20. Are You Satisfied? by Slaves (Spencer E.)
Congratulations on your many WELL DESERVED accomplishments Royal Blood and on being the next big rock duo to emerge from the U.K. Oh. Oops. Perhaps not anymore. SLAVES has emerged. This fierce punk rock duo’s debut record ought to silence doubts of them being a fad. Excellent from start to finish, they have all the substance, songwriting, and firepower one needs in a rock band, and this album delivers to the fullest length. Hope you conquer the U.S too, Slaves.
19. Eclipse by Twin Shadow (Mark O.)
18. VHS by Ambassadors (Spencer E.)
X Ambassadors are the new Imagine Dragons. They are extremely popular from their 2 big hits ‘Renegades’ and ‘Jungle’. They have just as much firepower and substance in their alt rock songs. They have the edge over Imagine Dragons though, know why? More depth in their debut record. Songs such as ‘Superpower’ (full of firepower), ‘Loveless’ (action packed), ‘Naked’ & ‘Unsteady’ (for the ladies), and B.I.G, help make this a record to remember.
17. Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett (Seth R.)
16. Born in the Echoes by The Chemical Brothers (Spencer E.)
Dance duo kings return for another fun outing, their first in five years, with the prep for the club strapping knockout ‘Go’ and the fantastic ‘Sometimes I Feel So Deserted’. The electronic pioneers also provide some deep cut greatness in ‘Just Bang’. Superb outing.
15. Girls in Peacetime Want To Dance by Belle and Sebastian (Seth R.)
Belle and Sebastian have been my favorite band ever since I could remember. I’ve purchased every album since then on release date (multiple version of each I own), and this release was no different. It was their fist record made in the United States (Atlanta, GA) and once more their sound changes. In fact, play the first three songs in the record and tell me they all sound like they belong in different albums. From the jumpy The Party Line to songs that go back to their roots like The Cat With The Cream, it manages to be one of their best releases in a long time.
14. Goon by Tobias Jesso Jr. (Seth R.)
13. The Pale Emperor by Marilyn Manson (Spencer E.)
The Pale Emperor himself continues to reinvent himself. He pushes the envelope & displays what he can bring to the table. With this fantastic new piece, full of excellent tracks, Manson brings the fight to your doorstep, gritting and baring his teeth as vicious as ever.
12. Too by Fidlar (Spencer E.)
Zac Carper proves he’s a force to be reckoned with ‘Punks’. A song where he kicks the door down with his high velocity adrenaline provoking punk screams. It’s an epic vocal performance, Zac’s out for blood, and the rest of the band and him wrote a very solid overall album too. Plenty of depth and quality to be found among it, and no holding back on the lyrics either.
11. Adventure by Madeon (Spencer E.)
Along with Disclosure, this young French dude (he’s only 21) released the best dance record of the year. Full of grooving wonder, and great vocalists enlisted for it, it shines bright baby. He’s the next superstar DJ.
10. The Most Lamentable Tragedy by Titus Andronicus (Seth R.)
Patrick Stickles (the frontman of Titus Andronicus) made his magnum opus with this one. His band named after a Shakespeare play & this title too, he made a soaring rock opera full of gems, such as ‘Mr. E. Mann’ & ‘Lonely Boy’. So incredible. Bravo, boys; Bravo.
9. Caracal by Disclosure (Spencer E.)
Anchored by extreme popularity and massive guest vocalists, one knew Disclosure were going big here. This one’s to the moon though. Anchored by arguably the highest quality vocal performance on an EDM song this year, credit and thank The Weeknd for lending his voice to ‘Nocturnal’. Incredible stuff. Sam Smith scored another good one with the catchy ‘Omen’. Lorde gets people excited with the solid ‘Magnets’ which is even making alternative radio stations, even though it’s electronica/EDM. Finally, Gregory Porter hits a homerun as the vocalist for ‘Holding On’, holy moly, can that dude sing. The Lawrence brothers know how to fuse perfection.
