2015 Favorites: 20-11

20. YACHT – I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler

I was playing this in my car while driving CM across the Bridge after work one night, and he chuckled: “This sounds just like the music I listened to in college.” And by college, he meant the 80’s. And by stuff, he meant Blondie and Talking Heads. And by gum, if the future didn’t seem downright awesome back then. YACHT gets way less abrasive and far more funky on their first full-length for Downtown Records, going equal part yesterday’s tomorrows and modern era’s societal freak-outs. – MMDG

19. Miami Horror – All Possible Futures

A great dream-pop record form the land of Oz. While giving nods to modern disco and EDM, All Possible Futures also salutes the ever fading Chillwave movement with some pleasantly hypnotic melodies. It’s fun, yet wistful. A welcome companion for a summer drive. – RF

18. Thundercat – The Beyond/Where the Giants RoamLine

While I really wish this had turned into more of a full length, in hindsight, 2015 was a super busy year for Stephen Bruner. Besides putting out The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam, he also had a helping hand in two other incredible pieces of music this year, providing some sweet, sweet bass on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and Kamasi Washington’s The Epic. This release was a notable change of pace from Thundercat’s typical future funk sound and instead opts for a more ambient mystique. – MH

17. Dan Deacon – Gliss Riffer

I think Mr. Deacon is beginning to hit his stride. Stepping further from academic avant-experimental electronics this release puts his experience towards more shiny sugar rush tracks like “Mind on Fire” and “Learning to Relax.” Listen to our favorite track from the album,  “Meme Generator.” – DH

16. Alabama Shakes- Sound & Color

Sound & Color was introduced to me as the quiet background soundtrack to a day of work, but burrowed in my ear and grew to dominate my listening. At times this album glitters from the careful studio production, but it can still be raw, arrogant, sexy, rebellious, romantic-everything that makes Rock ’n’ Roll great. Brittany Howard has one of the best voices around, and this one of the best albums of the year based on her alone. – RF

15. Beirut – No No No

holy bee tinyBy far the most accessible of all their releases, and they keep it all under 30 minutes. Bravo boys! – WH

14. Toro y Moi – What For?

Chaz Bundick is one of the godfathers of chillwave, and it is within that context that makes his fourth full length album What For? so great. 2010, the heydey of chillwave, was not that long ago. But only five years later, What For? is a far cry from the woozy, liquid synths that typified the genre. What For? is far more reminiscent of American classic rock and funk music, with more standard instrumentation than his earlier works. It’s a testament to how quickly someone’s gifts as a songwriter can evolve and tastes change over such a small timeframe. I can’t wait to see what Bundick has in store for us next. – MH

13. Beach House – Depression Cherry

We really should be celebrating both Beach House 2015 releases. Depression Cherry finds them retreating from the high-gloss of Bloom and embracing the pedal-hopping of their shoegazing forefathers. My only complaint is the vinyl sleeve is covered in crushed velvet ala the Bee Gees’ Odessa. Velvet crumbs forever. – WH

12. Dick Diver – Melbourne, FL

I started listening to this jangly Australian gem early enough in the year that, by December, I think I’d cycled through six different favorite tracks. Each one spun off into one of six different mixes, with “Tearing the Posters Down” cleaning up the mess of my final ‘15 retrospective playlist. If that isn’t a mark of a great album, then I don’t know what is. – MMDG

11. The Decemberists – What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

There were three albums by veteran do-no-wrong bands that I had been anxious to hear in the year’s first half. But among releases by Hot Chip, Best Coast, and The Decemberists, What a Terrible World is the one that got the most love on my turntable. “Make You Better” was an excellent first single, but, for me, nothing says twenty-fifteen like “A Beginning Song.” – MMDG

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