Best Albums of 2015: 99 to 67 here.

Best Albums of 2015: 66 to 34 here. 


  1. Future – DS2

2015 was the year Future pulled up and embarrassed you. For a lot of rap fans it was he (not Drake, not Kendrick) who was artist of the year.  Between his three fire mixtapes (Beast Mode, 56 Nights and his collab with Drake, What A Time To Be Alive–yes, contrary to popular belief WATTBA ruled), a grip of amazing features (that outnumbered most other rappers total output) and the jaw-droppingly good DS2 it was pretty obvious Future Hendrix was operating in his own league. DS2 was the record the streets wanted and radio stations needed. Dude dropped a head spinning amount of timeless bangers this year: “I Serve The Base,” “Trap Niggas,” “March Madness,” “Blew A Bag,” “Just Like Bruddas,” “Fuck Up Some Commas,” “Live From The Gutter,” and “The Percocet & Stripper Joint” are just a small sample of his best work. Also, and this is important, it shouldn’t go without saying that he had a major assist from 808 Mafia, Zaytoven and Metro Boomin’ (A.K.A. the greatest producers alive). Between them, they made all his beats.  – Mike Scherf and Dan Vesper


  1. Kamasi Washington – The Epic

A long time ago, Frank Zappa quipped that “Jazz isn’t dead, it just smells funny.”And while it’s constantly in danger of becoming a museum piece, played by respectful musicians who keep it inside a glass case, every so often a jazz record comes out that threatens to smash the case on the ground and set the music free. This is one of them, a sprawling set with a little bit of everything: saxophone freakouts, string sections, and more. Jazz won’t ever matter the way it mattered even 40 years ago, but as long as Washington’s around, it’ll smell as fresh as ever. – M. Milner

Read Mickey’s full write up here.



  1. Kowloon Walled City – Grievances

KWC FOR LIFE!!! This band slays. And Grievances should be top 5. No if, ands, or buts about it. – Isaac

Grievances is so insanely good. It’s like a hardcore version of Slint’s Spiderland  with all the attention that is put into every aspect of each song. The space and the quite is just as important as the loud and the heavy. Kowloon Walled City have out done themselves yet again. – Jon

Isaac’s interview with KWC frontman Scott Evans is pretty great. 


  1. Ash Koosha – GUUD

Nowadays, there are many names that people immediately think of when it comes to sound design. Daniel Lopatin and Holly Herndon are two names that are already well known, and though they both released great records this year, Ash Koosha leaves them in the dust. Not only is GUUD one of the best sonic explorations you’ll hear from 2015, with the frequency with which it has been playing on my stereo it is going to remain one of the most indulgent, surprising and diverse musical statements from this decade. – Tom Vickress


  1. All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker

These Nashville psychedelic bluesers have got something really special going on. Their last album Lightning At The Door was a genuine masterpiece and this new record marks their break to a bigger label and a very bright future indeed! If you think they’ve switched to three minute pop songs you’re dead wrong. This band has evolved while remaining true to their jamband roots. Gaining as much depth as they lost in heaviness, they really are not like any other band at the moment. This is music to lose your head to. Get thee on this trip people! – Jasper Hesselink

 Jasper gives Dying Surfer Meets His Maker a full write up.



  1. Beach House – Depression Cherry

Not to be confused with that other Beach House album that came out this year, Depression Cherry found the Baltimore duo scaling back its sound in size, but never sparing any expense in how it sounded—if that made any sense at all. More uneven and slightly less immediate when compared to its previous two efforts, the album did hit a stride with tracks like “Beyond Love” and the groove focused first single, “Sparks.” – Kevin Krein

Kevin’s full review here.



  1. Alpine – Yuck

Alpine asks a lot of pop, and of the listener, in Yuck. Thoughts that would normally be portrayed through a moody indie rock album are instead brought to light with something akin to Sylvan Esso on acid. The beats, instrumentals, harmonies, and lyrics link together in a chain; each part independent yet integral to the whole. It’s a detailed construct, but in the end, Yuck is an invitation to take the difficulties in one’s love life, and dance through them. – Kelsey Simpkins

Alpine is straight up magical, Yuck should be higher on this list. – Jon

Yuck became a bit of a favourite of mine when I first heard it, should definitely be higher. – David Dring

Top 10 on my list, easy… Alpine are the jam. – Isaac

Kelsey’s love letter to Yuck is here.


