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Top 25 Albums Of 2015: Part 1

December 10, 2015

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Now that I’ve completed my Top 50 Songs of 2015 list, it’s time to rundown my Top 25 Albums of the year.  Entries 15-11 are just down below.  Jump back tomorrow for the final 10 selections.  Enjoy.

PS – As always, this list is made up of stuff that I legit listened to a lot throughout the year.

25) Carly Rae Jepsen – E-MO-TION

There are a couple of tracks on Carly Rae Jepsen’s E-MO-TION that aren’t great, but overall it’s definitely one of the most fun albums that I came across in 2015.  If you’re into lady-led pop jams from the 80s/90s, you need to become one with CRJ’s latest LP.

:Carly Rae Jepsen – Let’s Get Lost:

24) Joanna Newsom – Divers

If Joanna Newsom’s Divers had come out earlier in the year, I think it might have ended up higher on my list.  Like her other efforts, this album is beautiful but dense, and it needs to be digested over lots of listens.  In another month or two I’ll be able to decide whether it’s really good or really great.

:Joanna Newsom – Leaving The City:

23) Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

Protomartyr’s The Agent Intellect isn’t exactly what I would call an easily accessible rock album.  On the bright side, if you fully commit to it you get back a rather rewarding experience.

:Protomartyr – Why Does It Shake:

22) Desaparecidos – Payola

Payola is exactly what I wanted Desaparecidos to deliver on their sophomore effort – it’s loud, inspired, angry and crazy infectious.  Here’s hoping they don’t stick to the 13-years-between-albums thing that they currently have going on.

:Desaparecidos – City On The Hill:

21) Gal Pals – Velvet Rut

While it still bums me out that Gal Pals jumped from Austin to LA, I do like that the move got them to finally put out a debut full length.  Velvet Rut is 29 minutes of garage pop perfection.

:Gal Pals – Ex-Marionette:

20) Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last

This is the fourth year in a row that Thee Oh Sees have managed to crack my Top 25 Albums list.  I don’t mind.  They make me want to be a louder person.

:Thee Oh Sees – Web:

19)  Sweet Spirit – Cokomo

I’ve jammed Sweet Spirit’s Cokomo a lot since it was released back in October.  It’s an upbeat listen that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

:Sweet Spirit – Baby When I Close My Eyes:

18) Joanna Gruesome – Peanut Butter

Joanna Gruesome‘s Peanut Butter is a completely schizo (but really fun) album.  They continue to be one of the best noise pop acts around.

:Joanna Gruesome – Honestly Do Yr Worst:

17) Sweet Talk – Double Perfect

Sweet Talk are one of the best bands in Austin, and Double Perfect is one of the year’s best straight up rock albums.  You need it.

:Sweet Talk – Witness:

16) White Reaper – White Reaper Does It Again

These fellas out of Kentucky really delivered the goods on their debut LP, White Reaper Does It Again.  It’s nothing but super catchy garage punk tunes.

:White Reaper – Make Me Wanna Die:

15) Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

A 29-track, 93-minute rock opera from the one and only Titus Andronicus?  Yeah, there was never a chance that The Most Lamentable Tragedy wouldn’t be on this list.

:Titus Andronicus – Dimed Out:

14) Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up

Colleen Green’s musings throughout I Want To Grow Up are both insightful and relatable.  Also, there isn’t a single track on it that isn’t catchy.

:Colleen Green – TV:

13) Leon Bridges – Coming Home

Leon Bridges pretty much owned 2015.  Coming Home is a warm, inviting effort, and it may just be the year’s most accessible album.

:Leon Bridges – River:

12) Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer

Admittedly, it took me a little while to fully come around on Foil Deer.  I think I was expecting a simple extension of Major Arcana, but their sophomore LP is way more than that – it’s them really evolving, expanding their sound and becoming an overall better band.

:Speedy Ortiz – Raising The Skate:

11) Ratatat – Magnifique

I think Magnifique is Ratatat’s best album.  From start to finish it’s loaded with really interesting sounds, and all of the songs move incredibly well.  I left it on repeat a lot in 2015.

:Ratatat – Cream On Chrome:

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Top 50 Songs Of 2015: Part 4

December 3, 2015

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We’re nearing the end of my Top 50 Songs of 2015 list!  Ah!  Check out entries 20-11 down below.  Enjoy.

- 50-41
- 40-31
- 30-21

20)  :FIDLAR – 40oz. On Repeat:  There’s a pretty solid chance that this FIDLAR track is the year’s most relatable song.  Now, let’s have drink some alcohol, it’ll make us who we really want to be.  From Too.

19)  :Screaming Females – Criminal Image:  This is one of my favorite Screaming Females tunes.  It’s got a big, meaty riff and frontwoman Marissa Paternoster sounds indestructible.  From Rose Mountain.

