Another great year in music has flown by….
Fetty Wap and “Hotline Bling” took over the streets blaring out of cars playing top 40. Taylor Swift said no to Spotify, but still has been crushing since 1989. Drake told his label If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late, and gave turtlenecks a new pulse of “cool”. Lots of folks reluctantly became “Beliebers” after he tried to prove his Purpose (perhaps he’s still trying). Adele said “Hello” and released 25, the fastest selling album. ever. And “surprise” albums are now just a normal occurrence in today’s music sphere.
But let’s get to the goodies….
Here’s konstantsurprises’ Best of 2015 playlist and Top 10 Albums of 2015 (in alphabetical order) :
Bob Moses – Days Gone By
Big debut year for these guys. Yes, it’s not one guy named Bob Moses, it’s two Canadians, Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance, who formed the band in Brooklyn. I was lucky to catch them at the Echoplex months back to witness their clean, professional, and moody performance. Good lookin’ lads I might add. I’d predict they’ll be more on everyone’s radar by 2016, if not already, thanks to the support of heavy hitters Domino Records, Coda, and Windish.
Bomba Estéreo – Amanecer
I’ve always enjoyed this Colombian party band when played on KCRW, but they blew me away with their new album Amanecer. So sensual with their African/Latin electronic beats and some of the best electronic guitar I’ve seen live, harmonizing perfectly the whole album through. If you get the chance to see them live, please do so, and get ready to happily dance and/or skip your face off, then sway as you’re hypnotized by the soothing sounds in their slower tunes like “Algo Está Cambiando”. (Side note: They did not need to do an awkward remix of “Fiesta” with Will Smith, but apparently he’s big in Latin America….and peeps like money.)
DJ Koze – DJ-Kicks (DJ Koze)
“Koze is back.” He grabbed my attention in 2013 with his Amygdala release, collabing with a lot of my faves (like Caribou, Apparat, and Milosh). But WHOA to this year’s release filled with a mix of jazzy, funky, and loungey hip hop jams featuring all kinds of folks like Boards of Canada, Madlib, and William Shatner. Put this album on and let it flow as you sip your lemonade on your lawn chair, or dust your house; any of those activities work. Thank you DJ Koze!
George Fitzgerald – Fading Love
Need good driving music tonight? This album is it. I was turned on to this album when I was first sucked in to his single, “Full Circle (ft. Boxed In)”. This song is like a drug. It feels so good, and you keep wanting it again and again. Well, so is a lot of Fading Love. Opposite of being the perfect driving music, this album is a huge supporter of your late night come down; when you crave some heady electronic beats to fill your atmosphere and want the option to just bob your head once you’ve run out of energy to fist pump.
Jamie xx – In Colour
Probably the hottest album of the year for me. Listening to the album is like being taken on a colorful journey through outer space, every once in a while accompanied by vocals from the Oliver and Romy of The XX (yea, they buddies). Jamie xx has this way of giving your body the electric charge it wants, while still making you anxious for what’s to happen next, leaving you breathless by the end.
Ludovico Einaudi – Elements
I had to include one of my favorite contemporary classical pianists and his new album Elements on this list. If you need a moment alone this winter to contemplate your place in this harsh world we live in, I suggest you pour yourself some whiskey, sit by the fire, and let this be your soundtrack.
Maribou State – Portraits
Ah, Portraits takes you back to reality. Although still electronic jazz, English duo Chris Davids and Liam Ivory give you a warmer, more wholesome sound that ensures you hear each instrument as an important element of each song. Holly Walker’s comforting voice soothes your soul in “Steal” and “Midas”. Shout out to Counter Records (Ninja Tune) for another fantastic release (they are also the label to artists like ODESZA, Submotion Orchestra, and Autograf).
Oddisee – The Good Fight
Hooray for wholesome hip hop! Oddisee reminds me of what Lupe Fiasco was when “Hip Hop Saved My Life”. This album definitely deserved more love than I felt it didn’t even receive in the Hip Hop-sphere. Peep “First Choice” and “That’s Love” to warm your palate.
Superpoze – Opening
A new addition to my heady modern-classical-electronic faves is this 23 year-old Parisian with his debut album Opening. “Overseas” starts a bit stark then gives the listener some epic deep jabs into the heart about 2 mins in. If you’re into that kind of thing, then check this guy out. Think Apparat, Moderat, and Gidge (a KS 2014 new fave).
Synkro – Changes
Another deep electronic album that’s made it on the list. But this one says London underground bass all over it…That’s because Synkro (Joe McBride) has putting out some of the hottest drum and bass variations from the UK for over the past 10 years and has become a staple of the genre since.
Nosaj Thing – Fated
The Los Angeles native definitely brought the “FEELS” this year. Chance The Rapper makes an appearance in “Cold Stares”. Need a soundtrack to your cloudy evenings? Well then…
An observed theme to 2015’s top 10 albums list: moody with a dash of party, synonymous with the many tragic world events and silly internet trends that filled the headlines this year.
Let’s hope 2016 brings new light to this crazy world we call home.