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Wednesday, 30 December 2015
My Favourite Albums of 2015 (Part II): The Ones That (Almost) Got Away
In the second part of the year-end list nobody asked for, I’ll be focusing on the bands and/or artists I have either just started listening to or didn’t even know existed prior to 2015. I’m going to be honest here – most of these were discovered thanks to Spotify playlist recommendations. Yes, I know, I know – streaming services are the devil. Blah, blah, blah. I get it, I really do. Yet, I have little doubt that, if not for these recommendations, I would never have given these albums a shot in the first place. And that would be a massive bummer.
I also should note that the albums listed below are only a select few of the many I liked this year. The ones chosen are simply those that have stuck with me the longest.
Anyhoo, enough rambling. Let’s just move onto what matters - the music itself. If you like the sound of any of these, I recommend you give ‘em a listen. I doubt you’ll be sorry.
Ezra Furman – Perpetual Motion People
I’ll start with Ezra Furman’s Perpetual Motion People because it is the only album on this particular section of the list I didn’t discover via Spotify. Rather, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to review the album for Aphra Magazine a month before it’s official release. And boy, was it a revelation. I won’t go into why, as I’d just be repeating myself (for my specific thoughts, you can check out the review here). All I’ll add is this - Mr. Furman is an infuriatingly underrated artist – one I am shocked isn’t making more appearances on the endless parade of ‘year-end’ album lists.
If you haven’t given this record (or any of his previous records, for that matter) a spin, I implore you to do so. If your tastebuds are not located squarely within the depths of you anus, you should get a kick out of it.
Royal Headache – High
Um… how exactly the fuck did I miss Royal Headache the first time ‘round? Have I been sleepwalking through the last few years? Maybe. Whatever the case may be, I have now made damn sure to catch up on everything they’ve put out into the world up to this point.
While I had heard the name ’Royal Headache’ bandied about since their formation, I often thought I was hearing about another band entirely ( ‘Royal Blood’ – who are themselves not too shabby). I certainly wasn’t aware that the name I was hearing belonged to one of the best punk bands to emerge from this country since the heyday of The Saints.
Since my first exposure to the group back in August, their two near-perfect albums have been a consistent presence in my life… and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Sadly, I don’t think I’m alone in being embarrassingly late to the Royal Headache party. If you do happen to be in the same boat, then it’s something you may need to rectify, ASAP.
U.S. Girls – Half Free
U.S. Girls (aka Meg Remy) is another project that is already a few albums in, yet somehow only became known to me recently. Better late than never, I suppose.
To me, U.S. Girls is the way pop music should (but rarely does) sound in the year 2015. It’s weird, melodic and catchy in a way that nothing else out there is at the moment. Pitchfork probably said it better than I ever could in their review of the record back in September: ‘The album sounds like your favourite golden-oldies station beamed through a pirate-radio frequency, seamlessly fusing ‘60s-vintage girl group serenades and smooth ‘70s disco into dubby panoramas and horror-movie atmospherics.’
Low Cut Connie – Hi Honey
Philadelphia band Low Cut Connie first grabbed my attention with the…uh… rather interesting cover artwork of their third album Hi Honey. Based on that alone, I just had to know what the band sounded like. I’m so damn glad my curiosity got the better of me. Here is a group that is living proof that the often argued point of Rock n’ Roll being a dead genre is complete and utter bullshit.
I have no idea if Low Cut Connie have ever made their way over to this side of the pond, but if and when they do, I will be the first in line. This is music for boozy nights in smoky bars. In other words, music that is well and truly up my alley.
Radioactivity – Silent Kill
Silent Kill is the second record by the previously unheard of (by me) Texas group Radioactivity, which the internet tells me consists of members of other bands that have been hanging around the garage punk scene for the better part of a decade. Like Rock N’ Roll, Punk is another genre some have stupidly proclaimed to be dead. What crap. I have lost count of the current bands doing interesting things within the consistently expanding genre of punk. Many, like Radioactivity, are offering up vital reminders of just how great and fresh the genre can be in the right hands.
If you are a music fan who misses the glory days of bands such as The Ramones and The Jam, then stop whinging already. Radioactivity are here to fill that horrible void in your punk-loving hearts.