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The Audiophile: Top Tracks of 2015


Musicheads,

Now that we are through the first week of January we are beginning to see how 2016 will shape up musically and it is exciting to hear all the anticipated albums to drop this year and I, for one, am eagerly awaiting all the new music.  But before we get to that, we first must close out 2015.   My first post of 2016 was with the Top Albums of 2015, now let’s really close out 2015 by naming the Top 10 Tracks of 2015.  On this list you might see some surprises, but all of these tracks are incredibly strong and it was a difficult task to organize and order it.  Without further ado, let’s get to the Top 10 Tracks of 2015:


 

10. CHVRCHES – Leave A Trace

We start off the top 10 with one of many stellar tracks from the sophomore effort from Scottish trio CHVRCHES.  This track is equally catchy and upbeat and high-energy.  The lead single on an album that had a lot to live up to, which it succeeded in doing.

9. Ratatat – Cream On Chrome

I said it on the Top Albums list and I will say it again here.  It is incredibly surprising to have an instrumental track (or entire album in this case) make a “Best of…” list, but Ratatat’s Magnifique is a definite exception.  This album was stellar and well-deserving of praise, and their lead single Cream On Chrome was no exception to that.

8. Jamie xx – I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)

On an album full of top-notch “driving music”, there is one outlier among that tracklist, and it is this track.  Super catchy, this cross-genre track is a masterful blend of rap, dancehall, an Afro-a cappela sample and electronic remixing and production.

7. Best Coast – California Nights

From the first note, this track oozes the California lifestyle.  Huge, soaring vocals, West Coast nostalgia-filled lyrics and a mixture of low-fi surf-rock and dreamy atmospheric riffs drive this song ever upward.  While nostalgia and yearning to travel to the West Coast again and live the portrait painted by Bethany and Bobb of Best Coast from the song may personally have driven this song so high up the list for 2015, it remains an incredibly powerful song that will be forever linked with 2015.

6. Courtney Barnett – Depreston

There are a lot of tracks to choose from on Courtney Barnett’s début full-length album, but we decided to pick the ironic and sardonic track Depreston.  Low-key in its format and delivery, the track itself is masterful lyrically and epitomizes the writing style of Barnett, which has been highly praised all around.


Now as we crack into the rarefied air of the Top 5, all of these tracks have one thing in common; these songs just don’t seem to ever get old.  Each of these 5 songs were in my head from the get-go of this “Best Of…” to be in the top 5, it was only a question of in what order they would lie.  Well here it goes:

5. Tame Impala – Let It Happen

Kevin Parker and company deserve all the praises they receive for Currents, as it truly was a defining album of both the band and 2015.  With that said, the album’s opener which kicked everything off may also be the best track the group has ever written.  The almost 8-minute track is a dance-friendly tune which blends bits of the old Tame Impala sound (found on previous albums) and the new which has moved away from being purely psychedelic rock.  This track not only is a great track by itself, but what it does to transition the listener to the group’s new sound is equally as impressive.

4. Foals – Mountain At My Gates

There is one thing that UK act Foals does best, and that is write big, progressive, massive tracks that absolutely explode with emotion.  Mountain At My Gates is no exception to this.  The track is built around a fantastic guitar riff and Yannis Philippakis’s raw vocals.  Foals have often utilized Nabil as their go-to director for their unique and often epic music videos for a creative edge, and the music video to accompany this earworm was equally as original, having been shot in a 360 degree environment with a GoPro Sphere.  You also know your track is good when it gets remixed and that remix also is honorably mentioned in that same “Best of…” list.

3. Cold War Kids – First

This group has come a long way from 2006’s Robbers & Cowards and their breakout first single Hang Me Up To Dry .  Now in their 11th year as a band, Cold War Kids have truly hit their stride.  Although First came from their 2014 album Hold My Homethe album was a late release and the track was a huge hit in 2015, especially exploding over the summer.  The track itself is beyond catchy and just incredibly enjoyable and relatable for anyone who has been in an up-and-down relationship. This song does not seem to get old.

2. Saint Motel – My Type

Catchy doesn’t do this track justice from California indie pop group Saint Motel. 2015 was a tremendous year for this quintet, even without a full-length album to their names.  Despite the track itself being released on an EP in 2014, 2015 was the year of its rapid ascent. This track truly was a buzz track, but at the same time, it was incredibly well produced, unique enough in comparison to the rest of the musical environment of 2015, and that horn section absolutely made the track such a memorable piece of the musical framework of the year.

