The 50 best albums of 2015

20. The Internet – Ego Death


The LA crew fronted by Odd Future Syd the Kyd and featuring Thundercat’s little brother Jameel Bruner on keys got real smooth with their third album teaming up with Janelle Monáe, Vic Mensa, and Tyler the Creator on a dazzlingly seductive album of hazy future-soul. Heartache has never sounded so sweet. – Tom Mann

19. Laura Marling – Short Movie

Laura Marling works within the folk tradition but at the same time roughs it up. That’s especially true of her fifth album, the first written on electric guitar and a restless document of her stint living in Los Angeles. It’s full of questions – posed both outward and inward – and those constant enquiries find an ideal engine in Marling’s loping, rattling guitar work. – Doug Wallen

18. Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon


A series of tragic circumstances – from a break-up to a sliced hand to his mum getting cancer – led Tobias Jesso Jr to the piano stool. And the freakishly tall Canadian battler is all the better for it. Harking back to the classic songwriting of Randy Newman and ‘Can We Still Be Friends’-era Todd Rundgren, Goon – like the best/worst kind of relationship – is an album you won’t be getting over anytime soon. – Darren Levin

17. Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass


Recorded in 2012 and released at the beginning of this year Natalie Prass’ debut calls back to a very different era of music-making recalling early ‘70s singer-songwriters like Randy Newman or Harry Nilsson, while the warm cushion of horns and this-side-of-chintzy string arrangement recall Burt Bacharach’s work with Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield. But Prass keeps the nostalgia to a minimum, producing an album that is sublimely tasteful and sophisticated. – Joel Turner

16. Dick Diver – Melbourne, Florida


Dick Diver’s third album, Melbourne, Florida, is the band’s most ambitious and outward looking release yet. The group have shrugged off their ‘dolewave’ origins for the smooth tones of ‘70s and ‘80s FM rock, sounding completely at ease and distinctive as ever. – Annie Toller

15. Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon


By their own admission, Melbourne fusion outfit Hiatus Kaiyote concern themselves with making “multi-dimensional, polyrhythmic, gangster shit.” It’s a pretty self-aware statement, and one that becomes even more fully realised with the release of their mesmerising, and impressively complex second record, Choose Your Weapon. – Jules LeFevre

14. Royal Headache – High


In just under half an hour, these 10 songs re-establish both Royal Headache’s breakneck melodicism and Shogun’s throaty vocal affirmations. His voice is notably higher in the mix than last time, and the guitar hooks are more jubilant than ever, but the band are still rough around the edges. That shaky marriage of lo-fi pub punk and Shogun’s heartening, soul-laced delivery is exactly what makes the band so special. – Doug Wallen

13. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love


Ruban Nielson may have done a lot of things with his career, but one thing he has never done is settle on a sound. Multi-Love marks the project’s third studio album, and there’s a lot to be said for the fact that the trio are still finding new ways to experiment and redefine their collective sound. Multi-Love marks their best LP yet for Nielson and the rest of the Orchestra. – David James Young

12. Blur – The Magic Whip


This album may not be loaded with extroverted would-be hits, but its woozy grandeur already has the stuff of real staying power. It’s up there with Blur’s best albums, and a reminder of just how well the band reconcile their divergent ideas. – Doug Wallen

11. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06


Summertime may suggest good times but Vince Staples’ debut album is anything but sunny. Billed as a double album but packed into a tight 60 minutes, the album showcases Staples’ unflinching verses over twitchy, menacing beats from Clams Casino and No ID. If the 22-year old Stapes is actually serious about retiring by 2018 at least he’s going to leave us at least one classic. – Tom Mann

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