by GMN Staff
Our staff got together and wrote about our favorite albums of the year. Take a look! Do you agree? What are we missing?
Now, in no particular order:
The Best Albums of 2015
twelvefour – The Paper Kites
I’ll be honest: I’m not a huge fan of the Paper Kites’ first album. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are pretty. But they’re boring to listen to, and will never compare to the brilliance of 2011’s Woodland EP. Despite my repeated efforts, I could never muster the patience to get through States. Because of this, when the group’s sophomore full-length, twelvefour, was released in August, I was hesitant to listen to it. Would it live up to my expectations, or even my hopes? Regardless of my doubt, I gave it a try, and thank god I did. Titled “twelvefour” because all the songs were written between 12 and 4 a.m., the album is vastly different atmospherically than anything the band has done before. While their old music sounds like meadows and sunny mornings, twelvefour sounds like nighttime in the city; neon lights, tall buildings, and the freedom of anonymity, youth, and love. Perhaps my favorite illustration of this feeling is through the song “Revelator Eyes,” a hypnotic single that sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to every cliche movie ever made. And the best part about it: the music video was filmed entirely in Minneapolis. Other highlights of the album include “Electric Indigo” and “Neon Crimson.” –Lizzie Savage
Glitterbug – The Wombats
The wait for a new record from The Wombats was a long one, starting with the release of “Your Body Is a Weapon” in October of 2013, but it was well worth it when we finally got Glitterbug this April. Full of clever lyrics and pure, solid indie rock, Glitterbug makes you listen to it on repeat until you have nothing left to dance away, and quite a few have spent the past eight months doing so. Like “Greek Tragedy” says, “smashing mics in karaoke bars” is one thing you’ll find yourself doing, if only in a metaphorical sense, and you’ll enjoy it every step of the way. For those who were afraid the four year gap would change them irrevocably: don’t worry, The Wombats are as weird and relatable as ever, and we’re glad to have them back. –EJ Coleman
Node – Northlane
I made a goal for myself this year and that was to listen to as many new artists as possible. Earlier in the year, I came across an Australian metalcore band known as Northlane. I searched them up and listened to a few songs. I liked their sound, but for some reason I didn’t really listen to them after that. A few days ago I was listening to the band, Beartooth, on YouTube and a song from Northlane’s newest album, Node, which was released back on July 24, popped up on the recommended section. I decided to listen to their album from start to finish and boy was I surprised. The album starts with the song “Soma.” What essentially drew me into the song were the drums. For some reason, they sounded a lot more pronounced and unique than some of the other bands I listen to. As I continued listening through the album, I was more surprised with each song that played. When I heard their sixth song, “Rot,” within the first 20 seconds it became my new favorite song. Each song is unique and stands out on its own. Nothing sounds the same. I love music that you randomly find and fall in love with. I listened to a ton of killer albums this year, but for me, “Node” stood out the most and I’m so thankful I finally gave them a proper listen. –Sara Dollens
Blue Neighbourhood – Troye Sivan
Blue Neighbourhood is Troye’s own version of EDM, bringing the very sexuality and personality of his voice. Throughout the album you hear that painful honesty and truth that Troye puts into his lyrics. Like the lyrics in the song “Lost Boy” he sings, “I’m just some dumb kid trying to kid myself that I got my shit together.” This is where his lyrics mean something to him and shows his personality. With this Troye’s music can be relatable to most teens today. The album starts off with the song titled “Wild” featuring these kids shouting “Hey!” and “Wild.” I think this starts off the album really well. “Bite” which is another song off of his Wild EP brings this spine tingling beginning and this is where Troye’s sexual side shows. In the end, Blue Neighbourhood is definitely an album you should listen to. –Taylor
Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit by Australian indie-rocker Courtney Barnett is an album for transitions in all their confusion and excitement. The album came out in March of last year and has stayed with me through senior fall. Slower tracks like “Depreston” have accompanied me on my journey from the eternal angst of college applications to the pleasant comfort in acceptances and all the way back again. I have thrashed to the fuzzy guitar riffs of “Nobody Cares if You Don’t Go the Party” on many Friday nights when I don’t want to go anywhere else but my room. Barnett’s lyrics have this rebellion to them in the way they portray everyday occurrences. Just look at these from opening song, “Elevator Operator, “Oliver Paul, twenty years old/ Thick head of hair worries he’s going bald/Wakes up at a quarter past nine/Fare evades his way down the 96 tram line.” I know I am only 17 and I’m not going bald, but I definitely “feel” Courtney Barnett’s lyrics especially as the semester ends. After all, teenage angst doesn’t end when you get out of high school, it just transforms. Thanks to this album I’m ready to take on all of the angst 2016 has to bring, whatever that may be. –Sararosa Davies
Copacetic – Knuckle Puck
Copacetic is the embodiment of flannels shirts, pizza, Vans, and sad boys. Which makes this one of the best albums of 2015. Knuckle Puck makes you confront things that you normally would push aside. Everything could be falling down but you pretend that everything is in its place. Most people do this without realizing it. Copacetic makes you yell along with the lyrics, jump into a crowd of people who feel the same emotions as you. It sets you free.
