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12.08.17 It's Been Real, Sputnik 09.19.17 Share Some Singles Vol. 4: Submission T
09.13.17 Michael Jackson Singles Ranked08.18.17 Share Some Singles Vol. 3: Submission T
07.26.17 Ferr0.506.20.17 Share Some Singles Vol. 2: Submission T
06.19.17 LGBTQ+ Artists Recs05.16.17 Share Some Singles: Submission Thread
04.11.17 Share Some Singles 4!04.01.17 Ferr0.25
03.11.17 Share Some Singles 3!03.05.17 Ferro's Jan/Feb 2017
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01.03.17 Ferro's Faves: Albums 2k16 12.22.16 Ferro's Faves: EPs 2k16
11.10.16 Album Cover Creativity: 010.25.16 Aug-Oct 2016: The Whatever Edition
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Ferro's Faves: Top 40 Albums of 2015

2015 has been a year of growth for. I've decided not to bore you with my personal life, so let's just say I had to go through some serious lows to get to the highs that I'm at today. I feel like I've also grown a lot when it comes to my music consumption. I've discovered so many new bands, albums, and just music in general. So here are my 40 favorite albums of 2015. Luv ya < 3
45Drake
If You're Reading This It's Too Late


*HONORABLE MENTION*
3/5
[Pop Rap]

Some of these tracks really fucking bang, but a lot of them are really lame.

"Energy": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LnBvuzjpr4
44Sophie
Product


*HONORABLE MENTION*
3.2/5
[Bubblegum Bass]

OK, so this probably wouldn't have made the top 40 even if it was eligible. However, I feel that song of the singles off this compilation are worth checking out. I recommend checking "Bipp", "Lemonade", "Hard", and "MSMSMSM".

"Hard": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8fwWZD159k
43Injury Reserve
Live From The Dentist Office


*HONORABLE MENTION*
3.6/5
[Pop Rap]

This debut mixtape from Arizona rap group Injury Reserve shows tons of promise, as 'Live From The Dentist Office' is a lovely hunk of pop rap that doesn't suffer from utter blandness like a lot of pop rap acts. Why's that? Besides some catchy hooks and ad-libs and some decent performance from the MC's behind this release, there's some obvious care put into the production. Whether it's jazz rap ("Yo"), more experimental cuts ("Ttktv"), or simply well executed pop rap production ("Wow"), they definitely don't skimp on the beats.

"Ttktv": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjD221A8RjQ
42Animal Collective
Live at 9:30


*HONORABLE MENTION*
4.2/5
[Neo-Psychedelia]

This release will most likely only appeal to fans of Animal Collective, but what a treat it is for their loyal supporters. As someone who was disappointed by 'Centipede Hz', 'Live at 9:30' makes up for it by correcting the main issue with their 2012 release: clutter. With these live renditions of 'Centipede Hz' tracks, AnCo brings a much sparser sound while amping up the passion and eccentricity in their vocals, percussion, and overall vibe of the performance. This same formula is applied to tracks from their earlier work, resulting is equally successful results. But if there's one reason to check this album, it's one specific rendition: "The Purple Bottle". As someone who loves the studio version to death, I can confidently say this version is a thousand times better and the best thing the band has put to record.

"The Purple Bottle (Live)": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k2jgv92MEM
41D'Angelo
Black Messiah


*HONORABLE MENTION*
4.4/5
[Neo-Soul]

Sorry D'Angelo, just a bit too early to get onto the list. However, since many people are putting this on their 2015 lists, I might as well put him on the honorable mentions, since 'Black Messiah' is a masterful piece of neo-soul that calls back to their earlier greats of soul and funk, especially Prince. Equally funky, beautiful, and socially aware, 'Black Messiah' is one of the best comeback records to come out in the 21st century.

"Ain't That Easy": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZoxdPGu_4E
40Thunderbitch
Thunderbitch


[Blues Rock]

Was Alabama Shakes' newest record just not old school enough for you? Then Brittany Howard's side project, Thunderbitch, is just for you! This record is sonically and aesthetically consumed by rock n' roll and blues rock: simple, bluesy tunes with titles like "Leather Jacket", "I Just Wanna Rock n Roll", and "My Baby Is My Guitar" that show a sense of self-awareness, which is what makes this album so enjoyable. Yeah, it's a bit cliche with it's lyrics and overall sound, but the sheer attitude emanating from Howard's rough vocals and skills on the guitar sells 'Thunderbitch' for me.

