2015 Favorites: 30-21

30. Kid606 – We Love You Mark Bell

This EP is a tribute to the late Mark Bell of LFO, in the most appropriate way. Pop electronics meet techno to produce some of the most sugary tracks we’ve heard from Kid606. If you like this release, check out his 2013 LP, Happiness. – DH

29. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

Holy Bee Buzz!

Josh Tillman’s sophomore effort I Love You, Honeybear is further proof that the idea of the crooner might be making a big comeback. As a Hamilton Leithauser and Walkmen superfan, I actually enjoyed I Love You, Honeybear more than Leithauser’s 2014 solo effort Black Hours. Something about the sweeping horn arrangements juxtaposed with Tillman’s all too often hilarious quips made this a standout record in 2015. – MH

28. Kelpe – The Curved Line

Kelpe’s fifth full-length album is more of what we love from him: Fast grooves, expansive synth selections and familiar but sometimes unexpected melodies. – DH

27. Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us

Beach Slang’s debut album is another tentpole in the unapologetic revival of angsty late-90’s punk rock, and songs like “Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas” and “Ride the Wild Haze” provide raucous anthems to a new generation looking to celebrate the powerful pain-in-the-ass of growing up. – MMDG

26. Astropol – The Spin We’re In

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have counted on my favorite Swedish artists to be turning songs about heartbreak and longing into some of their finest work. Yet along came Jens Lekman’s I Know What Love Isn’t, followed up two years later by Lykke Li’s I’ll Never Learn. This year, Bjorn Yttling of Peter Bjorn & John and Bebban Stenborg of Shout Out Louds follow suit with The Spin We’re In, and it’s a beautiful tearjerker. – MMDG

25. Lockah – It Gets More Cloudy

holy bee tinyAfter a flurry of EPs and a debut album, Lockah’s second album It Gets More Cloudy… is a fun focused step into a world where synths and big drums dominate the atmosphere with the occasional rave piano or vocal sample that lift you up to unknown heights. – DH

24. Major Lazer – Peace Is the Mission

As a member of this little club, maybe I shouldn’t be criticizing the Grammys, but it is criminal that this album is not nominated for “Best Dance/Electronic Album”. Anyway, Major Lazer is on a Mission of Peace and all he wants you to do is dance! Actually, he wants you to dance, and then smoke weed (if you want to), and then chill (if you need to), but mostly he just wants you to keep dancing. – RF

23. Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon

holy bee tinyI made a big deal about how I could not easily categorize Hiatus Kaiyote’s sound, but then one day I found Choose Your Weapon in the R&B section at Amoeba, so that fixed that problem. Even so, Hiatus Kaiyote made a great R&B record, and even though their first LP was more bold and diverse, Choose Your Weapon is excellently performed and produced, and still doesn’t sound like much else out there. – RF

22. Archy Marshall – A New Place 2 Drown

Archy Marshall, who released 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, one of my favorite albums of 2013 under the King Krule moniker, made a surprise release right at the end of the year with A New Place 2 Drown. This time around, the Englishman takes a more electronic and sample-heavy approach, with his thick drawl of a voice now hiding in the shadows. While the songwriting on his full length as King Krule was more polished, the quality of production and particular sounds this new album achieves are incredibly unique. That sample of two pool balls hitting each other on “The Sea Liner MK 1” might be one of the coolest things I’ve heard all year.

21. Kurt Vile – b’lieve I’m going down…

Probably my favorite thing about Kurt Vile is his knack for delivering lines in such a unique way. One of my favorite lines is on “Lost My Head There,” where Kurt sings “I was feeling worse, then the words come out / Fell on some keys and this song walked out of me.” The way he draws out “out of me” is both funny but also very endearing and honest. The whole song almost sounds like it was written and recorded on the spot. The whole album shuffles along with its hands in its pockets in an “aw shucks” kind of way. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and is one of the easiest and most pleasant listens this year.  – MH

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