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Vulnicura

Top 20

  1. Bjork – Vulnicura

    A harrowing, cathartic but beautiful record. The parallels with Vespertine are clear, and go beyond the musical similarities – where Vespertine was about falling in love, Vulnicura is about breaking apart, and the two albums effectively bookend a real-life relationship. Strong songwriting, stunning string arrangements and cutting-edge beats with perhaps Bjork’s most emotional vocal performance yet.

 

2. Death Grips – Jenny Death

Once again, Death Grips put out a fantastic record that sounds like nothing else out there. Technically the second disc of a double album, “Jenny Death” follows 2014’s “Niggas on the Moon”. It’s totally off the hook: crazy synths, fucked up beats, fuzzed-to-the-max guitars, and some of MC Ride’s most out-there vocals. “Turned Off” is the finest rap/punk crossover track ever written; “On GP” is easily my song of the year.

 

3. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

Everything about this album is fantastic. The songwriting, the production, the sardonic lyrics… flawless.

4. Horrendous – Anareta

Fuck, this album is amazing. Horrendous have taken up the mantle from the sadly departed Chuck Schuldinger and produced a death metal masterpiece, with crushing riffs, off-kilter time signatures and flawless musicianship from start to finish. Strewn throughout the chaos are stunning moments of beauty that show how life-affirming even the most brutal music can be.

5. Grimes – Art Angels

A singular work of impeccable songwriting and visionary production. Remarkably catchy but surprisingly deep, there’s something new every time you listen. This is what all pop should sound like.

 

6. Container – LP

This album just ticks all my boxes. Pulsating, distorted synths hammer over aggressive techno/hip-hop drums, like a beat-oriented Merbow.

7. Deafheaven – New Bermuda

A darker, heavier set with more “classic” metal influences, but no less gorgeous than Sunbather. Love it.

8. FKA Twigs – M3LL15XX

A foreward-thinking, slinky and sensuous EP that showcases FKA Twigs’ unique vocal talent, accompanied by an incredibly imaginative and visually stylish long-form video. I just wish there was more of it.

9. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

What an album. Easily the best “mainstream” hop-hop release in a long, long time, it’s easy to see why Kendrick Lamar’s latest has topped year-end polls here, there and everywhere. Jazzy, funky, brilliant.

10. Mbongwana Star – From Kinshasa

This is simultaneously one of the most unusual yet enjoyable albums I’ve heard all year. Highly rhythmic, danceable grooves with off-kilter guitar riffs and vocal melodies. I’d love to see these guys live.

11. Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed

Wow. Not that Nile have ever put out a bad album, but this new one really brings an intensity that hasn’t been there since “In Their Darkened Shrines”. A lot of the lyrics deal with the annihilation of ancient cultures, and there are parallels that can be drawn to the destructive acts of Daesh. However, geopolitical allegory aside, what really matters is that this is an insanely heavy tech-death metal album with Nile’s best songwriting in a decade or more.

12. Squarepusher – Damogen Furies

As Apex Twin did with “Syro” last year, Squarepusher has released a “back to basics” album that melds together the best of his various influences and pisses all over everyone else. Manic, jazz-inflected drill-n-bass drum breaks and wild bass guitar runs, held together with strangely catchy synth melodies and surprisingly danceable grooves. (Also, check out the video below – 360 degree animation!)

13. Pyramids – A Northern Meadow

Icy, tremolo-picked guitars wash over stilted programmed drums, while high-pitched melodic vocals soar above. Pyramids are definitely out there on the left-field fringes of the black metal spectrum, but they’re never less than compelling, and this is an album of great beauty, with moments of sorrow and joy in equal measure.

14. Peaches – Rub

Peaches is just nasty. Like, dirty, fucked-up nasty. And fucking great. This is another bass-heavy, minimalist trip with sex-crazed lyrics and some great guest vocals form Kim Gordon and Feist. My kind of party album.

15. Eagles of Death Metal – Zipper Down

Obviously the tragic events in Paris have somewhat overshadowed this release, but EODM’s latest album is a stone-cold sexy boogie-rock classic that deserves to be remembered.

16. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

This was an unexpected pleasure. Catchy, energetic songs with fantastically sarcastic lyrics, a joy from start to finish.

