Monday, February 22, 2016

Also recommended in 2015

(Above: Photo of author coping very well with influx of music while easily managing other concerns.)

This post lists albums I heard once or twice and dug in or around 2015 but didn't have time or energy to write up. A longer list than usual for obvious reasons. This is a very skeletal post intended for your further investigation if you like; I've included brief thoughts where it seems necessary -- skipped this step on established artists or people I've reviewed here before -- and for certain albums I've included between one and three selections I really really like. For lengthy thinkpieces on these consult your favorite internet website.

- Charli XCX: Sucker (Atlantic) [lethal hooks; "Boom Clap" / "Doing It" / "Break the Rules"]
- Young Ejecta: The Planet (Driftless) [relaxed, X-rated shimmer, good for those xx-type nights]
- Ghost Culture (Phantasy Sound) [Martin L. Gore unplugged, weightless and trippy; "Mouth" / "Glass" / "Lucky"]
- Susanne Sundfør: Ten Love Songs (Warner Bros.) [a schizoid singer-songwriter LP that happens to contain the song of the year, which segues from another winner; "Fade Away" / "Accelerate"]
- Songhoy Blues: Music in Exile (Transgressive) [sing-song Malian pop]
- Dutch Uncles: O Shudder (Memphis Industries) [herky-jerky synthpop, like weird time-signatured prog with an OMD bent]
- Tuxedo (Stones Throw) [jammin' 99.9 FM]
- Ghostpoet: Shedding Skin (PIAS) [slightly bland but atmospheric, smart UK hip hop]
- Lonelady: Hinterland (Warp) [soulful synth; "Hinterland" / "Groove It Out"]
- The Very Best: Makes a King (Moshi Moshi)
- Wire (Pink Flag) [same as it ever was]
- Stealing Sheep: Not Real (Heavenly) [fun, lightweight pop]
- Knxwledge: Hud Dreems (Stones Throw) [J. Dilla-lite]
- Della Mae (Rounder) [all-lady bluegrass band hailing from Boston points up the deficiency of alt-country]
- Mbongwana Star: From Kinshasa (World Circuit) [tight Congo band goes to the moon]
- Valet: Nature (Kranky) [long-dormant electronic project of a Portland bedroom musician comes back, goes pro]
- Sarah Cracknell: Red Kite (Cherry Red) [ymmv depending on how much you love the Saint Etienne singer's voice; musically bland but passable]
- Bully: Feels Like (Columbia) [Nashville dues-paying cassette releasers go for broke; very solid punk rock]
- Four Tet: Morning/Evening (Text) [a bit dramatic, unfailingly pleasant, a solid sunrise drone-out]
- Ducktails: St. Catherine (Domino) [Real Estate offshoot, sweetly immersive if extremely derivative; "Headbanging in the Mirror"]
- Carly Rae Jepsen: E-MO-TION (Interscope) [auteur of 2012's most ubiquitous single gets arty, is not duly rewarded, but the results are disarming if overlong; "Emotion" / "Run Away with Me" / "I Didn't Just Come Here to Dance"]
- Blackalicious: Imani, Vol. 1 (OGM) [fast-paced, beat and rhyme-driven throwback; "That Night"]
- Wolf Alice: My Love Is Cool (Dirty Hit) [young Londoners make Pretty Good Rock Music]
- Nils Frahm: Victoria OST (Erased Tapes) [vibes, right?]
- The Internet: Ego Death (Columbia) [decent retro-R&B outgrowth of Odd Future collective; relatively absent of irony, which is impressive]
- Rachel Sermanni: Tied to the Moon (Middle of Nowhere) [excellent yarn-spinner wise far beyond her twenties]
- Ghostface Killah: Twelve Reasons to Die II (Linear Labs)
- White Reaper: White Reaper Does It Again (Polyvinyl) [I believe in punx]
- The Chemical Brothers: Born in the Echoes (astralwerks) [takes the pathway opened by Daft Punk but they can't resist being more abrasive and arty, and somehow the Beck song is the best thing he's ever recorded; "Wide Open" / "Radiate" / "Go"]
- AFX: Orphaned Deejay Selek (Warp EP) [Richard D. James and our hearts, glitchin' together for life]
- Helen: The Original Faces (Kranky) [Grouper warbles more endearingly here than with her regular gig]
- Widowspeak: All Yours (Captured Tracks) [another Brooklyn duo, another indie rock sham you can't help rooting for]
- Kwabs: Love + War (Atlantic) [full-hearted sincerity on the dance floor; "My Own" / "Make You Mine"]
- Darkstar: Foam Island (Warp) [fly the friendly skies; "Go Natural"]
- Alex G: Beach Music (Domino) [slides from Elliott Smith's Cancun vacation]
- Erykah Badu: But You Caint Use My Phone (Motown mixtape) [to quote Pearl Forrester, "it's about telephones or some damn thing"]
- New Order: Music Complete (Mute) [fighting the good post-punk fight in their mutated state as a garage band]
- Shopping: Why Choose (FatCat) [razor sharp new wave]
- Janet Jackson: Unbreakable (Rhythm Nation) [a good record that needs paring down, with an overabundance of soppy ballads]
- Apollo Brown: Grandeur (Mello Music) [photog does Nas-derived rap on the side with great guests who wipe the floor with him; "Gettin' By" / "Who's That"]
- The Spook School: Try to Be Hopeful (Fortuna Pop!) [enthusiastic, hyperemotional and friendly pop about identity politics -- did you like Nana Grizol? you'll appreciate this]
- EL VY: Return to the Moon (4AD) [Matt Berninger side project is basically like the National blended out by Danger Mouse and is of course very listenable]
- Ty Dolla $ign: Free TC (Atlantic) [lush and profane, classy and kitschy, smart and gross, sort of like Brian Wilson]
- Talib Kweli & 9th Wonder: Indie 500 (Jamla) [always good to hear from Kweli, a rare uncorrupted nice person in the business, though Macca may issue a public warning about the misattribution of "Let It Be" to John Lennon]
- Logic: The Incredible True Story (Def Jam) [dumb as hell concept -- as the hideous Back to the Egg-like cover suggests, it takes place in space! in the future! -- sick as hell flow]

Yes, that's two consecutive rap album reviews that make jabs at Paul McCartney for no reason whatsoever. No, your blog's predictable.

I think I've decided to make the year-end song and album posts separate this year. Getting them ready during my downtime from trying to make head or tail of Kanye West's new album.

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