Top Ten Debuts of 2015 [Brian Clifton's Picks]

In the past few weeks, I’ve been counting down my top tens of 2015 (local releases and albums). The following are my top ten picks for debut albums.

10. Untitled (Five Tears) - Babes. The family band makes some of the saddest 60s rock influenced dreampop. I mean that sincerely and as a compliment. Equal parts sugar and crash, Babes’ debut does what The Smiths do at their best.

9. Fetty WapFetty Wap. Sometimes, you just need to turn your mind off and dance. Fetty Wap’s self-titled is full of lush beats and hoarse but not harsh vocals. In short, Fetty Wap is the album equivalent of a big-action film that I don’t want to like but do anyway of this list.

8. In Colour - Jamie xx. With tracks that are as weird and enticing as Jamie’s first project, The xx, In Colour sits somewhere between a dance album and an isolate yourself from everyone album.

7. RatchetShamir. Taking cues equally from LE1F and Grimes, Shamir has made an album that is smart and catchy as hell. Barely able to be in the bars they play, Shamir boasts a potential that is through the roof. Ratchet is fun without being cloying, and Shamir is posed to be the savior of electro-pop.

6. The EpicKamasi Washington. Not often does a jazz album make the top album lists, but Kamasi Washington’s The Epic does just that. The two-hour odyssey mixes jazz experimentation and smoothness to create something that breathes.

5. Sometimes I Sit And Think Sometimes I Just SitCourtney Barnett. Noise-laced, indie pop folk? Check. Subtle and compelling storytelling? Check. Courtney Barnett’s debut album Sometimes I Sit And Think Sometimes I Just Sit is the perfect full length.

4. SremmLifeRae Sremmurd. In his debut, Rae Sremmurd embodies the qualities that causes previous generations to shake their fists at the damn youth. Picking up what rappers like Chief Keef or Gucci Mane threw down, Sremmurd proves the heart of hip hop is still beating.

3. Dark Black Make Up - Radkey. We know them. We love them. While Radkey has had multiple EPs, Dark Black Make Up shows the band is able to work in long form with fantastic results. If you haven’t heard these guys, check them out.

2. RatworldMenace Beach. Ratworld meshes grimy guitars and slick vocals better than any other album. Menace Beach sounds like the Blood Brothers meets Nirvana meets UUVVWWZZ meets Phantogram. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?

1. Summertime ’06Vince Staples. This double record has quickly become a daily listen for me. That it is a debut is even more mind-blowing. Summertime ’06 boasts an impressive amount of skill in both its arrangement and lyrics. And it seems Staples is just warming up.

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