2015 has been a great year for music, with various albums released by artists in several genres catching our ears, so we’ve decided to expand on the ‘What We’ve Loved So Far’ Feature that we did half way through the year! For this series of articles, some of the plasticmag staff have compiled their respective lists of ‘Top 5′ albums that have been released in the second half of 2015 and listed them with their reasons as to why.
Part 2: Jade Collier – Editor-in-Chief
Jade’s ‘Top 5’ list of albums released within the first half of the year consisted of the following:
1. Slaves – ‘Are You Satisfied?’
2. The Skints – ‘FM’
3. Kendrick Lamar – ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’
4. The Vaccines – ‘English Graffiti’
5. Pale Honey – ‘Pale Honey’
Jade’s list below consists of the albums she’s enjoyed in rock, indie and alternative music during the second half of 2015.
5. Foals – ‘What Went Down’
Two years after releasing their previous album ‘Holy Fire’, Foals came back this year with their fourth studio. Released on the day of Reading & Leeds , the band played secret sets at both legs of the festival. ‘What Went Down’ appears to be a more rounded album than ‘Holy Fire’ and definitively shows the gradual maturing of the band since their early indie days of ‘Antidotes’. The album has its authentic Foals moments with tracks like ‘Mountain At My Gates’ but tracks like ‘London Thunder’ mirror this reverie with a more benign and delicate sound. Yannis’ vocals are certainly still the core essence of the band. For a more solid, compelling and gritty album ‘What Went Down’ satisfies all of those.
Recommended Tracks: ‘London Thunder’, ‘A Knife In The Ocean’ & ‘What Went Down’
4. New Order – ‘Music Complete’
New Order finally returned with their long awaited tenth studio album, after five years expectations had built and they didn’t fail to impress. ‘Restless’ and ‘Tutti Frutti’ are the recently released singles from the album as the stand out tracks they are. ‘Tutti Frutti’ is like a flashback to the eighties starting with the deep bass and Sumner’s vocals, a true floor filler. The album artwork has to be applauded, created by New Order’s familiar collaborator Peter Saville, it really brings the album to life with its bright yet incredibly simple geometric style. The tracks rarely last below 5 minutes on the album in true New Order style, its wonderful how they, unlike many other bands, can make a track last so long. ‘People on the High Line’ is a positive track, with lyrics like “I keep trying, its all gonna be alright”, contrasting with ‘Stray Dog’ featuring Iggy Pop that is a darker side of New Order but still impresses with its 80’s guitar riffs. ‘Singularity’ is a fabulous fast paced anthem breaking up into a calm yet haunting wurring instrumental in between. ‘Academic’ is the prominent favourite of the album, and ensures you’ll have it on repeat. After Peter Hooks departure, my unsurety was at a high and didn’t know what to expect; was it going to be a ‘flop’… of course not with New Order. One of the albums of the year at the very least, it is sure to be one that sticks with us for years
Recommended Tracks: ‘Singularity’, ‘Tutti Frutti’ & ‘People on the High Line’
3. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – ‘Multi-Love’
Describing themselves as ‘The Best Band in the World’, Unknown Mortal Orchestra released ‘Multi-Love’ earlier this year and couldn’t have made a more funk-filled and groovy assortment of music. Having only debuted their self-titled album in 2011, the band have made waves in more than one sense. Album-titled track ‘Multi-Love’ is possibly one of the greatest tracks to come out of 2015 with its electronic vibes and harmonic vocals. ‘Ur Life One Night’ has more funk than Prince’s little finger, along with a husky beat and dancefloor rhythm to match. ‘Can’t Keep Checking My Phone’ is most definitely the dance-floor track of the album; there is so much going on in the track, it is just a multitude of sound but somehow aligns in a way that makes it crucially one of the hits of the album. The band have still retained their fundamental 60’s fuzz vibes. The fact that each of their albums stands on their own and are ever so different so one and other, it is still apparent you are listening to ‘Unknown Mortal Orchestra’. Another one to listen to is ‘Necessary Evil’ or how about just go and watch the music video here.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Multi-Love’, ‘Ur Life One Night’ & ‘Can’t Keep Checking My Phone’
2. Bill Ryder-Jones – ‘West Kirby County Primary’
The soft tones of Warrington born Bill Ryder-Jones firmly came from his latest album ‘West Kirby County Primary’. Released in November, the ex-Coral member laid his cards on the table as he sings about growing up in Merseyside and oozes nostalgia from his childhood. ‘Lets Get Away From Here’ initially forms as a graceful ballad with a soothing acoustic to accompany Bill’s charming vocals. The album resonates as a heartwarming piece but has a very raw and sentimental feeling within. ‘Catharine and Huskisson’ is as tender as it is a cry of ordinary life; “Dogs from downstairs started barking, Gill from next door is on nights and she’ll, she’ll be fucking fuming”, the detail in the lyrics takes it to another level of realism, as if we were there with him. Set with a dull organ tones cast in the background and soothing bass, ‘Satellites’transforms into a heavy brandishing of drums and guitar riffs; and as the penultimate track of the album it proves Bill is a new age of crooner. ‘West Kirby County Primary’ is certainly that special album to fall asleep to as you absorb each and every word.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Satellites’, ‘Two To Birkenhead’ & ‘Lets Get Away From Here’
1. Mac Demarco – ‘Another One’
Canadian and epitome of relaxation is Mac Demarco. Upon releasing ‘Another One’, Mac had only himself to compete with after his fantastic 2014 album ‘Salad Days’. Mac’s music is enables listeners to ‘chill’ with its light and pliable sound. Listening track by track, it is obvious the basis of the album is about his love. ‘The Way You’d Love Her’ is Mac’s typical jolly approach to romance and brimming with springy bass and guitar riffs. ‘Just to Put Me Down’ also carries Mac’s signature style right through, filled with his soft vocals and wispy guitar riffs. On his recent UK tour, Mac’s encore was all but his own; covering classic tracks such as Rammstein’s ‘Du Hast’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’. Quite a deed, however Demarco’s confidence made it one of the greatest encore’s to ever witness. Ofcourse, prompting various reactions from the crowd; a mixture of shock, laughter and pleasant surprise amongst confusion from those unfamiliar with metal; the band did the song justice with an obvious flavour of Mac’s style. Mac’s fan base is constantly growing and there is a lot of respect for him as a musician and artist. ‘Another One’ is most definitely a stand out album of 2015 and a must listen.
Recommended Tracks: ‘The Way You’d Love Her’, ‘Another One’ & ‘A Heart Like Hers’