Finding the Best Music from 2015

Header image music albums

We are moving through January 2016, and it’s probably time to settle on my favorite music from 2015.  This is always a good time for me, as I’ve finally had the chance to digest all the new music I heard over the holidays.  For many years I have used email (and the occasional excursion into Social Networking) to share my lists of great music for the year.  This year I want to expand my audience.

I’m convinced of the importance of music in re-energizing, relaxing and encouraging movement – not only are these key factors in creating balance in our lives, they are also my excuse for sharing with you on various social media platforms.

Before compiling the list I would probably have told you that 2015 is far from my favorite year, on reflection there’s much new music worth listening to, and here are my highlights (forgive the slightly arbitrary categorization):

Music to be energized by:

  • Father John Misty – I Love you Honey Bear.  Josh Tillman’s second album – bigger sound, even more obscure lyrics.
  • Brandi Carlile – The firewatcher’s Daughter.  Haven’t really been drawn to her previous work, but I like the harmonies and love the energy of this one.
  • The Decemberists – What a Beautiful World etc.  They have such a beautiful sound.  My appreciation for this record was certainly enhanced by seeing them live.
  • Lone Bellow – Then came the Morning.  Brooklyn Americana, looking forward to seeing them in March.
  • Ryan Adams – 1989 (really interesting interpretation of the Taylor Swift album)

For Movement?

  • Leon Bridges – Coming Home.  This feels modern and 60s soulful at the same time.
  • Of Monsters and Men – Beneath the Skin.  Really nice follow up to My Head is an Animal (a big favorite in our house).  Not so immediate, but we loved “Crystals’
  • Josh Ritter – Sermon on the Rocks.  Very upbeat, almost bluesy return from an old favorite.
  • Lord Huron – Strange Tails.  If you like War on Drugs, this should be one for you.

For Relaxing

  • Beach House  – Depression Cherry.  Still dreamy, very soothing after a stressful day.
  • Low – Ones and Sixes.  At first listen I often find their music to be low key and unmemorable.  By the 3rd listen I find myself humming the tunes and loving the experience.
  • Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell.  This one was album of the year in a number of year end lists I saw.  It’s simple, stripped down and beautiful for it.
  • Alabama Shakes –Sounds and Color.  Took me a few plays to get into this album.  I like that they didn’t just repeat the previous album’s formula.

Lord Huron, Fly Golden Eagle played the XPN Festival in Philly in July 2015, along with First Aid Kit (sisters from Stockholm who sound like they are from Nashville).  I loved all the performances – probably as much as any sequence of artists I’ve seen in recent years.  This playlist has been used a great deal in my office.

Other music that I like but seemed strangely ignored from many of my long time favorites – My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie, Wilco, and Mumford and Sons (I really don’t think Wilder is anywhere near as bad as the reviews)

Hope you find something in here for you!

PS For obvious reasons I am currently listening to David Bowie – specifically his instrumental album All Saints from 2001.  It’s wonderful if you like the German influenced electronic sound.

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