18)  :Modest Mouse – Lampshades On Fire:  Out of all the quality songs on Modest Mouse’s latest album, this one is my favorite.  For whatever reason, I dig that it essentially sounds like Dashboard: Part 2.  From Strangers To Ourselves.

17)  :Conner Youngblood – Stockholm:  This track from Conner Youngblood is hypnotizing.  You just have to love the way he uses the harp here.  From The Generation Of Lift EP.

16)  :Leon Bridges – River:  Leon Bridges absolutely blew up this year, and I like to think it was largely because of this stunning slow burner.  What a song.  From Coming Home.

15)  :Bop English – Dani’s Blues (It Was Beyond Our Control):  James Petralli (of White Denim fame) is Bop English.  There’s a playful, retro pop sound on display here that’s really great.  From Constant Bop.

14)  :Diet Cig – Harvard:  Diet Cig’s front-lady Alex Luciano is in full-on bitter mode throughout this track, and it’s fantastic.  I hope she never loses that sarcastic edge of hers.  From the Over Easy EP.

13)  :Titus Andronicus – Dimed Out:  Whenever I want to jump around like a madman in my living room, I put on this sloppy jam from Titus Andronicus.  It’s such a raucous good time.  From The Most Lamentable Tragedy.

12)  :Mos Def – Sensei On The Block (Featuring Ski Beatz):  This song is vintage Mos Def (in the best of ways), and it totally makes me yearn for his pre-Yasiin Bey days.  From the land of one-off tracks.

11)  :Purity Ring – Push Pull:  I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Purity Ring’s sophomore album – some of it works for me, some of it doesn’t.  This beautiful number is definitely the best track on it.  From Another Eternity.

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Quickdraw: Autolux, DIIV, EMA, Michael Nau, Leon Bridges

November 23, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Autolux – Soft Scene:  Admittedly, I didn’t like this song all that much the first time I listened to it.  I prefer my Autolux to be in full shoegaze form, and this Boots-produced tune is more trip hop than anything else.  It’s grown on me a lot though.  The band will put out a new album next year via 30th Century Records.

:DIIV – Mire (Grant’s Song):  I’ve been on the fence in regards to DIIV’s other singles off of their upcoming LP, but this latest one got me.  It’s moody and noisy in all of the right ways.  Is The Is Are is due out February 5 via Captured Tracks.

:EMA – Amnesia Haze:  EMA recently did the score for a film called #Horror, and this is one of the tracks off of it.  I really dig how atmospheric it is.  The #Horror soundtrack is due out December 11.

:Michael Nau – Winter Beat:  Michael Nau was a favorite of mine back in his Page France/Cotton Jones days, and then he just sort of disappeared.  Good to have him back.  His solo debut, Mowing, is due out February 19 via Suicide Squeeze.

:Leon Bridges – So Long:  Here’s a new one that Leon Bridges did for upcoming Will Smith-movie Concussion.  It’s a very pretty-sounding slow burner.  So Long is available now on iTunes.

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Quickdraw: Titus Andronicus, Dog Party, Sweet John Bloom, Tame Impala, Leon Bridges

May 4, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Titus Andronicus – Dimed Out:  Titus Andronicus are back with a new album that’s reportedly a 28-song, 93-minute rock opera.  It sounds insane, so I want and need it now.  This first single is a raucous beast.  The Most Lamentable Tragedy is due out July 28 via Merge.

:Dog Party – Peanut Butter Dream:  Back in 2013 Dog Party put out a pretty solid album by the name of Lost Control.  This fuzzy gem has me thinking the follow-up will be better.  Vol. 4 is due out June 16 via Burger Records/Asian Man Records.

:Sweet John Bloom – Tell Me:  This blip of a song (it’s barely a minute and a half long) is pretty damn infectious.  I have high hopes for Sweet John Bloom’s upcoming album, which is titled Weird Prayer and is due out in June via Tiny Engines.

:Tame Impala – Disciples:  A request for a new Tame Impala track went out during a Reddit AMA, and the band delivered.  How nice.  As for this song, it’s a shimmering pop effort that will leave you wanting more.  Currents will be out later this year via Interscope.

:Leon Bridges – River:  Here’s the latest work of beauty from Leon Bridges.  I’m not sure he has it in him to create anything that isn’t stunning.  Coming Home is due out June 23 via Columbia.  See him at Stubb’s on May 11 with Lord Huron.

