Music

The 50 best albums of 2015

40. Hermitude – Dark Night Sweet Light

hermi

Hermitude have always known how to kick-start a party, but their club-ready melding of hip-hop and electronic revelry graduated to a new level on their fifth LP. Blanketed with an expansive and often downcast atmosphere, it sees the Blue Mountains duo evolve from hyperactive whiz kids to moody widescreen globe-trotters. It’s sophisticated and profound, yet the hooks are huger than ever. – Doug Wallen


39. Hot Chip – Why Make Sense?

hot chip

Across half-a-dozen albums and just over a decade in the public eye, the London quintet have explored and experimented with many styles and tested out every setting on their vast array of synthesizers. Their new album Why Make Sense? again showcases their range while retaining that now familiar core sound. – David James Young


38. Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again

Pratt

On the follow-up to her 2012 self-titled debut, California native Jessica Pratt lets us eavesdrop on her spellbinding, poetic world. Home-recorded, otherworldly and completely out of its time, it’ll resonate with anyone that’s familiar with the likes of cult heroes Linda Perhacs, Karen Dalton, Vashti Bunyan and Judee Sill. – Darren Levin


37. Foals – What Went Down

foals

What Went Down is dense, and keenly focused; instead of pin balling between ideas Foals seem to have settled on a solid aesthetic. These songs are rich, at times highly emotive, and constantly simmering. Foals aren’t the band of Antidotes or Total Life Forever anymore; they’ve become something far greater. – Jules LeFevre


36. Gold Class – It’s You

gold class

Gold Class wear their influences on their collective sleeve yet they’ve corralled them into their own sound. At a time where the musical landscape is overrun with psych rock and earnest electro-soul crooners a band like Gold Class are needed. The sheets of guitar, cold rhythms and that dark poetic howl are a breath of fresh air on this highly accomplished and compelling debut album. – Chris Familton


35. Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside

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Although catering to varying tastes, the recent releases from both Kendrick Lamar and Death Grips left major waves for listeners – overshadowing Earl Sweatshirt’s humbler album. I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside doesn’t stand out for advancement for Sweatshirt or the rap genre, but offers something the other releases lacked – a human relatability. – Sean A’Hearn


34. Deerhunter – Fading Frontier

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“What’s wrong with me?” repeats Bradford Cox on the closing track of Deerhunter’s seventh album. ‘Carrion’ is typical of Fading Frontier, blending a lush pop lullaby with sentiments that grow darker the closer you inspect them. But it’s not all bleak for the famously temperamental Cox, and ‘Carrion’ also captures the album’s balancing act between gusts of empowerment (“Carry on”) and shrugs of hopelessness. – Doug Wallen


33. Twerps – Range Anxiety

twerps

Some bands exist in a fantastical parallel universe populated by a handful of people who are nothing like you or me. Other bands are just like us, albeit the version of us that can sing a bit and play guitar. Melbourne’s Twerps are the latter. Made from knotted tummies and clothes that don’t quite fit properly, their Merge label debut Range Anxiety is an album for the rut stuckers and the nail chewers. – Victoria Birch


32.Bilal – In Another Life

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Although Bilal’s expansive fourth album has been overshadowed by Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly and D’Angelo’s Black Messiah it’s a similarly iconoclastic (albeit less political) record that fuses classic soul, R&B, hip-hop, jazz, and funk. In another life Bilal would be a star to rival his better known contemporaries, but that’s no excuse for sleeping on his work. – Tom Mann


31. Faith No More – Sol Invictus

faith no more

The expectation was there for a good return to form from a band that always followed their muse no matter how much it threatened to derail their commercial potential. The reality is they’ve far exceeded that with Sol Invictus, an album that in its finest moments matches the best of their golden years. Rock isn’t dead, it sometimes just needs time to regroup and rejuvenate. – Chris Familton

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