After doing this in 2012, 2013 ad 2014, not only I managed to keep the tradition alive, but I’ve also published my list before Pitchfork did. Hooray! These are my favourite records from 2015.
01 | carrie & lowell | sufjan stevens
Years ago Sufjan Stevens released a record called The Age of Adz that featured acoustic gems alongside electronic-driven songs and a 25 minute epic closing track. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
When I read that the new record was going to be more of the old Sufjan (keywords: ballad, stripped down, banjo, quiet) I was ready to be bored – if not disappointed – by what turned out to be a little masterpiece.
Carrie & Lowell narrates the death of Sufjan’s mother (and its aftermath) in microscopic, heartbreaking detail. It is full of conflicting emotions, disconnected images and the pseudo lucidity of a person who’s most likely still in the eye of the storm. Its intimate closeups on family memories intersect with the record’s more abstract poetic to create something that’s not only accessible to the listener but also incredibly, frightfully relatable.
Listen to 4th of July
02 | divers | joanna newsom
No better way to celebrate Valentine’s day than to
have sex assemble a love songs mixtape.
Hope all of you had someone, something or somewhere to love.
man of the hour * norah jones
At some point between 2007 and 2009, Norah Jones broke up with her long-time boyfriend and bassist Lee Alexander. She then cut her long brown hair and the cheese off her music, releasing a record that sounded more interesting than anything she’d ever done before.
The Fall (this the name of the record) didn’t sell super well, but featured one of her most convincing, realistic and straightforward love songs to date.
Which – FYI – is a declaration of affection to her dog.
[Click here to listen]
history of touches * bjork
Last part of my records-of-the-year list. You can read the previous episode here.
Also, Spotify gently informed me that my most listened record of the year is New Found Land by New Found Land. I couldn’t put it in the list because it’s old, but I’m proud of every single listen. Go listen to it now if you don’t trust me!
#10 at best cuckold avi buffalo
Does the fact that this record made it into the top 10 have anything to do with me having a crush on Avi Zahner-Isenberg? Probably not.
I listened to At Best Cuckold a lot, way more than I did with Avi Buffalo’s first creature. Its dreamy, long guitar solos drove me into imaginary make out sessions with Avi ZI – true – and made the whole thing sound like an alternative soundtrack to La Boum. But then the lyrics bind everything to the ground by adding something that’s dirty, modern and certainly weird (one song features the line “I’m a cheese ball on fire”…erm…ok).
Long story short: Avi Buffalo at its catchiest with expressionist music pictures of modern youngsters’ dilemmas.
Listen to: Won’t be around no more
#9 the future’s void EMA
Third part of my end-of-the-year best records list. You can read the second part here or jump to the top 10 here.
#20 el pintor interpol
A solid, more than respectable record by a band that’s been around for more than 15 years and clearly hasn’t lost its charm.
Listen to: All the rage back home
#19 atlas real estate
Second part of my best records of 2014 list. You can read the first part here or go read the best 10 records.
#30 seeds tv on the radio
Tv on the radio are back and give us exactly what we expect from them: nothing less and nothing more.
Also: best album cover of the year, hands down.
Listen to: Ride
#29 benji sun kil moon
#40 muna marketa irglova
Contemporary music doesn’t seem to be very much about Beauty (capital letter intended). It’s about self-expression or differentiation or intellectualism or pain or flashiness or experimenting, but rarely about beauty plain and simple.
Czech artist Marketa Irglova, as a response to that, seems like one of those people who enter the recording studio with the main goal of doing something that is precisely beautiful. And that can be ok, too.
Listen to: The Leading Bird
#39 i remember everything rivulets
It’s Autumn and, like every year, Autumn means more music than you can take.
Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately:
little lover – foreign fields
Foreign Field’s debut was my favourite record in 2012. I guess after that they’ve been busy not touring Europe and not visiting Iceland (during my recent trip I’ve spent an entire morning trying to figure out if I was sitting next to them. Until I realized the guys I was staring at were speaking French).
Apart from the aforementioned things, though, they were obviously also writing new music. Little Lover is as sober and heartfelt as anything they’ve done before and that’s just right this way. Now I’m totally looking forward to the album.
There’s no excuse for my hair in this picture.
More to the point: August isn’t the month of new exciting releases and I do love rummaging the internet for covers of my favourite songs.
overlap – ani difranco
she plays beautifully and she gets the song, I can tell
samson – regina spektor Read More
I haven’t listened to a lot of new stuff in July.
provincia – bronson
Lara Martelli is back with a bold confessional song about the reality she’s trapped in as an artist.
everything works – miracle fortress
This is the song I will think of when remembering 2014. Even though it was released ages ago.
take me to church – sinead o’connor Read More
This – in many senses – was a hot concert.
Charity Children were basically born in Berlin (at least artistically) and even though they’re so young (at least artistically) their loyal following was ready to sell out their Berlin show and occupy Kreuzbergian Club “Lido”.
Which leads to the less metaphorical sense of my first sentence.
Warmest week of the year + No air conditioning + Tons of people = A night (whose smell) I will never forget!
The opener was the shockingly good Alice Phoebe Lou, a young South African singer with a dense voice and good stuff to play.
Watch out, Charity Children, ’cause you may end up opening her concerts sooner than you think!
Break in the smoking area, because lung cancer is better than locker room memories. Read More