13 years after Desaparecidos released their uninhibited Read Music/Speak Spanish, a loose yet powerful concept album that struck a blow at modern living, both in sound and in music. Worth the wait? Barely. This is a loud sounding record that’s only a shell of their debut. Oberst tends to annoy instead of move and the pop isn’t counterbalanced with grit.
Best song:Te Amo Camila Vallejo
Pale Horses (2015)
Somewhere towards the end you're thinking, "This is like The National with a Whiskey problem". In the middle you're thinking, "It's Anathema on cocaine". At the start you're thinking, "MeWithoutYou never disappoints". And they genuinely don't. Consistency in rock music can be chasisted, but it's nice to pre-order knowing you're going to enjoy it.
Best song:Mexican War Streets
Everything Is 4 (2015)
If they missed the relevancy bandwagon, it's a difficult period for an R&B artist. Derulo was ubiquitous in 2010, but he lacks the skill and nuance of an Usher or Trey Songz to remain popular long-term. He is well over-shadowed by significantly lesser icons, like Meghan Trainor and K. Michelle. And the whole country thing? Nelly did it.
Best song:Get Ugly
Infinite House (2015)
There's one band that comes to mind when listening to Infinite House, a "nervous soul" eventual classic - Talking Heads. All five members play like seasoned geniuses, often blending a character piece into a rhythmically insane foundation with relative ease. Ava Luna's latest is the product of immense effort - a remarkable, dazzling odyssey.
Best song:Best Hexagon
Pure Apparition (2015)
Reminiscent of Orbital's more playful work, Ridler laces Pure Apparition with a lightness that pervades what could be a very dank and desolate landscape. It's an expert stroke, because it renders Pure Apparition multi-dimensional, which is more than can be said for much electronic music currently being produced. Chill or vibe, it's your decision.
Best song:Tibetan Moves
Apocalypse, girl (2015)
"Think big, girl." The first three words on Hval's latest art pop masterpiece infuse the entire record with its recurring themes - typical film move - Apocalypse, girl's opening scope is rare, showing layers of depth in a matter of seconds. Hval and her accompanying group manage to keep this elevating and liberating feeling from start to finish.
Best song:That Battle Is Over
There's no danger of Container being peripheral. It's an assault on your very fibre. It's like a concert where the bass is at such a frequency, it can make you physically ill, only Container can do that to you through a decent car stereo. This is head-banging for the electro crowd. Any neighbours you dislike? Crank this for them.
When it hits, it feels like a sledgehammer connects with your jaw, which is how producer Steve Albini likes it - KEN Mode's sophomore LP is a flawed, yet powerful album, packed with shots of aggression, noise, and snarl. Opener "Blessed" is perhaps the band's best track, cringing and sludging layers together like noise is just mud they can mold, but refuse to.
My Morning Jacket
The Waterfall (2015)
James sounds like honey. The band's ability to coax melody out of a block of noise has been honed since their "jam band" days. The Waterfall is almost straight-laced indie rock, with an emphasis on rock. Whilst James may be treading lyrical water since 2011's Circutial, it is proving to be fruitful territory. It's deep enough to instruct.
Best song:Believe (Nobody Knows)
The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam (2015)
For being only sixteen minutes, Thundercat sure knows how to immerse you in his realm. "Them Changes" is a funk odyssey with a killer Kamasi Washington feature, but it's the collaborations with Flying Lotus that make this mini-album shine even brighter. This jaunt wasn't absolutely necessary, but I am far from complaining for new Thundercat.
Best song:Them Changes
Déjà Vu (2015)
Cynicism doesn't have to sound bad. The ridiculous title aside, if you take your "cool" hat off (sorry Pharrell) and just enjoy the dance music, you'll not only live longer, you'll have significantly more fun. Whilst the electronic brush strokes are heavy-handed, they're no less enthralling. The guest spots are desperately needed and executed well.
Best song:Tom's Diner (Feat. Britney Spears)
Touchdown 2 Cause Hell (2015)
If you can get past a recently parolled felon rapping about being an "anybody killer", Boosie's much awaited post-jail LP does not disappoint. It's hard to connect between a guy who can't even breathe in marijuana smoke to the guy who raps "Rolling up in them Boosie papers". It's a raw street record, the hardest to come out this year.
Best song:No Juice