1. Beck – Dreams

Who needs a music video to accompany the biggest song of 2015?  Not Beck, that’s who!  This standalone track is a legitimate earworm that doesn’t seem to get old or lose any of its bite.  Right now, it has no music video or album to accompany it, but we are highly anticipating this track to be included on the California multi-instrumentalist’s next album which will most likely drop in 2016. Well done, Beck and let’s hope you kick Kanye’s ass once again in 2016 as there may be another head-to-head battle on the album front.


 

Don’t Miss out on the Album of The Year as well!

Once again, here is a recap of the Audiophile’s top 51 tracks of 2015:

Feel like we missed someone or left them off the list or picked the wrong tracks?  Let us know.  Discussion is always appreciated.

Don’t know some of these tracks, don’t worry, we’ve got a curated playlist just for you!

Playlist: The Audiophile: Top 51 Tracks of 2015

Here are a few others that barely missed the list this year but are definitely worth mentioning.

2015 Honorable Mentions:

and don’t forget to follow on Facebook, Twitter at @AudiofileAkwitz  and Instagram @Audiophileakwitz to get even more music updates that don’t make the posts.

Akwitz

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The Audiophile: Top 51 Tracks of 2015 – VOTE


Musicheads,

Not every artist who has a hit track makes a hit record.  In today’s musical environment, more and more artists are, in lieu of releasing a full-length album, choosing to release multiple singles or short 3 or 4-song EPs.  Should these folks be forgotten in the annals of 2015 music simply for this choice?  Here at The Audiophile, we think not!  It is for that reason that we provide you with a list of both the top albums and top tracks of 2015 because being on either one of those lists does not necessarily mean they will make the other.

Creating this list is always the most difficult.  With a plethora of music being released on a daily and weekly basis over the course of a year, it is difficult to identify only the “best” 51 quality tracks that will, in the end, make the list.  Unfortunately, some quality songs didn’t make the cut, but that’s why we make lists, right?  Then, there is always the question of a song being released in a previous year, and then “making it big/breaking” in the following year (much like two tracks on this list that can’t be ignored, Saint Motel’s My Type and Cold War Kids’ First) if it should be included.   In these circumstances, yes.  Also, as a guideline for creating this list, if an artist may have had a huge year and had multiple singles this year, only one track will make this list.  So, for instance, Jamie xx had two big singles this year, Loud Places and I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times).  You may like one or both, but only one will make this year’s cut (and I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) is that track this year).  This year’s tracks run the gamut in terms of style, with both up-tempo and down-tempo sharing the scene.  Dance-centric and electronic music was fairly prevalent this year, but at the same time, more subdued tracks from artists like Modest Mouse, SOAK and Courtney Barnett also were quite good this year.  You have songs of summer and world-wide phenomenons, and you have much lesser heard of acts and tracks who have made this list.  Enjoy the diversity!

Once again, I am putting it into you, the reader’s, hands (and ears) to vote for what you believe is the top track of the year.  The voter’s choice along with the Audiophile’s Top 10 will be revealed at the end of the year, so get your votes in now!

Share with your friends and let’s get as many votes in for this and the Album of The Year!

Now, without further ado, in no particular order, your top 51 tracks of 2015:

Vote for your favorite:

Feel like we missed someone or left them off the list or picked the wrong track?  Let us know.  Discussion is always appreciated.

Don’t know some of these tracks, don’t worry, we’ve got a curated playlist just for you!

Playlist: The Audiophile: Top 51 Tracks of 2015

Here are a few others that barely missed the list this year but are definitely worth mentioning.

2015 Honorable Mentions:

and don’t forget to follow on Facebook, Twitter at @AudiofileAkwitz  and Instagram @Audiophileakwitz to get even more music updates that don’t make the posts.

Akwitz

Now Playing: The Audiophile: Top 51 Tracks of 2015


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New Music Tuesdays – Final Countdown Edition


Musicheads,

It’s the final countdown (well in #NewMusicTuesday terms)!

Including this week, there will only be three more New Music Tuesdays before New Music Fridays becomes official on July 10th.  Well, with that being said, let’s kick the countdown off right with some new music to talk about.  This week’s new music seems more like a throwback than it does new music as we have new releases from the incomparable James Taylordisco legend Giorgio Moroder, and even new music from 90’s nostalgia alt-rockers Third Eye Blind.

 

Before I get to some of those, let’s get to the newest band with a notable release today, the Australian group Alpine with their sophomore effort Yuck.

Following their début full-length last year, the Aussie sextet are back in the fray with a new 10-track album.  The album’s sound follows in the same vein as the band’s début with the lead single jam of a track in Foolish kicking things off.

