The Best Albums I Listened to This Year – 2015

 

#14 – 10 Waves of You – Fields of Venus

Luca Crivellaro creates an album with many different influences ranging from noise to psychedelic to electronic to prog. An album rich in ‘textures’. Standout track – Seeds of Life (Seasons).
Get the album here

#13 – Dead Sara – Pleasure to Meet You

I wasn’t sure about including this album, but Emily Armstrong’s vocal on For You I Am meant I had to; it gives me shivers & makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up every time I listen to it. She has a fucking incredible voice & is still the best singer in rock male or female by a big margin. Standout track – For You I Am.
Get the album here

#12- Holiday at Sea – Viral

Holiday at Sea are an indie rock (though I feel this ‘label’ probably sells them a bit short) 3 piece out of Missouri & Viral is an album about a virus that causes people to spontaneously combust & a child’s search for a cure. Beautifully produced/sounds brilliant & the way the tracks merge into one another & create continuity/’the story’ is also very very well done. Outstanding musicianship from these guys, and I hear the bass player is a pretty good guy as well 😉 Standout track – Resurrection.
Get the album here

#11 – Zs – Xe

From New York based avant-garde/free jazz/experimental trio Zs, Xe is hypnotic, mesmerising & at times even a little abrasive. These guys have incredible chops & you’d swear this was improv rather than composed given the way they ‘feed off each other’ as they perform (this album was also recorded in one take/without dubs). It’s pretty rare to feel that on a recording, last one I can remember like this was Kang, Van der Schyff & Houle’s ‘Pieces of Time’ (and that was > 15 yrs ago). Standout track – Corps.
Get the album here

#10 – Disappearer – Disconnected

Prog-y, drone-y post-rock-y goodness, a fine follow-up to 2014’s self-titled release which is one of my favourites from last year. Deserves to sit proudly amongst all these ‘commercial’ releases. Another cracking album from Pablo. Standout track – Force Of Gravity/Slow Falling Elevator.
Get the album here

#9 – Primitive Race – Primitive Race

How Chris Kniker managed to pull so many different people from different acts with different schedules and different labels together to get this done is nothing short of amazing & an absolute credit to him. And the result is brilliant. So many different styles of industrial on this album, and it’s all very very good. Standout track – Give Up The Ghost.
Get the album here

#8 – Caustic – Industrial Music

Matt Fanale delivers industrial as it should be delivered; loud, massive beats, big vocal hooks and danceable to all fuck. None of this emo ‘our scene is too precious to have fun, stop making a mockery of our scene !! ‘ nonsense some industrial bands/sub-genres are notable for. Has that ‘old school industrial’ feel that seems to be missing in a lot of industrial these days. The best industrial release I heard all year together with #9 & one of the best I’ve heard over the past couple of years. Standout track – Scream Your Name.
Get the album here

#7 – Aphex Twin – Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments Pt 2

Richard James demonstrated with 2014’s Syro that even after a near 13 year absence he has very few peers in the realm of electronic music, and this EP solidifies that. James is still king of beats (AFX’s Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-2008 also released this year further evidence of this). Standout track – piano un10 it happened.
Get the album here

#6 – Beauty Queen Autopsy – Lotharia

Brilliant collaboration between Erica Mulkey (Unwoman) & Matt Fanale (Caustic). Dark noisepop with a little Dummy-era Portishead, Dan the Automator & shoegaze for good measure. Have had this on heavy rotation since release. Standout track – Contaminate Me (Dirty Thoughts).
Get the album here

#5 – Swans – The Gate

Captures the essence of Swans’ sheer intensity live better than any other live recording of theirs I’ve heard, and the demos are a tantalising taste of what awaits on the upcoming album. Standout track – Bring the Sun/Black-Eyed Man; the groove  Gira & co. get into during Black-Eyed Man is the epitome of what makes Swans Swans.
Limited run of 2000 that sold out, try little e big B for a copy

#4 – Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

10 yrs between albums, managed to keep the fact they’d been recording this album on the quiet until just before release, then bang. Smashed it out of the park. Is this their best release ? Maybe. ‘Fade’ might just be the best song they’ve ever done though. Standout track – Fade.
Get the album here

#3 – Rolo Tomassi – Grievances

RT at their ferocious best. The band has said where Astraea ‘came from a place of light’, Grievances is its polar opposite. Nowhere is this more obvious than on the closing track ‘All That Has Gone Before’ which is utterly devastating lyrically & is quite possibly the best track they’ve recorded. Standout track – All That Has Gone Before.
Get the album here

#2 – Deantoni Parks – Technoself

You haven’t heard an album like this before & quite possibly never will again. Parks’ creativity & sheer musicianship is off the fucking dial on this. All tracks recorded live or studio in one take. Remarkable. Standout track – Pebble.
Get the album here

#1 – Killing Joke – Pylon

A biting commentary on Western militarism/exceptionalism, the surveillance industrial complex & the public apathy around these. KJ continue the run of brilliant albums they started with 2003’s self titled release. 35 yrs, 15 studio albums & KJ are still one of the rare dissenting voices in music. Standout track – New Jerusalem.
Available from the usual cartels 😉

 

And the dubious distinction of worst album I listened to this year goes to….*drumroll*

Fear Factory – Genexus

A follow up to 2012’s equally awful The Industrialist, Genexus again demonstrates what a pair of narcissistic dickheads Bell & Cazares are & how they are effectively working in a musical echo chamber (hardly Rhys Fulber’s fault, he’s just the hired help). Clichéd nonsense for the most part (I mean, getting some random to do Roy Batty’s final monologue from Blade Runner rather than pay to use the actual audio from the movie. Seriously ??). Which is a shame because FF are a genre-defining band who have been a massive influence on so many other bands since Demanufacture. Bell & Cazares either need to make amends to Herrera & Olde-Wolbers or call it quits.

 

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