Under the Radar’s Top 100 Albums of 2015

Dec 16, 2015
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We're not sure how most music publications can cap their Albums of the Year lists at 50, there are too many worthy albums most years to leave it at that. Last year Under the Radar published a Top 140 Albums of 2014 list and in 2013 it was 125. This year we calmed down a little and settled on an easy Top 100. Even then there were about five or so albums I regret us leaving off the list (but a Top 105 just doesn't have quite the right ring to it).

Here's how it went down. Twenty-eight of our writers and editors (including our two publishers) each submitted their personal Top 45 albums of 2015 lists and then those were all combined and calculated together to form this master list. For an album to make the list it had to be picked by at least three writers, but most were picked by more writers than that. Our #1 album was the runaway winner, with all but five of those who voted having it on their list somewhere. Each album in our Top 10 was picked by an average at least 20 of our writers.

While certainly many albums on our Top 100 have also shown up on other critics' Best Albums of 2015 lists, each year we are confounded by the multitude of great releases that don't find themselves on many other lists besides our own. But one of the chief joys of doing Under the Radar is championing worthy artists and albums that are shut out of the cycle of hype and thus neglected. Our partial and simple hope with this list is that you'll discover a new favorite that you may have missed in 2015. Finally, be sure to pick our Best of 2015 print issue, due out soon. It features new interviews with around 25 of the artists featured on this list, including five of the artists in our Top 10.

So read on to see how Father John tamed Wolf Alice in a beach house with a deer hunter and an Indian that was neon, while evading a sex witch and a priest from LA. It's a trip to the fading frontier with Carrie and Lowell, but make sure every eye is open as you brave the currents and return to the moon or you might meet the grim reaper and get to heaven. By Mark Redfern

1.

Father John Misty

I Love You, Honeybear

Sub Pop

It’s unlikely Joshua Tillman had being at the top of End of Year lists in mind when he wrote his I Love You, Honeybear. In an immensely personal and disarming 40 minutes, Tillman graphically expresses the carnality, tragedy, and occasional malapropos of love. But it’s the breathtaking melodies that make this record so remarkable. Each song swells like a country-tinted symphony that pushes and pulls on every possible heartstring. A treasure chest of honest, emotional fragility, this is the year’s most unexpected and glorious triumph. By Billy Hamilton

2.

Tame Impala

Currents

Interscope

The synth-powered Currents may sound like a stylistic leap from Kevin Parker’s psych rock (and it is), but upon closer inspection you’ll find a progression of his way with a melody that flourishes in this context. “The Less I Know the Better” is madly catchy, though with “Let It Happen” you can even hear the tune burrow under your skin. By Hays Davis

3.

Wolf Alice

My Love Is Cool

Dirty Hit/RCA

Like the final project for a survey course in ’90s rock music, Wolf Alice’s debut hops from tone to tone, sound to sound, influence to influence, and impossibly manages to not only hold it all together, but to create a thrilling whole led by Ellie Rowsell’s exceptional vocals. There are strains of Nirvana, Hole, Mazzy Star, Bettie Serveert, and countless other bands over the course of My Love is Cool’s diverse 13 tracks. If Rowsell keeps it together, it’s Joff Oddie’s guitar that leaps around the radio dial, from luminous (“Freazy”) to driving (“Giant Peach”) to gentle (“Swallowtail”) in consecutive songs. In spite of its 20-plus year old influences, My Love is Cool is a thoroughly modern album, perhaps the most modern, as the band’s ability to switch gears mirrors the attention span of the casual listener, where the next sound is a click away. By Jim Scott

4.

Julia Holter

Have You in My Wilderness

Domino

That Have You in My Wilderness is Julia Holter’s most spellbinding record to date tells you all you need to know about it. Immaculate in both arrangement and execution, each track aches to the porcelain gasps of Holter’s soaring vocal. Bewitching, beautiful, and utterly irresistible, Wilderness is the sound of an artist reaching an exquisite new level. By Billy Hamilton

5.

