Each year since 2012 (2012/2013/2014) I have posted about my favourite music release from that year. This takes the form in various on-the-run playlists that are rolling and then a few ones at the end of the year. This year I have forgone the massive long-list for the Wednesday Graveyard because it never seems to that interesting. The year in music has had a few surprises for me – my over all listening will be down due to a break in work and active music listening in the summer and the addition of six months of cycle commuting, but also because of the continued presence of the Monday Graveyard in my life. The MG has three hour-long podcasts from 2015 planned, for this might be the first year where by music listening tipped into the podcast being the majority compared to the rest.
That being said, 2015 was a pretty good year for music I feel. For me, the amount of ambient music was simply ridiculous. Check out the Monday Graveyear posts (when they are up, I’ll link to them here) for each volume when they appear to see how good it was. Without further ado, here’s my top-five favourite albums from 2015.
If you want to listen along with me, click here for the Spotify playlist for all five albums or click here for a ten track sampler of the top ten.
1. Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars
Beach House’s earlier work stands as the most-played album in Connie and I’s relationship by quite some distance I think. Bloom was an ever-presence in our house for months and months, so when they released Depression Cherry it was on rotation – but it never quite hit the critical mass that their earlier work did. This happens a lot – the most recent Wild Beasts album Present Tense had the problem of following Smother, our favourite album of a few years ago, and it had no chance of being anywhere near as good. Depression Cherry was good – Bluebird is brilliant – but they then announced Thank Your Lucky Stars, another full album a mere two months later. Unheard of, I listened with trepidation – but it slowly became my favourite of the year, building into the best release I’ve listened to. It struck every chord I needed it to, and to be honest I didn’t expect it to get there, which is always the best feeling and the best kinds of albums.
2. Errors – Lease of Life
Another album I wasn’t sure of when it was first released, Lease of Life slowly percolated into my go-to album for the year. The group’s third album Have Some Faith in Magic made the top spot in 2012 and is still one of my all-time favourites, so LoL had big shoes to fill. I don’t think you can compare them though as they are very different records. The album took its time with me, slowly as the Beach House album getting there, but when it did it was like having your best friends around again. They’ve changed over four albums and each step has been a step towards this, if that makes sense, despite not knowing that this was the route they’d take it’s wonderful seeing them get there.
3. Helios – Yume
Helios is an artist that appears on the Monday Graveyard all the time. He’s Keith Kennieff and focuses on ambient electronic (hey, that makes sense for the MG!) and I’ve listened to his earlier work a lot. This album though, unlike any other electronic album this year, has been the one I’ve returned to the most (notice I don’t count Errors in the same way as Helios). It is that wonderful blend of electronic hip-hop style beats and acoustic instruments that I just go weak at the knees for. So yeah, if you’re looking for something to pop on the background that you won’t necessarily be paying attention to but it’ll gentle request your attention… this is the album for you.
4. Foxing – Dealer
It was only a matter of time for the Emo revival / post-emo genre to appear in the Graveyear, and last years The Hotelier made it to number eight in the top ten. This album came out of nowhere. I’d never heard of Foxing until this year and it is the only artist in the Graveyear this year that are new. I listened to Dealer for the first time and really enjoyed the feeling it had, that of the National or maybe Local Natives, but after a while the darkness and depth of the songs revealed themselves and I found myself falling for it. It’s not that distinct a sound, that’s true, but the overall package of an accomplished and emotional album that sinks into your soul.
5. The Phantom Band – Fears Trending
It was four years between the second and third album by this Scottish band, and in that time a lot happened. I moved country a few times and married. The gap between their third and fourth was stunningly short, barely eight months (though, Beach House beat that this year actually). Fears Trending is what some people would call a “cast-offs” album, using stuff that the band didn’t use for their previous album in a follow-up, and Fears Trending could be seen like that, as the songs originate from both the sessions for Strange Friend and The Wants in 2010, but that’d be a disservice to this record, which was a total surprise for me. It has the feeling of The Wants back with the playfulness of their third and first album and it is an incredible selection of songs no matter their chronological origin. In fact, the album might be better than Strange Friend as an album, as it fits together very cohesively, but doesn’t have the highs that Strange Friend did.
6. Idlewild – Everything Ever Written
7. FFS – FFS
8. A Mote of Dust – A Mote of Dust
9. Ought – Sun Coming Down
10. Worriedaboutsatan – Even Temper
Want to listen to my favourite electronic albums? Check out the upcoming Monday Graveyear…