17 January 2016


A finely curated collection of sounds that captured my ear, heart and mind in 2015. I'm still leaning heavy on SoundCloud as my go-to for discovering new music. I also continue to find new stuff on Noisetrade, the ISO50 blog and Twitter. I'm pretty sure I only purchased one CD this past year, so I'm finally letting go of that format for my music purchases. Definitely purchased more vinyl this year, as I'm buying all of my "forever" music in this format now (with the added convenience of the immediate digital download). The rest of my music was purchased digitally from iTunes -- due to the ability to access the music across all of my devices. And without further ado...

Purity Ring . Begin Again
Electronic pop in all it's glory! Solid track here that works best on a real set of speakers.

Mutemath . Joy Rides
I was a fan of Mutemath's self-titled debut album in 2006, but hadn't really followed their career since then, until a friend turned me onto their new album, Vitals. It's a solid album from top to bottom, featuring an evolved sound and fresh production. "Joy Rides" immediately grabs you by the hand and effortlessly leads you into the good vibes!

Young Brother . Kamikaze
Infectious indie-pop with some crazy good falsettos! The hook in this one will be stuck in your head for quite some time.

The Weeknd . Can't Feel My Face
There's a strong Michael Jackson/"King of Pop" sensibility to this track that makes it a guilty pleasure of mine. Repeat listenings are definitely in order!

Gungor . One Wild Life
The title track from their album, One Wild Life: Soul -- one of my favorite albums of the year -- brings more of Gungor's indie-pop sensibilities to the table. I had a tough time choosing between this track and Lion of Rock, another standout from this first in a series of three albums titled One Wild Life.

Missio . I've Lost My Way
Cinematic, alt-electronic goodness. Lyrically simple. Philosophically complex.

LEVV . Arrow
Lush, cinematic soundscapes, angelic vocals and pointed lyrics -- the perfect recipe for a song.

Cubicolor . Falling (feat Tim Digby-Bell)
Haunting vocals combined with that glitchy, mid-tempo synth action. For fans of recent Radiohead, Thom Yorke and Duologue (whose lead vocalist is featured here).

Fleurie . Fire In My Bones
Smoky, digitally-altered vocals that show signs of fragility at just the right times set the stage for this edgy electronic track.

Frida Sundemo . Sun
More of that cinematic, electronic goodness, which seems to be a theme in this years list. Unique vocals that dance in the realms from time-to-time set this one apart from the others. The soundtrack for your journey to the sun -- if you dare go.

Josh Garrels . A Long Way
This song tells of a journey both lyrically and musically. From Home, an album that explores family, forgiveness and homecoming -- it's another one of my favorite albums of the year.

Liza Anne . Low Tide
A singer-songwriter track with airy vocals and the perfect touch of mid-tempo instrumentation that gently lifts the spirits.

Sufjan Stevens . Should Have Known Better
Carrie & Lowell is a graceful and honest meditation on mortality, memory and faith. I fully echo the sentiments of Dave Eggers (The Guardian) who says the album "is a fall-down gorgeous and emotionally devastating masterpiece prompted by the death of [Sufjan's] mother, Carrie, in 2012. It features some of the most beautiful music ever made about loss, and some of the most direct explorations of death ever recorded. It is a brutal, extremely sad, relentlessly wrenching record that, because it’s so exquisitely crafted, you might keep on a loop for days." And for that reason, it's one of my favorite albums of the year and "Should Have Known Better" is the standout track.

The Oh Hellos . Dear Wormwood
Honest, gritty, indie-folk featuring a complex song structure that somewhat follows the track of a roller coaster as it comes to a perplexing climax before quickly and quietly trailing away as the song ends. Uniquely meditative in nature.

John Lucas - We're Lions, You and I
This is the standout track from Lucas's debut album, Promised Land -- a true, piano-driven, singer/songwriter track that turns into an upbeat sing-along when you least expect it.

Mutemath . Remain
A very different track off of Vitals, "Remain" is contemplative, downtempo gold that calls to you from the edges as it builds and moves you with its delicate beauty.

Bora York . Vibes
A delicate, slow-building, indie-pop track that leaves you with nothing but good feels at the end!

Sego . Fool Around
Quirky, feel-good alt-pop!

JGivens . Super Lowkey
The unexpected tempo and sparse production on this one from JGiven's Fly Exam makes this my favorite hip-hop track of the year.

Wolf Alice . Moaning Lisa Smile
Wolf Alice is a throwback alt-rock band with just enough modern production to keep them interesting that features an edgy, female vocalist. "Moaning Lisa Smile" is definitely the hardest-hitting track on this year's list -- for those times when you just need to let go and give the mind a rest.

Cubicolor . Clime
Next level electronic production on this track that builds and builds in the most unique of ways.

George FitzGerald . Full Circle (feat Boxed In)
FitzGerald's brand of house hits the perfect nerve for me. Rolling, hard-hitting beats with the perfect compliment of that mellowed-out synth.

Previously: 2014 IN SOUND . 2013 IN SOUND . 2012 IN SOUND . 11 IN SOUND . twenty-ten in sound . 08 IN SOUND . 2007 In Song . Six for '06

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