Soundtracks ‘n Such : Jhubner73’s Favorite Albums of 2015

Seems like only yesterday I was saying “Man, it’s about time to tally up all my favorite albums of the year.” In fact, it was just yesterday. Now that I’m sitting here going back and looking over all the albums I’ve bought and enjoyed over the course of 2015 I realize I don’t have it in me to rank, dissect, and revisit everything I’ve heard this year. I mean, Christ, I don’t get paid for this shit. It’s a labor of love, folks. When the labor outweighs the love, well, you’ve gotta draw the line.

Still, I do love talking and writing about music. And I especially love telling folks about albums they may not be aware of and might want to check out for themselves. I think the world will be flooded enough with overbloated, grandiose, and flatulent lists of “best ofs” as it is. “Top 100” and “Top 50” will be titling many articles in the next couple of weeks(there’s quite a few out there already.) You want to know what albums to go buy in order of importance? Don’t worry, Pitchfork, Spin, Drowned In Sound, Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, and umpteen other sites have got you covered, homeslice. What I’m going to do is list some records I’ve bought in 2015 that I’ve enjoyed immensely, in no particular order. Some may have been released prior to 2015, and that’s okay. Because this is MY list, not yours. I guarantee there will be some albums you have heard of, maybe even heard. But I will also guarantee there will be some you haven’t heard yet. That’s the fun part. So no more yapping. Here’s some records I’ve loved this year.


PHANTASM-Vinyl-artwork-by-Phantom-City-CreativePhantasm S/T : Malcolm Seagrave & Fred Myrow

Mondotees out of Austin, Texas have helped me build a portal to my horror movie childhood. They’ve been reissuing old horror soundtracks over the last couple years with the help of UK-based Death Waltz Recording Company, and all I can say is keep them coming. I’ve amassed quite a collection of scores over the last two years, but when Mondo announced the release of the Phantasm S/T I have to admit I was a little more excited than I should have been.

Phantasm was one of those movies that made an indelible mark on my psyche. The Tall Man, the deadly spheres, the Jawas at the funeral home, and of course that obligatory boob shot. But what brought all of those elements together, like an existential glue, was the score. The melancholy melodies by Malcolm Seagrave and Fred Myrow turned an already creep-tastic flick by Don Coscarelli into a cult masterpiece. Tinges of late 70s white guy funk emerged through the electric piano and clavinet gothic murk to time stamp the music, but that’s part of the charm. Never underestimate a great score. It can make an okay movie into a great one(I’m looking at you, Fulci), and it can make a great movie into a masterpiece. Phantasm is certainly the latter.

currents1Currents : Tame Impala

You may like them, you may not. You may absolutely love them, or they may bore you to death. Either way, opinions are strong when it comes to Kevin Parker. I think the guy is a musical genius, but not the kind that knows it or acknowledges it. He seems relatively humble about it, and that’s the appeal for me. He hides himself away in his house, records by himself for months, then gets his group of mates together and they hit the road playing his songs for the masses. Then, he does it again. This time around with Currents, he’s outdone himself. He’s stated in the past that he’d love to write and produce an album for Kylie Minogue, and Currents makes good on that statement, minus Kylie Minogue. What I’m saying is that this album is full of 80s synth pop, with very little of the psych rock of previous records. Songs like “The Moment”, “The Less I Know The Better”, and “Disciples” shine like a mixture of Thriller-era Michael Jackson, OMD, and less proggy Genesis, while “Yes I’m Changing”, “Eventually”, and “Cause I’m A Man” ride a wave of slightly groovy, slightly awkward R&B slow jams.

Kevin Parker has said the hell with it and has made an album that covers all his musical loves, and yet he never comes off as stealing or doing a karaoke night version of 80s pop. It’s most definitely his eschewed vision of the neon decade, and it’s a beautifully eschewed vision at that.

strange-colour_front_1024x1024Blanck Mass Presents: The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears Re-Score : Various Artists

I’ve attempted to listen to Blanck Mass in the past, but I end up feeling queasy. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but I just haven’t found my in with him, or Fuck Buttons for that matter. After seeing this re-imagining of The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears score that was curated by Blanck Mass’ Benjamin John Power I thought this could be my in. Not sure it worked out that way, but the group of artists he put together for this collection is amazing.

