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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 – The 200th Edition


Musicheads,

This week’s releases had its share of  music to talk about.  On top of that, this is the 200th post for the Audiophile since its inception just over two and a half years ago.  I consider that a sizable accomplishment considering the amount of content delivered in as much detail from a singular contributor whose day job eats up 50-60 hours per week, is not a professional copy writer or in the music industry (although I had been in the past).  While I would have loved to have reached this milestone a lot sooner, things like life and work have gotten in the way and slowed the pace of my output.  While that is simply an excuse, don’t think for a minute that the music discovery (and sharing) will stop, so hopefully you will be able to count on The Audiophile for 200 more!  All-in-all, I am proud of the body of work shared so far and expect much more for the future.

Well now that I’ve gotten that out-of-the-way, let’s get into the music!  As of this week, we now have a complete late night television roster with the début of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  The shows début ended with a star-studded musical performance that MUST be seen, as the star-power on stage was just marvelous as the group performed the equally epic track Everyday People originally performed by Sly & The Family Stone.

Here is the link: http://video.vulture.com/video/Late-Show-Musical-Performance

Aside from that, new releases from Empress Of, Ben Folds, Superhumanoids, Low, Chick Corea & Béla Fleck, Beirut and Gary Clark Jr. all hit stores on Friday.


 

We start off with the guitar virtuoso that was hailed as the next rising star in Blues a few years back when he came out with his track Bright LightsGary Clark Jr..

His second studio album The Story of Sonny Boy Slim lives up to the hype (which was fairly non-existent) after his début album was raked over the coals for “not being Blues enough”, over produced and having too many features on it.  While that may be harsh criticism for his début, it still holds true, since his best work was his guitar-led Blues.  Well, this album tends to stay more true to what works best for Gary, and this is why this album lands a lot better than Blak And Blu did.  The album opens with a very solid single in The Healing, which relies on Gary’s bluesy guitar work and raw vocals.   Shortly thereafter arrives another excellent bluesy track in Grinder, still staying strong in Gary’s wheelhouse.  The third track on the album happens to be one of my favorite from Gary’s latest release.  The track is titled Star and is slower and less bluesy than its predecessors, but I thoroughly enjoy it all the same.

The fifth track on the album, Church is an excellent delta blues type track, emphasized ever further with an acoustic guitar and harmonica combo and a tambourine backing percussion.  The last track I will bring to your attention is Can’t Sleep as it has a very Chic-esque guitar rhythm that drives the entire song, and I really dig it.  As for the rest of the album, I will let you discover it for yourself.  I have left the entire album here for you to stream accordingly for your listening pleasure.  I can tell you that if you liked the tracks above you won’t want to miss the rest of the album.

 

 


The other album purchased this week was the latest album from Albuquerque, New Mexico’s very own BeirutNo No No.

The gypsy-esque sound of the group is less visible on the latest creation from the group, but it is not a bad thing either.  The album is spearheaded by the title track and lead single No No No.

The second single Gibraltar actually kicks off the album and is quite an enjoyable bongo-beat track.  As Needed is the next track I will mention.  It lacks words, yet is fully engrossing nonetheless, pulling you in with rich crescendos and crisp instrument sounds that wrap around your ears ever so soothingly.  The track is very autumnal and fairly jazzy, so as the seasons begin to transition further, you will probably really dive into this track.

The 9-track album as a whole flows along quite nicely and before you even know it, the album is over.  This actually lends to this album’s appeal in my mind as you easily get caught up in the smooth, warm and rich sounds created in the music that flows through this album seemingly naturally.

 


When it comes to singles, this week isn’t too shabby either.  We start with a new track from Neon Indian titled Slumlord.  Although the track didn’t show up this week (but mid-August), I still feel the need to share it.

Then, we’ve got yet another track released from Scotish trio CHVRCHES ahead of their September 25th sophomore album release.  Take a listen to Clearest Blue:

Next are a trio of new tracks from Small Black, the first two are respectively titled Back At Belle’s and No One Wants It To Happen To You, which go along with the first track released, Boys Life, all being released in anticipation of the group’s next album.  These tracks offer a newer, different sound than the band’s previous release.

I will close out this post with a track that is also slightly less than new, but just feels right for a 200th post, so enjoy the remix!


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: Funk Le Blanc – Waves (La Felix Remix)