Sufjan Stevens

Carrie & Lowell

Asthmatic Kitty

If some of the best art comes from sadness, Sufjan Stevens’ heart must have broken into a million pieces this year. Carrie & Lowell came from his mother’s death, and her memory haunts these quiet, moving and breathtakingly beautiful songs about love, parents, death, God, and growing up. It’s a stunning achievement. By Ryan E.C. Hamm

6.

Courtney Barnett

Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Mom + Pop

Courtney Barnett surprised everyone with one of the most refreshingly energetic albums of 2015. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, the debut album from the Melbourne singer/songwriter, scratches an itch you never knew was there, reuniting nostalgic slacker-rock charm with fresh hooks and elegant musicianship. It is as blissfully solid as any musician could hope for from a first album, offering merely a glimpse of Barnett’s potential. By Cody Ray Shafer

7.

Deerhunter

Fading Frontier

4AD

Deerhunter emerge from the cloistered dread of Monomania to create their most honed pop album to date. Gorgeously chiming guitars and rich textures rule this time around, as Bradford Cox finds beauty in the junk shop quotidian, examining his place in the American South as an imperative to craft a modern gothic beauty. By John Everhart

8.

Beach House

Depression Cherry

Sub Pop

On Beach House’s fifth full-length, the duo’s familiar sonic shadings are rendered with masterful care, while the unexpected hues emit an alien beauty. The band has refashioned the minimalism of their early work to fit a canvas of epic proportions, resulting in a sound that’s at once intimate and limitless. By Michael Wojtas

9.

CHVRCHES

Every Open Eye

Glassnote

Gorgeous synthpop that soars from melodic strength to melodic strength, and one of the strongest albums released this year—four singles so far, all deserving of the name, and more to come if they so choose. CHVRCHES are Taylor Swift and Katy Perry with a better and broader knowledge of ’80s music: in short—excellent pop. By Aug Stone

10.

EL VY

Return to the Moon

4AD

“Scratched a ticket with the leg of a cricket and I got triple Jesus.” So begins Return to the Moon, a jaunty, cinematic project that manages to perfectly blend the whimsical indie pop of Menomena with The National’s deadpan moodiness. No other album this year was so densely produced, yet so warm and genuine. Brent Knopf and Matt Berninger, respectively from the aforementioned bands (Knopf formerly of Menomena and currently of Ramona Falls, Berninger of The National), teamed up to form EL VY, and here’s hoping the project continues beyond one album. Return to the Moon contains enough scenes and tones to make several short films, like the humorous hotel sex scene in “I’m the Man to Be,” or the heartfelt exploration of a musical past in “It’s a Game.” While there may not be a new album by The National or Ramona Falls coming out in 2016, Return to the Moon has enough wealth to tide fans over and maybe create new ones. By Scott Dransfield

11.

Kendrick Lamar

To Pimp a Butterfly

Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope

Kendrick Lamar is arguably the reigning king of hip-hop, and To Pimp a Butterfly is the strongest evidence for his supremacy. It manages heavy themes without heavy-handedness, exploring the social conflicts fame and success bring for a black man in America. Lamar’s lyrical gifts are on full display, combing through literary references and scathing examinations of the political landscape. To Pimp a Butterfly is not only one of the most important hip-hop albums of all time, but a 21st century masterpiece of American music. By Cody Ray Shafer

12.

Grimes

Art Angels

4AD

Art Angels was one of the most hyped releases of 2015, and yet it managed to exceed any expectations by not holding anything back. Grimes successfully faced the wild anticipation for her fourth album by confounding music audiences altogether. Is this mainstream pop? Art rock? Indie garbage? All of the above? Art Angels is as difficult to pin down as its eccentrically endearing creator, but that’s exactly why it managed to convert so many listeners. This album could nearly blend into mainstream Taylor Swift fare with the twangy stomp of “California,” but still manages a glitter-punk vibe with “Kill V. Maim.” Meanwhile, songs like “Easily” and “REALiTi” are some of Grimes’ best work, blurring the lines between confidence and vulnerability. By Cody Ray Shafer

13.

Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass

Spacebomb/StarTime International

An utterly spectacular debut record which recalls a bit of Dusty Springfield and other soulful ’60s vocalists. This collection of disarming, heartbreaking songs with delicately woven arrangements puts Prass in a position to be indie’s next great songwriter; few others are armed with her emotional punch. By Austin Trunick

14.

Beach House

Thank Your Lucky Stars

Sub Pop

While Depression Cherry radiates warmth, its stately follow-up is like an ice castle sculpted from Alex Scally’s guitar textures and Victoria Legrand’s voice and keyboards. A vast, frostily majestic work, the album beckons to us from afar, trading immediacy for an enigmatic remoteness that offers new mysteries with every listen. By Michael Wojtas

15.

Kurt Vile

b'lieve i'm goin down…

Matador

It’s hard to believe people like Kurt Vile still exist, laying down dark, moody tracks laden with soulful guitar tricks and poetically introspective lyrics. Channeling the troubadour icons that came before him, like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, b’lieve i’m goin down… is proof that sometimes tried and true formulas can still make great records. And yet it is still defiantly modern, offering existential perspectives on individuality while meandering through listless thoughts. In other words, it is damn good. By Cody Ray Shafer

16.

Joanna Newsom

Divers

Drag City

Most artists wouldn’t consider an 11-track, 52-minute record “scaled back,” but for Newsom, that’s the case. The harpist spent four years writing Divers, which feels far more focused than the sprawling, 3-LP Have One On Me—it’s a suite of fantastic songs that won’t require a whole evening to absorb. By Austin Trunick

17.

Sleater-Kinney

No Cities to Love

Sub Pop

One of the defining acts of the riot grrl movement return after a decade of silence with No Cities to Love, an album that churns through blistering rock grooves that stick. While doling out dissertations on the mundanity of modern life, Sleater-Kinney established a new high point for comeback records. By Cody Ray Shafer

18.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Multi-Love

Jagjaguwar

The critical fawning over Unknown Mortal Orchestra hasn’t wavered since “Ffunny Ffrends” surfaced, but it’s Multi-Love’s heightened buzz that brought Ruban Nielson’s exploratory, engaging psych-pop to the mainstream. The soulful spine, the synth baths, the jangling and clanging—it’s an overpowering concoction we readily gulped down again and again in 2015. By Matt Conner

19.

Mew

+-

[PIAS]

Denmark’s Mew continue to mine fecund pop territory on +/- , an album that easily clears the bar they’ve set ridiculously high for themselves. Riffs chug and wind like a spring-coil around frontman Jonas Bjerre’s vulnerable tenor, building to the grandiose sweep of closer “Cross the River on Your Own,” a fever dream death rumination. By John Everhart

20.

Neon Indian

VEGA INTL. Night School

Mom + Pop

Alan Palomo’s latest was born of a decision to merge Neon Indian with his dance music project, VEGA; it has a fun, funky vibe that’s a considerable distance from the warped and faded aesthetic he helped proliferate during the chillwave era. We’ll welcome evolution over a retread any day. By Austin Trunick

21.

Foals

What Went Down

Warner Bros.

What Went Down is the most personal Foals album to date. Fluctuating between aggression and submission, What Went Down’s uncensored lyricism captures raw feelings and spits them out. For every angry grinding number, such as “Snake Oil,” there is an antidotal, melodious soother, like “Night Swimmers,” eventually settling into jangly, pop-friendly songs such as “London Thunder” and “Lonely Hunter.” By Lily Moayeri

22.

Panda Bear

Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

Domino

Following the knottiness of Tomboy and the splatter painting that was Animal Collective’s Centipede Hz., Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper offers Noah Lennox’s most fluid, generous music in over half a decade. The title suggests an ending of sorts, but this is really another route forward for a restlessly progressive artist. By Michael Wojtas

23.

Jamie xx

In Colour

Young Turks

Turns out Jamie Smith does just as well without the rest of The xx. On In Colour the super-producer taps into the early ’90s, which he was too young to have experienced firsthand. He nevertheless captures the nostalgia so deftly and universally, all you can say is, “Oh My Gosh.” By Lily Moayeri

24.

