The Singles 2015

…and as promised, here’s my 2015 Best of compilation!  A quirky mix to be sure.  Alternative, indie, pop, techno, and even alt-metal this time out.  I stayed with the format I’ve been using for the past couple of years: playlists of roughly ninety minutes which can be split into two forty-five minute ‘sides’, just like the end of year compilations I used to make back in the day.

Hope you enjoy!

TAPE ONE, Side 1:
1. Big Data, “The Business of Emotion”
2. The Decemberists, “Make You Better”
3. Guster, “Simple Machine”
4. Beck, “Dreams”
5. Best Coast, “California Nights”
6. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, “In the Heat of the Moment”
7. Public Service Broadcasting, “Go!”
8. Frank Turner, “Get Better”
9. The Vaccines, “Handsome”
10. Jamie xx, “Loud Places”
11. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”

TAPE ONE, Side 2:
1. Failure, “Hot Traveler”
2. Wire, “Joust & Jostle”
3. MS MR, “Painted”
4. Wolf Alice, “Moaning Lisa Smile”
5. Death Cab for Cutie, “Black Sun”
6. Young Empires, “The Gates”
7. The Arcs, “Outta My Mind”
8. Stereophonics, “I Wanna Get Lost with You”
9. Robert DeLong, “Don’t Wait Up”
10. Editors, “Marching Orders”
11. The King Khan & BBQ Show, “Alone Again”

TAPE TWO, Side 1:
1. Foals, “What Went Down”
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, “Ballad of the Mighty I”
3. Blur, “Go Out”
4. Dog Party, “Peanut Butter Dream”
5. The Helio Sequence, “Stoic Resemblance”
6. Wolf Alice, “Bros”
7. Courtney Barnett, “Pedestrian at Best”
8. Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
9. Silversun Pickups, “Nightflight”
10. Best Coast, “Heaven Sent”
11. Editors, “No Harm”

TAPE TWO, Side 2:
1. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, “Ur Life One Night”
2. Kurt Vile, “Pretty Pimpin”
3. Sleater-Kinney, “Surface Envy”
4. A Silent Film, “Paralysed”
5. Steven Wilson, “Perfect Life”
6. AWOLNATION, “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)”
7. Nothing But Thieves, “Trip Switch”
8. Cayucas, “Hella”
9. Failure, “Mulholland Dr.”
10. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, “S.O.B.”
11. Mikal Cronin, “Ready”

1. Public Service Broadcasting, “Gagarin”
2. Veruca Salt, “The Sound of Leaving”
3. Belle and Sebastian, “Perfect Couples”
4. Motion City Soundtrack, “Lose Control”
5. Caspian, “Arcs of Command”
6. The Verve Pipe, “If I Could Make You Feel”
7. Django Django, “Giant”
8. FFS, “Johnny Delusional”
9. Brandi Carlile, “Alibi”
10. Low, “No Comprende”

1. Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk”
2. Toro y Moi, “Empty Nesters”
3. Panda Bear, “Boys Latin”
4. Blur, “There Are Too Many of Us”
5. Chvrches, “Never Ending Circles”
6. American Wrestlers, “Kelly”
7. New Order, “Restless”
8. Wire, “Harpooned”
9. Hot Chip, “Dancing in the Dark”

*EDIT: The Spotify playlists didn’t seem to be working, so I took them away.  Sorry about that.  The YouTube video links are now up and ready to go!


Jonc’s Best of 2015 List!

Hey Kids!  Check it out:  My favorite albums, tracks and other musical whatnot from 2015.  This year’s grouping came radio stations in multiple corners of the country, terrestrial and digital, from RadioBDC to Sirius XM to KUSP to KSCU.  And one band (Unknown Mortal Orchestra) discovered while in London!  In the process, the list is all over the place, from obscure indie to commercial alternative.   Enjoy!

2015 Songs

20: The King Khan & BBQ Show, “Alone Again”
19: Mikal Cronin, “Ready”
18: A Silent Film, “Paralysed”
17: Caspian, “Arcs of Command”
16: The Helio Sequence, “Stoic Remembrance”
15: Cayucas, “Hella”
14: Steven Wilson, “Perfect Life”
13: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, “In the Heat of the Moment”
12: Blur, “Go Out”
11: Public Service Broadcasting, “Go!”
10: Foals, “What Went Down”
9: Young Empires, “The Gates”
8: Jamie XX, “Loud Places”
7: Wolf Alice, “Moaning Lisa Smile”
6: Editors, “No Harm”
5: Failure, “Hot Traveler”
4: The Vaccines, “Handsome”
3: Beck, “Dreams”
2: Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk”
1: Best Coast, “California Nights

2015 Albums

20: Death Cab for Cutie, Kintsugi
19: JR Richards, Honore et Amore
18: The Helio Sequence, The Helio Sequence
17: Foals, What Went Down
16: Public Service Broadcasting, The Race for Space
15: Wire, Wire
14: New Order, Music Complete
13: Veruca Salt, Ghost Notes
12: Dog Party, Vol 4
11: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Chasing Yesterday
10: The Decemberists, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
9: Chvrches, Every Open Eye
8: Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
7: Editors, In Dream
6: Low, Ones and Sixes
5: Best Coast, California Nights
4: Failure, The Heart Is a Monster
3: Wolf Alice, My Love Is Cool
2: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love
1: Blur, The Magic Whip