Alpine gets two videos because we love them.



  1. Viet Cong – S/T

The name is problematic, yes. Just because something doesn’t offend me personally doesn’t mean your offense is somehow less valid. And I although I know they’ve said they’re doing something about it, but they’re still gigging and still drawing protests under this banner. It’s kind of a bummer all around, really. Their album’s pretty good, and if you can catch ‘em live, I’d recommend it: the way they stretched out their drone rock, only to flip into double-time hardcore on a dime was as exciting as anything I saw this year. – M. Milner

Oh, the dreaded Viet Cong; the band name that sent Social Justice Warriors everywhere into a frenzied online crusade to save the modern world. Apparently, violently e-threatening this band via blog forums and comment sections was a successful strategy; the band has raised the white flag and will be re-naming themselves something that meets SJW-specific standards for what rock n roll should and shouldn’t be. Phew, now we can all eat vegan cinnamon buns and drink Kombucha in peace again.

Anyway, the album fucking rules.  Viet Cong have created a sound all their own, and the results are excellent; it’s an off-kilter, noisey, jangly, catchy, no-wavish, sonic buffet that ranges from slightly disturbing to warmly soothing to dancey and just plain old rocking.  The 11-minute track and album closer “Death” is one of my favorite songs of 2015, but I whole-heartedly recommend the entire album.  I am looking forward to the future of this band and cannot wait to hear what they release next and under what new band name; maybe The Viet Conga Line?  Who doesn’t love a fucking conga line? – Brandon Perras

Phil writes about Viet Cong more here.



  1. Riverhorse – Opal

There is no shortage of do it yourself artists in the alt-country genre, but what sets this one-man-band from the south side of Chicago, is his knack for surreal imagery in his storytelling. Opal is just as much painful as it is beautiful and stands as one of most gorgeous albums of the year. – Aaron Cooper

Aaron interviews Riverhorse.


  1. Deafheaven – New Bermuda

When New Bermuda was announced, I am certain I was not the only one wondering how Deafheaven planned to top the marvelous Sunbather. With the inclusion of other musical inspirations, a full five-piece band intact, and what I can only assume to be  a little help from black magic or a deal with the devil, they have in fact outdone themselves. New Bermuda jettisons any debate as to whether or not Deafheaven is a metal band (as if they weren’t on Sunbather for some reason). Their third album is much darker, grittier, and possesses an inner demon of thrash and outright black metal. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they shed the shoegaze and indie influences. Quite the contrary, they have found a way expertly blend prior and new influences. – Cody Davis

New Bermuda full review.


  1. Jlin – Dark Energy

2015 was a fantastic year for electronic music, and this record was one of the standouts of the genre. Loosely falling into the “footwork” camp, I was more entranced by this young artist’s grasp of idiosyncratic rhythms and dark ambience. It’s a perfect soundtrack for dark nights of the soul, introspective road trips, or an aggressive evening on the dancefloor. If you’re even vaguely interested in new-school electro, you should cop this album immediately and fall in love with Jlin’s dark funk. – Adam P. Newton



  1. Local H – Hey Killer

Bands who had success in the 90s by now are mostly going through sort of a midlife crisis and hope to enhance their dwindling relevance by trying current trends in pop world. Except Local H. With Hey Killer they play to their strengths with a bitter vengeance. – Aaron Cooper

Here’s a smart ass interview with Local H’s Scott Lucas.


  1. Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss

Death. There, I said it. Chelsea Wolfe is the queen of darkness and death in all things musical, without the need for screaming, thrashing displays of violence. The inner beauty of the self, of poise, of composure reign in her music. As if conjured up from the deep, Abyss follows the brilliant Pain is Beauty, following the path even deeper to a point of righteous self awareness and understanding that borders on mystical. The direction she’s going at this rate may lead to nirvana or the heart of the earth itself. And I will follow. – Kelsey Simpkins

Abyss feature here.



  1. D’Angelo – Black Messiah

2014 called…” – Mickey White

Dan Vesper crushes on Black Messiah here.



