Best of 2015: 10-1

-10: Royal Headache- High

Australian garage rock with a heart of gold and super soulful. Never gets too noisy, just enough to keep you movin. Something this simply great doesn't need more discussion, just listen!

-9: Titus Andronics- The Most Lamentable Tragedy

Never expect less ambition from t@- they don't do anything in half measures. A rock opera about manic depression in 5 parts, with themes abounding, this album really shines in the shorter anthems spaced throughout. Patrick Stickles may be his own worst enemy, but the passion that he puts into every project is undeniable. 

-8: Kurt Vile- b'lieve I'm goin down

Like everything KV does, this feels grown up and juvenile at the same time. The final 2/3 of the album contains a lot of my current favorites from him, and the variation of instrumentation is nothing but a benefit. Melancholy in an understanding and comforting way, Kurt is one of the true great modern songwriters. 

-7: Young Fathers- White Men are Black Men Too

Everything I've ever loved about TV on the Radio, but with better grooves. Scottish lo-fi hip-hop that comes off as intense and soulful and really, really unique. 

-6: Red River Dialect- Tender Gold and Gentle Blue

Beautiful, desperate English folk that I don't think I'll ever get tired of. These songs are timeless and endlessly moving. 

-5: Joe Pug- Windfall

This album feels like a refinement of the sound that has been building over the last few albums, and all for the better. This album is a reminder to appreciate what you have, keep your head down, and keep moving. If it's not around this corner, it's around the next. 

-4: Lord Huron- Strange Trails

A western indie romp with songs that sound timeless but new- this was probably the album with the strongest sonic thematic thread. A perfect driving album.

-3: James McMurtry- Complicated Game

This one has stuck with me all year - storytelling folk / country (from Larry McMurtry's son?!). The quality of the folk stories aren't a surprise, but rarely are they so well put to music. An understanding look at love, aging, and life from a grounded and fascinating point of view.  

-2: Donnie Trumpet + Social Experiment- Surf

This was the album of the summer for me. While we wait patiently for Chance the Rapper's #thirdmixtape, I am biding my time eating up everything else he does. This album was so unique- a mix of collaborative summertime hip-hop and grooving instrumental soundscapes featuring everyone from Busta Rhymes to Erykah Badu. I think Chance is one of the best hopes for modern hip-hop, and this is one for the record books.

-1: Sufjan Stevens- Carrie and Lowell

A supreme return to form. Largely acoustic clear-eyed meditations on the death of his mother. Devastating without ever sacrificing listenability. Man.