The Breakdown’s Top Albums of 2015

Posted: January 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

It’s time to round up the best releases by bands for the year of 2015…

  1. Foals – What Went Down

We have been a long time lover of Foals’ music. In honesty, if you were to hold a gun to my head and ask me to name my favourite band of all time, I would answer Foals. Not that I have favourites or anything. However over the recent years we have found ourselves a tiny little bit frustrated with Foals. Their 2008 debut album Antidotes contained 11/11 amazing tracks. The 2010 follow up effort Total Life Forever contained 10/11 amazing tracks, with the only one we didn’t really rate being Spanish Sahara, and not even because it was that bad a bad song, but more because to us it represented the beginning of a move away from the math rock, technical guitar riffs and hard hitting drums of Olympic Airways and Miami sound that we so dearly loved about them, and a move towards a more airy-fairy, banal sound that they have fallen more and more into as time has progressed. Their third album Holy Fire contained 5/11 amazing tracks, with a lot of Spanish Sahara-esque tunes surfacing. The album released this year, What Went Down, contains 2/11 amazing tracks, and is rife with Spanish Sahara-itis. This album makes the cut only because of the songs Birch Tree and Mountain At My Gates, and because we found 2015 to be a remarkably underwhelming year in terms of all-round solid album releases. Foals, please don’t mind us – you deserve some mainstream attention, and your early work was so damn amazing that we will always love you regardless. Your show at the Commodore in Vancouver in 2011 is still and most probably will be forever the best gig I have ever attended, out of 150+ shows.

 

 

  1. Made In Heights – Without My Enemy What Would I Do

This album was honestly not a whole lot of chop. It made it on the strength of essentially one track – Viices. We also loved another song by them called Murakami which is not featured on this album. 2015 was a great year for music, but not particularly for great albums.

 

 

  1. Purity Ring – Another Eternity

These guys dropped their second album this year, and it was in truth a solid album. We are only mild fans of their sound, but appreciate that they are playing a significant part in the growth of indie electro music. To a dark synth fan, this could conceivably be album of the year.

 

 

  1. Alberta Cross – Alberta Cross

The English indie rock outfit released their third studio album this year. It is solid without being spectacular. Not quite at the heights of their stunning 2007 debut Broken Side of Time but still worth the listen. Isolation is a tremendous song, possibly even better than anything on Broken Side of Time.

 

 

  1. Holy Holy – When The Storms Would Come

As we have already said, 2015 was a great year for music, but not particularly for great albums. This album fell in that category. You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog and Sentimental And Monday were both amazing tracks. Had the entire album been as strong as these, it likely would have made number 3 (nothing was going to beat Lord Huron and Oh Wonder).

 

 

  1. Futurebirds – Hotel Parties

Man, Futurebirds are a good band. They’ve been around for years, and have been consistently good since the get go. The line between country and indie music is so perfectly trodden that you actually can’t push them into either category. The music is captivating, with lots of ballad style guitar work, rich with twangy licks and slide guitar. But the vocalist is where the band really stands out above the pack. He has the ability to align perfectly with the twanging element of the music, but it’s the way he delves into a raspy, desperate sound at times that crystallises his skill. It’s like Kurt Cobain or Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots spent a year touring with the best country music band that ever existed.

 

 

  1. City Calm Down – In A Restless House

The Melbourne, Australia group burst onto the scene with the incredible ballad Rabbit Run. It soon became evident that it was not a one off. Other tracks from the album Son, If There’s A Light On and the title track, In a Restless House cemented their place as one of the highlight albums of the year.

 

 

  1. Beat Connection – Product 3

Wow. This band just keep getting better and better. One of the best things about them is how you can’t place them in any genre. I actually had someone in my cab the other night that asked me what genre the song was while I had Reality TV on. “Errrm… indie calypso…?” came my somewhat perplexed response. Similar to Lord Huron, they have a way of writing songs that sound as though they could be by a completely different band to the last song. The song So Good is literal in its title, and is easily one of the best songs of the year. Then you have Reality TV, Thought Through, Hesitation and Another Go Round. It’s brilliant.

 

 

  1. Oh Wonder – Oh Wonder

For the first time ever, and oddly enough in a year where there were surprisingly few stand out albums, we could not separate the top 2 albums. Oh Wonder, an incredibly humble duo from England, create the most beautiful, touching and deep melodies one could hope to hear. Every word of every song is sung by both the light, pensive male and sweet, high-pitched female vocals of the two musical geniuses. The album began as a promise to release one song every month for a year, which they kept. We came to know the songs as they came out, and recognised them as great individual songs. With them all together, and a couple of ones that didn’t come out as part of the monthly challenge, including one of the masterpieces of the release, Drive, it really is something to behold. Albums like these are generally only seen once in five years. The last one in this kind of category was The XX’s album, xx. Believe the hype, friends. This album is one for the ages.

 

 

  1. Lord Huron – Strange Trails

Lord Huron are hands down the most underrated band in the world at the moment. Their second album Strange Trails was the album of 2015. 14 hard hitting indie-country-pop-rock songs with no filler. Every song has its own personality and energy. So individual are the tunes on the album, it’s as though it’s a compilation album of the best songs of a decade, but performed by the same band. It’s not the first time they’ve done it either. Their debut album Lonesome Dreams was of similar quality, coming in at number 2 in our albums countdown in 2013. The vocalist, guitarist and songwriter behind the band, Ben Schneider, is one of the true musical geniuses of our generation.

 

 

Runners up

  1. Trails & Ways – Pathology
  2. Other Lives – Rituals

 

 

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