Sunday, December 20, 2015

Favorite Albums of 2015

Such a great year, so many great albums! I had to leave quite a few off just to keep this list to a reasonable amount. So here they are, the faves, again in no particular order:

The Decemberists
What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

One of my favorite Decemberists albums so far! They took a sabbatical, regrouped, and released this beauty.

Gaz Coombes

Former Supergrass leader with a sumptuous, tuneful outing.

Charlatans UK
Modern Nature

Formed in 1989, catching the tail end of the "Madchester" scene, these Manchester lads have matured nicely.

The Juliana Hatfield Three
Whatever, My Love

A veteran, and survivor, of the grunge/indie rock movements, the spirit of the 90's is alive.

Steven Wilson
Hand. Cannot. Erase

Ex-Porcupine Tree leader releases another sublimely bleak, yet beautiful album, including this jazzy prog-style masterpiece.

Django Django
Born Under Saturn

Catchy as hell, bouncy indie pop/rock goodness.

The Minus 5
Dungeon Golds

Speaking of 90's survivors, Scott McCaughey (of Seattle's Young Fresh Fellows) soldiers on with indie rock side-project (all-star?) band The Minus 5. I think it's my favorite of theirs so far. ("Dungeon" refers to the basement studio in which they record.)


What a jammin' band! These guys make music you can dance in your pajamas to, or in my case, running around a track with headphones on.

Zefur Wolves
Zefur Wolves

A rare thing indeed: A Mexican rock band with international appeal. Haunting yet rocking, this song ("No Borders") captures the mesmerizing majesty of their sound, and their message of international peace and cooperation.


And from Northern Ireland, we have Ash, chugging along since 1992. I saw them in Portland this year, and they are still rocking hard. Kablammo!


This band is huge, and deservedly so. Huge choruses, huge hooks, huge musicianship, huge imagery. Mega!

Bill Ward
Accountable Beasts

Former (and original) drummer for metal pioneers Black Sabbath, Bill Ward has been through Hell and back, and lived to tell the tale. His solo albums are a bit quirky, and their heaviness comes from a more personal place than the latter-day Sabbath efforts. I love this album.

The Darkness
Last of Our Kind

When the UK's The Darkness began in the year 2000, people laughed. Well, they're still laughing, but they're also still listening and singing along. Fun stuff! Maybe the last glam rock band, enjoy them while you can.

Everything Else Matters

From St. Petersburg, Russia, this shoegaze band makes beautiful noise.

Veruca Salt
Ghost Notes

One of the first successful grunge bands, formed in 1993, Veruca Salt hadn't released an album since 1996, but 19 years later, they drop this wonderful album. I miss this kind of rock music!

Electric Six
Bitch, Don’t Let Me Die

Detroit's Electric Six, rockin' non-stop for almost two decades now, continue their incredible work ethic (releasing about an album a year for the last 12 years. This is as good as any of their others. I love the way Dick Valentine sings the word "evil." And this song's got whistling, too!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Favorite Songs of 2014

Here's a few tracks that I looooved in 2014:

Queen (England)
"Let Me In Your Heart Again"

Well, this is easily the happiest music news for me all year! Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor took this unused vocal from Freddie Mercury, circa 1984, added new instrumentation and backup vocals, and the result was pure magic. So yes, I'm happy and a little sad of course. Because Freddie's still not really with us, is he?

The Earth (Wales)
"The Earth Beats The Machine"

Sorry there's no link directly to the song, but I recommend going to Google Play (or wherever) and listen to the soundbite of the last track, and maybe even buy it. It just gets more beautiful as it goes.

Little Dragon (Sweden)
"Klapp Klapp"

By far the best song on the album, this song swings and grooves in silky ways.

Echo & The Bunnymen (England)

Hey, it's those guys, from the 80s! Unless you're a big fan, they've been operating under the radar for quite some time, but they continue to put out gorgeously epic works like this.

Seasurfer (Germany)
"We Run"

Goth meets shoegaze. Lovely.

Mike Oldfield (England)

Deducting points for sounding like Greg Lake with King Crimson circa 1969, but still a very powerful, resonant song.

Off! (USA)
"I Won't Be A Casualty"

Whoo! Punk like it used to be. This link takes you to the whole album, where this song starts. This song is my new personal anthem.

Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana (USA)
Taming The Dragon

This is called a "jazz" album, but this track is in a category all by itself. And it is sooo cool...

The Notwist

The only favorite of 2014 I got from an iTunes' free download. I swear! It's just sweet and jamming. Enjoy.

The Ting Tings
"Green Poison"

Remember these guys? Trying to forget? Well, this is a nice change of pace, and reallllly funky. Is that a cowbell I hear? Play on!