I’ve already done a top ten albums of 2015 over at http://www.alreadyheard.com and, to be honest, was not entirely happy with it. I felt like I should include stuff that I had rated highly under review, whilst also excluding some things that weren’t really A.H material. Anyway, the entire music media has gone all end of year, ranking and rating their favourite records, and I can’t help but feel that more often than not it’s an exercise in “I’ve got better taste than you” and they put what is critically acclaimed and what is cool to like, rather than what they actually enjoy. So, what I’ve decided to do is put together a bunch of stuff that I’ve really enjoyed this past year, in no particular order, by way of shout out to the artists who have made my listening life so cool this year. Here goes part one:
Public Enemy – Live from Metropolis
For any band, whatever the genre, this is a lesson in live performance. Chuck D, Flavor Flav, DJ Lord etc quite simply kill it from beginning to end.
The Echo and The Always – And After That The Dark…
Reviewed this for Already Heard and fell in love with it on first listen. It’s jam packed with surprises and there is not a duff tune on the record – sublime vocals, textured layers and killer hooks. This band will be everywhere in 2016.
Placebo – Unplugged
I love Placebo. I love this record, it shows another dimension to the band, every version is sublime and the special guests are just that, special.
D’Angelo – Black Messiah
Technically from 2014 but only because the release date was anticipated to coincide with Ferguson, due to the politically charged nature to some of the songs, like ‘The Charade’. Damn, this is one fine record, multiple listens revealed more and more depth to the beautifully constructed songs – basically its a ‘What’s Going On?’ for the 21st Century.
Dave Gahan & Soulsavers – Angels and Ghosts
Another album of gorgeous depth and texture that has a definite soundtrack feel to it, whilst also being hauntingly dark and moody.
Blur – The Magic Whip
Could’ve been awful, but in true Blur fashion it was well thought out and everything about it feels right. ‘Terracotta Heart’ is, quite frankly, one of the most beautiful things they’ve ever done.