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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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#NewMusicFridays – There Will Be Blood Edition


Musicheads,

No, despite the allusion to the Daniel Day-Lewis led film, there will not be literal blood spilled in this week’s #NewMusicFriday post.  However, there is a surprisingly strong blood theme going on for whatever reason.  This week’s releases were not significantly abundant or monumental, but the singular purchase I made this week was well worth it, Lianne La Havas’ latest album Blood.

Lianne’s sophomore album is an artful piece of soulful new music.  The album has a number of solid guest producers who each worked on a track or two to create some very successful tracks.  The album is led by the single Green & Gold with the help of producer and neo-soul singer Jamie Liddell but there is much more to this album.  With vocal talents akin to Alicia Keys, you expect to hear some powerful singing throughout the album and that is exactly what you get.

A perfect example of this is the opener Unstoppable which was produced by Paul Epworth.  With the big production of Epworth partnering with (but carefully, not overtaking) La Havas’ voice the song is neo-soul pop gold.  La Havas traveled to Jamaica to reconnect with her roots on this album and her trip directly  lot of the music found on the album.  When interviewed, she stated she should have just recorded the entire album in Jamaica for the amount of inspiration she received from the trip

What You Don’t Do is one that can’t be missed with both fabulous singing, solid rhythm and a clever take on a relationship on the rocks.  I could go on highlighting the vocals of every track on this album, but I’ll let you go discover that for yourself.   I will tell you though, do not skip Midnight.

With a voice like hers, its tough to not highlight every song.  The album offers both high and low-energy tracks and a number of musical arrangements, (with my personal favorites where a horn section is involved) and the ever-dominant voice from Lianne. There have been a number of incredibly powerful female vocalists coming out of the UK of late, from Lianne to Adele to Laura Mvula and Ella Eyre and the world couldn’t be happier.  Lianne La Havas’ much-anticipated sophomore album is well worth the wait and more than a few listens.

 


It’s a singles kinda of world we live in now, so let’s focus on some of the singles shared this week as well.  First, we have a surprisingly good single from one of the most unlikely of artists to show up on The Audiophile, Carly Rae Jepsen.  The track was produced by Rostam Batmanglij (of Vampire Weekend) and you can really hear his influence on the track.

And then there were new music videos popping up left and right on the internet this week.  First we have a video for the Foals excellent new single Mountain At My Gates which was shot on a GoPro under the direction of Foals go-to Nabil with a crafty interactive 360-degree video.

Then we got both a new track from and new video from Baio (Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend’s solo project) in the form of Endless Rhythm and Sister Of Pearl.

Lastly, we have a rework by Aussie Chet Faker, who reworked his track 1998 from his 2014 album Built On Glass to now feature Banks with both a new verse and vocal harmonies.

 


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: Chet Faker – 1998 (feat. Banks)