I haven’t seen the film, but if I could get a cut of it with this soundtrack on it I would buy it in a heartbeat. A mix of doom-y synth(Roll The Dice’s “Portal”), bleep and creak tracks(Helm’s “Eye Balm” and “Mirrored Palms”), and Giallo melodrama(Moongangs’ “The Light and the Glass) with elements of Vangelis(Moongangs’ “The Apartment”)this score is intense and striking. It never feels like a retread of past scores. There’s no aping Carpenter, Rizzati, or Frizzi here. There’s elements of Tangerine Dream here and there, but if there isn’t you’re not doing it right. One of the more epic tracks is Konx-Om-Pax’ “Head Stab”. A brooding 13 minute track that feels like swirling nausea from a fever dream that won’t end.

Even if the music wasn’t great, this collection is worth owning for the beautiful album artwork alone. Simply stunning. But guess what? The music is great. The best re-imagined score this year.

the guestThe Guest S/T : Steve Moore

Steve Moore is the synth wizard from Zombi, as well as the 80s synth pop duo Miracle. Oh, and about fifty other projects and solo records that I don’t have time to mention. He’s gotten into scoring films as well, and his score for The Guest is absolutely amazing. It helps that the movie was interesting and had some decent performances by Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe(if I was the teen version of myself I’d so be crushing on her, thanks to this film and her turn in the excellent It Follows.) But Moore proves himself to be as proficient at creating mood for film as for the inside of my head. It’s filled with the heavy synth pulses and edgy rhythmic dynamics he’s known for in Zombi, but at a more meticulous pace. His mood pieces work perfectly to create the tension needed in a film about a guy that shows up to a house claiming to be the occupants dead son’s army friend, only in reality he’s got a secret secret, he’s got a secret(sorry Mr. Roboto.)

Anyways, Steve Moore and Mondo made me a happy camper over the summer with this incredible score.

87438-1_WILCO_starwars_LP_coverStar Wars : Wilco

I think quite a few people that at one time loved Wilco had written them off as being still a significant force in music. Listen, they’ve already made their names with the 1999-2004 bulletproof run of Summerteeth, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and A Ghost Is Born. After putting out those three records they needn’t have to prove anything else. Ever. But instead of getting lazy they continued to put out albums. Sky Blue Sky, while sleepier and quieter than previous records, quickly grew into their own Workingman’s Dead. It’s the first album with the now very cemented line-up that’s been around since 2004. It’s earthy, organic, and now feels like Tweedy taking a breather after years of anxiety and migraines. Wilco(The Album) felt like a victory lap, that while still containing some great songs, felt mildly overcooked at times. The Whole Love seemed to be reaching back for noisier and looser moments when things could fall apart at any moment. It ended up feeling a little too long and like two different albums.

Just when you think maybe they’ve put out their best stuff, Jeff Tweedy puts out a record in 2014 with just him and his son Spencer on drums. It turns out to be the best group of songs he’s released since 2004. A year later Wilco drops a new album into our laps via the interweb for free. Star Wars sounds non-fussed with, spontaneous, and even jagged. Jeff Tweedy’s guitar interplay with Nels Cline and Pat Sansone sounds like well-oiled machine. No crazy noodling(“Pickled Ginger” is noisy and ragged like a rusty saw blade, but no fusion blasts from Nels this time.) There’s rough ‘n tumble acoustic numbers like “More” and roly poly guitar groove numbers like “King Of You” and “Cold Slope”. “Random Name Generator” is pure rock and roll joy from six guys that absolutely love playing together. And “Magnetized” still gives me chills.