"Leather Jacket": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B35DH-79lk4
39THEESatisfaction
EarthEE


[Alt-R&B]

THEESatisfaction, only on their sophomore record, have already developed a signature sound for themselves. All that they need to do now is iron out all the kinks. At times the sound they're working with here on 'EarthEE' just doesn't work, ruining songs like "Post Black Anyway" and "No GMO". But when all the pieces fall into place, we're given some left field, spacey Alt-R&B that works well with so little components. What really sells this album are the women behind the mic. Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White are incredibly confident vocally, whether they're giving us some pleasant, harmonized vocals or smooth rap verses that ooze charisma. They have the components of a superb album, they just gotta fix the few flaws holding them back.

"Recognition": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBHjr-CdxYM
38Public Service Broadcasting
The Race For Space


[Electronic/Indie Rock]

'The Race For Space' echoes the band previous effort in that old voice clips from propaganda media replace actual vocals, making for a unique experience. In contrast to their debut record, 'The Race for Space' decides to focus on a single topic, which ends up being beneficial for the project. Public Service Broadcasting apply their formula to the intriguing story of the space race between the US and the USSR. Soundtracking this storyline are a set of instrumentals from the electronic and rock musical worlds. While a good amount of the instrumentation adds to the atmosphere of 'The Race for Space', especially the more electronic tracks, some of the songs feel like the music was added as an afterthought. Overall, this is a unique little LP that could've been so much better than it was.

"Sputnik": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=It42TsD7_sI
37Caravan Palace
Robot Face


[Electro Swing]

Is the sound Caravan Palace working with gimmicky? I'd say yes, but that doesn't really matter when the music is so good. The formula of adding a sick beat over some vintage vocal samples proves to be quite successful, if not a bit predictable by the end of ''. This feeling is only enchanced by the fact that the best song of the record open the entire album up, giving the 10 other tracks incredibly high standards to live up to. Some tracks are able to meet these standards, others...not so much.

"Lone Digger": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbQgXeY_zi4
36The Weeknd
Beauty Behind the Madness


[Pop/Contemporary R&B]

I think it's obvious by now that The Weeknd isn't going to be returning to the dark, brooding sound of his mixtape days. While that fact bums me out since we'll never get another 'Echoes Of Silence', the abundance of bangers here on 'Beauty Behind The Madness' helps heal those emotional wounds. Pop smashes like "Can't Feel My Face" and "In The Night" are some of the best songs on the radio right now and a couple of the deeper cuts deliver on the overall enjoyability promised by the singles. If only this album didn't take the largest quality drop of the year with the last 3 songs, then this would be an overall solid LP for ol' pineapple head.

"Can't Feel My Face": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEI4qSrkPAs
35Courtney Barnett
sometimes i sit and think, and sometimes i just sit


[Singer-Songwriter/Indie Rock]

Just like another album higher up on this list, 'sometimes i sit and think...' is very much a Courtney Barnett record. Musically this album breaks no boundaries, giving us a batch of passable instrumentals influenced by garage and indie rock for Barnett to sing over. So each track depends on Barnett's performance vocally lyrically to save it from true mediocrity. Thankfully, her nonchalant delivery in both of these departments makes for an interesting listen a good amount of the time. But occasionally, the stories told within these songs just aren't entertaining enough to save the song, like "Debbie Downer" and the 7 minute snooze-fest "Small Poppies".

"Dead Fox": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njb3JTZ1ibY
34katie dey
asdfasdf


[Experimental Pop]

If this album we're stripped of all of it's effects, it'd just be a cutesy little acoustic indie pop album. However, Katie Dey fully transforms 'asdfasdf' into an insane experience by adding on glitchy electronics, heavy voice distortion to the point where what she's saying is indistinguishable, and just general insanity. This odd fusion of innocence and abrasiveness works quite well, as pretty, catchy melodies peek through the noise. Some tracks are much odder than others, such as "y o y o" and "fear o the dark", both of which use sound channels to their advantage, but not many albums this year balanced sweet and sour quite like this one.