Favorite Earworms:  Songs most stuck in my head in 2015
The Vaccines, “Handsome”
The King Khan & BBQ Show, “Alone Again”
Jamie XX, “Loud Places”
The Arcs, “Outta My Mind”

Unexpected Delights: Albums I enjoyed a hell of a lot more than I expected to:
Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Mark Ronson, Uptown Special
Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
Best Coast, California Nights
Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love

Many Welcome Returns: Great releases from bands we haven’t seen in quite some time
Failure, The Heart Is a Monster
Jeff Lynne’s ELO: Alone in the Universe
Swervedriver, I Wasn’t Born to Lose You
New Order, Music Complete
The Chills, Silver Bullets

Best Reissues:  I have them already, but did I go and buy them again?  Maaaaybe?
The Beatles, 1+
Garbage, Garbage (20th Anniversary Reissue)
The Specials, Specials/More Specials/In the Studio
Catatonia, Way Beyond Blue/International Velvet/Equally Cursed and Blessed/Paper Scissors Stone
The Comsat Angels, Waiting for a Miracle/Sleep No More/Fiction/Chasing Shadows/Fire On the Moon
Jellyfish, Bellybutton/Spilt Milk
Lush, Chorus

Local Color:  Favorite 2015 songs about and/or by locals
Best Coast, “California Nights”
Cayucas, “Hella”
Geographer, “Age of Consent”

Autumn Tunage, Right On Schedule

…just as expected!  The fourth-quarter wave of new music releases has finally made its presence known, and it sounds like it’s going to be one hell of a good season!  After a few sluggish weeks in August, Friday has taken the New Release Day baton and wielded it high.  The next few months look quite promising.

A few records that have caught my ears so far:

Tamaryn, “Hands All Over Me” from Cranekiss, released 28 August.
The more I listen to this album, the more I hear Curve.  Tamaryn’s vocals have that sultry lower-register sound that’s similar to Toni Halliday’s, and the dreampop noise is more melodic than MBV’s wall of sound.  It’s not often I latch onto an album immediately like this, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

Foals, “Mountain At My Gates” from What Went Down, released 28 August.
A pretty wild interactive video, actually!  My first listen to this album left me wondering what they might be angry about; there’s an uncomfortable tension throughout, even on the quieter songs, like you’re just waiting for something to spill over.

Stereophonics, “I Wanna Get Lost with You” from Keep the Village Alive, released 11 September.
I’ve been a longtime Stereophonics fan from my record store days…they’re one of those bands that may not have the big hits or the widely known singles, but they write great and solid tunes.  Glad to see them back again with another excellent record.

Low, “No Comprende” from Ones and Sixes, released 11 September.
huge favorite of mine right now, this is one of Low’s best records in awhile.  They still rock the slowcore/quietcore sound, but like the new Foals album, there’s an underlying tension that won’t go away that I’m loving.  They’ve even turned up the volume on this album (similar to their Great Destroyer album from ten years ago).

Ben Folds & Nashville Symphony Orchestra, “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Movement 1” from So There, released 11 September.
A and I saw BF perform this movement with the San Francisco Symphony a few months ago, and we were floored — for me, this was a scrappy dude I saw twenty years ago in a tiny club in Northampton MA (where he sold me the Ben Folds Five debut cd himself), and now here he is, writing a three-movement piece reminiscent of George Gershwin.  There are some fun pop songs on the first half of the album that he performs with yMusic, but it’s worth it for this lovely piece alone.

Robert DeLong, “Don’t Wait Up” from In the Cards, released 18 September.
We caught RD’s live show at Outside Lands last month, and let me tell you — the dude has natural control of his audience.  It’s just him and all those toys and instruments you see in that video, no other musicians; even his entry music was a poorly-made yet hilarious fan video of Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose”, hinting that he’s just some skinny nerd who got extremely lucky and writes some damn fine dance music.

Motion City Soundtrack, “Lose Control” from Panic Stations, released 18 September.
Sure, the new single can easily be mistaken for a Weezer track, but I can forgive them that. The new album feels more lively than some past efforts, like the band has chosen to lose some of their inner demons and just have some fun this time out.  [That’s not to say there’s not some classic unlucky-in-love MCS tracks here…”Over It Now” has my favorite break-up lyric of the week: I kicked around in the big bad world / after you sold all my action figures / I never got in that one last word / So here’s a f*** you ].  Another great release from a fun band.

I’m still awaiting more release news, but I’ll be looking forward to these releases in the next few weeks:

Caspian, Dust and Disquiet (9/25)
Chvrches, Every Open Eye (9/25)
New Order, Music Complete (9/25)
Silversun Pickups, Better Nature (9/25)
Editors, In Dream (10/2)
Duncan Sheik, Legerdemain (10/9)
Oberhofer, Chronovision (10/9)
Here We Go Magic, Be Small (10/16)
Dave Gahan & Soulsavers, Angels & Ghosts (10/23)