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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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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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#NewMusicFridays – Return to Form Edition


Musicheads,

It’s been three weeks since the last #NewMusicFriday post, but in reality, there hasn’t been much to chat about.  This week however, is MUCH different.  As much as the past two weeks have lacked in terms of quality releases, this past release week made up for.  With 8 quality releases in the past week, there was more than a fair share of music to wrap your ears around.  You had new albums from BØRNS, Small Black, Keep Shelly In Athens, surprise releases from Baltimore’s Sun Club and Beach House (their 2nd release in as many months), YACHTMajical Cloudz and Neon Indian.  While I didn’t acquire them all, I do want to get right into the ones I did.

We start with the début full-length from Michigan born Garrett Borns, aka BØRNSwith Dopamine.

The album kicks off with the buzz track that hit the internet over a year ago and was featured by The Audiophile and as the Artist of The Week on EVRD back in February this year, 10,000 Emerald Pools.

BØRNS picked up a lot of traction earlier this year, and even featured in a number of commercials with his track Electric Love which has to be considered as the lead single on the album.  The rest of the album features 40 minutes of music over 11 tracks performed in a similar vein to these two tracks, featuring Garrett Borns’ falsetto vocals in a light, but refreshing approach over slower electronic-heavy accompaniment.  Another standout from the album also happened to be released on the previous Candy EPPast Lives.  The last song I do want to make mention of is The Emotion.  This track highlights exactly what makes Garrett worth listening to.  You pair his voice with an airy, West Coast living inspired backing guitar track and then heap on production value for a crisp final product.  If you enjoy these four tracks, you will also enjoy what the rest of the album has to offer.

 

Next, we move on to a former Artist Spotlight featureKeep Shelly In Athens. The Greek group returned this week with a new album and revamped lineup for Now I’m Ready.

The group’s sophomore effort brings a new lead vocalist into the fray and with it a relatively new sound.  The album starts off strong with the lead single, Fractals.

The title track is the second single, and I absolutely love it.  Now I’m Ready features fellow Greek artist Ocean Hope and begins as a very subdued track with an underwater feeling to it before building into this driving and expansive echoing finish.  I have also been deeply impressed by the track Benighted.  This track is built around an eerie melody comprised of synthesizer and keyboard while the new vocalist, Myrtha, sings, almost in the background of the track.  I also really dig the final two tracks on the album, Nobody and Hunter.  Nobody features a groovy bass line that drives the track while Hunter reminds me of Massive Attack. While the album only offers us 8 new tracks at just under 40 minutes, I’m excited to have new music from the group and far more optimistic about  more music to come in the near future.

 

We then move on to Brooklyn, by way of Texas/Mexico with that of Neon Indian and the latest album, Vega Intl. Night School.

The third release from the Alan Palomo project Neon Indian may be his best album yet.  Although it lacks the heavy-hitting single that Polish Girl was for Era Extraña, the album is packed with enough tracks you do want to listen to, including the lead single Annie,  and second single Slumlord.

The first track on the album, Hit Parade, is an excellent starter for the album and The Glitzy Hive, a track found smack dab in the middle of the album, is another one worth listening to as well.  With 14 tracks, there are a lot of different tracks with multiple builds to choose from to listen to.  The track Smut! feels like it could have fit on the previous album based on the synthesizer sounds utilized, while the following track Bozo has a sound that reminds me of Kavinsky.  It’s an interesting collection of tracks and the most complete album Palomo has released to date.  Each track transitions nicely into the next so listening through it in its entirety is seamless and enjoyable.

 

While I purchased a bunch of other albums, I’ll let you discover those for yourself.  I really would not sleep on either the Small Black or Majical Cloudz albums though.


This week offered a lot of new music from artists that have been featured by the Audiophile previously.  The singles world was no exception to this, beginning with Purity Ring getting a remix from HEALTH.

Then, we also got new music from Novo Amor in the form of the track Anchor.

Also this week, another artist that has been featured previously, Shura, partnered with Mura Masa to release a killer track Love For That.


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: Purity Ring – Begin Again (HEALTH Remix)