While nothing got the same volume of plays for me this year as Sun Kil Moon – Benji or the Battle Trance lp did last year. 2015 was a great year for music (it had to be a good year for something, right?). Here are some top tens… or thirteens… or sixes… or fours…
1) Wolf Eyes – I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces (Third Man Records)
Stoner industrial rock n roll drones. long live trip metal. I can’t put this on without getting lost in it.
2) Sun Children Sun – Sun Children Sun (SPHC)
Thank god SPHC has helped this band get some US exposure and that the majority of their releases are available to stream on bandcamp. One of the most essential bands playing anything you could term “punk” and making some of the most spastic and eclectic at that. This LP collects material from a CDr, split flexi, and split 7” that were only released in Japan.
3) Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope)
Do I even need to say anything on this one?
4) nu-kle-ar blast suntan – Prophetic Visions (SPHC)
New city. New lineup. Best release yet. Psychedelic hardcore crust, sounding something like Hawkwind (RIP Lemmy) combined with Disrupt.
5) Consumer Electronics – Dollhouse Songs (Harbinger Sound)
Consumer Electronics seems to get better with every release, and Dollhouse Songs is no exception.
6) Legion Of Andromeda – Iron Scorn (Unholy Anarchy Records/At War With False Noise)
Drum machine industiral death metal. Streetcleaner-era Godlflesh meets Hellhouse. Ugly, hateful, brutal, essential.
7) M. Akers – Whitest Hunters, Blackest Hearts (Musica Originale/Suite 309)
80s actions film soundtrack worship that makes the perfect soundtrack for 2015.
8) Sissy Spacek – Brath (Oxen)
The harshest, most arduous release yet from the noisecore Sissy Spacek lineups. Two 12-minute tracks of unrelenting, blasting noise.
9) Elvis Depressedly – New Alhambra (Run For Cover Records)
Catchy and dreamy synth-ed out downer bedroom pop. After Goner, the strongest Elvis Depressedly material to date. “Jesus died on the cross so I could quit my job.”
10) Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect (Hardly Art)
Post-punk for post-punkers. Protomartyr moves a little more towards The Fall with every record while still keeping their sound diverse and dynamic.
11) Gun Outfit – Dream All Over (Paradise Of Bachelors)
Gun Outfit’s LA record. Songs for driving through the desert and the New Hollywood.
12) The Sediment Club – Psychosymplastic (Wharf Cat Records)
The Sediment Club finally managed to capture the intensity of their lives shows on wax. Chaotic no wave revival.
13) Turnstile – Nonstop Feeling (Reaper Records)
This record should probably be higher, but what are ya gonna do. Mosh record of 2015 and probably my most played. Vocals vibe on 311 and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Madball/NYHC riffs. “Love Lasso” could be a Modest Mouse b-side. “Fazed Out” was 2015’s jam. If you can’t hang, go sit down.
Honorable Mention: Dungen – Allas Sak (Mexican Summer)
Notable Blindspots: Cunts – Beautiful Hole (PaPa Records), Odwalla88 – Earth Flirt (Ooga Booga Records), Joanna Newsom – Divers (Drag City), and all of the Chris Weisman albums
1) Exacerbacion – Desastre Humano (SPHC/Pan del Muerte Records)
Raw grind from Costa Rica. everything I want from a grindcore release.
2) Weyes Blood – Cardamom Times (Kemado/Mexican Summer)
A strong follow up to Weyes Blood’s essential, experimental, baroque folk album The Innocents.
3) mommy – EP (Toxic State)
mommy put out a good demo this year and followed it up with a great EP. Beyond the hard to pin down music (hardcore? anarcho-punk? noise punk? what?), mommy has some of the most personal and unnerving lyrics you’ll hear this year.
4) Depths Of Reality – 7” Promo Tape (???)
I’m not sure if this exists as a physical release or just a bandcamp release, but any new music from one of if the not the best of the new crop of Boston and western Mass hardcore bands is reason to be excited. Fast and heavy.
5) Sadist – The Shadow Of The Swastika (self-released)
Industrial noise punk sludge. Three rerecorded tracks from the demo that strengthen the noise textures and crisp the riffs.
6) Sete Star Sept / Cock ESP (Underground Pollution Records)
The best noisegrind band around on one side giving six free-form grind blasts while on the other longrunning madman noise unit Cock ESP delivers 9 tracks sure to send your eyes rolling back into your skull
7) Mellow Harsher – Served Cold (Mal Okul Records)
Wisconsin grinders come back with their second 7”. It does not disappoint.
8) Suppression – Rats In The Control Room (Chaotic Noise Productions)
Suppression goes noisecore.
9) Tredici Bacci / ENPSE – Vai! Vai! Vai! / Concetti (Astral Spirits)
The Italo soundtrack masters are at it again, with a follow-up to their 2014 masterpiece, The Thirteen Kisses EP. This time ENPSE is on the b-side, a new group featuring Tredici Bacci members performing free improv akin to Ennio Morricone’s Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza.
10) Scab Minded – Kutenero Old Memory (Neon Audio Tapes)
Collaboration between Kenny Sanderson (Facialmess) and Kohei Nakagawa (Guilty Connector). Schizoid harsh noise spasms.
HM: M. Akers – Lacerate/O.B. (Syncro Systems)
1) Firing Squad
Hardest hitting demo of the year. It’s USHC with maybe a little Swedish d-beat influence thrown in. No frills.
Drum machine post-punk hardcore. I don’t wanna be like me.
The most hyped demo of 2015 doesn’t really disappoint.
4) Caveman Cult
Raw blackened death metal that’s a throwback to its Floridian forebears with gruff vocals and catchy riffs.
5) Concealed Blade
Hardcore rock n roll from Pittsburgh that’s as fun as it is violent. The breakdowns and gang vocals really make this tape.
NYC’s best new band started off their 2015 with this little oddity.
1) Miles Davis – Bootleg Series Vol. 4 Live At Newport (Legacy Recordings)
Complete recordings of Miles Davis at the Newport Jazz Festival. Four discs covering 1955 through ’75. Essential music from essential lineups (featuring Coltrane, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Thelonius Monk, Cannonball Adderley, etc).
2) GISM – Determination (Beast Arts)
A remastered version of GISM’s first album Detestation with their tracks from compilations. Some of the best hardcore ever recorded. Remastered tracks sound amazing. “Endless Blockade of The Pussyfooter” into “Fire” is the perfect way to start this release.
3) The Minnesota Uranium Club Band – Human Exploration (Fashionable Idiots)
Reissue of The Uranium Club’s demo tape from the end of last year(?). One of last year’s best demos beautifully packaged as a 12”. Catchy and weird as all hell.
4) John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (Impulse!)
On here mostly for being possibly the greatest jazz album ever recorded with a lineup that could put any other to shame.
5) Harry Pussy – s/t (Superior Viaduct)
Harry Pussy’s first album finally back in print.
6) Lawrence Welks & Our Bear To Cross – Binary Execute Now (Beautiful Music CDs)
For those of you who missed the cassette release of this palindromic masterpiece, Beautiful Music CDs gives you a chance to grab a copy of it on CD. Burlington’s finest.
1) Sissy Spacek + Jay Randall + Sickness @Flywheel (July 5th, Easthampton, MA)
2) Infest @The Middle East (May 2nd, Cambridge, MA)
3) Hollow Deck @Welks Mice’s house (August 5th, Buffalo, NY)
4) John Wiese @Goethe Institut (May 1st, Boston, MA)