The highlights of the albums i picked up in 2015, as per the 'Date Added' field in my iTunes:
- Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love: great to have them back making music, and better writers than i am agree. However, it's not their best. Their albums starting after Janet Weiss joined have had an alternating great-good pattern in my estimation, and this album does not and cannot measure up to the sublime The Woods (which Phillips inexplicably does not put in his top 3 but, whatever, he's wrong), in particular its disappointing second half. Still, it's pretty damn good overall.
- The New Pornographers, Brill Bruisers: their best album so far. "Dancehall Domine" is a salt caramel truffle of a song.
- Zola Jesus, Conatus: i caught one of her tracks on college radio. She's somewhere between Siouxsie Sioux and Diamanda Galás.
- Florence + the Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful: somewhat disappointing. Doesn't measure up to the previous albums. 2wanda and i went to see her in concert and it was good but it sure felt like she was phoning it in.
- Kathryn Calder, Kathryn Calder: from The New Pornographers. A very soothing album.
- Battles, La Di Da Di: the boys are back. A more even album than Gloss Drop but somehow it feels like John Stanier is holding back on his killer drumming.
- Passengers, Original Soundtracks 1: Passengers is basically Brian Eno backed by U2. This is really quite good and doesn't sound at all like the extruded U2 product that came after All That You Can't Leave Behind.
- Adele, 25: 21 was quite a leap from 19, and 25 is yet another leap. Her voice is better than ever, and the songs have grown lyrically, musically, and production-ally.
- Snarky Puppy, We Like It Here: a live recording treated like a studio recording of a band doing jazz fusion like demigods. The musicians are amazing, in particular the drummer, who only had a few days to learn the songs. You can sample the album on YouTube, and watch the band in action.
- Faith No More, Sol Invictus: it's like no time has passed. Solid effort through and through.