Full Album Stream: https://katiedey.bandcamp.com/releases
33Astronauts, etc.
Mind Out Wandering


[Indie Pop]

"Soulful" isn't really a word you can use to describe modern indie pop. Here on 'Mind Out Wandering', Astronauts etc. are combining these two seemingly separate musical worlds with mostly positive results. With some dream pop elements added to the mix, 'Mind Out Wandering''s strongest quality is it's overall pleasantness. You may get a couple hooks up in your head and catch a groove or two, but the way the subdued vocals of Anthony Ferraro compliment these smooth, dreamy tunes just puts me at ease.

"No Justice": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQgz7jXfw2Y
32Botany
Dimming Awe, The Light Is Raw


[Downtempo]

Botany does a fine balancing job here on his sophomore release. Within 'Dimming Awe, the Light Is Raw', he finds a great middle ground between lush, artful downtempo-esque production and banging, but in a tasteful way, instrumental hip hop. Across these 39 minutes, Botany covers a lot of sonic ground with some more sample-based tracks ("Au Revior"), straightforward hip hop beats with humongous bass ("Jotu"), and even some hazy, chillwave-inspired material with the track "Glow-Up". Many of these musical ventures go over quite well, aside from the occasional track that seems more like a blueprint of a song.

"Au Revoir": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ae924hc_eM
31Car Seat Headrest
Teens of Style


[Lo-fi Indie Rock]

Gimmick or not, the lo-fi sound that Will Toledo has used throughout his career is one that he knows how to work with. While other artists suffer from the rough quality or use it simply as a shallow aesthetic, 'Teens Of Style' is given character by its messiness. All in all, this record is what you'd expect from Car Seat Headrest with just a few bells and whistles: catchy indie rock and power pop tunes that are charming in their untidiness.

"Something Soon": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjnEkJa2Law
30The Haggis Horns
What Comes To Mind


[Funk]

The Haggis Horns are somewhat of an outlier in today's funk scene. Most acts are either more reminiscent of the synth-funk of the '80s, or bringing a much more contemporary style to the genre. This is where The Haggis Horns come in, bringing a much more organic sound akin to '70s funk to the table. The instrumentation is bright and playful, and the horns take the spotlight on 'What Comes To Mind', even impressing people (me) who usually prefer their funk to be more bass-centric. Add in a handful of guest vocalists who add a little pizzaz to the songs they inhabit and you've got a fun funk record that' get you moving.

Full Album Stream: https://thehaggishorns.bandcamp.com/album/what-comes-to-mind
29Pond (AUS)
Man, It Feels like Space Again


[Psychedelic Rock]

As someone who was dissapointed by the newest Tame Impala's new record, especially since the singles for 'Currents' were superb, I am thankful for Pond's existence. Contrasting with Tame Impala's much poppier sound, this side project goes in a much harder direction. Alongside these hard rocking tracks are some wonderful grooves on "Elvis' Flaming Star" and "Outside Is The Right Side". Throw in lovely, spacier tracks such as "Sitting Upon Our Crane" and the title track and you've got a solid psych rock album.

"Man It Feels Like Space Again": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNbPg6zKmPI
28Sleater-Kinney
No Cities to Love


[Indie Rock]

'No Cities To Love' is a simple record: 10 tracks all under 4 minutes, 32 minutes in total, normal song structures, etc. However, this is really the only way Sleater-Kinney could've came back after 10 years since the indie monster that was 'The Woods'. Instead of trying and inevitably failing to one-up that record, the Olympia trio have gone back to the basics. What that translates to is a short, punchy record full of fist-pumping anthems, catchy guitar work, and overall passionate performances from the indie rock veterans. The energy this album gives off was infectious enough to win me over and had me coming back constantly to some of the catchiest rock singles to come out in 2015.

"A New Wave": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc1htX3q-F0
27bansheebeat
Lumine


[Electronic]

'Lumine' is a incredibly pretty record, beautiful even. Each track gives off an essence of wide-eyed wonder, staring at the night sky and it's countless, sparkling stars. IDM, chiptune, chillwave, and ambient music are all thrown in to the mix to make an album that should would soundtrack my eventual interplanetary expedition no doubt. The only thing holding back the album is the lack of a true climax on some songs, or one that didn't really affect me like the others, limiting the track to a vehicle for some pretty sounds and not much else. But when this album strikes gold, like the beautiful title track or the blissful joy that is "Cultural Festival Arc", some of the best electronic songs of the year are the result.