  1. Timeshares – Already Dead

An album so authentic, that you can almost smell the sweat and beer of the seediest venues downtown coming from the speakers. With songs about running from your insecurities to hitting on your ex’s sister, Already Dead proves that the best rock n’ roll is honest rock n roll. – Aaron Cooper

Already Dead full review.



  1. Ryan Adams – 1989

At first, I thought this was a joke. But then, Adams sang a completely earnest song-for-song remake, both drawing the emotion out of “Bad Blood” and stripping “Shake It Off” of any whatsoever. On balance, I kinda like it. Then, a little later, Swift called her music satire. Which begs the question: if her music is supposed to be satirical and Adams’ version is dry and humourless, does that mean the joke’s on us? – M. Milner

 Enjoy a 1989 roundtable discussion from the B.G.M. staff. 



  1. Jeremih – Late Nights

There’s a Nat “King” Cole song that I just fucking love, “For All We Know.”  The instrumentation is simple and gorgeous–just Nat on the piano, singing with that enormous voice of his accompanied by nothing but a guitar and bass.  Like a lot of great jazz recordings from that era it has a softness that hasn’t ever been matched with other types of music. Until now, that is.  Jeremih’s Late Nights took a bajillion years to get here but it was worth the wait.  It’s a masterpiece of minimalism.  And just like Nat, Jeremih brings us soft, majestic odes to fucking like there is no tomorrow. After all, “Tomorrow may never come, for all we know.” ~Dan Vesper



  1. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

There’s very little one can say about Father John Misty that he hasn’t already thought, said, and dismissed. That said, the growth evinced from Fear Fun to I Love You Honeybear can’t be ignored. The wry asides remain, but the genre-hopping got way more intense, with our man bouncing around among folk, electronica, piano pop, soul, and country, with a little ragtime embellishment thrown in once or twice for good measure. It’s a remarkable statement from a remarkable performer, about the power of love and the necessity of getting over who you are and what you believe to partake of it. – JP Gorman

Full review here.

Father John Misty the Antichrist of Love here.



  1. Sleater Kinney – No Cities To Love

Ever since Pavement reunited for the sole purpose of making a lot of money back in 2010, we can count on a band famous a decade or longer ago getting back together for a supposedly triumphant, almost-always disappointing reunion. What Sleater-Kinney did this year was not that. No Cities to Love fucking shreds and howls enough to wake the lying dogs asleep inside your soul. Their tour to follow actually was triumphant, furthermore, and instead of just reminding people what they used to do, these women took back their seats at the head of the table with a focused, bloodthirsty vengeance you really ought to see to fully understand. Which you can do, because they’re back. – JP Gorman

They went away for a while, then got back together and made some of the best music of their career. Enter through the retail-working, lower-middle class anxiety of “Price Tag,” try to hang onto your hat through the title track as they examine the reality of being famous women (“downtown, a bright flash, my body is a souvenir”) and realize that by the end, you’ve already queued up a copy of The Woods. How’d that happen, again? – M. Milner

Full review here.



  1. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free

There are plenty of excellent songwriters who do great things, but none of them are Jason Isbell. None of them can write a Jason Isbell song, at least, and Something More Than Free is chockfull of the excellence we’ve come to expect from this Alabama-born, Nashville-based writer and performer. The narratives he weaves around the sophisticated playing and arranging will make you smile, make you cry, and make you happy to be alive, sometimes all at once. It’s hard to make the idea of contented happiness interesting, but this record gets pretty damn close. – JP Gorman

Daniel Jackson proclaims his love for Jason Isbell.