If there was a spark missing in my favorite band, they seem to have found it.

baltikaThe Baltika Years : Ben Zimmerman

One of the stranger records I’ve heard this year, but also one of the more engaging, too. Ben Zimmerman made these recordings on a Radioshack Tandy Deskmate computer between 1992 and 2002, and somehow or another Dan Lopatin of the Software record label(and Oneohtrix Point Never) got a hold of them and decided to release them on his label. The result is a mix of early bedroom computer recording, an archaeological dig into Zimmerman’s psyche, and someone making their way through art by way of an antiquated machine. You have a little of everything here; field-like recordings of conversations cut and chopped, primitive breakbeats, and robotic chamber music. Ben Zimmerman comes across as a silent partner in this double LP of rough noise and melancholy sounds. He’s the puppetmaster and that clunky block of cheap computer hardware is his puppet. In interviews he’s stated it was a painstaking process to create on the Tandy, but the results -at least to my ears- show through like a human heart beating inside the tin man.

vietViet Cong : Viet Cong

This was one of the first records I bought in 2015 and it’s still very fresh and vital in my mind. Viet Cong is half of a band that retained a cult status with many for the years they were active(the Canadian quartet Women.) I personally never found much to like, except for a song or two. But Viet Cong is something completely different. Their full-length debut is dark, brooding, and intense. When you close your album with an 11-minute song called “Death”, you mean business. “Newspaper Spoons” opens with the sound of grainy war drums and ominous vocals, with howling guitars joining in. Despite the darkness, these Calgary guys find a way to put a little light into the darkest of corners, though. “March of Progress”, “Bunker Buster”, and the epic “Continental Shelf” prove to me these guys aren’t all just doom and gloom. Check out an interview with them if you can. They come across like guys you’d love to sit down and drink a pint or two with. They take their music very seriously, just not themselves. I dig that.

agent intellectThe Agent Intellect : Protomartyr

Before this album, I had no idea what Protomartyr were all about. Hell, their last album sat in my local record store for months, right under my nose, and I never even picked it up. So when The Agent Intellect came out to everyone hailing it as a post-punk masterpiece I had to indulge the praises. I was not disappointed. The Agent Intellect sounds like three scrappy young dudes being fronted by a Matt Berninger on a Mark E. Smith and Henry Miller binge. The music is intelligent but not bookish, while Joe Casey’s vocals come across as part sermon, part carnival barker. His words are stories, prose, and dark poetry all jumbled like a word search. “The Devil In His Youth”, “Cowards Starve”, and “Pontiac 87” grind and shake like a drunken Saint on his last bottle of Jameson, while “Dope Cloud” has an element of good times and whimsy not found often here. “Clandestine Time” and album closer “Feast of Stephen” carry an air of desperation and sadness anger rarely finds these days.

hannibal_cover_photo_1024x1024Hannibal S/T : Brian Reitzell

Very few televisions shows in my 42 years have sucked me in, spit me out, then sucked me back in like Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal did. The performances, the stunning visuals, the storylines, and the music kept me coming back for more, salivating every moment. The first two seasons of this one of a kind network series were on par with some of the best television I’ve laid my eyes on. Then season three arrived and it sort of came off the rails. It would straighten up, then swerve and shake like it’s nearing a train wreck of an ending before finally going full psychotic end which fit the show. But despite that shaky last season, one constant was the music. Brian Reitzell accompanied this show with a healthy mix of incidental, barrages of noise, and beautifully layered melodies that would weave in and out of the mood pieces that went to push this show into the stratosphere. Mondo issued this double LP earlier this past summer, which was a mixture of all three seasons’ musical pieces. It’s gorgeously packaged and the steak tar tar-colored vinyl was a lovely bonus. But the greatest feast here is the music.

Beach_House-2015-Depression_Cherry_coverDepression Cherry : Beach House

Beach House continue to make gorgeous and heartbreaking songs that sometimes feel like the beginning of something wonderful and the end of something wonderful, sometimes in the same song. Victoria Legrand’s voice is gruff yet regal, while Alex Scally’s production and accompaniment remain simple yet lush enough to get lost in. The formula hasn’t really changed since Devotion, but when you write songs like “Levitation” and “Days of Candy” change isn’t necessary.

cubCub S/T : Steve Moore

Steve Moore is keeping busy. Not only did he put out a new Zombi LP with A.E. Paterra, he also wrote the score for The Guest and the horror film Cub. I have not seen Cub, but if the score is any indication it’s worth checking out. Another winner from Steve Moore. All the synths you want, and more.

