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10 Underrated Albums Released in 2015

Posted by Billy Gil, December 21, 2015 05:15pm | Post a Comment

As everyone’s been putting out their top 50 of 2015 lists (including us), there are a few great albums that have been curiously missing. Here are a few albums that should have gotten more love than they did and are worth checking out.

Busdriver Thumbs

L.A.-based rapper Busdriver has never really gotten his due. His latest mixtape and follow-up to 2014’s Perfect Hair has spacey, esoteric beatwork, but Busdriver is never less than engaged—his rhymes on “Hyperbolic 2” and “Much” shake you by the shoulders and rouse you from a daze. Appearances by Anderson .Paak, Jeremiah Jae and Del tha Funkee Homosapien keep things interesting. Hopefully we’ll see a physical release of Thumbs in 2016.

 

Cold BeatInto the Air

Hanna Lew’s Cold Beat grew hookier and more ferocious on their second album, drawing inspiration from coldwave and Blondie for an enjoyably jagged post-punk ride.

 

Mikal Cronin MCIII

For some reason, the reliably great Mikal Cronin didn’t get as much critical love this time around. That’s a shame, because MCIII is a power-pop epic that’s definitely worth another listen. It’s just as hooky as his other albums, but MCIII is more heartfelt and intricate, boasting a six-song suite and flourishes like horns, strings and even Greek stringed instrument tzouras on “ii) Gold.”

 

Girl Band Holding Hands With Jamie

Four lads from Dublin call themselves Girl Band and made a stiff drink of cantankerous post-punk on Holding Hands With Jamie. Though there’s little in the way of concession in the band’s lacerating noise-rock, the vocal tics and clockwork beats of a track like “In Plastic” are hypnotic, even catchy among the groaning guitars and sputtering electronics. Fans of bands like The FallGang of Four and Nick Cave should feel right at home.

 

Gun OutfitDream All Over

Gun Outfit never have seemed to make it quite to “buzz band” status, which makes no sense to me. Their dream-country is as luscious and warm as that of The War on Drugs, yet a little rawer and more grounded, suggesting a nexus point between Galaxie 500, Wilco and Mazzy Star.

 

Hot ChipWhy Make Sense?

I’m not sure why this new Hot Chip album didn’t get more attention. It’s as great as anything they’ve done, full of the same witty, danceable electro-pop as their more popular albums.

 

The Internet Ego Death

Odd Future cohorts The Internet just keep getting better. Their latest fuses the lush soul sounds of a live band with electro beats, a queer bent and psychedelic swirl.

 

Carla Morrison Amor Supremo

When it comes to melodramatic pop divas, all the chatter this year seemed to be about Adele and Lana Del Rey when Carla Morrison blows them both out of the water. Her classy, synth-laden arrangements and operatic, Spanish-sung vocals transcend any kind of language barriers.

 

Part TimeVirgo’s Maze

This double-album of dreamy, gooey lo-fi pop goodness from David Loca deserves a lot more notoriety. Public access TV synths, reverby Ariel Pink-ish vocals, glammy guitars, power-pop melodies, sexy saxophones and surprisingly sophisticated grooves swirl together beautifully. It sounds a little like The Muppets as a hip young rock band with impeccable taste.

 

Sun Kil MoonUniversal Themes

Somewhere along the way, Mark Kozelek lost his filter. That’s been beneficial to his actual music, in which he expands “confessional” into “oversharing” in a way that can feel poignant, mundane and cringe-worthy all at once. It’s also been a problem in that we’ve seen him lash out at other bands and music writers undeserving of his insults. But if you can separate the man from the music, Universal Themes is undeniably the work of an artist, rawer than last year’s career high, Benji, but still affecting nonetheless. The gentle narrative “Birds of Film” and Neil Young-ish brawler “With a Sort of Grace I Walked to the Bathroom to Cry” stand as proof.

See My Top 50 of 2015 Here

 

Relevant Tags

Best Of 2015 (14), Underrated Albums (1), Busdriver (8), Cold Beak (1), Mikal Cronin (17), Girl Band (5), Gun Outfit (7), Hot Chip (8), The Internet (14), Carla Morrison (4), Part Time (5), Sun Kil Moon (11)