Full Albums Stream: http://bansheebeat.bandcamp.com/album/lumine-gst-04
26Jamie xx
In Colour


[UK Garage]

Is 'In Colour' the second coming of electronic jesus that many major music publications would like you to believe? No, far from it. What this is is a fun, poppy record that is an overall pleasant listening experience. 'In Colour' is a wonderful summer listen; just the kind of album you can chill out to on the beach, especially the insanely tropical "Obvs".

"Loud Places": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP9luRtEqjc
25Holly Herndon
Platform


[Electronic/Glitch]

'Platform''s main goal is to break boundaries. This acts as the album's biggest strength and weakness. When the experiments succeed, such as the infomercial vocal clips on "Locker Leak" or the overall glitchy sound the album takes up, 'Platform' is an album that stands out as a 2015 highlight. But not every musical venture ends well; some tracks are just too oddball to stay tight and ASMR-esque "Lonely At The Top" not only breaks the wonderful flow the album had going, but is just an overall uncomfortable experience. The important thing is that the album hits much more than it misses.

"Morning Sun": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3Z1lEx8khM
24Marina and The Diamonds
Froot


[Indie Pop]

The high points on 'Froot' are the reason why this album is so high on the list, as well as the reason it isn't any higher. Whether it be the lovely ballad that opens the album "Happy" or indie pop bangers such as "Froot", "Can't Pin Me Down", or "Savages", some of the best pop songs to come out this year reside on this album. The downside is that these stellar highlights make the other tracks pale in comparison. Lack of consistency aside, the highlights are strong enough to make this a really great album.

"Froot": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZzcY7ASQno
23Blur
The Magic Whip


[Alternative Rock]

I wish I could talk about how Blur came out of nowhere and delivered a solid rock record after tons of silence. However, that's technically not true; Damon Albarn has done quite a lot musically outside of Blur in the form of solo records and Gorillaz. This recent activity is evident in 'The Magic Whip'. Although it's definitely still a Blur record, elements of Albarn's side projects can be found within it. Many of the darker, more somber moments on here are reminiscent of Albarn's solo releases and the variety of styles within the music can be credited to the genre-hopping ways of a certain animated band. These outside influences benefit 'The Magic Whip' greatly, giving a band from a dead genre a modern touch-up that doesn't erase their past.

"There Are Too Many Of Us": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQQObIQ63T0
22Hop Along
Painted Shut


[Indie Rock]

'Painted Shut' is essentially the Frances Quinlan show. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; her passionate, raspy voice and unique song topics are quite the spectacle and carry the barer tracks on the record with ease. The instrumentation does it's job: gives Quinlan some consistent indie rock tunes to do her thing over. However, it rarely wows the listener; excluding the occasional musical climax that gives the track that extra push, the musical side of 'Painted Shut' is consistently alright. Luckily, Frances' songwriting and vocal chops are strong enough keep 'Painted Shut' way above water and an intriguing, emotional listen.

'Powerful Man": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na1DoYNnQO8
21Hanni El Khatib
Moonlight


[Blues/Garage Rock]

Now a decade after the peak popularity of the Garage-Rock Revival scene, most of the bands that lead the movement have either disbanded (The White Stripes), lost their edge (The Black Keys), or were never really too good in the first place (Jet). Then we have Hanni El Khatib, bringing the venomous bite that garage and blues rock desperately needed in 2015. While he does dabble around in other genres, even a disco-influenced dance groove on the back end of closer "Two Brothers", this is an album that dares to do what other famed blues rock bands won't: bring grit to the possibly decaying genre.

"Moonlight": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn8Gu0St7zs
20Potatohead People
Big Luxury


[Hip Hop]

'Big Luxury' is similar to Deerhunter's 'Fading Frontier' in that the overall feel the album gives trumps individual tracks. Potatohead People's debut record is piece of smooth yet groovy instrumental hip hop with elements of neo-soul and electronic music infused into it. Vocal tracks like "Messenger" and "Luv Ya", which really cause that neo-soul influence to pop, give the album it's catchy high-points.

