The Best Songs of 2015 (So Far): Cole’s List
Cole is one of our most tenured contributors, and as you’ll see from the list below, his taste in music is both excellent and eclectic. Also, he is quite hip. Here are Cole’s favorites of 2015 (So far)!
20. Blanck Mass – “Dead Format”
Blanck Mass is Benjamin John Power, the second half of Fuck Buttons. If Andrew Hung is the melodic half of the duo, Blanck Mass is, pardon the pun, the power. “Dead Format” hits you like a brick wall and then retreats into itself, determined to show you the entire path to the full-blown barrage.
19. Holly Herndon – “Chorus”
Like television dead air, “Chorus” starts with disjointed, seemingly random sounds that seem to be leading to nowhere. When you’re about to give up, the sounds crash together and leave you awestruck. This is one of the best pieces of experimental music of the year so far.
18. Sweet John Bloom – “Blood Moon”
Death can come out of nowhere, and it’s especially strange when it’s someone you don’t know too well, but the loss is just as strong. “Blood Moon” touches on this theme, with a song just as quick and touching as the realization that someone you didn’t’ know well, but you will always remember, is gone.
17. Andrew Hung – “Korea Town”
Hung’s new EP was made mostly with sounds from a Gameboy, which sounds as gimmicky as it comes. When you learn that Hung is one half of Fuck Buttons, you realize this is something to get excited about, and Hung lives up to the hype.
16. ANAMAI – “Lucia”
The cover of ANAMAI’s new album is a picture of the middle of the woods, which is fitting, given that much of it sounds like what I’d imagine music of wood spirits would sound like. “Lucia” is the standout track, and its weirdness is so fitting that it’s strange to even label it as weird.
15. Sufjan Stevens – “Should Have Known Better”
Sufjan Stevens’ new album is heartbreaking. “Should Have Known Better” has one of the only uplifting moments, when Stevens compares his mother’s death with his niece’s new life. It’s a beautiful moment in an album filled with them.
14. Twerps – “Back to You”
“Back to You” comes off as an ode to the feeling of being jealous of someone being lazier than you, but not caring very much. It’s fun, catchy and quick.
13. The Black Ryder – “Santaria”
Breaking up with someone is hard enough, but seeing yourself lose them while you fail at stopping it is so much worse. “Santaria” captures this feeling of sadness and impending loneliness in such a beautiful way.
12.Dan Deacon – “When I was Done Dying”
If Dan Deacon set out to create a musical version of LSD, I think he has succeeded. Close your eyes and follow Deacon down the path of giant crabs, smiling horses, giant mouths, and enjoy the trip.
11. Benoit Pioulard – “Upon the Break Arch”
“Upon the Break Arch” is an instrumental ambient track that sounds like it would be right at home in an independent art house thriller. Intense, mysterious, and even a bit unnerving, this song is mesmerizing.
10. Jamie XX – “The Rest is Noise”
Pure joy condensed to five minutes. Jamie XX makes music for people who love music that make them feel happy. I can’t help but smile when “The Rest is Noise” starts, and can’t help but start it over immediately after it’s finished.
9. Panda Bear – “Butcher Baker Candlestick Maker”
This is Panda Bear doing what he does best – making a somewhat weird, insanely catchy song that you find yourself singing throughout the day. The production on “Butcher Baker Candlestick Maker” shines, as each instrument really fills out its own space.
8. Kolsch – “E45”
House music can fall into tropes much too easily, but “E45” has a way of keeping these fresh constantly, even when sticking to simple electronic music formulas.
7. Sweet John Bloom – “Shapeshifter”
Sweet John Bloom reminds me, sometimes a bit too much, of Parquet Courts, but with a further lean towards pop. Given that I enjoy my Parquet Courts when they are poppier, I’ve fallen in love with this band. “Shapeshifter” reminds you how fun indie rock can be.
6. Jon Hopkins – “I Remember”
Your last day of school, a breakup, a death, or moving away. “I Remember” fits into any nostalgic or melancholy memory like a puzzle piece you didn’t know was missing. Jon Hopkins has created an emotional masterpiece, with no words spoken at all.
5. Diet Cig – “Harvard”
There’s nothing that feels quite as good as telling someone to go fuck themselves, and Diet Cig yell it to the heavens in “Harvard.” Catchy, fun, angry, and very personal, Diet Cig have crafted the rock anthem of the year so far.
[Diet Cig Facebook]
4. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – “Pale Flower”/”Agate Beach”
Ambience and noise music are hard sells by themselves, and in theory should be an even harder sell when they are together. These two tracks on Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s new album are gorgeous and spacious, with just enough noise to keep you grounded in reality. It sounds as if ambience was played through a factory in the middle of a long shift, and it’s incredible.
3. Jamie XX – “Gosh”
The opener to my favorite album of the year so far, “Gosh” is a track that plays around with the “build” track format. It bounces around and slowly rises until an amazing synthesizer that bounces around until the end. Upon repeat listens, you realize the track isn’t building to this blissful moment, it’s just the icing on the cake. It’s simply music that makes you happy.
2. Swervedriver – “English Subtitles”
The 90’s British shoegaze powerhouse is back with one of my favorite songs of the year. It’s not very often a melody repeats through an entire song while staying fresh and exciting throughout, but these veterans have accomplished this with ease.
1. Twerps – “New Moves”
There’s a difference between thinking you need to change and thinking you need to change because of someone else. “New Moves” revolves around the difficulty of relationships when one seems never to be satisfied with the other. Twerps capture the difficulty of the situation, while creating a feel-good, sing-a-long summer track. It’s not very often a song can be so catchy and make you so happy when it’s just so sad.