ItFollows_LP_Cover_RGB300_900pxIt Follows S/T : Disasterpeace

One of the most talked about horror films to come out this year, It Follows had as many nays as it had yays when it came to who liked it, who loved it, and who flat out didn’t like it at all. Count me in the yay/loved it category. I’ve pretty much lost my taste for modern horror films. I don’t care that it’s gory and disturbing, if that’s all its got going for it I’ll just as soon pass on it. I want something with a unique story to tell and maybe on the weird side of things. It Follows has the story and it has the weirdness. I loved the fact that you didn’t know what “It” was, or why it was doing what it was doing in a very personal and intimate way to these people. I don’t necessarily need everything explained for me. I can come up with my own conclusions. This movie is a throwback in every way. Imagine David Lynch writing and directing Halloween or the 70s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and you might have an idea of what’s going on here.

Another throwback aspect of It Follows is the score by Disasterpeace. It’s a masterful rendition of classic Carpenter scores, with a nice mix of Disasterpeace’s own video game scoring thrown in. Imagine a mournful chiptune album, something like the Fez sountrack but sadder and creepier. That’s the genius at work on this soundtrack. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to this record, but it’s been a lot.

If you haven’t seen It Follows, you should check it out. If you’re not a fan of horror, then all the more reason to watch it.

CD Booklet OPN GOD - images embededGarden of Delete : Oneohtrix Point Never

So you either really dig this album or you stay away. There is no middle ground, at least not that I can hear. At first it felt impenetrable to me. It was hard to find an in with G.O.D., but after the third listen “Ezra” was my in. The rest came right after. Daniel Lopatin didn’t set out to make another album “in the same vein as”. He tore down his concepts and re-thought his modus operandi, which resulted in a very weird and affecting record. It’s like something not of this earth trying to make a radio-ready rock album with computers and synthesizers. The results are stunning, unless they’re not to you. They are to me. “Mutant Standard”, “SDFK”, “Ezra”, “I Bite Through It”, and “No Good” are near perfect pieces of eccentric musical creativity. I do love his older OPN albums, the more drone-y, ambient ones like Betrayed In The Octagon, Russian Mind, Returnal, and Drawn and Quartered. I especially love Replica and R Plus Seven, but my hats off to Mr. Lopatin for making such a unique and one-of-a-kind trip in Garden of Delete.

EcateEcate : Ufomammut

So my good friend Joe over at the 1537 blog put me onto this album back in the summer, and I’m very glad he did. Italian doom space stoner rock is not a thing you see written very often, but that’s exactly what Ufomammut is/are. Heavy, extra-terrestrial doom rock with moments of atmospheric beauty in-between the monolithic heavy bits. Three years ago I would’ve passed on anything that sounded remotely like that, but now I can’t get enough of it. Want proof of this record’s genius? Throw on some headphones, drop the needle on “Chaosecret” and get lost in that. When it’s over, whack yourself over the head with a 2×4 for being late to the party, then listen to the rest of the album. The one-two punch of “Revelation” and “Daemons” will serve that bump on your head well. Grab a beer from the fridge, and stop crying ya sissy.

cooies_1024x1024Cooties S/T : Kreng

Kreng’s score to the horror/comedy Cooties was one of the big soundtrack surprises for me this year. The movie was a surprise as well, as it was surprisingly entertaining. Funny, gory, and suprisingly engaging characters. The score seems almost too good for a light flick like this, but giving that’s it’s as good as it is only makes the movie that much better. A mix of big synths and dark, propulsive rhythms with even a smidgen of trip hop thrown in(“Rick’s Tape), Kreng covers all the bases while never falling into the usual tropes that horror scores sometimes do. Another Mondo winner here with chicken nugget/blood splatter-colored vinyl, Cooties is a winner all around. Yet another amazing score.

colleen-captain-of-none-vinyl--2008-pCaptain of None : Colleen

Cecile Schott makes beautiful loop-based music out of using acoustic instruments, and effects pedals. On Captain of None, she has expanded her experiments into full blown songs. Colleen’s musical world is that of baroque pop, experimental music, and elements of chamber music. With this album, she gives the record an island feel. “Holding Horses” has the sound of Andrew Bird at his most creative, while “I’m Kin” has a sense of longing to it as Schott’s voice carries the song along beautifully. The title track alone is worth having the album. Stunning.