The album maintains the energy felt in that track throughout the remainder of the album, with synth flourishes and full of vocal harmonies from the leading ladies Phoebe Baker and Louisa James.  I won’t go into great detail as I’ll let you explore the remainder of the album, but I do want to highlight a few of my favorites.  We start first with the opening track, Come On, which is a great lead off track.  I also immensely enjoyed Jellyfish with its dynamic and bright structure.  I also really love the final track on the album, Need Not Be.  Vocals float atop a cool, low-key synth beat for much of the song until the mellow vibes give way to synthesized horns for the final 45 seconds for a grand finish.  I thoroughly enjoy this album, and although it may come off as lacking a bit of diversity among its tracks, still is worth a listen or two.


 

Despite only the EP being released on Spotify, (at least initiallyThird Eye Blind has released a full-length album today titled Dopamine.

The first album in six years kicks off with the lead single Everything Is Easy.  Apart from the ever-present frontman and lead singer Stephan Jenkins, the band has gone through a major re-tooling of its band members.  Despite this, the track brings instant nostalgia to late 90’s 3eB.  

The group also helped to promote the release of the album by sharing a video cover of the Beyoncé track Mine (not found on the album) which can be seen below.

The title track, Dopamine, is another terrific track which you should scour the web to try to find.  Equipped with strong lyrics and an effects-pedal laden guitar, Back to Zero is another heavy hitter on the album. Jenkins and company did put together a nice string of songs late on the album that may actually be the best tracks on Dopamine. It begins with the slower, more heartfelt and introspective track Blade.  Immediately following that is All These Things; another well-written track that fits well into the discography of the band.  Deep cut, Exiles, offers a surprise lyrical reference to David Bowie personality Ziggy Stardust for added success.  The final track, Say It, immediately reminds me of the Ursa Major track Water Landing and I instantly love it before growing and developing into something much different.  As always, it wouldn’t be a Third Eye Blind album without a “surprise track” which Say It provides in the last 15 seconds.  These final four tracks really close out the album on a strong note where the middle of the album began to fizzle out.

All-in-all, Dopamine is a far cry from the band’s best work.  It does offer glimpses of nostalgia of the late 90’s, but still relies a little too heavily on similar lyrical tropes of past albums (i.e. drugs and self-mutilation as metaphors for love).  The tracks at the beginning and end of the album are quite good, while the middle is fairly forgettable.

 


 

Meanwhile, a spry Giorgio Moroder at the age of 75 continues to make new music.  His latest release is titled Déjà Vu.

The album is full of disco-electro crossovers and numerous features.  Featured singers include Sia, Charli XCX, Kelis, Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears to (quite literally) name a few.  The album is a surprisingly enjoyable listen, with plenty to dance to.  Sia’s collaboration on the title track Déjà Vu is an early winner.

Other tracks to definitely take note on are the other singles, one featuring another artist who has been literally around for decades as well, the ageless Kylie Minogue.  Despite however old she appears to look in the video for Right Here, Right Now, the Melbourne siren is almost 50.

This track features the now famous Moog synthesizer sound that Giorgio made famous in the early days as a disco pioneer.  It may not be an overly complicated track, but it sure is easy to listen to and very easy to dance to.

One of the big surprise tracks on the album I found was the Britney Spears collaboration.  I was not surprised by Britney showing up, but rather that her offering on the album was a cover of the Suzanne Vega track Tom’s Diner.  The track is mixed surprisingly well with big orchestral flourishes between the verses supported by numerous synth styles and samples.

Lastly, I will highlight a track that features no other artists (one of only 3 on the album), the progressive house track 74 Is The New 24.  It’s driving rhythm led by a guitar riff and heavy synthesizer keeps the song moving along smoothly.  Pair it with a pretty cool music video and you’ve got yourself another winner.


 

Finally we get to the singles.  Apparently Tuesday has been the day to release new singles this year.  Once again, we have three new tracks shared early in the week to wrap our ears around.  First, we get the new single from Robert Delong which also includes a pretty cool performance video (including what looks like a game console steering wheel).

Also, Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend fame (he’s the bassist) has released another single under his electronic solo project moniker Baio which is even catchier than his first release from his upcoming album The Names.

The last (but definitely not least) track I will share with you is the first track to be released off the upcoming new album from Foals.  The track debuted today on BBC Radio 1 with Annie Mac and what shortly followed by a music video release by the band.  You can see that below.


And now, as always, here was everything acquired on this New Release Tuesday:

and be sure to follow on Facebook and on Twitter @AudiofileAkwitz to get even more music updates that don’t make the posts.

Spotify Playlists:

-Akwitz

Now Playing: FoalsWhat Went Down