Top Albums of 2015 | Mike Koehler

2015MusicGiven the pretense of this album, it could have gone to shite really fast in a burning wagon of pretentiousness…but it doesn’t.




2015 was a weird year for me musically. There were some really high highs, but really, there was an awful lot of ehhs. This also seemed to be a year with successful, big reunions of bands coming from lengthy hiatus and releasing quality albums. The Libertines, Swervedrive, Failure, Faith No More, and Blur all released new albums after many years.

  1. Telekinesis! | Ad Infinitum (Merge Records)
  2. Daniel Pearson |Alone, Together (Saint In The City Records)
  3. The Libertines | Anthems for Doomed Youth (Virgin/EMI UK)
    The fact that this album was even made is justification enough for it to be on a best-of list. Thankfully, the songs are great. It’s not their best album, but it still is a damn fine release.
  4. Kurt Vile | b’lieve I’m goin’ down… (Matador Records)
     The album has only grown on me more and more since I reviewed it. In my Top 5 for the year.
  5. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds | Chasing Yesterday (Sour Mash)
    An album that both looks and sounds like the heyday of Britpop, yet is incredibly modern sounding. Listening to it, you’ll be reminded that the true strength of Oasis really was Noel.
  6. Beach House | Cherry Depression (Sub Pop)
    This really is the better of their two releases this year. Incredibly powerful.
  7. The Vaccines | English Graffiti (Columbia)
    This is an album by a band that sounds like they could care less what you want to hear; they are going to make what they want. It’s an incredibly fun album that finds the Vaccines bucking any current trends and musical fashions.
  8. Idlewild | Everything Ever Written (Empty Works)
  9. Jon Meadows | Escape (Nub Country Records)
  10. Megan Hamilton | Forty Warm Streams to Lead Your Wings (self)
    Folky Canadian songstress who is a pretty awesome person. Meg is a friend, but damn, the album is heartwarming and beautiful.
  11. Richard Hawley | Hollow Meadows (Parlaphone)
    Every album Hawley releases will be on a best-of list of mine. Hollow Meadows is less harder-edged than his previous release, but he doesn’t fully return to his more crooner-esque vibe as on his earlier albums. Just a revelatory combination of both sounds.
  12. Swervedriver | I Wasn’t Born to Lose You (Cobraside)
  13. The Charlatans | Modern Nature (BMG)
    Just a fantastic, late-career release. Read my full review here.
  14. Thee Oh Sees | Mutilator Defeated at Last (Castle Face Records)
    For those not familiar, Thee Oh Sees is an ever-revolving lineup surrounding creative mastermind John Dwyer, spitting out just incredible garage rock with a tinge of a psychedelic element to it. Mutilator is their sixth release in five years, and 14th since founding. You would think with that amount of output, it wouldn’t be good—and you’d be wrong. This is a glorious loud, ferocious, and almost unhinged collection of songs. Easily Top 5 for the year.
  15. Frank Turner | Positive Songs For Negative People (Xtra Mile Recordings)
    I’m disappointed in myself for not writing a full album review when this was released. Honestly, all of Turner’s albums are positive songs for negative people. Whereas his gut-wrenching 2013 release Tape Deck Heart was his breakup album, this is the album on which he puts his life back in order. It’s incredibly reaffirming and shows what Turner has said from day one: that music is our saving grace. It has the power to bind us and heal us even in our desperate times. In my Top 5 for the year.
  16. The Bird and the Bee | Recreational Love (Rostrum)
    Infectious to the nth degree.
  17. Paul Weller | Saturn’s Pattern (Parlaphone)
    Warmer than his last release Sonic Kick, but that is not to say it doesn’t rock the fuck out when it needs to.
  18. Courtney Barnett | Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit (Mom + Pop Music)
    Just going to say: This is my album of the year. Incredible observational musings. I haven’t been able to stop listening or get this entire album out of my head. From frenzied freakout jams, to melancholic ballads, all with razor sharp and clever lyrics. Just an unbelievable debut album.
  19. Wilco | Star Wars (dBpm)
    I never thought I would ever add a Wilco album to one of my best-of lists. I’ve been notoriously not a Wilco fan until this year. This is a raw, more guitar-driven album than its predecessors. I just love it; it has made me go back and really dive into their catalog and reassess my stance on them.
  20. Failure | The Heart Is a Monster (INGrooves)
    Really this album is a monster: It’s a behemoth!
  21. Blur | Magic Whip (Warner Bros.)
    Just incredible.
  22. Titus Andronicus | The Most Lamentable Tragedy (Merge)
    Given the pretense of this album, it could have gone to shite really fast in a burning wagon of pretentiousness…but it doesn’t. It’s a powerful album that takes multiple listens to fully understand and appreciate.
  23. Drenge | Undertow (Infectious Records)
    Girthy rock album that weaves from almost grunge-like alt-rock to garage to something a little heavier.
  24. Foals | What Went Down (Transgressive)

| Mike Koehler

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