"Blue Charms": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91qps7PsP4Y
19Little Simz
A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons


[UK Hip Hop]

Little Simz exudes confidence no matter what she does here on her debut LP. This is especially the case with the opener 'Persons', where she has claimed herself to be king within the first minute of her first full length commercial release. These large claims are supported by the overall quality of 'A Curious Tale of Trial + Persons', which is impressively high. Over a varying set of instrumentals, Simz shows off her incredible skills as an MC, being able to show off her impeccable flow as well as her ability to tell an intriguing, coherent story within her music. If Little Simz is able to consistently bring it like she has here on 'Trials + Persons', her claim to be king may not be as preposterous as some people would like to believe.

"Dead Body": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44Zvdaa5eWc
18Carly Rae Jepsen
E MO TION


[Dance-Pop]

Probably the most unexpected artist to emerge as a pop AOTY contender, Canadian pop superstar Carly Rae Jepsen and crew have come through with one of the catchiest pop records to come out in 2015. 'Emotion' is essentially an '80s pop album brought into modern times; "All That" is a Prince-esqe slow jam that brings out a much more sensual side to Jepsen, "When I Needed You" could fit perfectly playing over the credits of an '80s romantic-comedy, and the blaring sax on "Run Away With Me" that kicks off the album acts as the album's mission statement: to give new life to old sounds.

"Run Away With Me": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeccAtqd5K8
17Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love


[Psychedelic Pop]

Here on their 3rd studio album, UMO have abandoned the rougher sound they were working with on their previous efforts and have let elements of soul, funk, and everything groovy flow into their music. This change results in a fantastic psychedelic pop album full of slick grooves, backed up by punchy drums, warm horns, and vocals that are equally soulful and eccentrically ghoulish. This album gets the prestigious award of Grooviest Psychedelic Album of 2015, which is quite a big deal for me.

"Multi-Love": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEtDVy55shI
16Deerhunter
Fading Frontier


[Indie Rock]

As well as being their most accessible release yet, 'Fading Frontier' is also their most serene. The 7th LP from Deerhunter is more rewarding in it's overall sound than the individual tracks. 'Fading Frontier' is the kind of album you can listen to if you just want to wind down and relax, letting the record blissfully float by in the background. However, there are specific songs that really shine, such as the three singles from this album and the odd, minimal "Leather And Wood".

"Breaker": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCVWrqxyt3Y
15Lianne La Havas
Blood


[Neo Soul]

Here on 'Blood' , Lianne La Havas has given 10 tracks of catchy, yet mature, poppy neo-soul. Level-headed depictions of love within the lyrics are delivered by La Havas' blissful croons, complimenting tasteful instrumentals influenced by pop and soul music of the past and present. Poppier tracks like "What You Don't Do" and "Tokyo" give you something catchy to hum to yourself by the end of the record, and ballads "Wonderful" and "Good Goodbye" act as emotional climaxes for La Havas' sophomore album.

"What you Don't Do": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNLkD8QEnAM
14Skylar Spence
Prom King


[Nu-Disco/Electronic]

My Full Review: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/68875/Skylar-Spence-Prom-King/

Of the two ex-vaporwave artists on this list, Skylar Spence A.K.A. Saint Pepsi has decided to go in a much cleaner, poppier direction. Tracks like "Fall Harder", "I Can't Be Your Superman", and the superb "Fiona Coyne" could fit on the radio. But Spence has kept his future funk roots strong within 'Prom King' as well, delivering 40 minutes of groovy Nu-Disco. The vocals may not be the greatest, but what Spence does production and melody-wise on 'Prom King' never fails to put a smile on my face and a skip in my step.

"Fiona Coyne": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw_7UrqzNUg
13Alabama Shakes
Sound & Color


[Blues Rock]

Brittany Howard is one of the most electrifying frontwomen in mainstream music right now. There may better female musicians out there overall, but none can bring power to mic quite like Ms. Howard; just listen to "Gimme All Your Love", probably the best slow jam to come out this year, for proof. Her immense talent is shown throughout 'Sound & Color', a solid piece of blues rock and soul with the occasional misstep, but makes up for it with some of the best singles to come out in 2015.

