It’s not quite the end of the year, but it is the end of the Pelican year, so I thought I would get Peli’s music writer community to give us their top 5 albums of 2015 so far! It’s been a sick year and these lists are chock full of bangin’ releases from a variety of genres, so read & enjoy & listen.
x Music ed.
- Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing – Scrying in Infirmary Architecture (MUZAI records): Music to sacrifice pets to
- Dick Diver – Melbourne, Florida (Chapter Music): Superb jangle-pop
- Hannahband – Retirement (Art As Catharsis): The best emo band in the country, soundtrack to all of 2015’s feelings
- WIREHEADS – BIG ISSUES (Tenth Court): Deranged country rock feat. the most sinister sounding flute in Australian music
- Royal Headache – High (What’s Your Rupture?): Crooning garage bangers
Royal Headache – ‘Garbage’
Disclaimer: I feel very guilty for the lack of Australian artists
- Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty): Should’ve known better (than to edit a student magazine)
- Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Style (Matador): I’ve never been so happy for anyone to sign to a major label
- Tobias Jesso Jr – Goon (True Panther): Sad 70s dream boyfriend
- Vince Staples – Summertime ’06 (Def Jam): Very good album for walking home at night from the train station
- Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again (Drag City): Joan Baez for girls with tumblrs (ideal)
Jessica Pratt – ‘Strange Melody’
- Mac DeMarco – Some Other Ones (Captured Tracks): Because Mac needs to realise that his weird organ-pop is the best BBQ soundtrack going
- Tame Impala – Currents (Modular): Yes, I Can Change My Mind
- Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment – Surf (self): Sweet, soulful hip hop featuring one of my fav rappers, Chance
- King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Quarters! (Flightless): King Gizz at their grooviest; 4 ten-minute cuts of jammy perfection
- Thundercat – Where The Wild Things Roam (Brainfeeder): Takes Thundercat just 20 minutes to absolutely blow my mind
Thundercat – ‘Lone Wolf and Cub’
- Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty): Reliable provider of feelings brings me even more feelings than usual.
- Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope): “THIS DICK AIN’T FREEE”, I mouthed unconsciously to the innocent bystander on a Sydney train.
- Moon Duo – Shadow of the Sun (Sacred Bones): Drone Psych band goes proto-punk. I bought this as a fathers day gift but secretly it was for me.
- Downtown Boys – Full Communism (Don Giovanni): Insane bilingual communist punk, is there anything better in life?
- Death Grips – Jenny Death (Third Worlds, Harvest): Derth Grapes meets weirdo (and kind of emotional) rock music plus making bee noises with their mouths.
Death Grips – ‘On GP’
- Masayoshi Fujita – Apologues (Erased Tapes): Dank vibraphone soundscapes
- Kitchens Floor – Battle of Brisbane (Eternal Soundchek): Nihilistic, grimy yet skeletal. Existential dread hasn’t felt this fun in a while.
- Julia Holter – Have You in My Wilderness (Domino Recording Company): Being stuck on an island would suck, but when you’re got a set of pipes like Ms Holter, it’s more often Treasure Island than it is Castaway (sorry Wilson).
- Kode9 – Nothing (Hyperdub): Inspired by the death of frequent collaborator the Spaceape, this is one most unexpectedly emotional records of the year.
- Ought – Sun Coming Down (Constellation Records): With memorable refrains and spiky riffs, Ought have stumbled upon a real nice sunset.
Ought – ‘Beautiful Blue Sky’
- Shamir – Ratchet (XL Recordings): Shamir’s debut LP release encapsulates razor-sharp lyrics, electronic/disco instrumentation and oodles of cowbell in a way that can (and has) only be classified as ‘unclassifiable’.
- Chvrches – Every Open Eye (Virgin/Glassnote): 80s-inspired Scottish synthpoppers keep doing what they do best, just with more musical maturity than before.
- Nothing But Thieves – Nothing But Thieves (Sony Music): Everything is Conor Mason’s beautiful falsetto and nothing hurts. I weep.
- Jamie XX – In Colour (Young Turks): The musical equivalent to waltzing through the rooms of one big continuous house party whilst you’re high on something.
