Top Ten of 2015 — Day 5
Written by Jared Ohgren
2015 was a wild year for me as I approach graduating college. I regrettably didn’t listen to too much music this year, but these 8 records really had an impact on me and I listen to them more frequently than I do for other records. Very excited for what 2016 has for us in the music scene and in my life. Cheers!
8. The Wonder Years – No Closer to Heaven
There aren’t many people who are surprised by the weight this band has in the scene. Suffice to say, I have countless memories that are tied with this band. Much like my older brother had his generation’s pop punk heavyweights like New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy, and Blink-182 – I have mine and it’s The Wonder Years. However, I didn’t really enjoy the band’s last effort like many fans did. No Closer to Heaven brought back the love I’ve had for this band for so long. With their 4th(ish) full length, the band explored things that I loved from The Greatest Generation even further (“Cigarettes and Saints”) and kept what I love about The Upsides and Surburbia still packing a punch (“I Don’t Like Who I Was Back Then,” “Cardinals,” and “I Wanted So Badly to be Brave”). This band is only going to continue to get better and that keeps me excited.
7. Hop Along – Painted Shut
I was never a Hop Along fan until this year and I am incredibly glad this record came out and graced 2015 with its presence. This band is just great in every fiber of the word. Frances Quinlan’s coarse vocals paired with the cleanliness of the band is infectious. I can’t really say that I have made a personal connection with this record, but it is a damn good one that I have come back to multiple times this year and enjoyed every minute of it. I can see Hop Along becoming a huge band with their next record and I’m so ready for it.
6. Knuckle Puck – Copacetic
As I have gotten older I have found myself falling more and more out of touch with what was my favorite genre 4-5 years ago. Bands in the pop punk genre are a dime a dozen and no band is really pushing the bounds of the genre. Knuckle Puck is no different, but what they do bring to the table reminds me of what I love about pop punk. It’s catchy, poignant, and at times visceral. Copacetic simply does what many other of their cohorts are doing, but way better. This is a great debut from a young band and I’m incredibly excited for their future.
5. Head North – Bloodlines
Similar to Knuckle Puck, this band just reminds me of what I loved about the pop punk genre, but puts an emo twist on it. I was incredibly late to this release this year, but after finally listening to it – I fell in love with the band. Brent Martone has a voice that I find incredibly unique and the musicianship of this band never gets lost on me while listening through this EP/their discography. This band merges beauty and grit together in their songs so perfectly and always makes me want to come back to listen for a hundredth time. Yet again another young band who will continue to improve over their lifespan as I wait patiently for them to become a force to be reckoned with.
4. Travi$ Scott – Rodeo
I really love Kanye West and I really loved Yeezus (it took a while, but I warmed up to it), so hearing in interviews about that record that West had learned a lot and was influenced by a rapper/producer named Travi$ Scott (of whom I never had heard of) got me curious. A little after 2 years since Yeezus’ release, we get news that Travi$ Scott’s long-awaited debut album is finally coming. Rodeo is undoubtedly heavily derivative of some of Kanye’s best work and that probably is why I enjoyed this record so much, but it’s a nice breath of fresher air than the overflow of trap music 2015 has given us. This record’s production is ugly and gritty and that’s what keeps me coming back to it – not to mention this record has one of my favorite songs of the year on it (“Antidote”). Like most of this list, this is another release from a young artist/band which is awesome.
3. Delta Sleep – Twin Galaxies
To be completely honest, before 2015 I had never heard of this band. This band popped up on my Spotify recommended sometime last month and I listened to this album in complete awe. Like I stated before I have fallen out of the pop punk scene and my tastes have switched to more math-rock/ambient/emo bands and Delta Sleep has crafted one of my favorite math-rock/ambient albums in my recent memory. These songs just fucking rip. After listening to Twin Galaxies and realizing the band was a four-piece, I became even more enamored with the record/band. From the musicianship to production to melodies to length, I love everything about this record. This record was definitely a sleeper hit for me since it did come out in June and I didn’t find out about it until now, but I want this band in my ears pretty much every minute I can.
2. The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Harmlessness
What more can I say about this record that hasn’t been said already. Harmlessness is a phenomenal record. It’s an experience when you listen to it from front to back. You can listen to this record and just leave the world for an hour. It has an infinite amount of layers to it, utilizing the left and right headphone to its benefit. There is no band that is doing what this band is doing. As someone who was not a fan of Whenever, If Ever I have come completely around as a huge fan of this band. I cannot remember a time where I was listening to a song that genuinely interested me for all its little parts that created the song I was listening to. Harmlessness is going to be a record I listen to and remember where I was when I first heard it.
1. Foxing – Dealer
Just like Harmlessness, I don’t really know what else to say about this record. This record was my most anticipated record of 2015. The hype for this record was unreal, yet it exceeded the hype ten fold. Much like The World Is.. and Delta Sleep, this record is immaculately engineered. Every instrument plays off each other perfectly. Dealer is a beautiful record. It’s haunting. It’s emotional. It’s interesting. It’s unique. It’s a piece of art. You can ask pretty much anyone who has listened to this record and they will say the same thing. Dealer is a perfect record.