Writers’ Poll: Albums of 2015

Albums of 2015The Best Albums of 2015, according to a poll conducted by participating DrunkenWerewolf writers.

The same thing happens every year. Our writers have such a broad and varied taste in music; it’s unavoidable polls such as this will boast mainstream hip hop artists alongside alt pop DIY princesses, doom laden electronica, and ethereal bedroom folk from Totnes. Our Albums of 2015 Writers' Poll is no different.

What is perhaps interesting is that once again an artist from a genre DrunkenWerewolf doesn’t usually cover takes precedent. Previously, this position was held by Kanye West in 2013, with the admittedly more coherent Warpaint taking the title in 2014 - but that says more about the state of chart music in the year previous than it does changing tastes, in my opinion. There was simply not a blatant spoken word-based artist to champion in 2014.

Perhaps when such an artist does take the reigns, our writers rebel from their indie constraints. Perhaps hip hop and rap artists are simply more appealing to the masses, and therefore liable to top any polled vote - while guitar loving votes are spread thin(ner) across multiple genres. Perhaps hip hop artists are awarded bigger PR campaigns, and are therefore more accessible to the majority of our writers. Perhaps we just have the wrong people writing for us (sorry, you guys). Honestly, I don't really know enough about hip hop or rap (I'm not even sure I know the difference between the two) to make an informed judgement.

Whatever the case, I’m not one to bend the truth to suit my own agenda. The releases included below appear in the order they were voted for. In some cases, artists have received the same amount of votes – when that’s happened, I’ve prioritised releases that were voted for by more than one writer. Fortunately no album within our top 20 received the same amount of votes from the same amount of writers, or else I would have been stuck.

Here’s our Top 20 Albums of 2015 according to DrunkenWerewolf’s writers. Have at it!

20// Elvis Perkins - I Aubade (Mir)

"Elvis Perkins’ third album I Aubade started with him playing around on a shortwave radio in his trailer, recording the results like a sort of white trash John Cage. This then became the sonic backdrop for a meticulously crafted collection of homemade recordings by a lovable eccentric hermit. Perkins seems to have a slightly unhealthy obsession with fellow genius eccentric Syd Barret and to a lesser extent morose Canadian bard Leonard Cohen. It’s also easy to see this album fitting into the tradition started by Bon Iver with For Emma, with Love - crafting obscure, fuzzy folk pop gems in the solitude of a log cabin on his parents’ land. Regardless of these comparisons, Elvis Perkins very much marches to the beat of his own drum." PV

19// Swim Deep – Mothers (RCA)

"Swim Deep marked their long awaited return with new single “To My Brother”, a luscious pop landscape that hints at what’s in store. After a self-imposed hiatus that saw the band take a step back for almost a year, Swim Deep has emerged stronger than ever." CM

18// Cemeteries – Barrow (Snowbeast Records)

17// Pretend - Tapestry'd Life (Topshelf Records)

16// Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy (Merge Records)

"Totalling an enormous 29 tracks, Titus Andronicus' new album is billed as a rock opera detailing the dissent of a lone protagonist into mental illness and his transformative odyssey. Even for Titus this is a bold concept. Songs such as "Lonely Boy" swagger with bravado rarely exhibited by Stickles and Co., and are reminiscent of The Rolling Stones in their pomp. Meanwhile lead single "Dimed Out" could very well be the most infectious pop gem the group have ever recorded. Even the stiffest punk aficionado will find it impossible to listen to the track more than once without belting out the chorus with arms a-loft." BS

15// Hooton Tennis Club - Highest Point In Cliff Town (Heavenly Recordings)

14// Grimes - Art Angels (4AD)

13// Marika Hackman - We Slept At Last (Dirty Hit)

"Marika Hackman is a confirmed DrunkenWerewolf favourite. The London based artist has taunted us with a talent that would be unbelievable were it not for the strong catalogue of songs that followed 2013’s “You Come Down”. Now, the time is finally upon us to unwrap the present we’ve been tantalised with for years. This, the Charlie Andrew produced full length, is We Slept At Last, the arrow to Hackman's bow. With it she provides the world with the forbidden fruit of the underground scene, and we’re all too happy to gorge upon its contents." TD

12// The Wonder Years - No Closer to Heaven (Hopeless)

11// Dilly Dally – Sore (Partisan Records)

"Taken in one dose this album is a strong punch to the gut of love and lust, but every now and again a sort of comfortable laziness infects Dilly Dally's sound. It shouldn't be overlooked, because it's just as much a strength as the empowering emotion so many other critics have touched upon. In Sore Dilly Dally have created a seminal slacker rock meets grunge punk album for the 21st century, and frankly we only want more if it's coming from them." TD

10// Beach House - Depression Cherry (Bella Union)

"Beach House’s music has always harbored an intimate atmosphere, though Depression Cherry serves to alter this intimacy into visceral, personal closeness. The record’s press release, written by Legrand and Scally themselves, is littered with chilling details covering everything from the anniversary of Roy Orbison’s death, to quotes from Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen, all of which serve to preface the record’s haunting human melancholia." SB

9// HOLYCHILD - The Shape of BratPop to Come (Glassnote)

"Downing Adderall, pursuing happiness through a feminist agenda and buying men for dollar. This is not your average pop album. Anyone who’s already had the good fortunate to encounter Liz Nistico and Louie Diller, aka Los Angeles power pop duo HOLYCHILD, will know this much already. With their debut The Shape of Brat Pop to Come, the band have defied modern convention with an almighty huff of girl power, doughnut dust and hyperactive adrenaline." TD

8// Wolf Alice - My Love Is Cool (Dirty Hit)

"Wolf Alice reflect the image of a band whose members have grown up with the same ideals in mind. With an era of indie rock bands seeking new techniques and approaches to use in their songwriting in order to really push the envelope, this is undoubtedly to the modern music scene's benefit. My Love Is Cool serves as an ode to rock music. It takes a broad range of influences from different decades, and adds the zeal of Wolf Alice’s candid delivery and desire to evolve sonically." JK

7// Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear (Bella Union)

6// Blur - The Magic Whip (Parlophone)

5// Joanna Newsom – Divers (Drag City)

"Five long years in the waiting, the release of Divers marked a sweet release for Joanna Newsom fans. Though many were still processing the unfathomable grandeur of 2010's Have One On Me (sprawled across a three-disc format more befitting a Final Fantasy saga than a folk album), the scarcity of live shows only added to the artist's mythical status." MN

4// Hop Along - Painted Shut (Saddle Creek)

"It takes a certain kind of band to sing about possible paedophilia, joggers running past a funeral procession and avoiding confrontation with your ex-boyfriend while serving him as a waitress. Hop Along pull it off with style on their new album, Painted Shut." TD

3// Sufjan Stevens - Carrie and Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty Records)

2// Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit (Marathon Artists)

"Melbourne native Courtney Barnett exploded onto the radar of music lovers back in the halcyon days of 2013 with the release of her split EP A Sea of Split Peas. She was instantly taken into the bosom of many thanks to her laid back droll vocal delivery and vivacious vernacular wordplay, something still very much prominent on new album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit." BS

1// Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly (Polydor)

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