17. Sumac – The Deal

I can’t believe I missed this when it came out at the start of the year. A new album from former Isis bandleader Aaron Turner, this is sludgy post-metal of the highest order, harkening back to the earliest days of Isis with more than a hint of early Mastodon as well (particularly in the drums). 

18. Mutoid Man – Bleeder

A collaboration between Cave In’s Stephen Brodsky and Converge’s Ben Koller? It’s hard to see how I couldn’t love this album. Fortunately it doesn’t disappoint, merging the best elements of both bands – crushing metallic hardcore with a strong sense of melody – and throwing in some classic guitar-hero noodling to the mix.

19. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free

This, to put it mildly, is not normally my kind of thing. A simple, old-timey country record with lyrics about love, life, working hard, and occasional references to God. But there’s a lot more depth to this album than that broad description suggests, and more importantly the songs are just really great.

20. Clutch – Psychic Warfare

Clutch knock it out the park once again with another classic slab of stoner rock. All the hallmarks are there – kick-ass riffs, pounding drums, and Neil Fallon’s compelling storytelling and commanding vocals.

 

Stray tracks

A few more songs I loved from albums that didn’t make the cut.

Le1f – Koi

Kelela – Rewind

High on Fire – Carcosa

Puscifer – Galileo

Torche – Minions

Baroness – Chlorine and Wine

13 SUPERLATIVES

Most hermetic guitar praxis: Ben Chasny’s The Hexadic System; Hexadic I, Hexadic II by Six Organs of Admittance (Drag City)

Best Belgian Delta blues: Ignatz I Live in a Utopia (Goaty Tapes)

Best six-string spirituals: Daniel Bachman River (Three-Lobed Recordings)

Best calling card: 75 Dollar Bill Southeaster b/w Like Like Laundry (self-released)

Best three-way: Michael O.; Piano Movers; The Reds, Pinks & Purples A Fruits & Flowers Three Way (Fruits & Flowers)

Most likely to waft over a demolished Brooklyn block: Jantar Taxi Driver (self-released)

Most timeless, devastating: Meg Baird Don’t Weigh Down the Light (Drag City)

Best substitute for hard psychedelics in a pinch: Tom Carter Long Time Underground (Three-Lobed Recordings)

Best pump-organ & guitar duo: Mind Over Mirrors & Circuit des Yeux The Voice Calling (Immune Recordings)

Best argument for the examined life in small-town cascadia: Mount Eerie Sauna (PW Elverum & Sun)

Purest rock & roll show: Dick Diver, Iji, Hidden Hands at Vera Project

Most terrifying Bandcamp archival series: Skullflower

Best show podcast: The Best Show

Previous lists by Filnef:

2014

2013

You can listen to Filnef’s own music here:

Hastío – La Ofensiva Interior (2015)

iloveyouhoneybear

Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (2015)

  1. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6NuYJ0RzRg

2. San Fermin – Jackrabbit
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mejWjP7KC-w
3. John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pleasure
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmGML1Uu4rc
4. Jose Gonzalez – Vestiges & Claws
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZuC6y4eUo0
5. Dan Deacon – Gliss Riffer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=549CQiXxGzQ
6. Oddisee – The Good Fight
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Bxkp3hpGdU
7. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbR999N5MiA
8. Sun Kil Moon – Universal Themes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFXV41QFlyo
9. Beirut – No No No
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gypBEmz2nk
10. Nicolas Godin – Contrepoint
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwLLlT7MBkE

 

 Previous lists by Mac P:

2014

2013

Deafheaven - New Bermuda (2015)

Deafheaven – New Bermuda (2015)

  1. Deafheaven – New Bermuda

My favourite album of 2015, Deafheaven’s “New Bermuda” definitely lives up to the expectations after the band’s previous release “Sunbather” from 2013. This album is multi-layered, complex and keeps me interested from start to finish.

2. Shining – Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends

“Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends” follows in the footprints of “Halmstad” and “Född Förlorare” with amazing suicidal and nihilist black metal. This album isn’t far behind “New Bermuda”.

3. Clutch – Psychic Warfare

Really catchy testosterone-filled, homoerotic cock rock.

4. The Sword – High Country

Unicorns, diamonds, petals, and bees. The Sword have turned pop and I like it! The riffs are still there, but wrapped in pink.

