2015 was a rather good year for music. HCTF lists the 20 albums that will be in regular rotation for many years to come.
15 Hey Mandible: The Arse
Noise rock trio proofs that not everything is sunny in Florida.
They have a beef with pretty much everybody and everything - women, kids, religion - and are trying to smother their dislikes with howling feedback and distortion. It could have resulted into an album filled with flat sounding, brickwalled songs, but they have a good ear for dynamics, hooks and slow moving melody lines.
14 Thirty Pounds of Bone: The Taxidermist
Something quite sinister is lurking in the shadows. Your guide Johny Lamb is here to explain.
He went in at the deep end using analog synths to soften the blow of his vengeful lyrics, going all out in angry shoegaze mood for songs like The Expelled and using vaudevillian rock for Pasganger, Or The Wagon. Lamb thrives when his voice is a couple of notches above a whisper in the neo-psychedelic despair of Before I’m Done and All Your Sons. Quiet desperation is indeed the English way.
13 Lost Bear: Monkey Pop
Gnarly out-of-the-box stuff from the Netherlands. Eclectic weirdness with a beat.
Monkey Pop is a soft-spoken, disturbing and claustrophobic album. Think The Cure having a sleepover with Pavement, with marching drums and keyboards and guitar rolling down the road like tumbleweed filmed in slow motion.
12 Big Lazy: Don't Cross Myrtle
Big city jazz that you can dance too. Yes, that's still a thing.
From the spaghetti western Minor Problem via the slow swagger of The Low Way to the speakeasy vibe of Avenue X, the drecnched in echo Swampesque, the album makes it to Adrian Belew meets an angry brass player title track Don't Cross Myrtle before closing the door with the melancholic Whereabouts. A high quality all-you-can-eat album for gourmets.
11 Umphrey's McGee: The London Session - A Day at Abbey Road Studios
Progressive jam band had some time to kill before a string of shows in the UK. So they made a record.
Umphrey's McGee overcame jet lag and nerves to end up with an album that is a 101 for musicians that lock themselves in a pressure cooker of sorts. The London Session - A Day at Abbey Road Studios sounds like a superb live record. It will be hard to capture this kind of intensity and fun when they go back to traditional studio recording methods for the next one.