WOW247’s Best Albums of 2015: 20 – 16

We continue our countdown of the year’s best albums, based on the choices of our team of music writers.

So far we covered 25 – 21 featuring Four Tet, The Maccabees, Belle and Sebastian, Hooton Tennis Club and Young Fathers.

Now it’s 20 – 16.

20: Metz – II

Label: Sub Pop
Released: May 4, 2015

Canada’s finest proto-punk outfit returned this year with II, a tighter, more focused effort than their (still brilliant) self-titled debut of a few years ago.

Darker than that first record, tracks like ‘Spit It Out’ pummelled discordant Nirvana-like riffs with an almost industrial efficiency, and the whining guitars and steady drone of ‘Landfill’ will haunt your mind for weeks. It’s also literally impossible to play II at anything other than REALLY BLOODY LOUD. [AN]

19: Tame Impala – Currents

Label: Fiction
Released: July 17, 2015

Few bands can match the kind of steady, progressive rise of Australian psych-rock specialists Tame Impala. Their 2010 debut Innerspeaker was a cultish delight, and 2012’s Lonerism opened Kevin Parker’s unique soundscapes up to the indie mainstream. But, three years down the line, Currents is the kind of rare record that’s both sonically ambitious and ready-made for zeitgeist-grabbing success.

Opening with the seven minute epic that is ‘Let It Happen’, Currents is a warped, introspective journey into Parker’s psyche that’s also full of soulful moments and deliciously funky basslines. Continuing Tame Impala’s move from their scratchy, ’60s-aping origins towards a futuristic land of rich synths and processed beats, it’s also the sound of a songwriter and musician at the absolute peak of his powers. [NM]

18: Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

Label: Def Jam
Released: June 30, 2015

There’s something about Vince. Perhaps it’s his legitimate history as a gang banger who used his music to get out of crime – or the fact his interviews are as hilariously candid as an early Tom Waits. One thing’s for sure, whatever makes Staples one of the most intriguing acts in hip-hop, it’s safe to say that he backs it up.

The debut album Summertime ’06 has been a long time in the making, for those who have been following Vince’s string of EPs and mixtapes, but the final product is a ridiculously assured first record from a rapper wise beyond his 22 years. A molotov cocktail of club-ready beats and massive intellect. [MDM]

17: Kagoule – Urth

Label: Earache Records
Released: August 21, 2015

A band enamoured with replicating the post-hardcore wonk of bands like Unwound capturing the imagination of the trendier arms of the music press is something to be praised indeed.

While at times more a patchwork of sounds than a cohesive album, this debut shows maturity far beyond the Nottingham trio’s young years, and it’ll be interesting to see which awkward tangent they decide to take next. Twenty years ago they’d be the next great post-grunge hopes. [AN]

16: Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars

Label: Sub Pop
Released: October 16, 2015

Beach House released their fifth album, Depression Cherry, at the end of August, and just as we were starting to get used to its atmospheric warmth, they followed up with Thank Your Lucky Stars, less than two months later (just don’t call it a ‘surprise album’). The close succession, and the fact it arrived without the usual PR pomp, meant that few gave it the same time and attention as its immediate predecessor.

But the consensus among many listeners (and, eventually, critics) was that it was a more satisfying listen than anything they’d done since 2010’s Teen Dream. As ever, the Baltimore duo’s offering is designed for late night listening, but the sound of TYLS feels more intimate and direct than Depression Cherry, from the intensely melancholic ‘She’s So Lovely’ to the glimmering, contrasting melodies of ‘The Traveller’. Victoria Legrand’s unique vocals have never been used to better effect. [NM]

Contributors: Nick Mitchell, Matthew Dunne-Miles, Alex NelsonSiobhan Smith

Top 25 so far

25: Four Tet – Morning / Evening
24: The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It
23: Belle and Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
22: Hooton Tennis Club – Highest Point In Cliff Town
21: Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Men Too
20: Metz – II
19: Tame Impala – Currents
18: Vince Staples – Summertime ’06
17: Kagoule – Urth
16: Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars


What was your favourite album of 2015?

We want to hear your choice for the best album of the year. Have your say by tweeting #wow247 or posting a comment on our Facebook page.