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Stream This

March 6, 2015

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums are released, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Young Guv – Ripe 4 Luv

Bright Light Social Hour – Space Is Still The Place
Will Butler – Policy
Sarah Bethe Nelson – Fast-Moving Clouds
Matthew E. White – Fresh Blood
Tomas Paga Motta – Self Titled
Heartless Breakers – The Great Give Back
Dick Diver – Melbourne, Florida
Evans The Death – Expect Delays
Eula – Wool Sucking
Diagrams – Chromatics
Royal Tongues – Patterns And Shapes EP

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Leon Bridges

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Leon Bridges

February 24, 2015

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It’s taken a little longer than I expected it would, but Leon Bridges has finally let loose a new song (listen to the previously released Coming Home and Better Man here).  It is, as if to make him even more endearing, about his mother, and it features a retro sound so warm and inviting that I’d be more than happy to just curl up with it forever.  There’s no official release date (other than “late summer”) currently set for his debut album, but I assume that one will be announced sooner rather than later.  I can’t wait.  Enjoy.

:Leon Bridges – Lisa Sawyer:

Bonus Video:

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Top 50 Songs Of 2014: Part 5

December 5, 2014

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The end.  If you missed any part of this countdown, I’ve neatly arranged all of the tracks on one page right HERE.  Enjoy.

10)  :Run The Jewels – Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck) (Featuring Zack De La Rocha):  Killer Mike and El-P each turn in rad work here, but it’s actually Zack Del La Rocha that makes this Run The Jewels track something worth championing forever.  From RTJ 2.

09)  :FKA Twigs – Two Weeks:  Despite listening to this an enormous amount of times, it’s still a song that forcefully grabs and holds my attention.   FKA Twigs is one of music’s best new voices.  From LP1.

08)  :St. Vincent – Digital Witness:  Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) is steadily pulling in a more mainstream audience, and I’m all about it.  The world is a better place with avant-pop gems like this one challenging the ears of the masses.  From her self titled album.

07)  :Interpol – All The Rage Back Home:  After Interpol released a couple of mediocre LPs and lost bassist Carlos D, I just knew I was done with them.  Or not.  This track is an inspired effort that has me once again confidently perched on their bandwagon.  From El Pintor.

06)  :Leon Bridges – Coming Home:  Leon Bridges has yet to “officially” put out anything, but he’s already one of my favorite soul artists.  That’s just how amazing this song is.  Keep an eye out for him in 2015.

05)  :Sharon Van Etten – Every Time The Sun Comes Up:  There’s something about Sharon Van Etten being blatantly snarky that I can’t help but find endlessly pleasing.  I’ll never get tired of this slow-burner.  From Are We There.

04)  :Ought – Habit:  Admittedly, this wordy, vocally uneven slice of art-rock is a a bit odd, but if you give it a real shot you’ll find that it’s one of the most engaging experiences of the year.  From More Than Any Other Day.

03)  :Speedy Ortiz – American Horror:  If you ask me, the best of the 90s revivalist bunch is most definitely Speedy Ortiz.  I mean, just listen to this song, it’s perfect.  From the Real Hair EP.

02)  :Parquet Courts – Instant Disassembly:  I know Parquet Courts are adored for blistering faces, but I think this lackadaisically-paced track is the best thing they’ve ever done.  I love the rambly vocals and brainy lyrics.  From Sunbathing Animal.

01)  :Spoon – Inside Out:  Here it is, my #1 song of 2014.  Congrats to the mighty Spoon!  They have a ton of great music in their repertoire, but this immaculate track really is some next level stuff for them.  Good on the two-decade old band for still pushing themselves to evolve and get better.  From They Want My Soul.

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Quickdraw: Chvrches, Summer Salt, Leon Bridges, Cool Ghouls, Ariel Pink

October 23, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Chvrches – Get Away:  It’s perplexing to me why anyone would even attempt to improve upon the already perfect soundtrack for Drive, but BBC radio host Zane Lowe is giving it a go.  At least the project produced this new bit of dance-heavy fun from ChvrchesRadio One Rescores: Drive will air on October 30 on BBC Three.

:Summer Salt – Sweet To Me:  One of my favorite new acts out of Austin this year is Summer Salt.  If you like breezy pop tunes that are as charming as can be, then I think you’ll really love this new single from the band.  Keep an eye out for their upcoming EP.

:Leon Bridges – Coming Home:  Holy shit.  Yesterday I came across this soulful gem from Leon Bridges and it completely stunned me.  The guy has one of those classic voices that’s just impossible to get enough of.  No word yet on when an EP or album will arrive.

:Cool Ghouls – What A Dream I Had:  Here’s the latest retro jam from Cool Ghouls.  As Noah and I have said before, they’re one of the more impressive acts out of the Bay Are right now, and you should have their upcoming LP on your radar.  A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye is due out November 11 via Empty Cellar Records.

:Ariel Pink – Black Ballerina:  You may want to give this bizarro, 80s-enthused track from Ariel Pink a few listens.  My initial reaction was that of pure hate, but now I think it’s rad and weirdly catchy.  Look for Pom Pom when it gets released on November 18 via 4AD.

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