I was enamored by this record back in April when it came out, and I’m still enamored by it now. Maybe more, even. One of my absolute favorites this year.

Lightning_Bolt_-_Fantasy_EmpireFantasy Empire : Lightning Bolt

Not much got any heavier than Lightning Bolt’s Fantasy Empire this year. Maybe the aforementioned Ufomammut or High On Fire, but that’s about it. I think the space/time continuum was fractured during the last minute of “Over The Hills And Through The Woods”, and “Mythmaster” sounds like some sort of cartoonish tribal war chant before it explodes into a seedy R.Crumb animated sound orgy. But regardless of how heavy Lightning Bolt may get, at the center of it all is an element of fun that never lets things get too dark. In that sense, these guys are very much like Primus to me. But still, this album completely fucking rocks.

dfhvn-newbermuda-cover-f-rgbNew Bermuda : Deafheaven

New Bermuda is masterful in its ability to shift from pummeling speed metal and pained black metal into these moments of exquisite beauty. Deafheaven go from Seasons In The Abyss to Summerteeth in seconds flat. “Brought To The Water” eviscerates your senses before lulling you into a post-trauma bliss. “Baby Blue” summons blue skies and post-rock longing before dropping off the cliff into the blackening abyss.

New Bermuda is absolutely stunning work, and an album Deafheaven will have a hell of a time topping in my opinion. It’s the perfect mix of pain and pleasure.

escondidoEscondido Sessions : Brian Ellis Group

A killer fusion record that pulls as much from Bitches Brew as it does Abraxas. Latin grooves and Coltrane-esque saxophone intermingle with Ellis’ spacey synth and organ work. “Via De Mi Rancho”, “Too Late For Georgia’s” and “On Peterson’s Corner” swagger and sway like Miles’ On The Corner duking it out with Wayne Shorter’s Adam’s Apple. It’s striking stuff, and if you didn’t know any better you’d think Ellis and his band of musicians stepped out a time machine from 1971 with this killer LP.

If freaky Miles from 1971 to 1974 is your thing, and you also like a little Latin percussion to groove to, then you need to grab this LP now. Like, right now.

Layout_11_A_FINAL_CorrPanda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper : Panda Bear

Noah Lennox is an interesting guy. In interviews he comes across very quiet and aloof. Not one for rubbing elbows or being generally sociable. Though, that’s just what I get from articles. I’ve never met the guy. Maybe I think that because he moved away to live in some small town in Spain with his family. Maybe I think that because he set up a small, isolated studio in some ancient building to work in all by himself late at night. Listening to his music you wouldn’t get that impression though. It’s strange but jubilant. There’s a overwhelming feeling of positivity that I get whenever I listen to an album like Person Pitch, or Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavillion. Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper is no different. Songs like “Butcher Baker Candlestick Maker”, “Boys Latin”, and “Principe Real” feel like a goofy smile slowly growing across someone’s face. Maybe my face. Or Noah Lennox’ face. Or if you give this a listen, maybe your face.

thebeyond_art_copy_1024x1024The Beyond S/T : Fabio Frizzi

The Friday morning after Thanksgiving my son and I sat down and decided to watch Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond. I hadn’t seen it in 20 years, and with my son and I on a horror movie kick lately I thought this would a nice father/son bonding moment. Man, what a worthless turd of a movie that was. I can’t believe I couldn’t remember how bad that flick was. Sure, Fulci’s no Argento or Romero, but he did make House By The Cemetery and City of the Living Dead. While not masterpieces, they hold a special place in my memory as important Italian horror. The Beyond, by contrast, feels like a quickly thrown together piece of junk with the usual wooden acting even more wooden than normal. Even the gore, while there, was particularly bad. My son made mention of this on more than one occasion.

