Ian Fraser - Albums of the Year 2015 - Articles - Soundblab

Ian Fraser - Albums of the Year 2015

by Ian Fraser Rating: Release Date:

Yeah, yeah I know. 'Best of' lists - cheesy or what? Subjective, too, and liable to change with the mood, and I’m nothing if not a moody bastard. So at the risk of wholesale revision after a few glasses of port wine and a few mince pies while waiting for Santa to pop the latest Adele CD down the chimney on Christmas Eve (hey, joke), here it is.

1. Eternal Tapestry - Wild Strawberries

The most complete, most accomplished and varied release by Portland’s psychedelic wayfarers. Lush (mostly) instrumentals of meditative magnificence, it is an uplifting and cleansing trip interwoven around Ned Bindeman’s shimmering guitar and that organ sound so redolent of woodlands at twilight. The effect is something like 'Weissenssee' by Neu or the live Ummagumma album transposed to the West Coast and played by people with an abundant supply of 'woodland produce' but who otherwise don’t get out much. One for us old hippies, so there.

2. Deradoorian - The Expanding Flower Planet

Ex-Dirty Projector Angel Deradoorian draws on myriad influences from her Armenian folk-roots through to experimental Kosmiche rock and which also hints at deconstructed yet tuneful prog-rock stripped of the bombast and replaced with artful bewitchment. It’s how you’d wished Enya had always sounded and how Jane Weaver might yet do.

3. Teeth of the Sea - Highly Deadly Black Tarantula

It would be very tempting to pigeon-hole this latest masterful release as another wannabe soundtrack, but mark my words this is beyond cinematic. It’s another dark realm entirely, a captivating collection of minimalist magnificence and unrivalled intensity and inventiveness.

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4. Hey Colossus - Black & Gold/Radio Static High

Cheeky twofer here. More subtle than their earlier more visceral racket without compromising on energy, these two 2015 releases simply ooze quality. They are that rare band that give the impression of being able to hit the bullseye time and again even when seemingly throwing blindfolded using their feet. Like stable mates Gnod, audiences and critics have to either grow or change with them, or else hop off a speeding train. Get with it

5. Beautify Junkyards – The Beast Shouted Love

Hailing from Lisbon and singing in Portuguese and English, Beautify Junkyards ply an exceedingly Anglophile trade in lazy, hazy acid folk, their pastorally psychedelic sound practically dripping with the fruits of late summer and early autumn. Imagine if Stereolab or, more appositely perhaps, Soundcarriers, had taken more of their inspiration from late 60s freak folk and you’ll get an idea of what this is about. Soppy grin time.

6. Follakzoid - III

Chilean Krautrock probably doesn’t command a mass market anywhere in the world, not even Chile, but it’s very welcome in mine any time. Hypnotic, psychedelic and with very little imagination, danceable, their 'darkwave' sound is a sonic meditation of cosmic proportions. Just as good a I and II.

7. The Left Outsides - The Shape of Things to Come

Choc-full of strong tunes, sweeping melodies and haunting refrains. Acid folk with hints of portentous balladry and filmic imagery as heard around a gypsy campfire. Thoroughly delightful. Originally recorded in 2009 and previously available only as download

8. Bevis Frond - Example 22

Proof that, 30-odd years in, the transplanted bard of Walthamstow’s creative juices still flow abundantly. The usual unerring pop-rock sensibility, flair for wistful balladry and, best of all, tuneful psychedelic mastery shot through with molten guitar are all in evidence and guaranteed to please.

9. Cathode Ray Eyes – Eyes in the Melancholy Palm

A playfully dark and tongue-in-cheek rascal of a solo project debut from Cult of Dom Keller’s Ryan Delgaudio. If CoDK sound best in a dark basement then welcome to the crypt under the creaky trap door; the DIY sensibility of punk and new wave brought to the dark underbelly of psychedelia. Now why couldn’t The Horrors have been this good? First of two Cardinal Fuzz releases to make the cut.

10. Dead Sea Apes - Spectral Domain

Specialising in brooding, suspenseful and filmic instrumentals, Manchester’s Dead Sea Apes have expanded their sound thanks to some judicious use of synthesizers. It’s unmistakeably them though and it’s their most intense and thrilling release so far. They also kicked ass at this year’s Liverpool Psych Fest.

They bubbleth under:

Meg Baird – Don’t Weigh Down the Light
Carter Tutti Void – f(x)
Evil Blizzard – Everybody Come to Church
White Manna - Pan