Positive Songs For Negative People (2015)
The evolution of a singer on the rise: bigger tunes, better production. Recorded live in the studio with his Sleeping Souls band, which gives this smooth album the life it needs. Although the larger sound of Turner's folk punk is no turnoff, it can’t mask the wayward songwriting. It tells us a focused Turner still has a thoroughly heartfelt Big Bang in store.
Best song:Glorious You
Yung Rich Nation (2015)
Why did Future succeed, and Migos fail? Beats. Production rules this sub-genre of hip hop, and if you haven't got the correct atmosphere, the result is almost laughable. Migos sound terrible over the top of some Fruity Loops banality. With their desperately basic lyrics laid bare, they sound like kindergarten kids in music class.
Best song:One Time
Southpaw (Music From and Inspired By The Motion Picture) (2015)
Explosive aggression is tempered immediately by introspective crooning. The result is a weird push and pull, and as a standalone project it's too disjointed to keep on repeat. Whilst the individuals all perform above average, the sum of their parts equals much less than they are worth solo. As a compliment to the movie, though, it's potent.
Best song:All I Think About
The Hangover (2015)
Cheers was a wonderful, hopeful reception. Second Rounds on Me was a casual drink with a good friend. Bottom's Up was a Tuesday night, alone, on your second bottle of Jack. The Hangover offers no new direction, no new sound, no new themes. It's Obie regurgitating the lesser points of his career. Superbly talented, but without his mentor he's dull.
Best song:Bruh Bruh
On his first album in a hundred years, Dre proves right away he's kept his ear to the streets. Thanks to great new talent and bass-heavy beats, the record sounds very contemporary. His own rapping is solid, but it's all about the new generation helmed by Kendrick. An amazing homage to their hometown and undeniable proof that Dre is still relevant.
Best song:Genocide (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Marsha Ambrosius & Candice Pillay)
The Chemical Brothers
Born in the Echoes (2015)
It's an odd collection of noises. Whilst there's a definitive sonic theme that runs down half the album, the other half spirals off into under-explored tangents. Ambient and glitch make blatant appearances. It's a weird concoction and doesn't make for a coherent listen. It does house one of the best songs of the last 5 years though. Go!
The Twenty Fifth Hour (2015)
Breathe hardcore, piss hardcore. No band craves the street cred more. The cultivation of the blueprints of hardcore, their own strife, roots and dedication to the scene have made them the biggest and best out there today. After five comparable albums they make an authentic choice to let the metal thicken their sound, and this is them at their most vile.
Best song:Blinded By The Lights
Lost Worker Bee EP (2015)
The English gents return with a lovely 4 song EP that feels much more like "early" Elbow. Garvey subdues his existential musings, preferring to rely on a musical palate they've employed on many a famous b-side. The title track follows the fanfare of their most notable songs, and each song is an earworm of slight melody and memorable sound.
Best song:Roll Call
The Fall (2015)
The final track is entitled Music For The Sun, and whilst Tiny Fingers do entice the listener to gaze skywards, it's rarely a bright day on offer. This is music that dips above and below a surface or swirling electronic funk at will, immersing the listener in a full gamit of instrumental musical expression. Music for journeymen, music for nomads.
Best song:Eyes of Gold
Key Markets (2015)
This could've been a classic. A modern British opus of Mike Skinner ilk. Instead, Williamson's philosophical real-life tales are hamstrung by music that wouldn't be out of place in a pastry commercial. Why didn't they spend more than 3 minutes writing the songs? Ah! It ruins the snapshot of British culture we've never seen so clearly.
Best song:In Quiet Streets
As Hebden consciously moves further away from Rounds, and a more dynamic sound, he enters a weird realm. Part Moby, part Aphex Twin, part Harold Budd, there's too much variable noise to present as a consistent project. Melody is discarded, yet chaos is not embraced enough to be a truly daunting listen. It's just an odd mix of complementary styles.
Best song:Morning Side
Dreams Worth More Than Money (2015)
Meek sounds like he is rapping from a treadmill. Constant shouting was quite dramatic on his breakthrough Dreamchasers mixtape, but a career built on the exact same techniques and content makes for boring listening. His new found relationship status adds a romantic tinge that feels as fake as his girlfriend's assets.
Best song:Lord Knows