auteurism, sturdy return to form releases, and Australia’s biggest assault on international stages for some time.|
'BETTER MAN' - LEON BRIDGES
5. ‘COMING HOME’ - LEON BRIDGESThe Leon Bridges phenomenon has spread like wildfire over the past twelve months, with his debut LP proving one of the most sought and talked about mainstream crossover releases. A favourite in record stores and on Beats 1 alike, the appeal is obvious. Bridges oozes classic charisma with his unashamed love letter to 60s American soul and gospel. He picks up a torch once held by the likes of Cooke and Redding with a warmth and joy that is impossible to deny.
'SPACE SONG' - BEACH HOUSE
4. ‘DEPRESSION CHERRY’ - BEACH HOUSE2015 saw Beach House present us with two stunning albums in as many months. The first, ‘Depression Cherry’ is a sweet, emotional and spacious record built on voluminous synths and low key drum machines. Victoria Legrand’s vocals echo across the waves of sound while Alex Scally’s spindly guitar lines creep throughout the tracks punctuating sentiment. Shoe-gaze influenced textures create a dreamlike experience, drawing you into a spacey womb of tenderness and longing.
'LIVING MY LIFE' - DEERHUNTER
3. ‘FADING FRONTIER’ - DEERHUNTERDeerhunter’s most inviting and comfortable record to date is a mediation on life after near death. Dropping the caustic garage of 2013’s ‘Monomania’ in favour of a sound capable of yielding alt pop singles like ‘Living My Life’ and ‘Breaker’, Bradford Cox sheds his combative edge (for now), choosing to embrace rather than repel. The production sheen applied to this record backs up strong songwriting with glimmering arrangements that build and crash so instinctively that even the simplest moments are thrilling.
'KIM'S CARAVAN' - COURTNEY BARNETT
2. ‘SOMETIMES I SIT AND THINK, AND SOMETIMES I JUST SIT’ - COURTNEY BARNETTCourtney Barnett has become yet as another world-conquering Australian artist who earns her ascent by crafting a vision that is uniquely hers. The delightful catch with Barnett is that her thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears are shared by so many that her personal reflections feel like our very own. Introspection and attention to detail syphoned through a quick, dry wit served on a bed of jaunty garage rock resulted in an instantly classic debut and won hearts the world over.
'THE LESS I KNOW THE BETTER' - TAME IMPALA
1. ‘CURRENTS’ - TAME IMPALAIt’s staggering to think that the expert production of ‘Currents’ was put largely put together in bedrooms. Parker’s sonic work on this LP is simply gorgeous as he marries his psych-rock roots with 70s disco and 80s pop to birth somewhat of breakup concept album. Parker charts romantic disintegration and its aftermath on a criminally smooth ride that slithers from looped synth cuts to energetic funk at a programmed finger click. It’s just so damn lush and it reaffirms the band’s world-storming reputation that is yet to find a cap. The best part is that where he goes from here is anyone’s guess.
'LAIKA' (LIKE A VERSION) - JESSE DAVIDSON
5. ‘LIZARD BOY [EP]’ - JESSE DAVIDSONThey say good things come in small packages, and this EP from Jesse Davidson doesn't disappoint. Just five tracks long, and yet each one of them is a memorable and blissfully revisitable affair. Both 'Laika' and 'Lagoon' make the longest-lasting impressions, largely thanks to Jesse's phenomenal vocals. He is, without a doubt, an up-and-coming Aussie artist with a huge amount of potential, and I can't wait to hear more from him in 2016.
'NOTHING WITHOUT LOVE' - NATE RUESS
4. ‘GRAND ROMANTIC’ - NATE RUESSI've charted the career of Nate Ruess for years. First, the early days with The Format, then later with fun. Now he's embarked on a solo career, and although it's a little poppier than his former incarnations, it still holds the quintessential spark that makes all of his music so memorable. In truth, this album has bigger production values and has been designed to appeal to a wider audience, but that certainly doesn't stop the quality nor the catchiness. When it first came out, I could listen to 'Nothing Without Love' on loop for hours, and that's still the same 10 months after its release. Embrace his epic tunes and enjoy every minute of 'Grand Romantic'.
'JOHN MY BELOVED' - SUFJAN STEVENS
3. ‘CARRIE & LOWELL’ - SUFJAN STEVENSSufjan Stevens can do no wrong in my eyes. This is easily his most person album, detailing his tumultuous youth with a frequently absent mother, and each track permeates with the emotion of his experiences. This is an overall quieter album than previous releases, but in no way less detailed. Better still, his live performance brings this beauty to life, which inevitably we will sample again when he returns to Australia in early 2016.
'SOUTHWESTERN TERRITORY' - THE MOUNTAIN GOATS
2. ‘BEAT THE CHAMP’ - THE MOUNTAIN GOATSIt's kind of crazy to have thought that a concept album about wrestling would be making it onto my top five list, but honestly, that just goes to prove just how impressive The Mountain Goats' latest offering is. The play count I have for 'Beat The Champ' is phenomenal; it's impossible to resist the bizarre mix of heartfelt, personal stories and violent imagery.
'A BEGINNING SONG' (LYRIC VIDEO) - THE DECEMBERISTS
1. ‘WHAT A TERRIBLE WORLD, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WORLD’ - THE DECEMBERISTSWhat a stunning album. The Decemberists are true artists, and their work on this LP is certainly no exception. There is an absolute rawness to the songs, but when you reach those particular crescendos - say, in songs like 'A Beginning Song' or 'Make You Better' - it never fails to send a shiver up your spine. The beauty of the music is nothing short of fixating. This is exactly what music should be.
What do you think of our list? Is there something we've forgotten? Leave a comment and let us know.