2015: The Best / Worst in Music

I might do a few of these year-in-review posts for a few various things so I’ll keep the, brief. I’m not making a top 10 list, or anything that in depth – just picking my favorite thing, and in my opinion the worst, or most disappointing thing this year.

This first one will be a look at my picks for best and worst album for 2015.

BEST ALBUM
Lord HuronStrange Trails (playlist on YouTube to check out)
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I’ve been hooked on Lord Huron since their debut album, ‘Lonesome Dreams‘ back in 2012. In fact it doesn’t even seem like that it was that long ago. It took nearly three years for their sophomore effort and what we got was thankfully an album that continued everything that was great about the first.

The sound of the music on Lonesome Dreams could be described as almost ethereal – the kind of music you’d hear in the background as you’re hiking through the Grand Canyon under starlit skies with the Milky Way shining in a beautiful arc over you from horizon to horizon. While Strange Trails doesn’t quite emulate the same feeling, it’s not far off. The band continues with song after song of addictive guitar riffs and vocal catches that you can’t get out of your head. It almost seems as if the album is a single song with multiple movements. If you’re weary of it, or it doesn’t seem to catch you right away, my suggestion is to go back to Lonesome Dreams, and get lost in that album (you’ll immediately recognize the first track, then let it glide seamlessly into tracks 2, 3, & the rest.) Then come back to Strange Trails and it will feel much better.

Almost all the songs are noteworthy, but I’ll say that some stand outs include (in no particular order): Cursed, Fool For Love, Hurricane, La Belle Fleur Sauvage, & Meet Me In The Woods.

Bonus: If you’re curious about the backstory to their debut album, Lonesome Dreams, do some googling on this fella named George Ranger Johnson, and read about the history of the band – it will make you appreciate their creativity even more.

Runner Up:
Wilco – Star Wars
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Wilco, the kings of alt-Dad-rock, is in my top 3 favorite bands of all time. Even still, with this fantastic out-of-nowhere surprise album full of great music, I couldn’t put them in front of Lord Huron. Even so, Star Wars should be on your must listen list.

WORST ALBUM:
Phantogram & Big Boi – Big Grams
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I’m sure there are worse albums-  and in fact I know there are. But to me, this was the worst. Well, most disappointing anyway. I couldn’t even get through the whole thing.

Look, I love Phantogram. Their first two albums were fabulous. I know they walk the line between alt-rock and techno-hip-hop, or something like that, but it worked. Well.

But now all that talent is pretty much wasted. I, personally, could give two shits about Big Boi – but his participation in this group relegated the talents of Phantogram’s soaring lead vocalist Sarah Barthel to a backup whiner, and Josh Carter to hip-hop drum machinist. Just awful. I hope this was a one time thing.

At least we’ve got Phantogram’s 3rd album to look forward to soon.
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So there you have it. If you need some new music to listen to, give the above a try. And if you want your ears to bleed, you know where to go for that too.

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