  1. Cloakroom – Further Out

One of the few “rock” records that I listened to in 2015, Further Out got noticed for the wrong reasons: mainly, known fuck boy Ian Cohen’s piss take review on Pitchfork, where he dubbed it “stoner emo.” Thankfully, that’s not what it is. It is, however, both melodic and heavy, channeling fuzzed out space rock vibes (think Hum) through pop sensibilities that make both accessible and exciting. – Kevin Krein

The boys from Cloakroom are easily one of my favorite bands in the last few years. Further Out is a great step forward from their Infinity EP. I simply cannot wait for more music from these dudes. – Isaac

Cloakroom Interview

Further Out full Review


  1. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Barnett buys her lyrics wholesale and passes the savings onto you. There are many, many words on this record, but almost all of them are some combination of sharp, biting, insightful, humorous, and honest. That’d be plenty enough on its own, but the playing on the record belies a compositional alacrity that points towards a long, fruitful future with this young artist. All of which would matter less if the songs didn’t rock, but they do, with a punky, youthful energy that’ll keep you coming back again and again. – JP Gorman

Whip-smart, verbose and clever rock that knows it, but never crosses the line into trying to impress itself. I’d say it’s an Aussie thing, but nobody I’ve ever met from down under came up with lines as great as “you say you’ll sleep when you’re dead, I’m scared I’ll die in my sleep, I guess that’s not a bad way to go.” – M. Milner

John Ellis reviews Barnett here.



  1. Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color

It seemed like Alabama Shakes couldn’t win. If they tried to make another, better version of Boys and Girls and failed, they’d have been dismissed as one-hit wonder posers; had they succeeded, they’d have been pigeonholed, and then also dismissed. Realizing this, they decided on a completely new direction, lighting out down a space-soul freeway that resulted in a way more interesting, much more rewarding listening experience than an album of “Hold On” reduxes could ever hope to be. Kudos to them for choosing boldness over fear. – JP Gorman

Ditto. – Isaac

Sound and Color is sexy.



  1. Dendritic Arbor – Romantic Love

Leave it to Pittsburgh to birth something this depraved.  Romantic Love is the bastard child of the best parts of grind, black, and death metal (without the circle-jerking solos which are seriously the e-cigarettes of metal). Dendritic Arbor taps into the most primal and reptilian remnants of the human psyche; the ones that urge you to bite a big, fleshy chunk out of the person next to you because you’re hangry. Why did this album get my number one spot of 2015? Romantic Love is a reminder of what metal is supposed to feel like: sinister, intimidating, and full of hate. And this album in particular is a juggernaut of hate.  It contains elements of minimalist grind gods Discordance Axis and the mathematical precision of bands like Gorguts and Krallice. Dendritic Arbor is an apex predator of the metal genre and I cannot wait to watch them pick their teeth with the bones of the 89,478 basic metal albums that will come out next year.  – Brandon Perras

Interview with Dendritic Arbor.


  1. Dawn Richard – Blackheart

It’s telling that some of the best cultural commentators we have went out of their way to note that Blackheart was massively overlooked.  In a year where the critical zeitgeist decided it was ready to take its relationship with R&B to the next level, the best of the weird stuff slipped under the radar. In a year of whiny bellowing for Frank Ocean’s next album, words that could have been spent extolling The Internet, Abra, and especially Dawn Richard were wasted on building monuments to dubious legends. So it goes. Blackheart, like another album we liked a lot, saw the protagonist’s personal triumph over internal grief and the external world—her father’s cancer diagnosis inspired her to take up veganism. Instead of awkward freakouts, however, we get stories of the sea and imperfect passion crimes built on Ogygian shores with a Drexciyan backdrop to boot. The kicker is “Billie Jean,” an articulation that giving rich, eccentric, male thots what they want is really a gambit. It often takes a genius to state the obvious. – Mickey White

This album fucking ruled. It struck a blow for emotionally complex music that was also musically engaging and forward-thinking. The list of adjectives I used to describe these songs include: hard, sensuous, velvety, aggressive, anxious, pleading, strong, sensitive, and banging. I can’t wait to hear what Dawn creates next. – Adam P. Newton

Mickey’s full review here.



