01: Tame Impala - Currents
With “Currents”, Tame Impala have taken their sound to a place that separates them from all the hundreds of other psychedelic rock bands that fill out most of hot record labels rosters these days. By maintaining a similar style of songwriting, but steering away from the typical fuzzy/cloudy production values in favor of a very polished, pristine one, the band have carved out a sound that is so easy to swallow the majority of people are happily drinking it up. Full of tasteful tones, and incredibly infectious melodies - the album maintains it’s prowess all the way through, far more than any other album released this year. No matter what genre you’re into, there’s a good chance you will find this music pleasing.
“The Less I Know The Better”
“Let It Happen”
02: Tamaryn - Cranekiss
Flashes of Cocteau Twins, Madonna, Slowdive, and more. Tamaryn’s “Cranekiss” floored me from the very first listen. The record does a fantastic job of showcasing Tamaryn’s lush vocal ability, especially in track’s like the beautiful “Last”. While the record maintains a key sound, it simultaneously does an impressive job of creating dynamic across tracks as well, from the shoegaze domineering title track to the 80’s-hugging new wave gem “Hands All Over Me”, to the pummeling melodic drone of the fantastic “Softcore”, and so on. A beautiful record.
“Hands All Over Me”
03: Rae Sremmurd - Sremm Life
People call them “The Kris Kross of this generation”, and while that is a reasonable introduction, I feel that Rae Sremmurd offers far more with their debut album right off the bat than Kris Kross was ever able to accomplish. With the aid of acclaimed trap producer Mike-Will-Made-It, and a naive enthusiasm that only a couple of kids right out of high school could push, the Sremm boys have the perfect formula for something downright refreshing, and made for success. Mike Will’s beats always go hard and stick in your head, while Sremm’s squeaky youth-riddled vocals demand your attention and allow them to stand out from the rest of hip-hop’s low/slow rippers. Versatility is another key positive here. While the Sremm boys always deliver vocals with a similar vibe, the songs manage to each create an entirely different atmosphere, from the hyper-popular club banger “No Flex Zone”, to the West Coast-tinged fight-me vibe of “My X”, to the earworm R&B of “Come Get Her”, to the lusty lapdance vibe of “Throw Some Mo”, one of the years best tracks.
“Throw Some Mo”
04: High-Functioning Flesh - Definite Structures
With HFF’s sophomore effort, they’ve solidified their place amidst the ranks of other industrial staples. Definite Structures finds them straying a bit from their early EBM experimentations and honing in on a focused sound that sits in more so with early to mid 80’s Cabaret Voltaire than it does with D.A.F. or Nitzer Ebb like their first effort. Driving hardware beats and drum machines and raspy punk growls create the foundation of HFF’s sound, but it’s the air of subtle lightness weaved into it that separates it from most other acts in the genre and open the band up for a bit of a wider audience. Be sure to catch the band live - there is no band that made me dance more in 2015.
“Confuse The Call”
“Mistakes Were Made”
05: Oneohtrix Point Never - Garden of Delete
An unpredictable build of electronic anti-climaxes. An intriguing, innovative album that serves much better listened to as a whole piece, not in the format of singles.
“I Bite Through It”
06: Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
The lullaby master returns after his wonderful electronic-tinged The Age Of Adz for a refreshing exercise in organic minimalism. The overall sound has an edge of familiarity and even nostalgia but manages to feel like something you haven’t quite heard before. Sufjan’s voice has an angelic quality and his lyrics are easily some of the strongest of the year, aside from Father John Misty.
“Drawn To The Blood”
“4th of July”
“All of Me Wants All of You”
07: Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
With this record, FJM breaks through as a masterful artist. The compositions are progressive and graceful, while the lyrics which are laced with sarcasm and satire, are the most standout of any this year.
“The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.”
“Bored in the USA”
“The Ideal Husband”
08: Electric Light Orchestra - Alone in the Universe
Jeff Lynne proves that classic rock can sound as earnest as ever. A good chunk of the tracks are as catchy as classic ELO cuts, and the disciplined production could make someone believe the record actually came out in 1977.
“One Step at a Time”
“When I Was a Boy”
“Dirty to the Bone”
09: Health - Death Magic
Congrats to these L.A. boys for finding an accessible, innovative, fully realized sound. This is one of the most creative records of the year which is also entirely listenable regardless of what genre you’re into.
10: Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper
Weed smoking music.
“Butcher Baker Candlestick Maker”
“Come To Your Senses”
11: MG - MG
I became a huge fan of this album before I even knew who it was composed by: Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore. Fully instrumental, fully analogue - a perfect excursion in analogue minimalism.
12: Holly Herndon - Platform
This record is so ambitious. Aphex Twin meets Bjork but with its own personality.
13: METZ - METZ II
Not sure where these heavy hitters came from but god damn does this record go hard. Dirty, heavy, & very angry.
“Spit It Out”
14: Purity Ring - Another Eternity
My guilty pleasure of the year. Though some of you may argue with what “pop” is, to me, this is my favorite pop record of the year.
“Stillness in Woe”
15: Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon
Lana keeps going deeper with the dramatic sound she found with Ultraviolence. This record is even more cinematic and moody than the last.
“The Blackest Day”
16: Drab Majesty - Careless
L.A.’s Deb Demure breaks through with this debut LP, sitting somewhere between melodic post punk vibes and the dreamy shoegaze vibes of someone like Cocteau Twins. Well crafted guitar licks and tones are complemented by floaty, prophetic vocals.
