best of 2015 playlist | (other) half of part two

Finally, it's time to finish off this crazy playlist. Just a brief reminder: check out the entire list here (or the previous posts, part one and half of part two), the songs are not ranked in any particular way, and the album name is adjacent to the song. | Next week, I will return to compiling my regular 10 song playlist.

Best of 2015: Part IV
High // Lakeside | New Navy
Electric Indigo // twelvefour | The Paper Kites
Ferrari // Wiped Out! | The Neighbourhood
Wolf // What A Drag | Beach Weather
Diamonds // Gentle Warnings | Jack and Eliza

31. Alligator Years (LP): Alligator Years is Twinsmith's second LP and it is bursting with catchy indie pop/rock. It flaunts the band's versatility. This time around, Twinsmith (somewhat) leaves behind the surf rock-centered impression that their debut emanated in order to pursue something more pop-focused; but, their previously established sound still bleeds through and retains the group's identity. I suppose you may compare Twinsmith to Vampire Weekend, especially whilst listening to "Haunts"--a song dripping with silky guitars who caress upbeat, tropical instrumentation--but the band conjures a crisp, delicious sound that is only original to them and not Vampire Weekend. 

32. The Sunshine of Your Youth (LP): Listening to this debut is like reveling in a joyous car ride through a dreamy summer haze. The opening track "New Daze" jumps right into a jumble of clouded guitars and continues with a subdued chorus and a top layer of crystal clear vocals, all immersed in a wave of pop that skims psychedelic rock at brief moments. The rest of the songs follow a similar formula--fuzzy sounds juxtaposed against gleaming melodies, synthetic pieces clashing with acoustic instrumentation, airy tones opposing harsh guitar parts--to offer a delectable journey that is impossible not to (freely) fall into.

33. Lakeside (LP): New Navy put out their EP, Uluwatu (one of my favourite EPs ever) in 2011. And since then, I have been anticipating their debut. Lakeside may not be remarkably similar to Uluwatu, but it overflows with beauty nonetheless--that same beauty found in the whispers of the ocean. The ten songs glide in a stream of surreal synths merged with tropical guitars, all delicately glazed by soft vocals. The album flawlessly and skillfully transitions from slow, mellow tunes (like "Foreign Lands" and "So Tired") to more sunny ones (like "Runaway"), compelling the ear to follow the stream of songs comfortably.

34. Happy People (LP): This album is one of my absolute favourites. And I can never get enough of it... luckily, Happy People is eighteen songs long (yay) so the people stay happy for quite a while. The sophomore LP surely does not fall short of the high expectations set by In Love, I'd say it even outshines them. The first song, "O You", greets your ear with an abundance of dynamic guitars and world-changing crooning--really, Harry Koisser declares "I'm just trying to change the world that you live in/O you/trying to make it better for your children". I guess you should expect that from a band called Peace. Anyway, it's a huge part of why I fell in love with Happy People; the lyrics actually mean something (gasp)--a rare occurrence as of lately. The album addresses many modern issues (physical appearance, money, gender roles, war, violence) in a lighthearted fashion, all whilst permitting Peace to show off their varying skills and talent. The song "Money" attacks the issue of money's powerful grasp on the modern world; Koisser's cry--"Moooooooney/do you need it?/do you eat it when you're/huuuuungry/does it taste good?"--floats above a funky bass line and punchy guitars. "I'm a Girl" succeeds the aforementioned song and bursts into a garage rock anthem, shouting proudly "I'm not sure that violence/was born in my bones/I'm not loud and scary" and "Do you feel like a man/'cause you got blood on your hand?/if we're living in a man's world/I'm a girl". And the best song, ahem, I mean my favourite song, "World Pleasure", features a delicious bass line that propels the abundant guitars and understated percussion and results in the inevitability of dancing. Oh, and the finest part of the song? The lyrics: "Please don't send me off to war/that's not what my body's for/maybe I was not born brave/maybe I was born good looking"; what a creative way to protest. Happy People is really a revival of the best aspects of Brit-pop, morphed into catchy rock and all neatly packaged into a lovely, fresh album that's changing the world.

35. twelvefour (LP): twelvefour is simply a beautiful album. Gentle and soulful folk intermixes with celestial instrumentation to enthrall Sam Bentley and Christina Lacy's delicate vocals in a cloud of ethereal perfection. From the beginning to the end, each song is crafted with a profuse amount of care and just enough variation to challenge any assumptions created by The Paper Kites' prior pieces. The entire album is laced together with ghostly guitars, subtle keys, and charming acoustics that all create the most colorful and dreamy sounds. In concert, the album is even more intimate and brilliant and the entire band is full of inexplicable grace.

