Well, it’s nearly the middle of February already – so it seems as good a time as any to wrap up this round up of the previous years best songs. They don’t call me The Timely Content Kid for nothing. Also some might call having 25 songs on a top 20 list something of a cop out. To which I have no real argument.
It was a great year for music though and I think this list demonstrates just how good. Especially since it was a year in which I didn’t find much time to delve into all that much hip hop – Busdriver and Milo narrowly missed the cut for the list but that was about it for my rap listening in 2015, bar a couple of L’Orange produced albums – and almost completely ignored what was by all accounts an excellent year for black metal. It was a year of Too Much Music and this, for better or worse, is how I spent it. And given how much fun I’ve had putting this list together I’m leaning towards, “for better.”
Part 19 of a 20 part rundown of my favourite tracks of 2015
Notch up a second appearance for Patrick Kinlon in this years list (the first being Drug Church’s Aging Jerk). That’s a first in the long, illustrious 2 year run of this feature. Well played.
I like Self Defense Family best when they’re playing with a straight bat. As enjoyable as the longer, more obtuse numbers on Heaven is Earth are – for instance the title track and opener In My Defens Self Me Defend – they just don’t stick in the mind for me quite like their neat and tidy 3 minute numbers do. Everybody Wants a Prize for Feeling is probably the best example of the poppier end of their work – a catchy post punk yell-along song coloured by a whimsical melodica backing and capped off with a ragged, hollered chorus of “I feel! I feel! I feel!” it clings to your brain like some kind of mind limpet.
Kinlon often writes his lyrics in first person from the point of view of some character or other, but it’s not always clear what his point is amidst all the seething and arch shouting. Usually his wry, myopic company is enough to sell a track all the same but every now and again you get a blast of clarity like the repressed, frustrated narrator of Everyone Wants.. and it cuts through like a draught of fresh air in a stuffy room.
Me oh my would you look at the time? It barely seems like five minutes ago that I was publishing the second 2015 playlist back in July and yet here we are rounding up quarter three in the only way I know how – with an oddly paced and overlong playlist. Time flies when all the songs you listen to are 10 minutes long.
This one, I feel, sums up my obsessions of the year about as well as a 25 track playlist possibly could – there’s plenty of meandering kraut-flecked psych (Giobia, Carlton Melton, Hills, Domovoyd), some hybrid black metal strangeness (Hope Drones, Locrian), a touch of monolothic fuzz-drenched doom (Windhand), a bit of awkward post-punk indie fare (Ought, Self Defense Family) and a fair bit of straight up rock n’ roll (Indian Handcrafts, Greenbeard, The Sword). For whatever reason these are the sounds I’ve gravitated towards. I’m inclined to believe it’s been a great year for these kinds of things and I’m just doing my solemn bloggers duty in telling you all about it. But it could just as easily be the result of a chemical imbalance of the brain or the lingering after effects of my first foray into wine making causing my senses to skew towards these odd sounds. Who can say? I’m no sciencematician. ‘m just a humble maker of playlists.
There’s also some stuff which bolts together a few of my genres of choice into something else entirely (the post-metal/doom/spoken-word-babbling-about-wizards of OHHMS, heavy psych band Herbcraft finding a groove that sounds like something from a crate diggers funk compilation, the odd surf-noir of La Luz) and a couple of songs from outside my wheelhouse that somehow wheedled their way into my consciousness – like the lushly orchestrated modern soul of Natalie Prass or the deadpan slacker indie pop of Courtney Barnett. Something for everybody you could say. You’d probably be wrong – but you could say that.