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

Last week, I counted down my favorite local releases. This week, I’m moving on to my top ten albums of 2015.

10. Art Angels by Grimes. In her latest release, Grimes shows that not only does she have a penchant for making uber-catchy electronica but that she is an extraordinary singer as well.

9. Blood by Lianne La Havas. “Tokyo” might be one of my favorite songs of the year, and it is one of many gems on Lianne La Havas’ sophomore album.

8. No No No by Beirut. Admittedly, I haven’t been the biggest fan of Beirut, but the singer-songwriter’s latest is near perfect. Each track capitalizes on his dramatic voice and ability to craft simple, clean pop.

7. New Bermuda by Deafheaven. Whether you love or love to hate Deafheaven, you have to admit these guys are talented. Collaging black metal and shoegaze can have disastrous effects, but time and time again Deafheaven comes up with solid walls of sound.

6. It Follows (soundtrack) by DisasterPeace. There’s something to say about a soundtrack that can arrest its listeners without its accompanying film. DisasterPeace does well to use disjunction to create an atmosphere of dread. (Check out more soundtracks here).

5. Back to the Woods by Angel Haze. Angel Haze has been killing it since 2012. Her latest release, Back to the Woods, shows the rapper’s lyrical dexterity. Throughout, Angel Haze rides jittering beats with ease. Fast-fire and staccato, the Brooklyn rapper is here to stay, and Back to the Woods is a testament to that.

4. Summertime ’06 by Vince Staples. Summertime ’06 begins with some of the best understatements about race relations in 2015. In fact, throughout the double album, Vince Staples delivers, in uncanny deadpan, lyrics that speak to the tension between wanting to sell out and sticking to one’s morals.

3. I Love You Honeybear by Father John Misty. Josh Tillman has become indie pop’s golden boy. His sophomore release, I Love You Honeybear, shows the world that clever love songs can be written. Each track is not only brilliantly arranged but also executed perfectly. Tillman has grown since Fear Fun–both musically and conceptually.

2. Grief’s Infernal Flower by Windhand. In their latest, Windhand proves that they are the wizards of sludge. Every second of Grief’s Infernal Flower brims with distorted power. Combing all enveloping riffs with otherworldly lyrics, the band has made an album that is as close to perfect as albums get. As powerful in its short songs as it is in its epics, the album is a must listen for any audiophile.

1. To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. What can be said about To Pimp A Butterfly that hasn’t already been said? The album, as layered asĀ The Waste Land, has had almost universal (and well deserved) acclaim since it was released. Lamar has shown not only his mastery of writing incredible lyrics but also his ability to construct subtle and complex narratives. To Pimp A Butterfly is truly a remarkable album and will be a benchmark for years to come.

Check out next week when I list my Top Ten Debuts of 2015.

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