Tommy’s Top Albums of 2015
Posted: by Tommy
A list that very well could have been Frank Ocean and T-Pain’s respective records 5 times apiece. Here’s a few I kept coming back to this year.
Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us
James Alex and co. tapped directly into what makes live music exciting and released one of the most surprising records of the year. Like personal favorite track Ride The Wild Haze, the record fuses crunchy nostalgia with pulse-pounding zeal and blunt lyricism. Never has a recommendation from my barber ripped so hard (thanks Jack!).
The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – Harmlessness
As one of the most intentional bands around, their latest release is a straight-up soundscape of courage. Nothing says this louder than their presence on virtually every EOY list I’ve read. “Make evil afraid of evil’s shadow” is exactly the line of encouragement so many needed to hear, and one I will carry with me for years to come.
JANK – Awkward Pop Songs
Out of seemingly nowhere, Philly-based JANK dropped a certified banger with noodly riffs for YEARS. I can’t recommend this enough. Everyone else needs to step their game up most promptly.
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
While To Pimp A Butterfly has already been reviewed and championed by far more qualified voices, I can’t help but say thank you, Mr. Lamar. This world needed an injection of positivity & hope, and you overdelivered.
Dollar Signs – Yikes
Snarky, sarcastic, sardonic singalongs with enough beer soaked epiphanies to tide you over til next Fest. Andrew Jackson Jihad, meet your new overlords. My new goal is to write a song half as catchy as “Holiday Inn” in 2016 (Super 8 – can we work out a #branddeal??)
Padfoot – I Did My Waiting
A glittery debut with A+ songwriting, Padfoot’s triple-threat vocal approach can slay a living room and your nostalgic middle-school demons simultaneously. Since wizard rock seems to have died down, I’m glad bands can unironically fuse their feels with Potter-pride and no longer come off gimmicky. Props.
Sledding with Tigers – Come On and Slam
A love letter to the greatest documentary ever made, Come On And Slam is the only “concept” record I’ve ever enjoyed besides The Black Parade (which might be my most telling critic credential). Can YOU name another artist to revamp a Quad City DJ’s party anthem into to a heartfelt two-movement folk ballad your grandma would enjoy at the function? On brand = on point.
G.L.O.S.S. – Demo
One of the most disappointing moments of 2015 was when I found out my band was playing Boston the same night as Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit. As this demo showcases, GLOSS’s blisteringly unapologetic presence made punk more exciting in 8 minutes than your Black Flag wannabe side-project will in your entire lifetime.
Leon Bridges – Coming Home
Bridges’ blend of smooth soul soaked in breezy melodies is the soundtrack to the most relaxing day you’ve had in months. I’d much rather give this another listen than aimlessly dissect the thing. Like shower beers or that Demi Lovato album you keep trying to hide, just enjoy yourself.
Petal – Shame
KILEY KLOTZ IS A GODDESS AND HER RUN FOR COVER DEBUT WAS ABSOLUTELY KILLER AND ANYONE WHO DISAGREES CAN FIGHT ME AND NOT BECAUSE THERE’S A SONG ON IT NAMED TOMMY BUT BECAUSE PETAL IS A PRECIOUS PUNK ROCK FLOWER. GOOD DAY.
Fall Out Boy – American Beauty/American Psycho
Regretfully, my most spun album was AB/AP, which heavily relied on sampling and recycled radio fodder to keep the FOB machine chugging along. However, Patrick Stump’s composer wizardry won over nearly every wine mom and casual sports fan over just two songs, which demands props for being way more ambitious than many releases. Guilty pleasure as charged.