Just in case you were comfortably moving on from a challenging 2016, Idle Time begs your attention one last time as we post our sixteenth annual retrospective, highlighting the albums that meant the most to us over the last twelve months. When we started this little clubhouse of chicanery, it was music that brought us together and, now, more than fifteen years later, as our roster expands and our scope broadens, the unifying power of music seems more important than ever.
In a year muddied by fear, confusion, and destructive ethnocentrism throughout our country and the world, it seems only appropriate that this year’s list of Favorite Albums ended up being our most diverse to date. Nine different countries are featured, and three different languages, with almost half of the albums originating outside of the U.S. Perhaps even more significantly, thirteen of the forty performers are female artists or bands fronted by women. More genres are represented, and we even have our first appearance of an original soundtrack. Take that, twenty-sixteen.
Eight Idlers contributed to this list, including the return of ghostyorb, and the first-time participation of IP, MeanOldPig, and LDG. We don’t always agree on the albums (although this year it came pretty damn close), but we do agree on the fact that, in an outright rejection of the too-many-cooks adage, this might very well be our finest list to date. And the proof is in the playlist. As you browse through the rankings and the blurbs (I use the term “blurb” loosely; since HolyBee’s departure from regular participation, several contributors have been making claims to the King of Verbosity mantle), check out the four Mixcloud mixes for an audio tour through the favorite forty.
In much the same way that The Holy Bee weighed in on some of The Institute’s Favorite 40 selections, IP has put together a brief list of choice musical releases from 2015. This could easily be subtitled, “Eff You Guys: If I Was Invited to the Party.” – MMDG
Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp
The emo days of Waxahatchee are fading away as she experiments with riskier production, straying from guitars in favor of synthesizers on several tracks. Her songwriting works surprisingly well with an expanded sound pallette. It also doesn’t hurt that Ivy Tripp has some of her best songs yet. As always, any artist who wanders too near to emo territory will tend to get left behind come award season. Nonetheless Waxahatchee exceeds any genre comparisons and is an artist any discerning music fan should give a try. Continue reading The Immortal Iron List of Forgotten Wonders: 2015→
Fifteen years ago, the seeds of Idle Time were sown via sheets of legal paper surreptitiously circulating among three bored co-workers. Top 5 lists, inspired by a mutual love of High Fidelity (one of the few things we could ever agree on), typically about music, gave way to mix CDs, which in turn evolved into the first “Best Of” compilations in December of 2002.
Our roster has grown over the years and, since we all ostensibly like each other, we’ve tinkered with our ranking format on virtually every list for the sole purpose of cutting down on the amount of friendship-jeopardizing disputes. For 2015, we rolled out one of our most egalitarian systems ever.
Five Idlers, including one newcomer, each with eight selections apiece, have assembled our Favorite Forty in Music for the year that was. The ranking process was still somewhat contentious (we have to argue about something), but at least we have a List. And, despite The Holy Bee’s celebrated farewell to music ranking (I’ll paraphrase: “I’m done listening to shit I don’t like.”), we were able to coax a few spins out of him to provide some additional sidebar comments. It’s a nice reminder that we don’t always agree on what is deserving of an Idle Time accolade.
So, without any further ado, here be the forty albums that we’ve been all about in twenty-fifteen.