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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

Now Playing: The Audiophile: Top 51 Tracks of 2015

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Audiophile Concert Series – Glass Animals w/ Gabriel Garzón-Montano @ 9:30 Club


Musicheads,

It was a fine Wednesday to spend in the nation’s capitol enjoying some quality live music.  That is exactly what everyone at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC got thanks to the performance of UK band Glass Animals.

Before I get to the headliners though, I do want to make mention of the opener Gabriel Garzón-Montano.  This solo artist hails from Brooklyn and was born from a unique mix of French and Colombian parents.  His musical style is that of neo-funk and soul and draws instant connections to Stevie WonderJason MrazMaxwell and John Legend.

Considering these lofty comparisons and obvious influences there is a lot of potential clearly visible in his music and voice.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t seemed to get it completely right just yet.  While his voice is unique and draws comparisons to that of Stevie Wonder, he falls just a bit short.  His compositions and production are similar to Maxwell and John Legendonce again something is just a bit off or missing.  It’s not anything glaring in his performance or compositions that makes his sound just that bit off, but more of a bunch of small things that a bit of coaching could fix.  Don’t get me wrong, he has composed some excellent tracks already, the perfect example was his opener on the evening Everything Is Everything.

It’s his other compositions unfortunately that miss the mark.  The potential is definitely there, things just need a bit of a tweak.  It seems both in his recorded performances as well as live he tends to zig when he needs to zag and things fall flat consequently.  It is a shame, because the potential is clearly visible, and I believe a slight nudge in the right direction may be all it takes to garner fantastic results, as the cat definitely has talent.   We shall see if he receives that sort of attention.

Sooooo, now let’s move onto the main event of the evening, Glass Animals.  The UK lads really brought it to the sold out 9:30 Club that evening. Kicking the show off with Black Mambo the boys knew how to get the show started on the right foot.  The band’s mellow yet sensual vibes permeated the room all night, while lead singer Dave Bayley remained active on stage all night and continuously danced around.

The show included a rendition of Gooey that seemed to go on forever (of which no one in the crowd was complaining) and a super slow version of Hazey.  Toes was another track that the band mellowed the hell out of and made it sexy as all get out.  To add to the already enjoyable show, the band debuted live for the first time a track they released earlier that day online as well, Gold Lime.  The track is a fusion of Erykah Badu’s The Healer and Yeah Yeah YeahsGold Lion in the typical Glass Animals format with fantastically catchy results.

The group played an hour-long set before departing the stage, to a roaring sustained ovation from the crowd.  They returned for a brief but excellent two-song encore, beginning with their popular Kanye cover Love Lockdown and closing with a massive performance of Pools.

All in all, this was a fantastic show for a Wednesday night.  Relatively low-key in musical style, yet high in peanut buttery vibes; a perfect mid-week breakup of the work week.  Be sure to check out some photos from the show on the Instagram and in the full photo album linked below.

Instagram: @AudiophileAkwitz

More of my photos from the night: Glass Animals w/ Gabriel Garzón-Montano @ 9:30 Club

 

Akwitz

Now Playing: Glass Animals – Gold Lime


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New Music Tuesdays – Newsworthy Edition


Musicheads,

This week unfortunately offered very few options of any import on the new album release front, but there have been some headline-making music announcements.  Because of the lack of any album purchases (and with expected purchases coming this Saturday for Record Store Day 2015) I will spend this week’s New Music Tuesday post highlighting singles and other music news.

We will start with festival announcements.  This past weekend kicked off festival season with Coachella Weekend 1 (which was both live streamed online and select performances were aired live on Sirius XM Satellite radio and plenty highlights came out of it.  Apart from the whole DrakeMadonna and Justin Bieber PR clickbait bullshit, the weekend was full of musical performance ups and downs.  For instance, AC/DC rocked Friday night’s headline performance, and Florence + The Machine performed likewise (her full performance is here: https://vid.me/fGpp)

You can catch her performance and many others over at the Coachella 2015 Vid.me page: https://vid.me/coachella2015

Meanwhile, Alt-J offered a disappointingly pitchy and vocally flat performance.  Speaking of Floshe also announced today that she actually broke her foot during her Coachella performance and therefore has had to alter her upcoming tour schedule.

This offers the perfect segway into the next news story, Glastonbury. Ms. Welch does expect to be up and spinning around again onstage by the time the annual UK music festival rolls around again in late June.  Today also marked a major announcement for the 2015 iteration of the festival, a major lineup reveal!

As previously announced, Foo Fighters and Kanye West (begrudgingly) are the two named headliners, with a mysterious third headliner still under wraps.  However, despite the headliner announcements the initial festival lineup release looks stacked as always.

Speaking of lineup announcements, NY’s Governor’s Ball Festival announced it’s “After Dark” lineup of shows each night after the festival ends for the day around the multiple NYC venues.  If you don’t happen to make the festival itself, these shows are definite spots to be.

In other news, a rash of singles were released at the beginning of this week, including the latest release off the upcoming album from Best Coast:

Also worth noting are recently new tracks from the artists Alpine and Bully:

I will leave you with an actual album to be sure to check out today though.  Spotify currently has an exclusive early premier of the début album from Joywave that they have posted today.  Don’t miss out on the album How Do You Feel Now? which features a lot of old television samples and the tracks Tongues feat. KOPPS, Somebody New and a couple other interesting tracks such as Destruction and In Clover.

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: Chromatics – In Films