  1. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

Do you remember how you felt the first time you realized that you’ll die, and everybody else you know will, too? If not, Carrie & Lowell is here to remind you. Note, though, that this is a good thing, and even with this being maybe the saddest record that came out in 2015, there is a vitality bubbling beneath its surface that assures listeners despair is perfectly normal, and nothing to fear. Sufjan Stevens uses these songs to confront his demons, and in doing so gives us all permission to do the same, though we can only hope to one day reach a similarly sublime transcendence.  – JP Groman



  1. Failure – Heart Is A Monster

After recording one of the best albums of the 90s and a near twenty year hiatus, The Heart Is A Monster picks up right where Failure left off without missing a single beat. Instead of cashing in on superficial nostalgia, Failure not only delivers one of the best albums of the year but probably the best album of their career. – Aaron Cooper

Heart Is A Monster Review

Failure Interview



  1. Grimes – Art Angels

If Grimes last couple records were sketches, now she’s painting in bright, vivid colours. I’m still unpacking this record, finding new things with each listen (just noticed the little nah-nah smirk in “Kill V. Maim” the first time she says “I’m only a man”). There wasn’t anything like it in 2015; I bet there won’t be in 2016, either. – M. Milner

It might have taken Claire Boucher three years to release the follow-up to Visions, but it only took 49 minutes to hush those who doubted her sophomore release would be anything less than brilliant. With each track she piles on layer after layer of booming beats, a broader range of vocals that push passed her ethereal debut, and hooks so catchy you would think there was an entire team of pop producers navigating her through it all. Grimes has spent her time between records well, intelligently crafting and evolving her unique approach to what will be the future of pop. Simply put, Art Angels is the kind of music I want to listen to – smart, seductive, and special. Hands down the best album of 2015. – Mel Vega

M. Milner’s dedication to Art Angels  here. 



  1. Marriages – Salome

Marriages has managed to release my absolute favorite album of the year with Salome. This record is glorious. The former Red Sparrows alum transcend their post-rock roots and deliver one of the most complex listens of recent memory. Every time I indulge in this record I find something new to fall in love with. Singer/guitarist, Emma Ruth Rundle has found herself and has solidified that she is a force to be reckoned with. In addition to this album being my favorite of 2015, Marriages easily put on my favorite and the most captivating show I’ve seen live all year long. Don’t let Salome slide by unnoticed. – Isaac

Interview with Marriages


  1. Beach Slang – The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us

Getting high with your friends and listening to music together. Going to shows and going crazy until your body is tired and hurts. The car ride to see a girl that your teenage mind has rationalized you’ll love forever. These are the moments that made us feel alive when we were young and invincible. As life moves on, things change and shit becomes more complex and those high highs become fewer and farther between. Beach Slang frontman James Alex cut his teeth in his younger years fronting Weston, but here he is in his early 40s fronting one of the hottest indie bands. That shit doesn’t just happen, and sometimes it seems like Alex’s pure optimism and positivity wills success into being.  Sure, the music is great on this record… but it’s something else. This record (and the preceding EPs) is magical and defies logic. The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us is a constant reminder that you can never be too old to feel young and alive. – Mike Scherf


  1. Tame Impala – Currents

Not my favourite record from Australia this year, but then again this was a pretty good year from Oz. Slow, hazey stoner rock and in case you didn’t think Kevin Parker knows his audience, remember he shot a video with Muppets (for the record, I like that video a lot). Although his song “Cause I’m A Man” seemed introspective, HAIM’s remix flipped his words inside out and bested him at his own game. And then Grimes went and changed all the rules, but that’s a story for another day… – M. Milner

“Let it Happen” is easily the most creative and danceable song I heard all year. – Jon

The Journey of Tame Impala’s Currents.



  1. Baroness – Purple

The triumphant return of one of rock and metal’s greatest entities. Savannah Sludge titans, Baroness, roared back to life in 2015 with Purple. I wondered for the longest time if we would ever see them again, but thankfully their willpower is much greater than mine. With new arrivals, Nick Jost on bass and Sebastian Thomson on drums, John Baizley and Pete Adams renewed their artistic majesty with 10 songs showcasing elements of their prior works as well as the potential this new lineup for Baroness possesses. Purple includes some of the catchiest music the group has ever made. “Shock Me” and “Desperation Burns” are incredibly infectious, the album as whole is deeply emotive. The return of the mighty Baroness was such a huge personal moment for me and others at Bearded Gentlemen Music, to see Purple be such a rousing success easily made this one of our best albums this year. If you’re interested in checking out a review of Purple, you can find mine here.  – Cody Davis



  1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

I don’t wanna be all like, “I told you” but …  – Dan Vesper

Full review here.



Best Albums of 2015 Part 3 here | Part 2 is here