Favorite Albums of 2015

50. Murder By Death - Big Dark Love
49. Lord Huron - Strange Trails
48. Hot Chip - Why Make Sense?
47. William Elliott Whitmore - Radium Death
46. Calexico - Edge Of The Sun
45. New Order - Music Complete
44. Action Bronson - Mr. Wonderful
43. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats - The Night Creeper
42. Swervedriver - I Wasn't Born To Lose You
41. Metz - II
40. Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp
39. Viet Cong - Viet Cong
38. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
37. Turnover - Peripheral Vision
36. Sannhet - Revisionist
35. Foxing - Dealer
34. Valet - Nature
33. Wilco - Star Wars
32. Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars
31. Natalie Prass - Natalie Prass
30. Pokey LaFarge - Something In The Water
29. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
28. Lucero - All A Man Should Do
27. Rayland Baxter - Imaginary Man
26. Kacey Musgraves - Pageant Material
25. Faith No More - Sol Invictus
24. Julien Baker - Sprained Ankle
23. My Morning Jacket - The Waterfall
22. Royal Headache - High
21. Grimes - Art Angels

20. American Aquarium - Wolves

19. Joanna Newsom - Divers

18. Algiers - Algiers

17. Sleater-Kinney - No Cities To Love

16. John Moreland - High On Tulsa Heat

15. The Tallest Man On Earth - Dark Bird Is Home

14. Destroyer - Poison Season

13. Mikal Cronin - MCIII

12. Deerhunter - Fading Frontier

11. Deafheaven - New Bermuda

10. Jamie XX - In Colour

9. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

8. Beach Slang - The Things We Do To Find People Who Like Us

7. Kurt Vile - B'lieve I'm Goin Down

6. Baroness - Purple

5. Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free

4. Father John Misty - I Love You Honeybear

3. Tobias Jesso Jr. - Goon

2. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly

1. Tame Impala - Currents

Finally, here is a link to a playlist of my favorite songs of 2015: https://open.spotify.com/user/mschram/playlist/3Zm8MOF7dQkVSpCae4mqPx



Favorite Albums of 2014

It's clear now that this blog will just end up being a place where I dump my year's end list of favorite albums. Without further ado, here's my list:

50. Alvvays - Alvvays
49. Beck - Morning Phase
48. Restorations - LP3
47. Eagulls - Eagulls
46. Natural Child - Dancin' With Wolves
45. Pink Mountaintops - Get Back
44. Fucked Up - Glass Boys
43. Damien Rice - My Favorite Faded Fantasy
42. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Pinata
41. Tweedy - Sukierae
40. Christopher Denny - If The Roses Don't Kill Us
39. Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams
38. Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence
37. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness
36. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Wig Out At Jagbag
35. The Afghan Whigs - Do To The Beast
34. Woods - With Light and With Love
33. Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Right
32. Swans - To Be Kind
31. St. Vincent - St. Vincent
30. Damien Jurad - Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son
29. The Barr Brothers - Sleeping Operator
28. Thee Oh Sees - Drop
27. James Vincent McMorrow - Post Tropical
26. Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker

25. Real Estate - Atlas 

When I look back on 2014, even though this barely cracked the top 25, this album will probably be one of the few still in rotation. All of Real Estate's albums just fit nicely like a coat you've had forever.

24. Lydia Loveless - Somewhere Else

Lydia Loveless and Sturgill Simpson (who will appear further down this post) revived my love for real country music. Not the polished and shallow stuff all over country radio, but the stuff that carries the torch of Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.

23. Lykke Li - I Never Learn

Even though the content comes from such a sad and dark place, I'm always fascinated with break-up albums and Lykke Li's newest record is a great one. 

22. TV on the Radio - Seeds 

TV on the Radio continues to release good album after good album and even though they may never top Return To Cookie Mountain, it's still great hearing them progress and mature as a band.

21. S. Carey - Range Of Light

Probably most famous for being the drummer for Bon Iver, S. Carey has put out a couple of solo albums now that prove he's worthy of high praise on his own. He was also one of the highlights of this years Middle Of The Map festival in KC.

20. Future Islands - Singles

Future Islands are a band I've been a fan of for a long time now and it's really good to see them finally get some attention. Although I've grown tired of a lot of the synth-rock that is popular in indie music recently, Future Islands never sound stale.