Low

Ones and Sixes

Sub Pop

On their 11th album, Ones and Sixes, Low prove they can still play with divine fire. Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s vocals blend into an androgynous blur on this electro-tinged masterpiece, evocative of 2007’s Drums and Guns in its choppy beats and inverted melodic structures. By John Everhart

25.

John Grant

Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

Partisan

This is no soft-focus tribute to the sweeter nuances of romantic coupling. With a name that translated literally from Icelandic and Turkish means “Midlife Crisis Nightmare,” Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, is a twisted pop backdrop for Grant’s sharp-tongued, gimlet-eyed observations. Rendered in Grant’s stentorian baritone, it’s often difficult to tell where the joke ends and reality begins, even when he digs into his painful past and middle-aged present, neither of which can quite compete with the horrors of childhood cancer or Middle Eastern violence. (“They say let go, let go, let go, you must learn to let go!/If I hear that fucking phrase again, this baby’s gonna blow!”) But therein lies the appeal. Delivered alongside a PVC-clad beat or orchestral swell, the album’s lyrics are a tribute to life’s biggest heavens and hells—and just how often the two can be bridged with a tongue permanently lodged in cheek. By Laura Studarus

26.

Gwenno

Y Dydd Olaf

Heavenly

The ex-Pipette turns sonic adventuress to deliver one of the most intriguing records in recent memory. Inspired by an obscure ’70s Welsh sci-fi novel and sung in her native tongue, Gwenno marries her innate pop sensibilities with bad-ass grooves and enchanting space noise, while lyrically musing on revolution, patriarchy, and the nature of time. By Aug Stone

27.

Wilco

Star Wars

dBpm/ANTI-

Jeff Tweedy and company caught us off-guard. A surprise record named after the biggest movie of the year, and with that silly cover? It had to be a joke, right? No: it’s their best record in a while, with some psychedelic fuzz giving their alt-country tones an unexpected, harder-rocking edge. By Austin Trunick

28.

Tamaryn

Cranekiss

Mexican Summer

Cocteau Twins meet Beach House? Yes, please. That pretty much sums up Cranekiss, the excellent third album from New Zealand’s immensely talented Tamaryn. The record is somewhat of a rebranding (more synth, less guitar). And it’s a total success. Bright and textured, Cranekiss is Tamaryn’s best to date. By Kenny S. McGuane

29.

Ducktails

St. Catherine

Domino

Real Estate’s Matt Mondanile’s fifth outing with his solo project Ducktails, St. Catherine is dreamy, idyllic, and personal. The prettiness of St. Catherine belies how revealing Mondanile is being on the album. He takes the drama up a level with strings on “Medieval” and orchestrations on “Church,” the latter of which he duets with Julia Holter. By Lily Moayeri

30.

FFS

FFS

Domino

The teaming of Scotland’s Franz Ferdinand with quirky Los Angeles art-rock duo Sparks may have once been a daydream for someone’s musical fantasy league, but in 2015 FFS made it happen. With peaks including the nervous energy of “Johnny Delusional” and the highly amusing “Collaborations Don’t Work,” this collaboration warrants at least an FFS II. By Hays Davis

31.

Everything Everything

Get to Heaven

Sony/RCA

On Get to Heaven, U.K. art-rock weirdos Everything Everything manage to simultaneously sound stranger and more accessible than anything they’ve previously done. “Distant Past,” one of the year’s best singles, rides a downright clubby guitar refrain and dance beat, while frontman Jonathan Higgs unleashes his trademark howl and jittery delivery in service of exploring the ways humanity repeats its mistakes. That’s just one song—each track here is similarly stuffed with concepts, delivered in Everything Everything’s unique, multicolored sound. Fans of off-kilter genre experimentation who may have missed the U.K.-only release should check out Get to Heaven when it’s re-released in America early next year. By Scott Dransfield

32.

SEXWITCH

SEXWITCH

Echo/BMG

Given that almost every cut is a reworking of an age-old folk song, there’s something strangely accessible about SEXWITCH’s debut. Oozing vitality and intensity, Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan and psych masters Toy have created a record that’s sonically weird, aesthetically sensual, and rhythmically propulsive. An essential and hypnotic listen. By Billy Hamilton

33.