At least Fabio Frizzi’s score made it somewhat palatable. I’d gotten the score a couple months prior to this, so it was nice seeing my son go “Hey! I recognize this music!” on more than one occasion. I don’t know where Fulci would’ve been without his music composers. Probably making movies about duck quacking serial killers soundtracked to horrible disco, that’s where.

sufjanCarrie and Lowell : Sufjan Stevens

After a few years of weird electronic music and touring as sexualized angels with wings, Sufjan returned to his more acoustic tendencies and made his most personal record to date, Carrie and Lowell. Each song is a story that somehow relates to the passing of his mother after years of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as mental illness. “Fourth of July”, “Death With Dignity”, “No Shade in the Shadow of The Cross”, and “Blue Buckets of Gold” are some of the best songs Stevens has written, and they’re done with a tenderness and fragility that doesn’t let go long after the album has ended. My wife and I saw Sufjan in Indianapolis back in April and it was one of the most engaging and overwhelming shows I’ve seen in years. That fragility transfers over well to the live setting. It felt like watching a musical confession in a chapel, not a rock and roll show. Stunning, just like this album.

umoMulti-Love : Unknown Mortal Orchestra

I don’t think Ruban Nielson gets enough credit for both his guitar work and his songwriting. He’s continuously improved on each record he’s put out, and Multi-Love is his funky little masterpiece. A hi-fi affair, at least as far as UMO is concerned, it’s an album about a three-way relationship between Nielson, his wife, and another woman that came to live with their family for some time. I can only imagine how, umm, confusing this would be, and despite originally putting this in the “good idea” column by the way this album turned out I’d say it wasn’t as easy as they’d hoped it would be. Title track “Multi-Love” is a baroque piece of pop that could feel like a dance pop hit if it weren’t for the fact that it’s as heartbreaking as it is funky. “Like Acid Rain” is groovy as hell, with every it needs to have been a radio hit back in 1972. “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” and “Necessary Evil” also continue the funky rebirth of psych freak Nielson. “Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty” is woozy number with Nielson’s dad laying down some great saxophone.

An album that didn’t get enough multi-love, in my opinion.

high on fireLuminiferous : High On Fire

Is there anything heavier than Matt Pike, shirtless and screaming like a banshee with a Les Paul dangling over his torso? I don’t think so. Luminiferous proves that Pike and High On Fire remain one of the most relevant metal bands working and making music today. “The Black Pot”? “The Sunless Years”? “The Falconist”? “The Cave”? Nah, no one’s got nothing on High On Fire. Matt Pike rules!

papirLive At Roadburn : Papir

Danish three-piece psych rockers Papir put out a live album I can love. I’ve never been much for live albums, but the Papir’s intensity and technical prowess comes through wonderfully on this double LP recorded at the Roadburn Festival. White Hills and Earthless have all put out great live LPs of their Roadburn sets over the years, and Papir is no different. This set is a great mix of all their albums, and some amazing epic versions of tracks from Papir’s II, III, IV, and Stundum.

11183_JKTDeeper : The Soft Moon

This was an album that came out earlier in the year that I hadn’t listened to for some time. Then a couple of weeks ago I got Deeper back out and was blown away, again. Luis Vasquez makes dark, brooding post-punk and electronic music that is equal parts Bauhaus, NIN, and Suicide put to a propulsive dance beat. Deeper is his most personal record yet, with tracks like “Black”, “Far”, and “Wrong” being some of the best songs The Soft Moon have recorded. I can’t help but hope someday Vasquez gets to work with Reznor. I think that combination would be pretty incredible.

Lower_Dens_-_Escape_From_EvilEscape From Evil : Lower Dens

Definitely a shade lighter than 2012s Nootropics, Escape From Evil lingers in the neon rays of the Reagan-era, but it never falls for the false hopes of “Morning in America” tropes. This album is slow dancing on a dance floor in an existential stupor. “Sucker’s Shangri-La” sways to keys and a mildly dance-y beat before it makes a turn for the minor key in the chorus. Jana Hunter’s husky voice carries these tales of woe beautifully, and songs like “Ondine”, “To Die In LA”, and “Your Heart Still Beating” benefit from her vocal approach. Escape From Evil sounds like the soundtrack to some lost Michael Mann film. A film you long to see after listening to this album.

om-aureategloomAureate Gloom : Of Montreal

Kevin Barnes makes yet another great album, his second in a row where more than just a handful of die-hards can enjoy. He’s moved from the late-60s and early 70s freewheelin’ vibe of Lousy With Sylvianbriar to mid-70s New York scene. “Bassem Sabry” is gothic post-punk disco with a nice melancholy turn in the chorus, while “Empyrean Abattoir” sounds like a cross between early R.E.M. and The Cure with a healthy dose of The DBs in the chorus. “Estocadas” is gritty, fuzzy guitar heartbreak at its finest. Favorite line? “Natives have a name for me but I can’t remember what it is/ Some fucker took what’s mine and now he’s acting like she’s his/ Your shifty friend gave you a cactus for a gift.”

