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
Yes, I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking: WUT?! Is he a travel blogger now?! When did that happen?
As a matter of fact, when I started this blog I wanted it to be massively about travels (seen my posts about Bremen and Turkey already?) but then realized that
A- I don’t have money to travel
B- I’m too anxious about flying to do it often
C- I’m a lazy bum.
Still. Sometimes the planets align and I go places. Posts come out of it.
1) Because of the new, exciting job opportunities
Obama said he’s planning on creating new jobs, but I doubt they’re going to be AS new and outstanding as the Spanish ones.
See, in Barcelona they took outdated professions such as
alchemists badgers jesters ninjas and managed to recycle them into new positions that are actually useful to society.
Big Wow: It’s only February and I’m already done with my best records of 2013 list!
Too bad I wasn’t able to squeeze in some outstanding albums I discovered in the past couple of weeks. One above all: New Found Land by New Found Land, a one
man girl act which might be the ultimate proof of how Sweden produces all the cool music nowadays (as if Frida Hyvonen, Jens Lekman and El Perro del Mar weren’t convincing enough).
But before diving into the final part of the list, let’s all listen to what has been – without any doubt – my earworm throughout 2013.
#5 smilewound mùm
More accessible than anything else they’ve done, Smilewound is made of ghostly atmospheres and layered delicate tunes that speak right to your heart but won’t disappoint your brain either.
#10 the branches radical face
Ben Cooper aka Radical Face never fails to convey through his music that warm, special sense of…something. Interestingly enough, he conceived his last three records as a trilogy called The Family Tree, and it’s in fact a feeling of domestic comfort and distant memories that pervades you while listening to the last chapter. Well done!
#15 aventine agnes obel
The fact that I like piano-driven, classical-influenced pop is no news; nevertheless I would have never imagined to find Agnes Obel so high in my best records of 2013 list. Aventine, I think, has some special charm that Philarmonics didn’t have. It’s darker, intriguing, shy. There’s less stuff lying around for everyone to see and requires therefore more digging.
#30 tales of a grasswidow cocorosie
I confess: I inserted this record in the list just because having a “Best 29 records of 2013” list sounded awful. Don’t get me wrong, Tales of a Grasswidow is still better than many other releases I heard in the past months, but Cocorosie’s music lost something over the years and having Antony singing in the record won’t make up for it this time.
I started this list in December 2012 and it’s crazy that it took me so long to get to the end. But here I am, against all odds I made it and here are my favourite five records of last year.
5 animal collective centipede hz
After an obscure, dense project like ODDSAC I was afraid the new AnCo record would have been something pretentious. Au contraire, even though Centipede Hz is – as always – beautifully layered and complex it also turned out to be one of their poppest work ever. What could I ask more? Read More
10 mount eerie clear moon + ocean roar
When you release two LPs in one year either you’re extremely inspired or you’re in desperate need of money; Ocean Roar and Clear Moon by american based songrwriter Phil Elverum hardly leave any doubt about which motivation is behind them. Their rich sound textures and stunning atmosphere are something difficult, intricate but somehow extremely powerful. Read More
Don’t know about you, but I’ve always liked the expression embracing a new culture. It sounds peaceful and reassuring, and when I planned to come to Germany I used to think of myself as a Pocahontas in reverse ready to absorb and confront with open mind and arms this new teutonic world.
I soon realized, though, that if Pocahonts had known about McDonald’s, guns, stuffed turkeys and Zoey Deschanell, she would have probably spared us some songs and filed a couple of complaints. I also realized that there’s times in which you don’t feel as you’re embracing another culture as much as you’re handcuffed to it.
Everybody tells me that Berlin is not representative of Germany, but there’s things, little annoying habits, that I picked up along the way during my expat life in Berlin and they look 100% Deutsch to me. I’m pretty sure you’ll pick them up too if you get to live long enough in this beautiful city.
1) Leaving bottles on the street
My education turned me into a strict recycling machine and the thought of somebody leaving his trash on the sidewalk used to horrify me.
In Germany empty bottles are not trash: they’re money. You go to the supermarket with your empties, a machine sucks them up and returns cash; for an empty bottle they give you up to 60 cents, which you can then reuse to shop.
It’s not very difficult to understand that leaving an empty bottle on the public soil of a relatively poor city is like anonimously delivering donuts to a fat camp. You lay the bottle on the ground, turn one second to your friend who’s trying to decide if the fourth club of the night should be Berghain or Watergate and zac – onomatopoeic italian sound – the bottle is gone.
You kind-of-sort-of-like give to the poor and you also avoid storing another empty at your place.
I mean, the fact that I’m just a couple of Club Mate away from buying myself a car makes me proud, but I can barely see the entrance of my apartment anymore and at this point my only hope is that the crew of Hoarding: buried alive finds me before it’s too late. Read More
15 yeti lane the echo show
This record makes me want to stand up and smoke a cigarette. Even though I’m no smoker. Read More