Saturday, December 12, 2015

Top 30 Records of 2015: 20-11

Here is part two of my favorite records on 2015.

Honorable Mentions; 30-21; 10-1; Song of the Year

20.  Already Dead by Timeshares
From my review --
Already Dead is filled with high energy, catchy anthems that dare you to not pump your first or bob your head while singing along. What is different is an added twang and maturity that brings to mind the likes of The Tim Version, Nothington, The Replacements, and Chris Wollard & the Ship Thieves. In many ways, this is a similar progression to that of Red City Radio on their latest album, but no matter how you describe it of who you compare it to, the end result is an album that is a prime example of everything that is great in modern punk rock. That having been said, Already Dead is a lot more than a punk rock record; this is primal and powerful rock 'n' roll that would be taking over the country if there was any musical justice in the world.

19.  In This Mess by toyGuitar
From my review --
Dalrymple’s songwriting has always been light-years ahead of his contemporaries and that is certainly the case here.  In This Mess is a record that in a lot of ways, is very hard to describe.  The songs are fun and catchy with lyrics that are intelligent and poignant, but at the same time this band really sounds like no one else.  Sure there are elements that are familiar, especially for fans of One Man Army’s last EP She’s An Alarm, but the totality of the record and the band is impossible to classify with one simple label or genre.  The main takeaway from In This Mess is that toyGuitar is an incredibly talented band that writes fun and high energy songs that are complex in their simplicity and powerful in their honesty.

18.  Tales From Wyoming by Teenage Bottlerocket
From my review --
Teenage Bottlerocket is THE quintessential pop punk band.  More than Screeching Weasel, more than the Descendents, hell even more than the Ramones, Teenage Bottlerocket epitomize the genre.  The band’s sixth full-length, and first for Rise Records, Tales From Wyoming is everything one would expect from TBR and then some.  With songs that are as catchy as they are quirky, TBR tackles topics ranging from love and girls to Minecraft and Metallica. [...]  From start to finish Tales From Wyoming is a perfect pop punk record that should even turn folks that aren’t fans of the genre into fans of the band.  

17.  Better Whenever by Elway
From my review --
...Better Whenever is melodic poppy indie punk excellence while at the same time boasting a dark and melancholy atmosphere. What's great about Elway's music is that it takes the melody and pop sensibility and perfectly mixes it with the brooding nature of desperation and self-deprecation but even more than that, what makes this band so great is their relate-ability. This is the music of the modern-day aging misfit but it's also the soundtrack to some outcast kid's high school career because it speaks to the universal truths of those living just under the radar and outside of the box. Better Whenever is the kind of record that makes me feel at home and safe and shows me that I am not alone in this crazy-ass world.

16.  Spin by Broadcaster
From my review --
Spin is exactly what one would expect from a Broadcaster release with songs about the ups and downs of life, relationships, and love as seen through the undeniably perfect blend of Sicko-meets-Buffalo Tom style rock 'n' roll that dares you to not get caught up in the hooks and melodies. Broadcaster is simply one of the best bands around today and easily one of the stand-outs of the '90s inspired acts but don't be fooled into thinking they are a nostalgia band because records like Spin are timeless fitting as perfectly next to the underground hits of 25 years ago as they do next to the best music of today.

15.  I Feel Weird by Great Cynics
From my review --
From the opening chords of “Want You Around (Chunky)” it is glaringly obvious that I Feel Weird is something special. Simply put Great Cynics third full-length album is outstanding. The band has perfected their catchy as hell mix of punk, power pop, and early 90s indie rock influences into a sound that is infectious and fun, filled with the hopeful spirit of youth as seen through the wide eyes of young misfits. Taking on the topics of love, awkward relationships, and love, Great Cynics spin incredibly earnest and honest tales that speak straight to the heart of anyone who has been twenty-something, in love, and an outsider.  [...]  From top to bottom I Feel Weird is a brilliant record comprised on 11 top-notch, relentlessly catchy songs with pop hooks that go on for miles...

14.  Here is a List of Things That Exist and Black Metal Yoga by The Rentiers
The Rentiers had a hell of a year, first debuting as a band and then releasing two EPs and a single.  In a lot of ways, these three releases feel like part of a bigger whole, hence my including together here.
From my Here is a List of Things That Exist review --
From start to finish Here is a List of Things That Exist is a stellar debut that showcases Tannenbaum’s songwriting chops and mastery of insightful and intelligent lyrics.  This is the kind of release that should appeal to a wide variety of listeners from fans of pop punk to power pop to indie rock to 90s nostalgia to the modern Philadelphia movement (The Rentiers’ hometown, along with the likes of Beach Slang, Luther, Restorations, The Menzingers, and Dave Hause).  Here is a List of Things That Exist is one of 2015 first great records and sure to be one of the best of the year.
From my Black Metal Yoga review --
2015 has been quite a year for The Rentiers' Joel Tannenbaum. First the band released their excellent debut Here is a List of Things That Exist in the spring, his other band Plow United released a couple of new split EPs, The Rentiers returned with the stupidly catchy single “We Don't Cry,” and he is closing out the year with the release of the Black Metal Yoga EP. The two song 7 inch release (three song if you get the cassette) is classic Rentiers'. Sure it might be a bit silly to refer to the sound of a release as classic for a band that just debuted earlier this year, but it's true. The Rentiers have a very distinct, quirky, indie punky pop rock sound that is not only undeniable but completely unmistakable and all their own. Tannenbaum has always been a great songwriter (check out his other project Ex Friends for further examples) but he truly shines in The Rentiers.

13.  Peace of Mind by Hudson Falcons
From my review --
The Hudson Falcons' sixth full-length album Peace of Mind is a brilliant blast of some of purest and most heartfelt rock 'n' roll that you will ever hear. With songs that tackle topics such as heartache, perseverance, the struggle of the working class, love, salvation, and the hope that betters days are still ahead, one can't help but identify with the record's strife and feel the burn of its optimism. Sonicly the Falcons have finally solidified their musical voice.  [...]  This is a record that is defiant in its confidence, boldly proclaiming what it is and what it isn't in the opening chords of the Thin Lizzy-esque “Live Right Now” and that is just the opening track. The record moves through emotions and tempos with staggering ease that can only be accomplished through experience and dauntless passion. From start to finish, Peace of Mind is a powerful and unyielding record that should forever redefine how people see and think of the Hudson Falcons.

12.  High On Tulsa Heat by John Moreland
From my review --
John Moreland’s sixth full-length album (his third solo record) High on Tulsa Heat is a pristinely beautiful ode to home through the lens of loss, heartache, hope, and grief.  Moreland has an uncanny knack for putting words to those deep and often dark emotions that we all bury down inside.  [...]  From top to bottom, High on Tulsa Heat is a powerful record that displays its majesty through its simplicity, heart, and depth.  Following up 2013’s brilliant In the Throes, High on Tulsa Heat masterfully proves, once again, that John Moreland is the single greatest songwriter alive today.

11.  YAY! by Adam Darowski
From my review --
Fueled by his new home in New Hampshire and new influences of Beach Slang, Iron Chic, and Mike Krol, Darowski has produced nine exceptionally catchy and infectious punk meets indie power pop tunes. From the opening chords of “All My Axes Are Exes” to the closing distortion of “Breakdown” YAY! is the perfect mixture of pop sensibility, early '90s indie guitar crunch, big hooks, and lyrics that are as clever as they are insightful. In other words, imagine Blue Album era Weezer jamming with Beach Slang and J Church. The result is something special.

1 comment:

Otter Limits said...

5 of these are on my list. Well, on my list currently.