Here is the second and final part of my top releases of 2015, these are the biggest highlights in the year for me. Don’t forget to lemme know what your favourites were or to link me your own list. Hope you all had a great start to 2016!
15. Action Bronson – Mr. Wonderful
In all honesty, I’d fallen off the Action Bronson wagon for a few releases and didn’t think I’d care for this one either… I was wrong. The production is one of the best parts about this album, moving away from your standard hip-hop beats and instead brings in strange sorts of 70s-rock sample-based instrumentals – mixed with Action Bronson’s humour and (sometimes bizarre) lyrics, it works really well.
14. Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside
I only gave Earl a proper chance this year. I’m not a fan of Odd Future at all, and so by association, I never listened to him properly… but oh boy, I realised my mistake. On this, it feels like Earl presented his thoughts and feelings since “Doris” authentically, and it’s brooding. The combination ended up in me listening over and over, picking up on new things, delving deeper than just the brilliant production alone. Grief has been one of my most played tracks too.
13. Dragged Into Sunlight & Gnaw Their Tongues – N.V.
“N.V.” has been something I’ve been looking forward to in years, since the interview I did with T of DIS in 2011, and it lived up to my expectations. It’s dark and nightmarish which is what you expect from these artists, and the combination follows a twisted path through extreme music. This collaborative effort just makes me even more excited for either’s future releases.
You can read my review of it on the Echoes and Dust site here.
12. Sleaford Mods – Key Markets
Right off the bat: I don’t like this album nearly half as much as I do “Divide And Exit”, but that doesn’t stop it from being such a fucking enthralling release from the duo.
If you want to know more, I wrote a brief review of the album here.
11. Loma Prieta – Self Portrait
This is the cleanest produced album from Loma Prieta yet, but it’s still pretty abrasive. Including more catchy riffs and melodies on this album, these lot are still frustrated, still pissed. Merciless alone got this release a lot of replays from me.
10. Gnaw Their Tongues – Abyss of Longing Throats
Nasty, just nasty. Mores is continuing to lean more towards black metal than noise, but pulled it off way better here than on “Eschatological Scatology”. It’s genuinely menacing, tormented and uncomfortable in the best way possible.
9. Moodie Black – MB I I
Just an EP from the noisy hip-hop trio this year, following last year’s fantastic album “Nausea”, but it more than makes up in ideas and power in place of length. There’s an incredibly dense atmosphere all the way through, whether it’s seething (‘M A R R O W’) or celebratory (‘1 0 0’), and you can’t help get sucked into its world.
I did a brief review of the EP here.
8. Gnod – Infinity Machines
I’ve always liked Gnod, but my appreciation for them grew stronger when I saw them support Earth in 2014. So when this album came out, I was excited and not disappointed at all. Despite focusing on noise, krautrock and drone, Gnod (as usual) keep that pulsating rhythm through their tracks, helping with the atmosphere and identity of each track. “Infinity Machines” is sort of what you’d get if you churned Nine Inch Nail’s “Ghosts I-IV” material through a torture machine.
… that’s good, in case you’re wondering.
7. Slayer – Repentless
I’m aware this was pretty much a crowd-splitter, and a lot of people didn’t think much of it, but to me… this is their best release since “Christ Illusion”, and WAAAAY better than the painfully restrained “World Painted Blood”. Here, it feels like Slayer have that genuine hate flowing through them again. I don’t know what else to say than that. Just pure rage.
6. Blacklisters – Adult
The boys did it, they followed up their cracking debut album with a cracking follow-up. “Adult” is a more straightforward attack than “BLKLSTRS”, it’s all a bit more concentrated. So if those noise-rock bombardments were your favourite parts, then this album caters to that.
5. Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
I don’t want to regurgitate too much about my opinion on this album, you can watch a review I did with the one and only Myke C-Town here, but yeah, this might be my favourite Cattle Decapitation album yet. The band really sharpened their song-writing skills on this one while still being heavy.
4. Lorn – Maze To Nowhere / Part 3
First off: I struggled to decide whether to include the whole collection so far as a pick or just the only EP of the series released this year, so I swayed more for the latter. This isn’t my favourite part (Part 2, if you’re wondering) but this is still a brilliant EP. Like the other parts, it’s moody yet infectiously catchy, hard-hitting while being ethereal… Lorn just can’t be stopped at this point. A musical diamond.
Also, can we just talk about the beautiful video that came out for the also beautiful Acid Rain this year?
3. Squarepusher – Damogen Furies
I can’t explain this correctly, there’s just so much going on with this album you could probably write an essay on the first track alone. Tom Jenkinson took the dark vibes of “Ufabulum” and injected it with adrenaline. This album, although clearly the Squarepusher sound, is what I sort of expected Aphex Twin’s “SYRO” to be – this was the sound of my hope for that album (don’t get me wrong though: I loved “SYRO” all the same). Personally, intense organised chaos is probably the best way to describe “Damogen Furies”. I love it.
Here is the short review I did on it.
Favourite tracks: Baltang Ort, Stor Eiglass, Exjag Nives.
2. Lianne La Havas – Blood
In 2012, La Havas caught my ear thanks to the hook of her single ‘Forget’, it was infectious, and the atmosphere on the album “Is Your Love Big Enough?” gave a load of signals for bigger things… on “Blood”, she did that. Where her debut felt a little one-dimensional at times, “Blood” facets a wider range of emotions, stories and styles. Granted, on record, tracks like ‘Never Get Enough’ and ‘What You Don’t Do’, do more often than find me skipping them (but live, they are amazing!), the album overall is a strong example that pop can still be mature and fun.
You can read my full rant on it here.
1. Intensive Square – Anything That Moves
It’s taken this lot at least ten years of being together to release their debut album but it was worth the wait. This quintet arguably delivered the most relentlessly punishing metal albums of 2015, utilising their influences and originalities to make the soundtrack of unforgiving hate. Despite the majority of this album being made up of tracks that saw releases through EPs over the years, the album is fresh and defined. Absolute fucking carnage. My review of it on the Echoes and Dust site can be read here.
RIP THE SPIKE OFF THE FRONT OF YOUR FACE,
GRIND THE FUCKING HORN TO DUST.
Favourite tracks: Rhino Fight, The Long Man, Trials Of The Ubermann, Vegetarians.