For those that are interested here is my “Best Releases” list for the year of 2015. It was a reasonably good year for music, although there was nothing spectacular. Most of the best finds of the year were, as usual, buried deep and did not receive much general exposure. One of the interesting things about the year’s releases is the number of old bands that took a swing at the ball this year, with many notable and interesting results. In fact the number one selection is just that.
- Blur – The Magic Whip
Damon Albarn is one of the most prolific people in music, also responsible for Gorillaz, The Good, The Bad and The Queen and a whole host of solo work. But Blur was the original band in the early 90s and their new release doesn’t disappoint, being full of the original and diverse slants on music that Albarn is known for.
- The London Souls- Here Come The Girls
The London Souls are not a new band, with several releases spanning the last 8 years or so. But I’ve never heard of them before. While many of the songs have a Beatles and late 60s feel to them, the music doesn’t come across as dated and their diversity is one of their strong points.
3.The Fratellis – Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied
This album is brim full of catchy tunes that have teeth and depth. Memorable songs rather than the stuff that often just drifts through your mind.
- Florence and the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
I thought this was going to be the big album of the summer, and certainly several of the songs got a lot of airplay. There’s a new maturity and measure in Florence’s work here that I rather like. *Video’s a little slow to get going.
- Tame Impala – Currents
This was my “mowing the lawn with headphones on” music this past summer. Mellow enough to enjoy the yard but active enough to keep me walking.
- Macabees – Marks to Prove It
Kind of an Arcade Fire feel to it, with a little more juice.
- Best Coast – California Nights
Great Show at Dundas Square last summer. Reminded me a lot of the Pretenders.
I’m going to list the rest in no particular order, mostly because they all sit about at the same solid place. Most of them, as you can see, are older bands who put out some excellent new material this year.
The Waterboys – Modern Blues
Joe Jackson – Fast Forward (Best new album in years.)
Squeeze – Cradle to the Grave (Also a best for years. Great to hear new material from them.)
Paul Wellar – Saturn’s Pattern (Not as strong as the previous album. A bit eccentric but still good.)
Low – Ones and Sixes
New Order – Music Complete (Surprisingly good from the old band.)
The Strypes – Little Victories (Solid album though not quite as good as the first. These guys need to up their game.)
Of Monsters and Men – Beneath The Skin