8. Art Angels by Grimes (Spencer E.)
Be proud Canada, you’ve produced some great artists over the last decade: Sloan, City and Colour, The Weeknd and Arcade Fire to name a few. Now Grimes. Disillusioned with the music industry, and formerly taking drugs for her last record, the songstress buckled down and dropped her strongest record yet. It has so much depth. Shades of Electronica, Pop, and alternative encompass this record. Boucher will hopefully tour this record, as it’s perfect.
7. Mr. Wonderful by Action Bronson (Spencer E.)
For some reason, this record didn’t last long in the rap charts. Bad call, rap aficionados with popularity control. Bronson killed it with every track. Every song is overlaced with catchy instrumentation, great lyrics and good flow. Bronson has that early Eminem like teasing, rap bravado, superb flow. A wonderful record indeed (sorry. puns.)
6. Thank Your Lucky Stars by Beach House (Seth R.)
Didn’t think we’d see two Beach House records on a best of the year list, but shortly after Depression Cherry Beach House quickly announced and released one of the best records of their careers with soon-to-be classic tracks like Common Girl and All Your Yeahs.
5. Currents by Tame Impala (Mark O. and Spencer E.)-
Kevin Parker continues to maintain a perfect discography. Dealing in positive vibe Beatles esque songs. He. Does. NOT. DISAPPOINT. ‘Currents’ takes the cue of most good music. It takes time to grow on the listener. Though in time, the slow paced epic bravado of ‘Let It Happen’ takes it’s likable hold, with it’s dancable part. Head nodding to ‘The Moment’ and ‘The Less I Know The Better’ will occur. ‘Eventually’ will slap a smile on ones face, and ‘Cause I’m a Man’ will make one feel epic with its all over the place vocal range and confidence. Feel that smile inducing Beatles Bravado? Yes Parker provides it constantly. A future festival headliner for sure.
4. To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar (Spencer E.)
Fight The Power! F The Police! The Blacker The Berry. Kendrick Lamar has made a mark on this genre. The rap game has been shaken up. Full of social awareness, truth. social commentary, genuine intent and FURY, Lamar is in a league of his own. A future rap legend, who is dropping perfect records, doing album releases on the back of moving trucks, and is teaming up with people like Yeezy, Em and Dre, and putting on a riveting live rap show, Kendrick is the new king of the last 5 years of rap. To Pimp A Butterfly is a perfect testament to that.
3. Carrie and Lowell by Sufjan Stevens (Seth R.)
Sufjan Stevens made what was easily the most personal album of the year, dealing with his mother and close family, but also singing about the state of Oregon. Had he still been doing the fifty-states project it probably would have been called that.
2. Run by AWOLNATION (Spencer E.)
The record Aaron Bruno said he always needed/intended to make someday; and now it’s here. Panned by critics and yet awarded good reviews, it certainly doesn’t have the usual characteristics of a superb record, and yet it is. This one is truly special. Opening with the cheesy ‘Run’ which is still decent and the terrible ‘Fat Face’, the record finds its groove, right after. ‘Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)’ has the best song moment in alt rock this year, with (as I said before in a past music article): As soon as Bruno transitions from the word “free” into the dance floor stomp of evil that becomes screaming “THEY WILL NEVER FIND ME HERE” x4 “YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” It was a pivotal moment in alt rock this year. As it was a flawless moment in alternative. It very much sounds like the howl of a deranged wolf speaking human English. Not only that though, ‘Jailbreak’ is a good likable track. ‘KOOKSEVERYWHERE’ is great and has an awesome ending. ‘Windows’ has an epic segment in the beginning which continues throughout the song. ‘Woman Woman’ is the new single and is Ok. Finally, ‘I Am’ is a gorgeous anthem, friendly for everyone. So overall? Magnificent record. This guy can scream like few others and puts on an amazing show, go see him. Beware the snarl of Aaron Bruno.
1. Coming Home by Leon Bridges (Spencer E.)
For up and comers of soul, Leon Bridges is absolutely incredible. A record that nearly everyone can put on and enjoy and appreciate, thanks to his supreme talent. Stacked with amazing soul songs, Leon Bridges put ALL his heart, soul and energy into this; and emerged with perfection. This kid’s somethin’ special folks. Showstopping stuff. Behold.