As the end of the year comes alarmingly close, everyone as always tries to focus on what their most favorite releases have been. As for me, i have have discovered incredible new artists as well as being extremely satisfied with what some of my most beloved musicians have come up with.
Here are my top 10 records of 2015 in no particular order!
JAGA JAZZIST – STARFIRE
This record is nothing short of amazing. I was never a big follower of the band, but had always heard bits of it here and there, which eventually got me interested in their new album.
The uncommon approach to writing songs that can take you on enormous journeys is pretty unconventional and refreshing and sometimes reminds me of an oldschool M83 atmosphere, but way more jazzy.
If you’re into spheric, playful and technical, almost orchestral music, this is definitely a “must”. I have to admit though, that in the very beginning i was kind of annoyed by the amount of information. Nevertheless as soon as i indulged myself in, i couldn’t stop listening.
FOR FANS OF: M83, Cinematic Orchestra, Boards of Canada
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VENNART – THE DEMON JOKE
When i heard that Mike Vennart, who used to play and sing for one of my favorite bands called Oceansize, was about to crowdfund and release his first solo record, i was on fire right away.
His trademark songwriting and his incomparable voice are meant be heard all over the world and my fanboyism was triggered to the fullest.
If you’re into strange harmonies, incredible guitar playing and almost choral vocal styles, mixed with odd meters and progressive drumming, you will find yourself grinning all over the face and bouncing your head throughout the whole record.
FOR FANS OF: Oceansize, Biffy Clyro, Deftones, Silverchair
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VALBORG – ROMANTIK
This record came to me as a big surprise. My fellow guitarist Simon had already recommended their older releases to me, so i had to give this a try, since mostly everything he recommends fits my musical taste. 😉
If you’re into gloomy, dark and atmospheric rock / metal â la Type O Negative, you shouldn’t miss out on this beautiful release. The album title “Romantik” speaks for itself.
You will find an almost burlesque kind of notion, that guides the listener through the whole album like a red chord. I often have mixed emotions, when listening to the album, almost feeling disgusted but beautifully paralyzed and spellbound.
FOR FANS OF: Type Of Negative, Woods of Ypres, Black Sabbath
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CHELSEA WOLFE – ABYSS
The queen of gloom and dirty electronics is back with her 5th full length album and it completely exceeded my expectations.
Her last record “Pain is Beauty” was on constant repeat in 2014 and i had fallen in love with the dark, yet catchy songwriting, which almost resembled cliché popular music at some points, without sounding cheesy at all.
Now, having worked together with Russian Circles guitarist Mike Sullivan, the album takes a huge step into the more sludgy direction and sometimes reminds me of a kind of comfortable version of Battle of Mice.
FOR FANS OF: Battle of Mice, Neurosis, Russian Circles
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TIGRAN HAMASYAN – MOCKROOT
This is a MUST for fans of Avishai Cohen or the legendary Esbjörn Svensson Trio. The armenian genious is perfectly mixing up jazzy piano playing with contemporary electronic sounds, polyrhythms and traditional armenian harmonies, which give the music an almost futuristic vibe.
And trust me, when i say, that even Meshuggah fans will feel very comfortable listening to this, when the rhythm section starts grooving in odd meters and polyrhythms you haven’t heard before.
I love it!
FOR FANS OF: Avishai Cohen, Esbjörn Svensson Trio, Messhugah
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REDINHO – REDINHO
I found out about this musician / producer through one of my favourite singers Kimbra enthusiatically promoting it on her facebook page. As she is the open minded person, you wish every musician to be, i had to give it a spin and immediately fell in love with it.
Very modern electronic sounds, that resemble the incredible “Drive” movie score at times, but also merge into funky pop beats, that could have been produced by Dr. Dre himself.
If you’re in a bad mood, want to brighten up your day or just want to enjoy walking through the city, use this!
FOR FANS OF: Cliff Martinez, Kimbra, Pharell Williams, Tycho
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HIATUS KAIYOTE – CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON
This band is probably one of the best acts on the planet right now. I had seen them on TV, while following the Grammys in 2013 with my buddy Max, because we were hoping for our friend Zedd to win. Almost simultaneously we wrote to each other: “Holy shmow! What was this band’s name again?!”, when they performed live on stage.
To me, this is the peak of contemporary neo-funk / hip hop / r’n’b / jazz music and i highly recommend this band to anyone, who want to get their mind blown by incredible musicians, crazy sound structures and thoughtful song writing.
Seeing them live earlier this year was definitely one of my highlights in 2015!
FOR FANS OF: Snarky Puppy, Prince, Erykah Badu
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BJÖRK – VULNICURA
Well, what can i say… Björk is back with one of her most emotional and open-hearted releases yet, oscillating between honest sadness and thrilling anger.
Capturing intimate breakup experiences and perpetuating them in her trademark sounds, playing around with almost arythmic patterns, while opening herself up to the listener with the help of orchestral, poethic song structures, this is probably her most agitating statement since Vespertine.
This is not a release to listen to while working or cleaning up your flat. It deserves your full attention and an open mind.
FOR FANS OF: Björk
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TAME IMPALA – CURRENTS
I still remember touring the USA with The Ocean in 2014. We were playing a show in Miami / FL and our bassist put on the latest Tame Impala album, while “just shortly” being about to grab some coffee from around the corner.
The short trip turned into an hour long chillout-odyssey through the city to find the way back to the venue, while passing palm trees and bathing in the sun.
This is the best soundtrack for relaxing moments like those and probably exactly what the band wants us to do, while listening to them.
FOR FANS OF: Fleet Foxes, Warpaint, Daft Punk
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CITIZEN – EVERYBODY IS GOING TO HEAVEN
This is kind of a short notice entry to my top list of 2015. While strolling around on Spotify, i was sceptically interested in what that weird cover would offer and to my surprise, i was pretty blown away.
To me, they sound like a grunge version of Thrice, with a more hardcore-esque approach to songwriting, while still having epic vocal harmonies and not losing strength, due to being to cheesy.
If you’re just into dirty, yet catchy songs and like your screaming vocals from time to time, this might be interesting for you. 😉
FOR FANS OF: Thrice, Circa Survive, Touché Amoré
• • •
SUMAC – The Deal
Blacklisted – When People Grow, People Go
knowsum – Hi-Hat Club (Vol.7) Hyasynthus
Elliot Moss – Highspeeds
Nils Frahm – Solo
Author & Punisher – Melk en Honing
LLNN – Loss
Torche – Restarter
• • •
EPs / Singles:
Tristan Brusch – Fisch EP
Owl – Aeon Cult EP
Meraine – s/t EP
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Check out my BEST OF 2015 Spotify playlist here:
Thanks for reading! I’d love to know, what your favorite records were. 🙂