New Order

Music Complete

Mute

So Peter Hook leaves the band and then New Order make their best and most New Order-y sounding record since Technique? Interesting. With all the bullshit and backstabbing and the 10 year hiatus, there’s no reason Music Complete should be this good. But it is. A back-to-the-roots career highlight for sure. Can’t wait to see what’s next. By Kenny S. McGuane

34.

Björk

Vulnicura

One Little Indian/Sony

Björk’s best album since Vespertine is also her most personal album to date. While dissecting the dissolution of her longtime relationship with artist Matthew Barney, the Icelandic singer finds deep corners of emotion rarely quantified and illuminates them beautifully. Each track maintains her trademark curiosity, but wizened with unparalleled maturity and restraint. By Cody Ray Shafer

35.

Car Seat Headrest

Teens of Style

Matador

Capturing the imagination of youth with a surfeit of verve, Car Seat Headrest’s proper debut is a reverb-drenched homespun melodic masterpiece. Frontman Will Toledo sublimates suburban ennui into kiss-the-sky indie pop anthems, cribbing from heavyweights ranging from The Beatles to Guided by Voices, all the while maintaining his distinctly idiosyncratic voice. By John Everhart

36.

Florence and the Machine

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

Republic/Island

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful offered fans a welcome follow-up to 2011’s Ceremonials, with Florence Welch’s gale-force vocals powering some of her best material to date including the rousing single “Ship to Wreck” and sweeping title track. It also suggested that a career peak is nowhere in sight. By Hays Davis

37.

Amason

Sky City

Fairfax/INGRID

Five multi-talented Swedes put out a debut which sounds at times like throwback indie rockers Black Mountain, at others the next coming of Fleetwood Mac. The songs either lift you up with breezy tones, or knock you down with dramatic flair—much pleasure comes in the surprise of which, when, and how they get you. By Austin Trunick

38.

LA Priest

Inji

Domino

Never quite recovered from how great Sam Dust’s former group Late of the Pier were? The one-time frontman has lost none of his game as the infuriatingly catchy “Oino” attests. On his album as LA Priest, Inji, Dust gets as weird as he wants, touching on both space disco and funky earthiness through psychedelic channels. By Lily Moayeri

39.

Laura Marling

Short Movie

Ribbon

Laura Marling responded to her quarter-life crisis by picking up an electric guitar for the first time. Result? The British musician partly shed the “folk” tag with the melodic jolts of “False Hope,” “Don’t Let Me Bring You Down,” and “Short Movie.” If she’s this good at 25, imagine how great her midlife crisis album will be. By Stephen Humphries

40.

My Morning Jacket

The Waterfall

ATO/Capitol

Prior to 2015, long-running mystical roots-rock band My Morning Jacket had been putting out diminishing returns for several years, and that was fine. Retaining their status as a monster live act, Jim James and company had already earned a permanent and solid reputation. But after retreating to a remote beach to clear their heads and write some songs, My Morning Jacket returned this year in a big way with The Waterfall, their best album in a decade. From the soulful stomp of “Compound Fracture,” to the relentless rock of “Tropics (Erase Traces),” to the acoustic balladry on “Get the Point,” My Morning Jacket play to all their strengths. The Waterfall reflected the majesty and beauty of the band’s isolated studio in Stinson Beach, California, and in the process it reinvigorated their career. By Scott Dransfield

41.

Dan Deacon

Gliss Riffer

Domino

Dan Deacon’s immersive live outings have tended to supersede the brilliance of his songwriting. But with Gliss Riffer the balance has tipped. Awash with textured melodies stacked atop ambitious mountains of electronics, this is a record that demands time and attention. But once you've embraced it, Gliss Riffer is something very special. By Billy Hamilton

42.

East India Youth

Culture of Volume

XL

Little more than a year on from his Mercury Prize-nominated debut, William Doyle’s second album under the East India Youth moniker is an even more ambitious, even better blend of electropop and contemporary classical influences. Despite fetching from more diverse influences, Culture of Youth is a brilliantly cohesive effort, shifting seamlessly between dreamy and euphoric. By Dan Lucas

43.

