Welcome to the end of another year of music that I loved, played, listened to and shared. Streaming took a big leap this year with Apple Music, which helped expand my listening selection [during the several months I was a subscriber]. Let’s see what made my list of albums released here in 2015.
- CHVRCHES “Every Open Eye”
– Their debut album, while really good, didn’t make my best of the year list when it came out in 2013. Not sure why it didn’t. But for some reason, I really liked this new release. I got to see them live in 2014 and they made an impact on my playlist this time around. Perhaps that’s what it took for them to make my best of list.
- Metric “Pagans In Vegas”
– Metric always makes my best of list with each new album they release. This one wasn’t as strong as their previous two, but still strong enough for me to embrace their sound. I got to see them live this year and will see them live in February. Of the 12 songs on this album, the last two are ones I skip each time, but the rest have been played many times over. I really like the tracks “Lie Lie Lie” and “The Shade”.
- Faith No More “Sol Invictus”
– A long time fan here of FNM, they took years to decide to reunite, let alone surprise us fans with a new album that did not disappoint. I’ve played “Superhero” so many times, I’ve lost count. Mike Patton’s deep and screaming vocals haven’t lost a thing on this release. The rest of the album’s tracks are just as strong.
- Neon Indian “VEGA INTL. Night School”
– Let’s take a large dash of 80’s Prince and mix it with the synth sounds of the last two Neon Indian albums and you have this brilliant release. I work out to this album a lot and it’s got such a great vibe and groove. I tend to track this album from start to finish, even though I admit to playing “Dear Skorpio Magazine” the most.
- Tame Impala “Currents”
– This band from Perth Australia is pretty much a solo project by Kevin Parker. Yes, the live version of the band has more members, but Kevin pretty much creates all of the sounds here. The hit “Let It Happen” has been overplayed, both on radio and on my iPod. But it’s a song I’ve not tired of yet. The rest of the album is good and the music satisfies my alt-psychedelic fix.
- Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers Live”
– Not too often a live album makes my best of cut. Rolling Stones have been together for over 50 years and this was the first time they ever performed a complete studio album live in concert. This show was performed at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles back in May to a small crowd of 1300. In July, they released the album, but I immediately purchased. I also purchased the remastered double CD of the 1971 studio album. All 10 songs have a great feel and Mick and Keith make this intimate live performance stand out on top. Nothing like hearing “Moonlight Mile” which always makes me enjoy this classic rock and blues album.
- The Airborne Toxic Event “Dope Machines”
– Since my daughter introduced me to this Los Angeles band many years ago, they have become a favorite, both on album and live in concert, who I’ve met and seen them many times. Earlier this year, they released this album of 10 new songs that still have that Airborne sound, but in a slightly different direction. It could have gone wrong in many ways, but it didn’t. These songs grew on me, of note the most recent hit “One Time Thing”, with it’s opening bass line and the lyric “sounds like your breath is full of moonshine/and cheap ass wine”. This is why their albums take their place on my best of lists.
- Iron Maiden “The Book Of Souls”
– My review of this album back in September was highly praised for being really great on so many levels. Up The Irons was obviously a mantra that Bruce Dickinson made, while fighting cancer, in creating this new album. I can’t tell you how much this album has made not just an impact on this long time fan, but in the rock and heavy metal arena. For a double album, it sold many copies in it’s first few weeks of release. They are touring behind it in 2016 and I hope, if my travel cards are in order, to see them live again, performing songs like “The Red And The Black” and “Shadows Of The Valley”.
- Marilyn Manson “THE PALE EMPEROR”
– The last few Marilyn Manson albums have been mixed, even if they usually ended up on previous years best of lists. But this one, Manson really killed it and created a new album worthy of returning lost fans of his music back to the fold. While “The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles” ended up being my favorite amongst the 13 songs, tracking the first 6 songs of the album was something I did lot. I missed his tour with Smashing Pumpkins this year, which I read many positive reviews of, so my chance to hear these new songs live will have to wait. Until then, this album remains one of my favorite of the band.
- Foo Fighters “Saint Cecilia – EP”
– Being a big fan of this band since their debut out of the ashes of Nirvana, I was pretty surprised, as were many others, when this 5 song EP was released for free on iTunes, Google Music and as a high quality download from their web site. Recorded entirely at the Austin hotel of the same name in between their double weekend sets at Austin City Limits, these 5 songs took on a level of greatness that went back to their roots. “Savior Breath” has that classic punk sound and “Sean” reminds me lot of “Monkey Wrench” from their second album. Dave Grohl and band continue to keep up the trend of releasing rock and roll music for us die hard fans. Break a leg, Dave… oh wait, he did on tour (which didn’t make a stop here in Utah).
- New Order “Music Complete”
– For the first new album in 10 years and their first without original bassist Peter Hook, New Order sure made up for lost time. Returning keyboardist Gillian Gilbert made her impact on these new songs, bringing back a sound that many of us long time fans have missed. Bernard’s vocals on songs like “Restless” and “Plastic” made me want to listen to these songs over and over, which I did since this albums release in early fall.
This album, which I reviewed here, takes it’s place not only at the top of my year end best of list, but also along the other New Order albums that I’ve loved over the years. Easily their best since “Brotherhood” and “Technique”, I’m glad to see them return to greatness. This might very well be their last new album, and if it is, they most certainly went out on top.
And now, here is my choice for top album of 2015….
I know I might have missed something on this list, at least when compared to others best of lists. So speak up below in the comments below.