Let’s celebrate, y’all! 2015 is past and the new year is upon us! Pop the tops and burn the rocks (DO NOT SMOKE CRACK . . . but ya know, have fun). Looking back at the year can be a Jack Daniels inducing activity for all, yet in all junctions of life there are moments of dazzling sadness and hideous joy. However, these songs and for the most part albums, were moments of grotesque delight.
Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color
Power house, shmower house. Brittney Howard’s voice redefines what it means to bring whatever structural entity you are standing in to the ground. Wailing and ripping her way out of hell with every fiber of her being. The shear power and passion that this band brings continually throughout the album is insane. Even in the softer songs there is a longing and emotion that is unrivaled.
Sleater Kinney – No Cities To Love
As someone who was too young (and significantly not cool enough) to know about SK in their hay day this new album was a golden key into the great catalog that may have otherwise passed me by. Sleater Kinney never leaves me wanting more than what they serve up. Punchy, engaging, and charismatic just scrape the beginning of the napoleon sundae that is their writing style while they scream the lullabies of the unheard masses.
Laura Marling – Short Movie
Laura, Laura, Laura. Oh, the praises I could belch for Laura! (Like belches, the praise would rise from me without warning and with impressive volume). She is a lion that has slipped into a waif’s pale skin. You get the feeling when listening that she knows herself. That’s the great thing about Laura, even in her earlier albums when she was a teenager she has this strength that shows she has a core of truth in her that may be malleable but is tenacious and steady.
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
Ever hear words that sound like your truth come out of someone else’s mouth? Words so wholly resonant with your life and situation that they fell like home? That’s what Barnett’s Sophomore album gave me. Especially in Pedestrian at Best. The words flow out like a dizzying internal diatribe.
“My internal monologue is saturated analog it’s scratched and drifting I’ve become attached to the idea it’s all a shifting dream bittersweet philosophy I’ve got no idea how I even got here I’m resentful I’m having an existential time crisis what bliss daylight savings wont fix this mess under worked and oversexed I must express my disinterest the rats are back inside my head what would Freud’ve said”
It is mad cathartic, y’ll. If this album was a book it would be a wittily written drama with plenty of jokes and jabs.
Screaming Females – Rose Mountain
I saw these guys play at Ottobar this year and they were beyond. The album is a great combo of heavy and light, this track is damn heavy (message wise) and a bittersweet ballad. Marissa Paternoster is a powerhouse of a different color. Shredding guitar and delivering some of the biggest vocals of her career. Listen to all of it, listen to all of it now. They know how to be tender and emotional while still kicking major ass.
Girlpool – Before The World Was Big
Girlpool gets some stuff, man. They get the delicate weave betwixt an electric guitar/bass and making the spaces part of their sound. They get the weird and uncertain feeling of the expanding consciousness that comes with the fall of childhood. They get eclectic bang styling. They just get it.
“I just miss how it felt standing next to you. Wearing matching dresses before the world was big”
And The Kids – Turn To Each Other
Super glad I found these guys on Tiny Desk Concert. It was a miracle moment. The band has a shy joy that compliments the music really well. I must have listened to Glory Glory 30 times in one crucial commute last month.
Also, NSFW (i guess?) Beware of Butts.
Camila Moreno – Mala Madre
Camila Moreno was a happy accident for me. I picked up her album on a lazy Thursday afternoon and was intensely over joyed at what I heard. As a self proclaimed lyrics junkie it was amazing to hear these songs without the possibility of understanding her words, yet still feeling her meaning. Moreno is an incredibly talented artist and while I’m still getting acquainted to her music, this album was a wonderful way to meet.
Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp
Blessed be the namesake of this website. Katie Crutchfield is still growing in her trademark 90’s soaked alt rock with insight beyond her years. I love the fight in her, she is constantly searching for more and that is such a marvelous tenacity to have.