17: Neon Indian - Night School
This dude is not slowing down. The synth maestro continues to make feet move.
18: Nicole Dollanganger - Natural Born Losers
There is a new goth angel bb on the scene. A perfect representative for the new generation of tumblrwave sad girls. Thank you to Grimes for bringing this sweet angel to everyone’s attention.
“Angels of Porn II”
Kite - VI
Contains one of my absolute favorite songs of the year, "True Colours"!
01. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
THEE greatest blockbuster action film since Terminator 2 in 1991. In fact, the only great one since then! It’s about time for a return to form! Mind-blowing cinematography and editing, extremely innovative conceptual work and character designs and effects, perfect casting. A non-stop explosive roller coaster that has to be seen in order to be believed.
02. The Revenant
INCREDIBLE. One of the most gorgeous films I have seen in the theater in as long as I can remember. The landscapes and literally breathtaking. The story itself is classic, gripping, tragic, and strenuous as can be. This song is not as much about the performances as it is the cinematic beauty. However, the acting certainly holds its ground with concrete shoes. This reminds me very much of one of my favorite cult classics of the last 20 years, Ravenous. I will continue happily watching both of these films until I cease to exist.
Wow, wow, wow. I was completely floored by this movie. I expected a tearjerker, but one could never predict quite where this movie takes you. If possible, I suggest going into this movie knowing as little about it as possible! Brie Larson and young Jacob Tremblay both put into devastating, breakthrough performances and I guarantee they will go on to have thriving careers. I must’ve cried at least 5 times! A devastating, masterful film!
04. What We Do In The Shadows
The most creative and effective comedy of the year. This is the one comedy from 2015 that I will continue to watch over and over and over. Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords is just one of those guys - just about anything he does I will eat up. The rest of the cast lives up to his ability as well.
While the film is a bit predictable in my opinion, it’s flawlessness cannot be ignored. This film has made stars out of its leads, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac, rightfully so, who put in perfect performances. It is thrilling and makes you feel fear, sadness, and joy. The score by one of Portishead’s key composers is on point. It is just a fantastic film in a very traditional sense, and also makes you think a bit about where we are headed in the near future with our technology.
06. Queen of Earth
This simple, low-budget indie drama has turned Elisabeth Moss into one of my new favorite actresses! She plays PSYCHO so well! Loved it!
07. The Green Inferno
Finally Eli Roth returns with another classic Eli Roth piece of trash art wonder. And with it, he introduces his new wife Lorenza Izzo to us, who I am now totally in love with. This homage to one of my favorite horror films of all time Cannibal Holocaust, works very well. On top of a very refreshing vibe and plot, unlike anything modern horror has seen in a long time, the violence is truly over the top, but not without it’s fair share of juvenile jokes woven in in traditional Roth manner. A movie for certain people… people like me.
08. Sicario / Black Mass (TIE)
Peter Sarsgaard stole the show in Black Mass, but it also featured a very strong cast, and one of Depp’s finer performances in some time. Sicario was just a slow-burning thriller that paid off properly, and Emily Blunt proves her worth with flying colors.
09. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Does it live up to the hype? Yes. The first half is mind-blowing. The second half a bit more predictable and cliche. However, this is the second best and only other worthwhile blockbuster action movie of the year. Aside from the wildly enjoyable practical effects, the casting was really the most impressive part - the cast was on fire (aside from Kylo Ren… the only weak point).
10. Inside Out (Pixar)
A very real concept, and a very tragic one. Although the film is adorable, you better be ready to cry your fucking eyes out if you have a heart. Bing bong.
So L.A. - so one of a kind - so funny. Shot entirely on an iPhone, and it's gorgeous!
12. It Follows
The concept was so promising. The score is so perfect, the best score of the year. I am completely in love with the lead Maika Monroe. I found the ending very disappointing, but this is still going to carry on a classic horror film. It is so much better than 95% of modern horror. It’s a very fun viewing.
13. Knock Knock
Hahaha another Eli Roth banger. These sluts… they’re so bad ass. So hot. This movie is just plain fun. And Keanu Reeves…. LOL. You don’t even know.
It should have been me.
15. Straight Outta Compton
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Yeesh. One of the most miserable things put to celluloid I have witnessed in a long time.
He Never Died (starring Henry Rollins)
Holy shit, what were they thinking?
Mila Kunis CANNOT carry a fucking movie! Even Eddie Redmayne can't save this film!
Nicole Dollanganger - Angels of Porn II
Choad - One Way To Find Out
Sorry, but of course this is going to be one of my favorite things of the year. Joining forces with one of the most inspiring artists and musicians to me in L.A., I was still able to be 100% myself, just as she was, and the results were astonishing. I’ll be enjoying this final Choad excursion till I die. Thanks Geneva.
The Wolves That Live In Skin And Space - by Christopher Zeischegg
No joke - this is one of the Top 10 books I have ever read. Not only is written masterfully, maintaining impressive structure and pacing throughout, but it is straight up the darkest story I have ever read. There were more than several excerpts that had my jaw dropped, some because they were so fucked up, some because I couldn’t believe how Chris managed to create relevance and even twisted beauty within some of the heinous scenarios that occur in the story. I was wildly entertained throughout, and constantly impressed. It is pretty incredible to be able to say that one of my close friends and bandmates was the creator of this masterpiece.