Django Django

Born Under Saturn

Ribbon

Django Django return with a sophomore album that doesn’t much alter their sound or structure, which turns out to work in their favor. Born Under Saturn is another fuzzy trip through psych-pop driven by rattling percussion, expanding ideas and instrumentation while cashing in on the demand left after their debut. By Cody Ray Shafer

44.

Mac DeMarco

Another One

Captured Tracks

On Another One, Mac DeMarco dives without a second thought into the all-out balladry that he’d previously only dared to hint at. It’s his most natural-sounding record to date, and acts as concrete proof that his talents measure up way beyond the realms of goofy reverb-drenched slacker pop. By Marty Hill

45.

Younghusband

Dissolver

ATP

Dissolver is the sound of a band stepping out of London’s psychedelic blueprint and growing into something bolder, more honest, and ultimately better. “Only For You” could be a Big Star classic, while “Blonde Blending” sounds like a slightly cleaner Teenage Fanclub. By Marty Hill

46.

Martin Courtney

Many Moons

Domino

After three albums leading Real Estate, singer/songwriter Martin Courtney released his first solo album in 2015. So is there any noticeable difference in its sound from that of his main band? Not really, but that is okay. It’s okay because Courtney’s songs are gorgeous, shimmering indie-pop confections that seem to find him ruminating wistfully on both newfound domesticity and more youthful days gone by. It’s also okay because his songs seem to find a happy middle ground between shimmering 1980s indie-pop and sensitive ’70s soft rock, somehow splitting the difference. Whether it’s on the next Real Estate record or solo, we’ll happily continue to follow Courtney down this gorgeous path. By Matthew Berlyant

47.

Belle and Sebastian

Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

Matador

Consistently indie-pop, as is Belle and Sebastian’s wont, the Scottish band continue to traverse a broad range of styles within that genre. The last third of Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance is the most interesting, as Stephen Malkmus and Velvet Underground similarities creep in. If you like Belle and Sebastian, you won’t be disappointed. By Aug Stone

48.

SOAK

Before We Forgot How to Dream

Rough Trade

Before We Forgot How to Dream was released when Northern Irish singer/songwriter Bridie Monds-Watson (aka SOAK) was just 18 years old. For someone of her age, Monds-Watson’s debut LP feels awfully grown up. Delivering a striking and unsettling display of weatherworn melancholy, her moribund intone glides through the record’s slew of gorgeous, misery-smothered numbers. A remarkable piece of work for someone so young. By Billy Hamilton

49.

The Dears

Times Infinity Volume One

Dangerbird

The picture painted by the Montréal band’s sixth album is a pretty one, filled with ripped edges and deep contrasts. Songs build from a murmur to a roar, driven forward by a crashing cacophony of guitars. But the true dramatic energy comes delivered via the sonorous bellow of frontman Murray Lightburn. Theirs is not an exercise in trends but emotion, delivered with a sincerity that suggests the band’s hearts have always been on their sleeves. Sure, the sweet nothings of “Here’s to the Death of All the Romance” are delivered with a wry “this could all end tomorrow” subtext. In The Dears’ world, it’s realism, not ignorance, that’s bliss. And they’re prepared to enjoy it all—come hell and high-water alike. By Laura Studarus

50.

TORRES

Sprinter

Partisan

“There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do/To show you that I’ve got the sadness too,” sings MacKenzie Scott, aka TORRES, on “Ferris Wheel,” a rare tender spot on her celebrated album, Sprinter. She makes good on her promise, exposing sorrow and confusion while exploring rock textures and angles that have conjured PJ Harvey comps for good reason. Sprinter is a brilliant sophomore stretch of an album. By Matt Conner

51.

San Fermin

Jackrabbit

Downtown

52.

Beirut

No No No

4AD

53.

Blur

The Magic Whip

Warner Bros.

54.

Shamir

Ratchet

XL

55.

Lower Dens

Escape From Evil

Ribbon

56.

Viet Cong

Viet Cong

Jagjaguwar

57.

Hot Chip

Why Make Sense?