"Gimme All You Love": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oib0a2_itA
12Death Grips
The Powers That B - Part II: Jenny Death


[Experimental Hip Hop]

While it's not the swan song that we were originally told it was going to be, The long anticipated second half to 'The Powers That B' did not disappoint. 'Jenny Death' goes in a much more punk/hardcore sound than the rest of their discography (excluding 'Exmilitary' but shhhhh...). Almost every track is based around these dry, brittle guitars, allowing MC Ride's punk attitude behind the mic to really shine. This results in their most visceral, and catchiest, LP yet. In short, I know that 'Bottomless Pit' has quite the act to follow up.

"On GP": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cinJDxLUsNY
11White Reaper
White Reaper Does it Again


[Garage Punk]

Clocking in at only 33 minutes, Louisville garage rockers White Reaper are able to jam loads of energy and catchiness into such a short timespan. 'White Reaper Does It Again' doesn't give you any BS with it's songwriting; bust in, deliver the goods, and leave the listener wanting more, only for the next track to come busting in and satisfy that desire. That's what makes Garage Rock/Punk so appealing to me: it's adrenaline in it's rawest form, and White Reaper sure do capture that spirit.

"Make Me Wanna Die": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtNJCTZdtzM
10Son Lux
Bones


[Trip Hop/Art Pop]

Some of the most powerful moments in music this year can be found on Son Lux's 'Bones'. Whether it be the humongous hook on the lead single "Change Is Everything", the blaring horns on "You Don't Know Me", or "Now I Want"'s gigantic choral vocals, this album brings the energy. However, it's on tracks like "Your Day Will Come" and "White Lies", the slow burners of the album, where 'Bones' reveals it's subtler side. If you're looking for an explosive trip hop album that will light up the room, look no further.

"Change Is Everything": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGtUDffAdy8
9Neon Indian
Vega Intl. Night School


[Synthpop/Synthfunk]

My Full Review: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/69221/Neon-Indian-Vega-Intl.-Night-School/

2009's 'Psychic Chasms' soundtracked the sensation of waking in the early morning, high as a kite on the beach in the '80s. While that's nice and all, 'VEGA INTL. Night School' paints a much more vivid picture: a neon-lit nightclub that reeks of sweat and alcohol in the best way possible. This is evident in the thick synths that warp and swirl across funky, hard-hitting grooves throughout the entire record. Some of the tracks may not be as tight as the others, the first half of this record is some of the best synthpop and synthfunk you're gonna hear this year.

"Slumlord/Slumlord's Re-Lease": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0wPHAau1ts
8George Clanton
100% Electronica


[Synthwave]

As an artist who is quite familiar with vaporwave, it would make since that George Clanton would have the keen ability to build an atmosphere, especially if it's '80s-themed. What sets him apart from his contemporaries is his ability to mix the oddity of his origins with elements that are much more familiar and appealing to the common music listener. Here on '100% Electronica', Clanton is able to mix the nostalgic beauty of vaporwave, the wondrous soundscapes of synthwave, and a batch of catchy as hell melodies that make returning to this album again and again anything but a chore.

"Keep A Secret": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA9tmj0RJv4
7Everything Everything
Get To Heaven


[Indie Pop]

Everything Everything's 'Get To Heaven' is a strange release. On the surface, this is an incredibly catchy, colorful indie pop record with a singer who'll either blow you away or annoy the shit out of you with his overwhelming falsetto and overall oddness. Tracks like "Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread" and "Get To Heaven" just exude an essence of fruity bliss replicated by no other act this year. However, on the lyrical side, things aren't as sunny. 'Get To Heaven' is one of the most political releases I've heard this year, tackling topics like widespread disease, political corruption, and the terrors of war with incredible poise and wit. While socially aware themes aren't entirely new to this band, never before have they been so focused. In this situation, the album cover is the perfect representation for the record: scenes of anguish masked by eccentricity.

