I find this to be more accessible than the Hold Steady, and he balances the tightrope between clever lyrics and putting too much focus on clever lyrics well.
Best of 2015: 90-81
-90: Craig Finn- Faith In The Future
-89: Torres- Sprinter
This was moody, probably to a fault to me at first listen, but is undeniably her finding her own sound and doubling down on it. With some brighter moments it would be a lot higher.
-88: Locrian- Infinite Dissolution
Largely instrumental kind of post-metal that has some warmth to it despite the heaviness.
-87: Belle and Sebastian- Girls in Peacetime Want To Dance
A pretty good album that suffers from the massive strength of its opening track and then can't quite hook me in the rest.
-86: Hiatus Kaiyote- Choose Your Weapon
Modern jazzy souly type stuff that never crosses the line to make it too weird to put on in public. Interesting voice and great jams.
-85: Sun Kil Moon- Universal Themes
A little lighter than the last one, and whether or not it's any different or better is hard to tell, but I did like it when listening to it.
-84: The Districts- A Flourish and a Spoil
Somewhere between Japandroids and the Strokes- cathartic with only a touch of irony and big swelling hooks. Full of youthful energy.
-83: Battles- La Di Da Di
Crunchy, head-nodding industrial rock that is closer to Ratatat than the prog-math stuff I expected from them.
-82: Deerhunter- Fading Frontier
I find this a pleasant turn from their last one, which I did not like so much- it's smoother, calmer, and more grounded.
-81: Martin Courtney- Many Moons
Melancholy jangle from the Real Estate frontman that is good for an overcast Saturday morning.