A band that's notorious for naming their albums after colors, progressive metal band Baroness followed up the experimental and critically-acclaimed double album Yellow & Green with the hard-hitting, snarling album Purple. Despite a lineup change in the wake of their original drummer and bassist leaving after a serious auto accident in 2012, the band showed their resilience by not losing a step whatsoever and creating metal's best albums of the year.
Purple by Baroness
Released: December 18, 2015 | Abraxan Hymns
Track You Need To Hear: "If I Have To Wake Up (Would You Stop the Rain?)"
Track You Need To Hear: "Multi-Love"
Released: May 18, 2015 | Jagjaguwar
Multi-Love by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Multi-Love may be the best album ever written specifically about polyamory. Giving us an insight into the emotional dichotomy of the album, singer and lead songwriter Ruban Nielson said, "Think about the two most serious relationships in your life so far, and then experiencing them simultaneously." The album's production and songwriting is incredible, evoking a very specific, '60s/'70s retro-groove sound, making Multi-Love Nielson's most refined work to date.
Track You Need To Hear: "Gimme All Your Love"
Released: April 21, 2015 | ATO Records
Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes
For the follow-up to the incredible debut album Boys & Girls, we fully expected Alabama Shakes to ride their early success and make Boys & Girls, Pt. II. However, the band decided to go with a more innovative, less blues-forward approach. Alabama Shakes subbed in more experimental and psychadelic tracks and showed off more of Brittany Howard's incredibly impressive vocal range — all while staying true to their signature soulful sound. Plus, Sound & Color gave us quite possibly the best song of the band's young career ("Gimme All Your Love"), which is no small feat.
Goon is as promising of a debut album by a singer-songwriter as we've seen since Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago. Tobias Jesso, Jr. puts his knack for writing incredible songs on full display on the record, highlighted by album centerpiece "Hollywood." On the track, Jesso creates an unbelievable reflection of failed dreams and aspirations of an artist trying to make it in the music industry. Goon's themes are timeless — heartbreak, betrayal, passion — and the structure is recognizable, but Jesso's masterful songwriting makes it all feel new again.
Goon by Tobias Jesso, Jr.
Released: August 17, 2015 | Arts & Crafts
Track You Need To Hear: "Hollywood"
On Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, Panda Bear (real name Noah Lennox) continues to expand upon his ability to find new and innovative sounds not normally used in music and incorprorate them into his ever-expanding catalog of experimental pop albums. PBMTGR is a sonically refreshing album about wandering through life's experiences in typical, lighthearted Panda Bear fashion, but also incorporates a more personal touch than we've seen in the past from the songwriter.
Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper by Panda Bear
Released: January 9, 2015 | Domino Records
Track You Need To Hear: "Crosswords"
Just a year after his disappointing album Honest, Atlanta rapper Future came back with a vengeance in 2015. One of four projects release in this year alone, DS2 is by far his best; it’s bombastic, codeine-fueled, maniacally produced turn-up music made by a man who discarded the pop-rap act and replaced it by embracing his status as hip-hop’s villain. No line better describes Future’s resurgence than his line on “I Serve the Base": “Tryna make me a pop star and they made a monster.”
DS2 by Future
Released: July 17, 2015 | Epic Records
Track You Need To Hear: "Groupies"
Track You Need To Hear: "Eventually"
Released: July 17, 2015 | Interscope
Currents by Tame Impala
After two highly critically-acclaimed albums, Tame Impala was crowned the reigning ruler of modern rock music. However, for his third album, frontman and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker wanted his music to be more accessible, resulting with his most innovative album to date. Currents keeps Tame Impala’s signature sound present, but injects a fusion of pop and electronic music, creating a fresh-sounding rock album and strengthening the band's already impressive discography.
Track You Need To Hear: "FLESH"
Released: June 29, 2015 | RCA Records
Wildheart by Miguel
There’s no other way to describe Wildheart than by stating the obvious: The album is pure sex. On Wildheart, Miguel discards almost every form of subtlety and finds himself at his most explicit (”FLESH” and “the valley” come to mind), but we also find a singer who has made a disarmingly personal record. On tracks like “Coffee,” “waves,” and "What's Normal Anyway," we see that Miguel has found a way to blend artistry into his particular brand of eroticism.
Track You Need To Hear: "Night Song"
Released: September 25, 2015 | Domino Records
Have You In My Wilderness
by Julia Holter
Possibly her most accessible album released to date, Julia Holter’s Have You In My Wilderness also finds the singer at her most inventive. No stranger to experimenting with new sounds, Holter harnesses the gentleness of 2013′s incredible Loud City Song, and pushes the creative envelope by taking inspiration from classical, baroque, Latin jazz and more. On the surface, it may seem that the breezy lushness of Have You In My Wilderness may cloud what makes Holter so great, but her trademark intimacy is still abundant.
Track You Need To Hear: "Times Square"
Released: August 28, 2015 | Pod/Inertia
Poison Season by Destroyer
No stranger to releasing music, indie veteran Destroyer’s 11th full-length studio album Poison Season show us an artist right in his comfort zone. The format is familiar, but while there may not be anything terribly groundbreaking about the album, Destroyer proves there is nothing wrong with coupling melodramatic lyrics, solid song structure and excellent musicianship — making Poison Season one of the most honest releases of the year.