- Gang of Youths – The Positions (Sony Music): Australia’s new prog-indie sweethearts have made one of the biggest, most earnest and emotionally charged albums of the year. May have made me cry. More than once.
Gang of Youths – ‘Overpass’ (acoustic)
- Darren Hanlon – Where Did You Come From (Flipping Yeah Industries): This album contains the line “I just like the way that the leaves all dance and the breeze blows up my pants leg”. Dazza Hazza does it again.
- Mojo Juju – Seeing Red / Feeling Blue (ABC Music): This would be higher on the list if I had bought it earlier in the year, this album is full of straight up bangers. Well, not exactly straight.
- Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit (Milk!): Ellen thinks it’s good, and so I must obey our benevolent Queen.
- Sampa The Great – The Great Mixtape (Wondercore Island): This came out of nowhere and blew me away – go check it out for a Zambian Australian rapping over Wes Montgomery samples.
- Nadia Reid – Listen To Formation, Look For The Signs (Spunk): I can’t express how good this album is and just how good the writing is. Just listen.
Nadia Reid – ‘Track of the Time’
- Home Blitz – Foremost & Fair (Richie Records/Testoster Tools): Still barely know what the eccentric little man is so frantic about but there are so many chords coming at me oh god.
- Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect (Hardly Art): The most telling album from the recent post-punk resurgence. Lacks character, but that feels like it’s the point.
- Heaven’s Gate – Woman at Night (Dull Tools): Framing the abject tragedy of a very real kidnapped woman by tricking you into bobbing your head to it… tastefully, somehow. Totally unique.
- Ought – Sun Coming Down (Constellation Records): Yes! *gasp* Yes!
- Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again (Drag City): Jessica Pratt must have a secret radio tapped into Nick Drake’s current efforts as the house musician in heaven. I’m glad she shares it because her voice is just beyond belief.
Jessica Pratt – ‘Moon Dude’
- Jim O’Rourke – Simple Songs (Drag City): What you bring when you’re not supposed to bring a thing nor are you invited to party
- THEEsatisfaction – EarthEE (Sub Pop): Floats like Sun Ra, stings like fuck. Spacious, gracious, constantly fresh.
- Tredicci Bacci – Vai! Vai! Vai! (Independent): Boston’s only ten-to-fifteen piece Morricone pastiche band go the full Neapolitan; impress your friends, confuse people at traffic. You can put this on at any party where a quorum knows what a boat shoe is and the vibe will slide back to at least ’74 in an instant.
- Wireheads – Big Issues (Tenth Court): Watching like, Ben Carson speeches on YouTube in the backseat of a stolen FJ Holden.
- Jenny Hval – Apocalypse, girl (Sacred Bones): For those who don’t have the time to read Cixous, and for everyone else too. Getting to the bottom of this is going to take till mid-2018. This is not a bad thing.
Jenny Hval – ‘That Battle Is Over’
- Shlohmo – Dark Red (True Panther Sounds): Eerie, angry. Julia Holter used to take up this place, now she doesn’t.
- Kurt Vile – b’lieve I’m goin down (Matador): Keith Urban named ‘Pretty Pimpin’ in his Rolling Stone list of his “Top Five Songs I Wish I’d Written.”
- Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (Top Dawg, Aftermath, Interscope): Bone-picking has never sounded so good
- John Hopkins – Late Night Tales: I saw Jon Hopkins live in Amsterdam in a converted newspaper factory, and I will never again be so happy, or so insane. Dream textures, weaved into your slippers.
- Floating Points – Elaenia (Luaka Bop/Pod): Slow-building synthesizer toxins, swamping some planes of consciousness, ricocheting off others.
Floating Points – ‘Peroration Six’
- Unlike most years I’ve actually listened to quite a few albums that came out over the past 12 months, but I’ve still come up short. A top 4:
- Pool Boy – Pool Boy (Workplace Safety CDRs): You could say it was the stress, or you could say it was the music, but I haven’t cried at a gig in a long time.
- Gwenno – Y Dydd Olaf (Heavenly): Ask Me About Cambrofuturism !
- Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope): Some albums bring necessary force at just the right time.
- Deerhunter – Fading Frontier (4AD): Weirdo pop with pseudo-religious lyrics, that’s what I’m here for.
Deerhunter – ‘Snakeskin’