Domino

58.

Vince Staples

Summertime ’06

Def Jam

59.

Jaakko Eino Kalevi

Jaakko Eino Kalevi

Weird World

60.

Nicolas Godin

Contrepoint

Because Music

61.

Mercury Rev

The Light In You

Bella Union

62.

Dutch Uncles

O Shudder

Memphis Industries

63.

Mark Ronson

Uptown Special

RCA

64.

Telekinesis

Ad Infinitum

Merge

65.

Destroyer

Poison Season

Merge

66.

Jacco Gardner

Hypnophobia

Polyvinyl

67.

Girls Names

Arms Around a Vision

Tough Love

68.

Petite Noir

La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful

Domino

69.

Will Butler

Policy

Merge

70.

Patrick Watson

Love Songs For Robots

Domino

71.

Majical Cloudz

Are You Alone?

Matador

72.

Deafheaven

New Bermuda

ANTI-

73.

Cheatahs

Mythologies

Wichita

74.

Empress Of

Me

XL

75.

Protomartyr

The Agent Intellect

Hardly Art

76.

Kamasi Washington

The Epic

Ninja Tune

77.

Matthew E. White

Fresh Blood

Domino

78.

U.S. Girls

Half Free

4AD

79.

Here We Go Magic

Be Small

Secretly Canadian

80.

Algiers

Algiers

Matador

81.

Jim O'Rourke

Simple Songs

Drag City

82.

Youth Lagoon

Savage Hills Ballroom

Fat Possum

83.

Tobias Jesso Jr.

Goon

True Panther

84.

Small Black

Best Blues

Jagjaguwar

85.

Boxed In

Boxed In

Nettwerk

86.

Braids

Deep in the Iris

Arbutus

87.

Purity Ring

Another Eternity

4AD

88.

Speedy Ortiz

Foil Deer

Carpark

89.

Talk in Tongues

Alone With a Friend

Fairfax

90.

Richard Hawley

Hollow Meadows

Warner Bros.

91.

Baio

The Names

Glassnote

92.

The Black Ryder

The Door Behind the Door

The Anti-Machine Machine

93.

Briana Marela

All Around Us

Jagjaguwar

94.

Chelsea Wolfe

Abyss

Sargent House

95.

Oneohtrix Point Never

Garden of Delete

Warp

96.

J Fernandez

Many Levels of Laughter

Joyful Noise

97.

Blanck Mass

Dumb Flesh

Sacred Bones

98.

Outfit

Slowness

Memphis Industries

99.

Salad Boys

Metalmania

Trouble in Mind

100

Ryley Walker

Primrose Green

Dead Oceans

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Darrin
December 20th 2015
8:18am

Great list! Pitchforks picks left me in dismay-you guys really got it right! All of my top 10 albums are pretty much represented here except one that doesn’t seem to be on any others much to my surprise is Diane Coffee’s Everybody’s A Good Dog. It almost appears to have been overlooked as I don’t recall any reviews on it either. Either way, cheers to the best 2015 list I’ve seen and I love your mag!

Deepster19
December 23rd 2015
12:50am

I think you forgot The Decemberists ‘What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World.” Just sayin’

John Hell
December 27th 2015
3:05pm

Wonderful list. I have much of this, and what I don’t have I’m certainly going to search out. Curious that you don’t have any of the amazing Ty Segall releases, or WAND on here, not to mention Dungen. Too much great music to enjoy in 2015.

Basically Bekka
January 6th 2016
6:40pm

Cool to see Car Seat Headrest made the list, I interviewed Will back in 2013 when he was just making some beats in his dorm room.
http://blanketfortadventures.com/congratulations-car-seat-headrest/

Bob B.
January 12th 2016
10:22pm

Some good albums in this list… my favorite probably being the album by Cheatahs. My very favorites for 2015 would probably be 1- Knife Pleats 2- The Chills 3- Joanna Gruesome 4- Postal Blue 5- Paul Smith and the Imitations.

pestuli
February 6th 2016
8:25pm

Wow, no Chills Silver Bullets?  That’s ridiculous.  A stellar return no doubt.