We’re a little past the half way point, but 2015 has been a great year for all mediums and the music world is no exception. From career establishing albums to heartbreaking break-ups, here’s what the staff at DTC has remembered the most from the past year.

 

This is a collaborative post featuring the thoughts and opinions of myself, Paul Jaissle, Phil Chester, Matt Brier, and Kali Sluyter.

 

 

homepage_large.43bd497fCourtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (March 20th)

Courtney Barnett has nothing real important to say, but god damn, she obviously has something she wants you to hear. Dubbed one of the best new rock artists from this year, Sometimes I Sit… is a Seinfeld album. Barnett’s guitar chops are decent and reminiscent of a grungier time, but with a nice modern garage rock flare. Just check out her and the band performing “Pedestrian at Best” from the album. The girl is tiny but that doesn’t stop her from holding the crowd in her fingers. (Andrea Francois) 

john carpenterJohn Carpenter – Lost Themes (February 3)

Although he began scoring his own films as a budgetary necessity, John Carpenter’s sparse electronic music became an integral part of his work, from the martial intro to Assault on Precinct 13, the paranoid pulse of Halloween, to the desolate beauty of Escape From New York. Despite its title, Lost Themes is a collection of new music from the famed director that manages to capture the tone of his film scores without feeling like a retread. Instead, it shows that Carpenter is just as skilled at creating moods with sounds as he is with images. The simple, haunting melodies and retro-sounding electronics would certainly fit with Carpenter’s unique visual style (as the video for “Night” demonstrates), but the album stands as its own work. Even though electronic music and soundtracks are not usually my cup of tea, I’m a huge fan of Carpenter’s films and this has become the go-to album for me this year. (Paul Jaissle)

file_551c3e7f5bd5eThe End Times Tour

Marilyn Manson and the Smashing Pumpkins have teamed up to bring about the End Times… tour. Both groups are out to support well received albums. The Pale Emperor, from Manson, and Monuments to an Elegy, from the Pumpkins. The tour only has a few more dates before it wraps (as of the time of writing) and the Pumpkins have been getting some of the best reviews of their career as Billy Corgan has finally struck a balance that keeps hardcore fans, “radio-hits” fans, and critics happy. It definitely helps that the original drummer (and my musical hero) Jimmy Chamberlin has resumed his duties for the tour. The Pumpkins have had a busy 2015. They have nearly completed work on their next album, which has been described by Billy as “as big a departure from the Pumpkins as Adore was to Mellon Collie.” They also have another music video coming out soon (who knew they still made those?) for their poorly titled track, “Run2Me.” Expect a new single from their upcoming album in late 2015, and some potentially intriguing touring possibilities. Some ideas have been teased like, “anything but the hits” shows, “epics only” night, “songs from certain eras only” night, and continuing their acoustic tour model. (Phil Chester)

Florence_and_the_Machine_-_How_Big_How_Blue_How_Beautiful_(Official_Album_Cover)Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (May 29)

To Pimp a Butterfly is already on this list, so I can safely say that this is tied for best album of 2015 thus far.  Florence is back with an incredibly solid album full of beautiful, soaring tracks about anxiety and rebuilding after a failed relationship.  Her voice is stunning, the lyrics are sharp, and the band and sound have progressed in a manner where they have retained their ethereal somewhat-hippie sound, but now with a harder rock edge (the burst of guitar on “What Kind of Man”, the Fleetwood Mac-iness of “Ship to Wreck”, and the entire closing track of “Mother” are best examples).  I had been a casual fan until this album, but it lived up to the hype, and seeing her at Bonnaroo sealed the day.  Flo is the best kind of therapy. (Kali Sluyter)

5c45787f8bcd449a46bc3d1b50e65cc8.640x640x1Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (March 16th)

If you really, really loved Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, and haven’t listened to To Pimp a Butterfly yet, you might be a little overwhelmed. But give it a few listens and it will come around. TPaB  is all over the place in the best ways possible – topically and musically. K. Dot tapped into some deep funk tracks for this one and let his lyrics flow like a stream of conscience, a very different approach from Good Kid. Both albums have their merits, but if you want to listen to the new generation of Compton hip hop, this is what you should be playing. (Andrea Francois)

Music_reviews_MaidenRadio_WolveringMaiden Radio The Wolvering release concert/party

Maiden Radio is a band made up of Joan Shelley, Cheyenne Marie Mize, and Julia Purcell. They play old Appalachian music covering the songs of yesteryear while seamlessly weaving their own originals in. They released a new album this year titled The Wolvering. The album itself is a standout for me this year, but seeing them live was indescribably powerful. Playing in the Clifton Center here in Louisville for their album release, the three ladies took stage after the opening act and started in perfect acapella harmony. It was a breath taking moment. The pure beauty of the three voices together was overwhelming and the concert just got better from there. (Matt Brier)

The_mountain_goats_-_beat_the_champThe Mountain Goats – Beat the Champ (April 7)

I never would have expected to fall in love with an album about professional wrestling, but here I am.  As a John Darnielle devotee, I knew I would pick this up, but was concerned about the concept and topics therein.  What I found was that I can totally get down (literally and emotionally) to songs about pro wrestling, and I firmly believe that “Heel Turn 2” is one of the most beautiful songs in the entire Mountain Goats catalogue, which is a lofty statement because there are SO MANY beautiful songs to compete with.  Seeing them in Detroit was weird, because the Detroit crowd was weird, but Darnielle and the band played through, and I will never forget him pushing the mic away to sing part of “Luna”.  It was all just amazing and something I really, really appreciated. (Kali Sluyter)

720x405-456721806The Replacements Break Up… Again (June 5)

At this point, reunion tours from beloved ‘80s and ‘90s acts are the expectation and not the exception. That said, it was a bit of a surprise when the scrappy Minneapolis indie legends reunited in 2013. For die-hard fans like me, seeing Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson back on stage together was a thrill, especially since they seemed to be having as much fun as the audience. After a string of festival dates and a triumphant homecoming show, the band embarked on their first tour in over two decades. When I saw them again in April, the signs of stress were showing. Yes, they still rocked like murder, but Paul seemed weary at times. In fact, the inevitable break-up was telegraphed by the handmade t-shirts he donned each night, which by the end of the tour spelled out: “I have always loved you. Now I must whore my past.” When the band finished their June 8th set at Primavera Porto, Westerberg declared them “lazy bastards to the end” and that they’d played their last show. It was an oddly fitting way for the band –the ultimate underdogs who’d made shooting themselves in the foot an artform– to call it a day. (Paul Jaissle)

homepage_large.dbfa1978Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell (March 30th)

When this album was announced and the trailer came out it was exciting to hear Sufjan return to his folk roots. Little did I know how powerful this album would be. Carrie & Lowell is Sufjan’s most personal record to date. The songs deal with Sufjan’s pain at a mother who more often than not was not physically around. Throughout her life she dealt with mental illness, alcoholism, and drug addiction. The album also focuses on the good times with her and his step father and the suprising pain at her loss when she passed away. The sparseness of the arrangements add to the power of the album. (Matt Brier)

About The Author

Andrea is currently the Site Administrator and Music Editor at DestroyTheCyborg!, and in real life works as a corporate drone for a mid-west retailer. Like most people, she did not go to school for any of those things. In her spare time, she plays her musical things, video games, and occasionally goes outdoors. She loves beer and wine, and avoids dirtying dishes at all costs.
Andrea is the wife of video game and comic reviewer, Jon Francois, and together with their cats, have a life goal of ruling the world (or just sort of hanging out, whichever proves to be easier).

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