Joseph Majsterski - Albums of the Year 2015

by Joseph Majsterski Rating: Release Date:

If you knew where to look, 2015 was a remarkably good year for music. The pop scene has become more homogenized than ever, but around the indie edges, things remain interesting and diverse. Those edges are the focus on this list of the best albums of the year.

Jerusalem in My Heart - If He Dies, If If If If If If

One of the most unique albums I listened to all year, this one doesn't fit into any of the standard western pop genres whatsoever, being instead a set of Arabian music mixed with some interesting electronic accents. Definitely worth a listen for anyone looking for something different.

Aphex Twin - Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2

Even though it was only an EP, this little hunk of goodness spawned in the pulsating brain of Richard D. James is superior to the album he released last year, with some fun experimentation harkening back to his work in the mid 90s.

Marco Vella - Shadow Mountain

Listening to this awesomely relaxing ambient album is like wrapping your brain in cotton and letting it float away in the breeze. 

JR JR - JR JR

This duo have a bombastic style that can only be compared to Awesome New Republic. They fit into that fun space between indie rock and electronica, with great pop sensibilities.

Motopony - Welcome You

I didn't think I was going to like this album at first, but it just kept growing on me until I could no longer deny its brilliance. It's a strong mix of psych and indie rock, while also something of a throwback to 1970s stadium rockers, with fun gimmicks here and there to keep things interesting.

Synthetic Organs - A Roar from a Northern Shore

This album covers a lot of classic electronic ground, essentially paying homage to the English electronica scene of the 1990s, with lots of familiar-sounding tunes that harken back to that golden age.

Ken Camden - Dream Memory

One of the most remarkable things about this ambient work was how much variety it managed to squeeze out of what is usually viewed as a formless genre of floaty nothingness. It's both deep and broad.

Gacha - Send Two Sunsets

The primary flaw with this album was its brevity; it was over far too soon. But what's here is masterful ambient joy, full of sweetness and light.

Naytronix - Mister Divine

Nate Brenner somehow pulled off making a very experimental yet comfortable album with this one, where there's more than a touch of mellow smoothness to be found. He tries lots of different things while maintaining a consistent vibe across all the songs, to great effect.

Chvrches - Every Open Eye

This was probably the biggest release in the indie synth-pop world this year, and Chvrches did not disappoint, with an album widely regarded as even better than their debut set. Lots of upbeat electro fun to be found on this one.

Icky Blossoms - Mask

This nearly flawless work is, amazingly, the second album by this quirky trio, completely avoiding the pitfull of the sophomore slump. They take themselves a bit more seriously this time around, to great effect. Every song is distinct and loaded with personality, ranging from thoughtful ballads to high energy power pop and everything inbetween. If you can't find something to enjoy here, you probably hate puppies too.

So there you have it: my picks for the best albums in a great year for music. Unfortunately, I couldn't listen to everything that came out this year, but my cohorts covered a lot of other ground, so be sure to check out their lists as well. Happy New Year!

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