• UO Music: Best Albums of 2015

    Here it is: our complete list of albums churned out in the past 365 days that we just cannot stop listening to. Read below and you'll find new releases from some of our old favorites (like Alex G, who also made it on last year's UO year-end), and some brand new additions that came calling in 2015, like Car Seat Headrest, Julia Holter, Vince Staples and, well... we don't want to ruin the surprise. 

    Read about what some of our featured artists had to say about their work below, stream our favorites, and shop our best albums of 2015 on vinyl now

    50. Alex G - Beach Music
    49. The Weeknd - Beauty Behind The Madness
    48. Mac DeMarco - Another One 
    47. Bitchin Bajas - Natural Information Society 
    46. Kamari Washington - The Epic
    45. Destroyer - Poison Season
    44. Hop Along - Painted Shut
    43. Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp 
    42. Young Thug - Barter 6 
    41. George FitzGerald - Fading Love 

    40. Torres - Sprinter
    39. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
    38. Magical Cloudz - Are You Alone?
    37. Future - Dirty Sprite 2 
    36. Viet Cong - Viet Cong
    35. Youth Lagoon - Savage Hills Ballroom 
    34. Julia Holter - Have You In My Wilderness
    33. Bjork - Vulnicura 
    32. Purity Ring - Another Eternity 
    31. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love

    30. Holly Herndon - Platform 
    29. Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love 
    28. Thundercats - The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam
    27. Deradooriian - The Expanding Flower Planet
    26. Vince Staples - Summertime '06 
    25. Deafheaven - New Bermuda 
    24. Shamir - Ratchet
    23. Kelala - Hallucinogen 
    22. Petite Noir - La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful 
    21. Natalie Prass - Natalie Prass 
    20. Chvrches - Every Open Eye
    19. Joanna Newsom - Divers 
    18. Grimes - Art Angels 
    17. Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars
    16. Deerhunter - Fading Frontier

    15. Kurt Vile - B'lieve I'm Goin Down
    14. Miguel - Wildheart
    13. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Style 
    "Seeing Frank Sinatra do it made me feel like it was probably okay," Will Toledo says about re-recording and re-releasing the material for his latest album, Teens of Style. Whatever the case, the gravely singer's 11-track lo-fi feature is a beautiful, looping representation of his work—of which he has a lot of. Starting out with 12 albums (all released independently and online), it's only natural that he had to scale it back. These are the chosen ones. 
    12. Lower Dens - Escape From Evil 
    "I don't know how to explain what it was like to me," says Lower Den's Jana Hunter about recording Escape From Evil. The band spent several days in the studio just to over-dub guitar and synth parts, and countless hours putting the finishing touches on the '80s-era electric pop album. "It's fun, deeply satisfying, and kind of an immeasurable pleasure making sounds that express everything you hope to say musically and sonically with people who are interested in and capable of the same things."

    11. Neon Indian - VEGA INTL. Night School
    Alan Palomo didn't listen to a lot of new records this year. "I just barely crawled out of the album hole this July, covered in blood and soot like Daniel Day-Lewis in the beginning of There Will Be Blood," is the picture of 2015 he drew for us, instead. If it took getting a little dirty and going a little crazy to write one of the best dance-driven records of the year, so be it. Even if he had crawled out of that hole with only the squiggling, eccentric "Annie" earworm to show for it, we would have been satisfied. 
    10. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell 
    9. Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper 

    8. Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
    When we asked Joshua Tillman to describe this album in five words or less, his answer was simple: "Hey buy me buy me." He could've saved his breath. The concept record—on which he wrote a collection of his first real "love" songs—made it on our list soon after its February release. With its cathedral quality musical arrangements and lyrics more clever than his answers to our interview questions (wherein told us his favorite part of writing this record was "bossing his more talented friends around") this one was an instant must-have.

    7. Dungen - Allas Sak
    This year saw the Scandinavian psych group's first release in half a decade, a glimmering, '60s-inspired ambient record headed by Gustav Ejstes, who had a word of advice for any young, aspiring musician looking to get his or her footing in the industry: "Don't try to follow trends. Be original." His work of art speaks volumes on that idea.  

    6. Empress Of - Me 
    Obviously, we were very psyched to work with Empress Of for the last edition of our UO Music Video Series. In it, we helped the recent Los Angeles transplant and director Eli Borns envision a world worthy of her snappy, dream pop song, "Icon." It's still one of our favorite tracks from Me, but don't let that deter you from listening to the record front to back as many times as we did. (Which was a lot.) 

    5. Jamie xx - In Colour 
    This May release served as the debut solo studio album from Jamie Smith, one half of the synth-pop group the xx. It's a dazzling culmination of over five years of material he composed by blending various electronic dance styles and techniques, including UK garage, house, even a clean '60s acapella R&B sample that was the crux of one to the most popular of the album's five singles, "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)," featuring Young Thug and Popcaan. 

    4. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
    David Bowie cited the Compton rapper's textured electric beats as a big influence on his upcoming studio album. If you can inspire David Bowie in 2015, you're doing more than something right. Kendrick spent three years recording his follow up to good kid, m.A.A.d city, which first put him on the big map. Now, with this, he's on an even bigger one.

    3. Beach House - Depression Cherry 
    When we spoke with Beach House vocalist and keyboardist Victoria Legrand a week before the release of their fifth studio album, she explained that every Beach House album is different in it's own, sometimes subtle way. "But I think at our core," she added, "our language as artists has very much stayed the same and, if anything, only deepened."Depression Cherry is proof of that profound bond. Read the full interview here.

    2. Tobias Jesso Jr. - Goon
    Goon was Tobias Jesso Jr.'s first opportunity to serenade you with his adept piano skills and Nilsson-esque vocals that make even the saddest subjects sound light-hearted and the light-hearted ones seem absolutely tragic. He thoroughly succeeded. 

    1. Tame Impala - Currents 
    Currents is a cleaned up, simpler sounding record when you compare it to Kevin Parkers' previous releases, including Lonerism and Innerspeaker. Read our latest interview with Parker, where he discusses how he nailed down the process behind the experimental  synth-psych album, and we gush about how absolutely perfect it is.

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