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The Best Of 2015 – Albums Through February 28th, 2015

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Drake’s Album Of The Month: February, 2015

In order of preference…

Questions – David Bronson – Already a strong contender for the album of the year, this is soft rock meets prog rock meets sweet soul and questions raised and answered over and over again. Back up harmonies an added plus and a great guitarist (and carlos Alomar) doesn’t hurt.

Vulnicara – Bjork – Her most accessible work in years renders a torn asunder romance as steady strings beatified and then distressed.

Shadows of the Night – Bob Dylan – His sublime take on the great American songbook reinterprets classics and lesser known song as songs of deeply rooted humanity

Tetsuo And Youth – Lupe Fiasco – His best album is also his most easy going, the seasons pass and the songs, beautiful, r&b and chilled hip hop songs accrue, in mutual degrees. “Blur My Hands” is better than any r&b you’ve heard this year and it isn’t even the best

American Beauty/American Psycho – Fall Out Boy – Their best album eve, which means two masterpieces, and a coula killer tracks. Look, I loathed em when I saw em last year so I couldn’t be more surprised myself.

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – Drake – Remix tape? I prefer it to his last album, though it has no “Hold On, We’re Going Home” or the single that won him a punk from Diddy and a Grammy. Any album with songs as good as “Legend” and “Jungle” needs no caveats at all.

Tomorrow Is My Turn – Rhiannon Gidens – Sublime blues and gospel album that has made a believer out of me.

Artistic Visions – Shinobi Ninja – Improvised live in the studio, produced and mastered over weeks, and as great as hard rock can get. Maniac Dave’s guitar steals whole chunks.

The White Man Made Me Do It – Swamp Dogg – This is as good as I’m Not Selling Out – I’m Buying In… from 1981 and just as funny (and as sad and angry). We call that consistency of vision.

Absent Fathers – Justin Townes Earle – Masterful but we assume that, no bad songs, but we assume that as well.

Worthy – Bettye Lavette – She covers other people’s material like Dylan sometimes covers his own,; she re-arranges them to an inch of their lives and then she sings the hell out of them.

No Cities To Love – Sleater Kinney – Quirked out angular post-rock, post-riot grrl, post childhood anthems sung as one.

Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass – her voice is gorgeous but back up so she lives and dies by her arrangements and songs … and those are great.

Hold Fast – Letts – best singer songwriter album of the year so far, always smarts, always pretty, never boring, nice production my Marcus Mumford and a lot of songs that will get under your skin, especially “Charles De Gaulle”. a very pleasant surprise

R.N.I.C. – Lil Snupe – The late great rapper who coulda been mainstream but kept it way too real. The kid had flow to spare.

Title – Meghan Trainor – Her third album is even better than her second which is better than her first. She could well be a 21 st century Bette Midler

Guitars And Microphones – Kate Pierson – First rate new wave for the 21st cenntury from the act we’ve known for all these years and who does herself proud.

La Vendetta… – Adolescents – Old school punk rock and maybe a little more, from a band who can still do it.

All Hands – Doomtree – This Twin Cities collective makes rap for grown ups with five rappers, two of whom are big time and all of whom are good.

Forever Charlie – Charlie Wilson – Pure hearted, full voiced soul music.

B4.DA.$$ – Joey Bada$$ – Debut album by the Pro Active co-boss, its lyrical smart but bland but musically he goes from jaz to hip hop to r&b and back and the beat are triumphant.

Meets the Grim Reaper – Panda Bear – easily his most accessible work to date except when it isn’t; “Crossword” should rule the alt charts.

Underwater – Matt Whipkey -songs for and about people sketched in and then colored in with sounds.

Don’t Lose This – Pop Staples – The late great’s daughter Navis gets Jeff Tweedy’s help in finishing this terrific blues album.

Future Brown – Future Brown – Experimental collective bring the pop to DJs and rap.

Nights In The Dark – California X – Classic rock goes punk on a terrific sophomore effort. The guitars are the best sound in the world right now.

The Pale Emperor – Marilyn Manson – Sure, it isn’t the shock of the new “Beautiful People” was, why would it be? It is still excellent goth rock unlike any one else at all

Live From Crush Palace – Karen O – So good in its Lo-Fi dreaminess, it may well take you back to the solo album it is culled from and which it improves upon

Mixtape Of The Open Road – Martin Sexton – The world needs grown up, as gary Trudeau once noted, so here is a grown up rock and roll album for you. I know that because one song is for his daughter like he is Paul Simon or something.

Rich Coast – Kids – excellent and deeply felt indie pop

The Killer Instinct – Black Star Riders – Second rate Thin Lizzy is vastly superior to no TL at all.

 

 

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