"No Reptiles": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbxp3qt9LEc
6Father John Misty
I Love You, Honeybear


[Indie Folk]

In a year where albums about dead mothers, racial issues, and dying love are some of the biggest releases, 'I Love You, Honeybear' is a breath of fresh air and some of the most fun I've had with lyrics this year. On this sophmore record, Father John Misty delivers plenty of lines that are either lovingly sincere, chuckle-worthy, or a little bit of both. Not to mention that these lyrics are accompanied by some passionate vocals and lush instrumentation that make up to be an incredibly solid release from the ex-Fleet foxes member.

"The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iY37fixfN_A
5Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp a Butterfly


[Jazz Rap]

Yes, the hype for this album was insane to the point where it was annoying. But that doesn't detract from the music's quality. Kendrick delivers some of his greatest tracks yet on 'To Pimp A Butterfly', showing a much more political side to his music on tracks like "Hood Politics" and "Blacker The Berry", as well as tackling themes of black struggle, his disconnection from his roots due to fame, and self-reflection. These topics are set to wonderfully tasteful beats influenced by the musical worlds of jazz, funk, and soul. It was going to be a near impossible task to follow up 'good kid, m.A.A.d city', but K-Dot has done so, or at least came very close, with 'To Pimp A Butterfly'.

"Alright": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-48u_uWMHY
4Kamasi Washington
The Epic


[Jazz]

My Full Review: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/67044/Kamasi-Washington-The-Epic/

I rarely listen to jazz, as you can tell by the rest of this list, but even I can see the genius of Kamasi Washington's 'The Epic'. Delivering 3 hours of material on this triple album, Washington shows off his immense talent as a saxophonist and overall composer. The sax is only enhanced by incredibly lush instrumentation, even an orchestra, alongside the usual instruments (bass, piano, horns, etc.) you'd expect on a jazz record. But the interplay between these components makes the majority of the 173 minutes this album takes up an appealing listen. 'The Epic' is no doubt going to be a huge album for the genre, bringing in new listeners who previously hadn't given jazz a chance. Like me.

"Miss Understanding": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-75-tUHIrQ
3Hiatus Kaiyote
Choose Your Weapon


[Neo-Soul]

While there were many talented female vocalists to emerge this year, none were as smooth, sensual, and as entertaining as one Nai Palm. If there's one reason to check out this album, it's for her stellar vocal performance here on 'Choose Your Weapon'. But the positives of this album don't stop there; the spectrum of influences and sounds Hiatus Kaiyote play with on their sophomore record put many claimed "genre-benders" to shame. Jazz, Soul, Funk, Afrobeat, Electronic, R&B, and even a little bit of chiptune (!) are all fused together to form a one of a kind experience, and my favorite soul record of the year by far.

"Breathing Underwater": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3tErZ5LUJY
2Sufjan Stevens
Carrie and Lowell


[Indie Folk]

I've always had a soft spot for songs about family, especially mothers. So when I caught wind of the major theme of Sufjan's newest LP, I knew it was going to hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was right. Accompanied by only an acoustic guitar, a piano, and the occasional electronic bleep or bloop, Stevens delivers the saddest and most emotional album to come out in 2015. Whether he's reminiscing about his rocky past with his mother on "Should Have Known Better", painting a heart-breakingly vivid portrait of being at the side of her deathbed on "Fourth Of July", or telling of the devastating effects of her death on his own life with "The Only Thing"; 'Carrie & Lowell' never fails to get me feeling emotional by the end of the record. It may not be as hard-hitting instrumentally as 'Age Of Adz', but lyrically it trumps the rest of his catalog and most indie folk records to come out in the past few years.

"The Only Thing": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adKEqin5SoI
1Clarence Clarity
No Now


[Alt-R&B/Glitch Pop]

My Full Review: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/66735/Clarence-Clarity-No-Now/

There's a reason this album is here at number one. A lot of the albums on this list had at least one track that blew me away. Some of them had multiple tracks that had the same effect. however, even the best of the best had the occasional misstep. Except for one. Clarence Clarity's 'No Now' is an hour long gauntlet of dense Alt-R&B and Glitch Pop that is honestly one-of-a-kind. It's loud, in your face, and can be quite abrasive at times. However, it all fits together wonderfully: the melodies, the grooves, the experimentation, the vocals (do I need to keep going?). Track by track, 'No Now' continues to blow me away, and it will probably continue to do so for a long time.

"Those Who Can't, Cheat": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMl8eZoudJE
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