36. Wiped Out! (LP): I can't deny that I have a slight obsession with The Neighbourhood. And I Love You. had me hooked from the start. The moody, sometimes melancholy, crooning, the sad, coastal guitars, the mellow beats, the thin, encompassing wisps of anguish, the ability of the atmosphere to swallow you whole. All of it. Fortunately, Wiped Out! doesn't suffer from an absence of that. The sophomore album, well, kicks ass. It opens with "A Moment of Silence", which is just that--a 30 second long moment of silence, pretty clever, I guess--before gliding into the very brief haunting chorus of "Prey". I suppose the succeeding growing layers of instrumentation sound slightly more upbeat than the lyrics indicate, but they fit. "Wiped Out!", the title track, is a strange journey melting with low vocals, tempo changes, electronic features, and wailing, siren-like guitars that eventually fade into muffled lyrics until everything dissipates in the end. "The Beach" follows and boasts of emotional weight. Sounds float in and out around vocals which vary in volume and power, like violent waves crashing against and leaving the shore. The album nears its end with "Ferrari", a heavy song rich in dizzying noises which ascend and descend in a neat pattern and hug Rutherford's eerie vocalizing. "R.I.P. 2 My Youth" concludes the LP with a short and effective reminder of why you want to come back for more. A reminder that is probably unnecessary, because the rest of the album already does that anyway.

37. What Went Down (LP): I admit it, I'm a crazy fangirl when it comes to Foals. It seems as though the band conquers outrageous standards that only they create for themselves every time. What Went Down is utterly phenomenal. The band's fourth album far exceeded all of my expectations and I'm sure it exceeded those of many others, too. It's a bold shift that further immerses us in the diverse and  broadening creativity which belongs to the five-piece. The title track, "What Went Down" kicks the album off with brutal guitars, stifling lyrics ("When I see a man, I see a lion"), and a metal-like quality, resembling something from previous album, Holy Fire, only more refined. The next three songs are significantly lighter in sound and a bit stripped down, especially "Give It All", a slow-paced, voice-focused song that eventually gives in to percussion and guitar. Ensuing the preceding three are "Albatross", "Snake Oil", and "Night Swimmers"--songs which incite memories of previous albums. "Snake Oil" emerges with the return of a darker sound that appears to twist and turn around math-rock aspects. The album closes with the nearly seven minute long, "A Knife In the Ocean"; dreary, lethargic guitars, understated drumming, and an abstracted chorus create a captivating, somber atmosphere that provides a proper end to the sequence. (I had the chance to see Foals at the Aragon Ballroom in December and it was one of my favourite gigs of all time. They know just how to put on a show and, to put it simply, it was absolutely insane.)

38. Pain / Ache / Loving (EP): It's incredibly contagious, to say the least. Pain / Ache / Loving is Hunny's first EP and it proudly exposes the world to a fresh, new sound. The five songs are easy to listen to and quickly find their way into your head. The future looks bright for the post-punk-influenced group, who already toured with Bad Suns and The Neighbourhood in 2015.

39. What A Drag (EP): Beach Weather puts their (first) mark on the world with this five-song EP. Each song is unique. Each song is full of potential. Each song manages to complete the others. "Bad Seed" and "Swoon" are my favourites, though they are very different from each other.  What A Drag is the perfect demonstration of  an ideal balance between versatility and familiarity--a balance that is the key to reaching a massive audience.

40. Speakerzoid (LP): Speakerzoid is The Jungle Giants' second LP and it is every bit eccentric. The album opens with the talk-heavy "Every Kind of Way" and the question "what is a speakerzoid?". Though it may illicit notions of Talking Heads, it remains unique with a pulsating, upbeat soundscape that screams "this here was created by The Jungle Giants and no one else". "Creepy Cool", song number seven, incorporates strange and terse eruptions of flutes, a vintage dream-like chorus, nonsensical lyrics, the phrase "creepy cool",  and concluding chimes which all make for yet another refreshing splash in the face. The final four songs enter a whole separate plane of weird. "Not Bad" is an incomprehensible journey through a smothering of percussion instruments and a downplayed beat which allow nearly falsetto vocals to bizarrely float about the music, with the declaration "I like the coolest shit" jumping out at you during a dead spot in the song. We're then left with the nearly six minute long, "Tambourine", a song drenched in strange electronic noises, muffled vocals, and an understated guitar. At some points you can almost hear a bit of influence from The Strokes, but the song quickly warps back into something outlandish and foreign. So after listening through the eleven songs, we still don't know what a speakerzoid is (that question was never explicitly answered), but at least we're left with a very unique album. It is definitely one that belongs on my list of all time favourites. I'm fascinated, time and time again, by how a rock-based sound could possibly be distorted to this degree of different.

41. Gentle Warnings (LP): I discovered Jack and Eliza back when Gentle Warnings came out and I immediately fell for their sound. The guitar riffs, the charming harmonizing, the sun shine-y ambiance, the occasional presence of Beatles-esque sounds. Everything easily pulls you in. This debut album is definitely a promising one and I can't wait to hear what'll come in the future. 

//Yes, I lied. The playlist is actually 41 songs long... I just forgot to include one more album. See you Wednesday with a fresh playlist. xx 

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