“I’ve been fraying at the fabric// Strung out and biting on the back of my bottom lip// I’ll tell you everything is copacetic”
Psychic Reader – Bad Bad Hats
Minneapolis-based indie-pop band, Bad Bad Hats, released their debut record Psychic Reader this past summer and even though I only discovered it over the past few months, it’s easily one of my favorite albums of 2015.
I can’t pinpoint what songs from the 10-track record specifically zero in on both lead-vocalist Kerry Alexander’s soft and simple vocals and the catchy, very poetic, indie lyrics together. The whole record does that.
I really do love every song on this record, but to highlight a few, I’d have to say “Joseph” is one that really grabs my attention. Any time an artist mentions a name in a song, it immediately makes it more interesting, leaving listeners to wonder about the story, especially with this hookline, “I want you to remember, I want you to forget about me.”
“Things We Never Say” is a little more mellow, opening with the simple strum of an acoustic guitar. Alexander’s simple vocals echo through this track, “I can’t get you off my mind babe, so I bought this dress to spite you.”
I haven’t been a long time fan of this fairly new band, but I felt automatically connected and relaxed when I listened to Psychic Reader. It’s rare for me to feel like I wasn’t listening with new ears when I really was, but I’m glad it got to be Bad Bad Hats. –Maddy Siiter
Indulgence: A Saga Of Lights – SycAmour
Indulgence: A Saga Of Lights by SycAmour is one of the most incredible albums of 2015. It has followed me since it was released and I haven’t been able to get enough of them. Their music sort of lives through me. Their lyrics are great storytelling and show their love of what they do. To express your life and wisdom takes a lot of talent and thought.
If you haven’t listened to them, I would not yet advise judging them based off of who they have toured with or what record label they are signed to. SycAmour does a fantastic job putting their life into music and lyrics that tug at your heart. Their first single, a well chosen one, “Calm Down Juliet (What A Drama Queen)” is a mix of sleazy creativity and prodded emotion. Their second song off of the album revealed to the public, “We’re In Hell,” has more of a sway punk vibe to it. The lyrics capture you and express a lot of meaningful emotion, but it wasn’t necessarily the best song to choose for their second single. A better chosen song would have been “Shut The Fuck Up” simply because people would be amped up a little more. Their third single release was “Composure” (featuring Trenton Woodley from Hands Like Houses), which is probably one their best songs on the album. With Jeremy Gilmore’s strong almost angelic vocals and Tony Sugent’s powerful screams, they created and album that’s more than worthy to listen to. Give Indulgence: A Saga Of Lights a listen if you have not yet done so. –Genna Skouge
American Candy – The Maine
2015 brought with it the triumphant return of The Maine, and boy was it sweet. With American Candy, the Arizona alt-rockers increased their charmingly independent attitude to craft one of their most enthused, genuine albums thus far. American Candy is filled with licks of grounded, dancey pop tunes (“Same Suit, Different Tie”), 90s-esque pop rock (“English Girls”), and catchy songs about growing out your hair just because (“My Hair”). The record is fun, thoughtful, and extremely positive, especially in contrast to the gloomy Forever Halloween. If you check out one record from 2015 or even The Maine, let it be this one. –Jordan Narloch
Stay Alive – Her Echo
It’s not very common to hear a band who can keep changing things up with every album, always coming up with something new to keep their music interesting. So when I heard Her Echo’s newest album, Stay Alive, when it was released December 5, I was left speechless. After already being impressed by Her Echo’s last album, Standing Tall, I was expecting a similar reaction to this newest album. I was proven wrong. Her Echo has well surpassed even their last album with tracks like “Safe Harbor” featuring Ryan Kirby of Fit For A King and “Se7ev” featuring Chad Ruhlig from For the Fallen Dreams. After listening to this album, fans will be left in awe of the captivating sound Her Echo has succeeded, once again, in producing. –Cassie