5. Stornoway – Bonxie

This is one of the albums I’ve listened to the most during 2015. Really good songwriting and good lyrics. “Love Song Of The Beta Male” was the song the first song to grab hold of me, but there are plenty of other good songs on the album.

6. Baroness – Purple

“Purple” came very late in the year, but has left a good first impression following the same melodic style that the band established on “Yellow & Green”.

7. High On Fire – Luminiferous

High On Fire never seem to disappoint.

8. Tribulation – The Children Of The Night

Well-crafted pop metal.

9. Black Breath – Slaves Beyond Death

This album received some mixed reviews throughout the year but I really like Black Breath’s old school Stockholm death metal (from Seattle). The first two minutes of the first song are beautiful, one of my favourite musical moments of 2015.

10. Deadheads – Loaded

With this album, Deadheads replaced Graveyard as the true heirs of The Hellacopters.

11. Skraeckoedlan – Sagor

Experimental, dopey and heavy stoner/fuzz rock with good clean vocals from at least two different singers.

12. Marduk – Frontschwein

Marduk’s obsession with photoshoots, make-up and the Third Reich is disturbing (and funny), but the music can be amazing. The ballad “Wartheland” is my favourite off this album.

Honourable mentions:

Natalia Lafourcade – Hasta La Raíz

Graveyard – Innocence & Decadence

Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat

Mutoid Man – Bleeder

Belle & Sebastian – Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance

The Libertines – Anthems For Doomed Youth

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

Lists from previous years

2014: https://blackdandelions.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/best-of-2014-keal-lists-his-25-favourite-albums/

2013: https://blackdandelions.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/best-of-2013-keal/

2012: https://blackdandelions.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/best-of-2012-kea/

2011: https://blackdandelions.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/best-of-2011-keal/

2010: https://blackdandelions.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/best-of-2010-by-keal/

My best of 2015 for Slavestate Magazine:

http://www.slavestate.se/?e=3043

 

Elder - Lore

Elder – Lore (2015)

  1. Elder – Lore
  2. Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower
  3. Tribulation – Children of the Night
  4. High on Fire – Luminiferous
  5. Vhöl – Deeper Than Sky
  6. Monolord – Vænir
  7. Pinkish Black – Bottom of the Morning
  8. Weedeater – Goliathan
  9. Godmother – Maktbehov
  10. Faith No More – Sol Invictus
  11. Ghost – Meliora

have to also mention:

Mutoid Man – Bleeder, Torche – Restarter, Clutch – Pyschic Warfare, Myrkur – M, Indian Handcrafts – Creeps, Metz – II, Ecstatic Vision – Sonic Praise, Minsk – The Crash and the Draw, Thundercat – The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, Wand – Golem, Skraeckoedlan – Sagor, Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction.

Previous list:

Dr. Hezelbeef – Best of 2014

Ghost

Ghost – Meliora (2015)

Starting from the bottom, here’s the most violent list of 2015:

10. The Sword – High Country (Bra skiva och grym spelning på DBS tidigare i höst.)

9. Kadavar – Berlin (Fan tungt band, missade dock spelningen i Sthlm.)

8. Pentagram – Curious Volume (Ta en selfie med Liebling om du får chansen, karln är doom.)

7. Sumac – The Deal (Isis 2.0, trummisen kan va bland det bättre som skådats.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovHYSWYpQCs Gammalt klipp med Baptist för den som orkar se.

6. High on Fire – Luminiferous (Mycket kompetent band, alltid leverans, bra skiva.)

5. Shining –  Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends (Han kan fan inte må bra men på skiva hittar han på många bra grejer hela tiden.)

4. Myrkur – M (Jag gillar den här tjejen, hoppas hon orkar stå stark i en mansdominerad värld av myrker.)

3. Marduk – Frontschwein

2. Tribulation – The Children of the Night (Tufft på riktigt, jag menar, fy fan va bra, ryser.)

  1. Ghost – Meliora (Det finns liksom inte nått värdigt att säga inför dessa storheter. Jag menar GIII:s revolutionsdräkt med Ghost-logga, vem kommer på nått sånt?)

 

Previous lists

violent wold – best of 2014

violent wold – best of 2013

violent wold – best of 2012

violent wold – best of 2011

Marduk

Marduk – Frontschwein (2015)

It’s that time of year again… Check back soon for the best music of 2015.

In the meantime, here’s a compilation of last year’s lists.