19. Drive-By Truckers - English Oceans

Drive-By Truckers have long been one of my favorite bands and I've been waiting for them to release an album as good as the Isbell-era ones. I finally got my wish in this years English Oceans, which is the bands return to form.

18. Hiss Golden Messenger - Lateness of Dancers

Although this whole album is worth a listen, it would make this list based off the track 'Saturday's Song' alone.

17. The Men - Tomorrow's Hits

I have a big affinity for "bar bands" like The Hold Steady, Lucero or any other band that you can imagine playing a local tavern to the sounds of drunk townie's and clinking glasses. The Men have fallen into that group with their last couple of albums filled with loose and melodic rock and roll.

16. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else

This is an album that 16 year old me would have as my number one album of 2014. It's filled with tight and loud rock songs that I loved in high school and still enjoy now. 

15. The Antlers - Familiars

The band responsible for my favorite album of 2009 again makes the top 20 of my favorite albums of 2014. The Antlers make really gorgeous albums and Familiars is no exception.

14. Sun Kil Moon - Benji

God I love Mark Kozelek's music so much that it pains me to read anything about him these days. It seems like him and Morrissey are having a competition to see who can be a bigger asshole and ruin any love I have of their music. That being said he released another brilliant album in Benji that is well worth your time.

13. Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

Another extremely prolific musician that rarely releases anything I don't love is Ryan Adams. He's not only continuing to put out fantastic albums of his own but he's also responsible for producing one of my favorite albums of the year as well (Jenny Lewis' The Voyager).

12. Perfume Genius - Too Bright

One of my biggest regrets of 2014 was missing the Perfume Genius show at the Riot Room. Few musicians these days bare their soul in song like Mike Hadreas and it pays off with another amazing album by Perfume Genius.

11. Shy Boys - Shy Boys

Without a doubt my favorite local album in a long, long time comes from Kansas Cities own Shy Boys. This album is 24 minutes of near perfect surf rock with lo-fi harmonies that kill me with each listen.

10. Iceage - Plowing Into the Field of Love

No band took a bigger left turn in 2014 than Danish punk/hardcore band Iceage. Considering how brutal their first two LP's were, it took a while to get use to the melodies found on their new LP, but it's a very welcome change.

9. Jenny Lewis - The Voyager

Jenny Lewis has shown flashes of brilliance with her solo career post-Rilo Kiley, but not until The Voyager came out this year had she put it all together on one album. The Voyager was produced by Ryan Adams which might also be a big reason why I love this album so much.

8. Wild Beasts - Present Tense

I can't think of a more under-appreciated band on my top albums list than Wild Beasts. Sure, they're relatively well known in terms of indie music, but I always thought they should be as big as bands like The National and Local Natives. If they continue to release albums this good, it might not be much longer before they are.

7. Spoon - They Want My Soul

Back in the early 2000's, Spoon would have been considered one of my favorite bands. In the years since I've continued to follow their output, but haven't been absolutely floored by any of their records until this years They Want My Soul.

6. Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

Waylon Jennings has long been my favorite vocalist in country music, so when I heard about a new artist that sounds just like him, I had to check him out. Not only goes Sturgill Simpson sound like Waylon, he also possesses the outlaw spirit that permeates his new album. My other biggest regret of 2014 is not buying tickets to his Knuckleheads show before they sold out.

5. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2

This album carries a ton of extra weight in light of the events between unarmed black males and police across America this year. It would still be in my top 5 just based on how fucking fantastic this album is from start to finish.

4. Strand Of Oaks - HEAL

No one deserved a successful 2014 more than Timothy Showalter (better known as Strand Of Oaks). He seems like such a likable guy and he's now put out a brilliant record that is full of nostalgia and enough emotion to get you through 2015.

3. Sharon Van Etten - Are We There

Upon first listen, I was disappointed in Are We There because I didn't think it was nearly as good as 2012's Tramp (my second favorite album of that year). Turns out I just needed to let this album grow on my because it's every bit as brilliant as her last album.

2. D'Angelo and the Vanguard - Black Messiah

This album felt like an all-time classic after a half dozen listens. We waited 15 years for another D'Angelo album and it appears it was worth the wait.

1. The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream

This was my favorite album of the year from the day it came out and nothing really got close. If you would have told me an album that harkens back to the corporate rock of the 80's would be the best album of 2014, I would have said you were crazy. The War On Drugs are also responsible for one of my favorite concerts of the year as well. I can't wait to hear where they go with their next record.