Favorite Albums of 2015


Another year down. Another crop of records obsessed over. This time, I decided to go against ranking things in a traditional list. Instead, I've simply compiled 15 of my favorite albums and placed them in alphabetical order. All have given me sonic pleasure throughout 2015. All are worth cherishing.

by Jericho Cerrona January 10, 2016

Alex Calder Strange Dreams

Like a more obscure Max DeMarco, Alex Calder makes warped pop music with hints of melody wrapped in an acid bath. An unsettling combination of VHS tape hiss and synth-pop wonder.

Chester Watson Summer Mirage

A 19-minute, 6 track EP might seem disappointing after the 18-year-old Florida rapper's 70-minute opus Tin Wooki dropped last year, but condensing ideas actually makes his abstract sound more palpable. Atmospheric production, bass-heavy beats, and stream-of-consciousness rhyming means this kid has some legitimate skills.

Gentleman Surfer Gold Man

Sacramento, CA weirdos make another blast of carefully calibrated, mostly instrumental madness after 2013's bizarro masterpiece Blaks with this spastic, demented, and unhinged gem that showcases some serious musical chops. Prog-rock that's way cooler than you and flaunts it.

It Only Gets Worse Christian Country Home

Alabama-based spoken word artist Matt Finney and Dutch musician Mories get bleak and daringly beautiful with this, their third collaboration; an immersive plunge into the realm of atonal glitches, analog synths, and despairing wordplay.

Kamasi Washington The Epic

A 10-piece jazz band, 32-piece orchestra and 20-member choir all tackling swing, funk, bebop, soul, orchestrated free-jazz as concocted by a 34-year-old jazz musician wunderkind. Ambitious, unwieldy, and utterly brilliant.

La Luz Weirdo Shrine

A gorgeous waltz through Dick Dale-inspired guitar licks, ambient organs, and dreamy vocals in the Shangri-las mode, all manned by producer/guitar maestro Ty Segall. More than simply "surf rock" pastiche.

Palmbomen II Palmbomen II

The latest brainchild from Neatherlands-based musician Kai Hugo (and friends) is a concept album revolving around The X-Files (yes, you heard that right). Wobbly, synth-driven 90s kitsch, done right.

Petite Noir La Vie Est Belle / Life is Beautiful

This extraordinary achievement from half-Angolan, half-Congolese musician Yannick Ilunga weaves African rhythms with 80s new wave and anthemic indie rock to give us something close to perfection.

The Pop Group Citizen Zombie

Pioneers of late 70s UK punk are back with a comeback few expected and even fewer thought would turn out this brilliant; a cacophonous, groove-heavy art-rock album that recalls Bowie in it's uncompromising mixture of strangeness and melodicism.

Protomartyr The Agent Intellect

Frontman Joey Casey shouts, slurs, and mutters his way through Protomarty's latest slab of gutter post-punk. If The Fall crawled out of the underbelly of Detroit, it would sound something like this.

Shamir Ratchet

The year's best summer jam record, bar none; an infectious mix of R & B, disco, house, and wonky pop, all carried along by 20-year-old Shamir Bailey with eccentric confidence.

Tal National Zoy Zoy

There's so much complex history running throughout the undulating percussion and graceful vocals in this album that signifiers such "world music" feel extremely narrow. Based out of Niger and utilizing elements of Afro-beat, desert blues, and West African call-and-response, Zoy Zoy is musically dense, consistently pleasurable, and always full of life.

Viet Cong Viet Cong

Taking the basement-dwelling lo-fi aesthetic of last year's Cassette and then blowing it up to new levels of sonic brilliance. Think little dabs of Joy Division, Wire, and Guided by Voices along with the Calvary post-punkers usual habit of atonal racket, feedback-drenched noise, and monotone vocals.

Wand Golem

This thing gets heavier, dreamier, doomier, and more epic as it sludges along. Pure psych-metal with elements of Brian Eno and T. Rex thrown in to balance out the bong smoke. It's Cave-In getting into a bathroom brawl with The Melvins and Sabbath! And of course, Ty Segall is involved.

Young Fathers White Men are Black Men Too

Recorded on-the-fly in apartments and hotel rooms, this is the year's most boldly left-field hip-hop album, if one can even label it as such. A patchwork of spontaneous outbursts and layered experimentation.