Thursday, January 7, 2016

Favorite Albums of 2015

Yesterday's post from JC at The (new) Vinyl Villain revealing his readership's top 10 albums of 2015 reminded me that although I posted my favorite songs and reissues, I forgot the long players. First, a few that are excellent but just missed the cut. I think Kid Wave became this year's Slow Club. Our little corner of the blogosphere really took to it, and I wasn't immune, but I have only had 'Wonderlust' for two weeks. Otherwise, this one probably would have fared better.

The Hermit Crabs - 'In My Flat'
Gwenno - 'Y Dydd Olaf'
Postal Blue - 'Of Love & Other Affections'
Kid Wave - 'Wonderlust'
Cattle - 'Somehow Hear Songs'
La Luz - 'Weirdo Shrine'
Courtney Barnett - 'Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit'

Now on to the top 10. If you're a regular, my high praise of the School will come as no surprise. In 2012, their last album ranked No. 2. It would take something special to keep them from the top spot this time around. Back in the spring, 'Once More From the Top' by the Granite Shore completely captured my heart. I said then that it was tough to imagine I would see or hear a better album this year. I didn't. If you get a second, here were my thoughts on the album at that time.

10. Strawberry Whiplash - 'Stuck In The Never Ending Now'

9. Finnmark! - 'Things Always Change'

8. Pugwash - 'Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)'

7. The Fireworks - 'Switch Me On'

6. Robert Forster - 'Songs To Play'

5. Expert Alterations - 'You Can't Always Be Liked'

4. Brideshead - 'Never Grow Up'

3. Lightning in a Twilight Hour - 'Fragments of a Former Moon'

2. The School - 'Wasting Away and Wondering'

1. The Granite Shore - 'Once More From the Top'


Echorich said...

Great choices Brian. Elefant Records is truly a little label that could/can these days.

Charity Chic said...

Brian I must have missed your Granite Shore post - off to investigate further

JC said...

Now if you put something forward for the T(n)VV poll you would have made a difference as Robert Forster just missed out and a #6 placing from you would have seen him get back into the overall Top 10......

All that historical fighting to ensure democracy and you fail to register your vote. No wonder that so many times over the years you Yanks have gotten the Republican Presidents the rest of us loathe and fear!!

Anonymous said...

Swiss Adam

Brian said...

I hesitate to tell you why I didn't vote because I'll sound like such a fool, but I would rather be known as foolish than apathetic. When you made your original plea, I somehow misunderstood and thought the 10 choices had to be Scottish. Although I'm a big supporter of music from your homeland, I didn't think I could complete the ballot. I never went back and reread it when you reminded us of the deadline. So, I was quite surprised yesterday when Courtney Barnett did so well with your readers... or is it MacBarnett? My apologies to you, all who supported Robert Forster and to Mr. Forster himself. And let me just add you can count on this Yank in 2016. I won't be putting an x next to Trump, Carson, Cruz, Rubio or any other nut from that side of the aisle.

Thank you. One of my New year's resolutions is to give more time to Elefant's Spanish bands. It's silly to concentrate on English-language bands simply because I'm a native English speaker. I'm sure I'm missing out on some great stuff.

My in with the Granite Shore is the appearance of Phil Wilson on the album. The June Brides are just about my favorite band, but that's not why I love it so much. I just fell for the concept, and the packaging is so beautiful. Chamber pop at its best. Hope you like it.

Brian said...

That's about enough out of you, Adam!

McPop said...

Hi Brian,

Pugwash is probably my #1 album of 2015. I need to check out some of the others on your list.

Here are my some of my faves of 2015:
Pugwash - Play This Intimately
Orange Humble Band - Depressing Beauty
Martin Courtney - Many Moons
EZTV - Calling Out
The Chills - Silver Bullets
Chris Stamey - Euphoria
Small Square - s/t (Paul Chastain from Velvet Crush)
Tommy Keene - Laugh in the Dark.
Squeeze - Cradle to the Grave
Nic Hessler - Soft Connections
Twerps - Range Society

Echorich said...

McPop - I second your love for Squeeze's Cradel To The Grave - yet another band from my era that shows you can return from the wilderness and make good music and NOT just tour, tour, tour to make a buck.

Brian said...

An intriguing list. Completely agree with you on five of the albums, including the Chills, Chris Stamey, Nic Hessler, the Twerps and, of course, Pugwash. I streamed the new Squeeze for the first time on Christmas night and loved it. Will be getting it as soon as I can. Now, there are a few others I don't know at all. I know Martin Courtney from Real Estate, I have all of their albums, but I don't know his solo work at all. Quite curious about that. I have seen EZTV's name quite a bit because of the relationship with Captured Tracks, but I have never heard them. Love that label though. This may surprise you, but I didn't even know there was a new one from the Orange Humble Band. Is Mitch Easter still involved? You don't have to answer. I'll be looking into that right now. Thanks for sharing your picks.

The Swede said...

Some great stuff here Brian, several of which you introduced me to and made my year-end 'long-list' - step forward, The School, The Granite Shore and La Luz. Gwenno, Courtney & Mr Forster also finished just outside my top 20. There's more here that I need to look into - so much music, so little time!

McPop said...

Yes, Mitch is involved! It's more mellow than their power pop tour de force 'Assorted Creams' but still awesome songwriting, playing, vocals and sonically amazing!

McPop said...

If you like Real Estate you will also like Martin Courtmey solo album. EZTV is great jangle pop. Let me know what you think after you've checked them out. Cheers!

Brian said...

Will do, McPop. Thanks for the info. Will be hitting the shops tomorrow. A day later I'm regretting the omission of Nic Hessler's album on my list. Listened to it from beginning to end today for the first time in a while. What a talent!

Pop Judge said...

A very indie selection and 4 or 5 that I don't know at all - I really liked the Brideshead stuff. Good to hear see Shaun's band Fireworks making a terrific noise. I didn't hear too much that I loved last year but Robert's album is great and was probably my gig of the year in Oxford just after it came out ... got the signed set list too!

Pop Judge said...

But I think Courtney Barnett is truly awful ... no accounting for taste I guess.