Deerhunter-Fading-FrontierFading Frontier : Deerhunter

The lightest, poppiest record Deerhunter has put out since, well since forever. After 2013s Monomania and it’s veritable sigh of an impact(I quite liked it), and then last year’s accident that saw Bradford Cox laid up after being hit by a car, the band went into the studio and made their most accessible record yet. “All The Same” feels similiar, but Ben H. Allen’s production sheds some light on the dark spots that used to be there. Then “Living My Life” floats in like something Genesis could’ve put out in the 80s(this is not a knock, dammit.) If I did a “favorite tracks of 2015” list, this song would be number two. Simply perfect.

kamasiThe Epic : Kamasi Washington

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this album. I’ve only been living with it for a couple of months, but it’s amazing. A big jazz band that sounds like some of hard bop’s finest. At once chaotic and driving, the next moment sweet and soothing, The Epic lives up to its name. I’m not one for most modern jazz, but this one is the exception. Kamasi Washington takes steady control of a crew of top notch players and the results are astounding. Check out “Isabelle”, Leroy and Lanisha” and their excellent take on “Clair de Lune” for further proof.

It’s nearly three hours of dense, incredible musicianship you won’t regret spending time with.


Zombi’s Shape Shift, Pinkish Black’s Bottom of the Morning, Windhand’s Grief’s Infernal Flower, Jim O’Rourke’s Simple Songs, Built To Spill’s Untethered Moon, and the Big Bad Wolves S/T were just a few others that I didn’t have the time to mention. Also, all the classic High On Fire LPs I bought this year that I didn’t include. So, so many albums.

Man, it was a pretty great year for music. Especially if you went off the beaten path for things. Here’s to 2015, and another great year for music in 2016.













9 thoughts on “Soundtracks ‘n Such : Jhubner73’s Favorite Albums of 2015

  1. Isn’t that every LP released this year?!!
    Some really interesting choices in there and a few I really want to explore, the Zombi one in particular.

    I’ve bought some very good stuff in 2015, but nothing that’s thrown my world off its axis yet – there’s still 13 days to go!

    If you had to pick one of these platters and ceremonially burn the rest, which would you go for?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg in regards to releases, but they’re the ones the really matter…because I chose them.

      I have to pick one?? And burn the rest?? That’s a tough one. As strange as this may sound, I’d probably keep Phantasm. That one holds a lot of nostalgia for me. And, I just love the score. It’s the one I would probably have the hardest time replacing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t yet, but that might be happening very soon. My son wants me to build him a display cabinet for his action figures, so I may build two at once.

      Ecate is great. I’d love to interview those guys.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. What an impressive haul of new releases. I am duly impressed. And that you seem to have spent enough time with them to form opinions and senses is even more impressive.
    I only have two of these and only align with you on one. Brian Ellis is great fun. It’s just a shame that I’ve recently been immersed in The Complete Cellar Door sessions (1970 Miles gigs, released on 6 CDs in 2005). It is brilliant and does rather overshadow the homage of a 2015 band doing much the same thing. Still, one of my covers of the year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really need to listen to those Cellar Door Sessions. They sound like something I would quite enjoy. And I get that, if you’ve got the real thing, who needs a reinterpretation(granted, a great reinterpretation.)

      Yeah, I found myself just really enjoying albums this year. Immersing in them. Not obsessing or being in awe of one or two standouts, but just loving spinning records. The scores were especially wonderful to my ears this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wowzers. This is an impressive list. Bunch there that I’m only a tiny bit familiar with, a few that I have heard but do not yet own, and a whole bunch I haven’t heard at all yet (and on my list!).

    The Epic, Of Montreal, Ecate, Escondido Sessions, Viet Cong … they’re all high on the list. I haven’t been doing too much new release shopping at all … though I actually went a looking for The Epic, but couldn’t find it in the stores near the office. Sakes.


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