In order of release, my Top 5 albums from the first half of 2015…
Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
PBMTGR was my first introduction to Panda Bear’s solo material, and just after a couple of listens, I realized that Noah Lennox brings just about everything that I love about Animal Collective to that group. The unsettling synths and oddball melodies get stuck in your head for reasons you can’t explain. I still struggle to understand this album, but there’s beauty in the struggle.
Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
MMDG is going to give me a lot of shit for having this guy here, but I was very impressed by how un-Fleet Foxes Josh Tillman’s second solo album turned out. This record could almost double as comedy, as Tillman’s quips about modern romance and masculinity often got a few hearty chuckles out of me. But really, it’s just an incredibly down-to-earth and beautiful record about being in love and the spectacular horn arrangements really carry that home.
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
While Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City was an incredibly personal record about Kendrick’s struggles growing up in Compton, To Pimp A Butterfly takes a good, hard look at how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go as a nation before race is no longer a reason for deaths in the streets. Kendrick is here to instill hope and resolve through his music, not to promote violence and hate, as so many believe this particular genre is meant to do. This record is what hip hop is really about.
Jamie xx – In Colour
Jamie Smith has been a busy man. If he’s not writing or touring with main band The xx, he’s probably conducting a killer dance party with In Colour as his songbook. This record is proof of his incredible skills as a producer. Whether it’s a choice sample, guest vocal spot, or unique instrumental choice(steel drums!), Jamie knows how to keep the dance floor moving as he sees fit. Having the song of the summer, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times),” helps too.
Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon
Big, big shoutout to RF for introducing me to Hiatus Kaiyote. The Australian outfit’s debut album Tawk Tomahawk had my curiosity, but Choose Your Weapon has my attention. The musicianship and songwriting on this album has been the biggest breath of fresh air this year. Hiatus Kaiyote has a big, bright future ahead of them and I can’t wait to see where they go next. Obviously to the 2015 Idle Time Tune Tournament Championship Game.
More Top 5’s!
DH | IP | MH | MMDG | RF | WH